There are so many reasons to workout! Physical activity reduces blood pressure and bad cholesterol, anxiety, and stress; in addition, it boosts your mood, improves your sleep, and much more!
A huge benefit to working out is the role exercise can play in losing and maintaining weight. People use physical activity as a way to control their weight for good reason- weight control is all about calorie balance (calories in vs. calories out) and exercise burns calories.
So, if you’re looking to lose some weight, just maintain it, or to feel awesome then you may benefit from adding exercise to your daily routine.
So how much should you workout if you’re trying to lose weight? Here are my top tips if that’s your goal.
Tip #1) Follow Physical Activity Guidelines
This may sound so simple, but you would be surprised how many people aren’t following the American Heart Association Physical Activity Guidelines. The guides recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity OR a combination of the both, AND muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week working all of the major muscle groups.
These guidelines aren’t impossible to follow, but they can be hard to accomplish if you aren’t intentional about a fitness routine. The key to sticking to a fitness routine is simply finding things you like to do. This way it won’t feel like your physical activity is a chore but rather something you enjoy and look forward to doing.
Tip #2) Be Aware of Calorie Burn
When it comes to weight loss, the only way to ensure success is to maintain a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit simply means you are consuming fewer calories than you are expending throughout the day. This can be achieved in a few ways, either by eating less (or lower calorie nutrient dense foods rather than sugary processed ones), exercising, or a combination of the two.
Many people have the goal of slashing 500 calories per day (this is equal to 3,500 calories per week, a weight loss of 1 pound per week). Let’s say to achieve a 500 calorie-per-day deficit you decided to cut 250 via your diet, and 250 via exercise. From there how and when to burn those 250 calories during exercise is up to you- walking, running, HIIT, weight training, etc.
Depending on what activity you choose and how intensely you’re engaging will affect how often, and how long you will need to work out. Because these numbers can vary so much based on your activity and effort, I highly recommend tracking your activity and calorie burn.
I track my calories for my workouts using a heart rate monitor and my PK Fitness app. The PK app estimates your calorie burn based on biometrics specific to you like your gender, weight, and height. Giving you the most accurate picture of your calorie burn during your workout.
Another great thing about the PK app is that it’s smart to you. It not only knows your biometrics, it knows when you’re getting fitter. Maybe that same run you’ve been doing for the last few weeks is getting easier, and you don’t have to work as hard to achieve the same result. Thanks to your activity tracker you’ll know when it’s time to up the ante to stay on track to reach your goals.
Tip #3) Be Aware of Calories In
Because a calorie deficit is essential to losing weight, it’s important to pay attention to what and how much you’re eating. Many people make the mistake of believing they’re burning more calories during exercise and consuming fewer calories than they actually are.
Be mindful of how many calories you need per day for your body specifically. If you aren’t sure what that number is, check out this blog, it’ll teach you how to calculate that number. Tracking your calories by journaling your food intake can be a great way to stay on track.
Many people are afraid that by cutting out calories they’ll be starving all the time. However, if you play the cards right this won’t have to be the case. Rather than cutting out substance from your diet, swap out the crap in your diet for healthier items. Whole foods that are full of nutritious value will fill you up, fuel you for your workouts and the day and keep you feeling fuller for longer, and most importantly they’re less calories.
Trade a diet Coke for a LaCroix, trade a Latte for an Americano with a splash of soy milk, trade that bag of chips for a veggie platter, that McDonald’s #2 for a home-cooked meal. Simple changes like these will cut calories, but will still give you the satisfaction and fuel you’re looking for.
Tip #3) Make it a Lifestyle
The only sure way to make weight loss and maintenance sustainable is a lifestyle change. And most of the time these lifestyle changes are pretty simple.
Exercise for 30 minutes a day, cut out processed foods, fast foods, sugary drinks, chemicals, and crap. Fuel your body with real foods and nutrients. Drink more water. If all of this together sounds overwhelming, that’s okay. It will take time, patience, and practice, but you can make this a part of your everyday lifestyle.
Start with just one thing (maybe it’s cutting out sodas/sugary drinks), and do that thing for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, see how you feel. Do you feel like you’re able to continue? I think you’ll find that whatever it was you practiced for 30 days is a habit. And you’ll feel empowered by how easy it was to actually have accomplished that thing. And maybe you’ll want to continue doing it and challenging yourself in new ways. Take it one thing at a time, slowly challenging yourself to be healthier and healthier. Long-term you will see these changes reflected in your weight.
You don’t always have to be on it and perfect every single day. BUT you do need to be consistent most of the time to see results.
In all your efforts remain consistent. Take heart because they are worth it and you are going to see a difference with intention.