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Weight Loss: Three Things You Need to Know

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

FieldHouse, Sudbury, MACardio work, strength training and counting calories and macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat) are the three big components of weight loss. You should be doing all three, but each of these is not created equally when you’re trying to lose weight.

Here’s how you should rank these three elements to achieve your weight loss goals:

1. COUNTING CALORIES AND MACROS

Logging your food is one of the most important components of weight loss. Figure out what a safe calorie deficit is for you, follow these guidelines consistently and the weight should come off. Make sure to readjust your daily goals as you lose weight.

Diets or any eating that is non-nutritious is not recommended, but the idea of eating less by being aware — by counting your calories — means it’s unlikely you’ll overeat.

Technically, you don’t have to exercise to lose weight. But, this approach isn’t optimal for overall health. Counting your calories and macros is vital for weight loss, but it takes more than that to be strong and healthy. Keep in mind, we are organisms that are dependent upon work — or, in other words, exercise.

2.  BUILDING STRENGTH

Strength training is the best form of exercise you can do, no matter your age or whether you are trying to lose weight. While not everyone loves the weight room, the return on investment — denser bones, stronger ligaments and tendons, better posture and, most importantly, more muscle to burn calorie — is incredible.

Your strength has a direct effect on how you interact with your environment. The stronger you are, the easier daily tasks become, such as climbing the stairs, carrying a full laundry basket and raking leaves. Strength train for the future: Preserving muscle for your 50s and beyond will help delay the need for assistance with everyday activities. Did you know that many people who have to check in to assisted living homes do so because they are unable to get off the toilet, open a door or dress themselves? Muscle is what keeps us moving, and it needs to be fed a steady diet of weight training. An optimal, efficient way to strength train: complete compound exercises like squats, shoulder presses and deadlifts two to three days a week.

3. CRANKING OUT CARDIO

Cardiovascular exercise is often thought of by the mainstream media and even some doctors as the best way to lose weight. It’s not. That’s not to say that it isn’t important, it’s just not at the top of the list.

Being balanced is a better idea, so do some sort of conditioning work, whether it’s running on a treadmill, riding a spin bike or pushing a sled. Twice-weekly sessions of 10–20 minutes of lung-scorching, high-intensity interval training is a great goal. You can do these types of workouts at the end of your strength-training sessions or on the days in between.

Another option is to do low-intensity, steady-state cardio. It’s the perfect place to start if you are new to the exercise game or in the early stages of losing weight. Walking or using a recumbent bike are also acceptable for such workouts. Try doing this two times per week.

Remember: The best place to start when trying to lose pounds is counting calories. Make sure your daily caloric allowance is a safe deficit. Even if you don’t count your daily macros, your body does. Adding strength training will help you maintain your muscle mass for today and for the future. And, since no one likes to feel winded walking up a flight of stairs, round out your program with cardio conditioning work. Good health comes at a cost: time, energy, money, sacrifice and hard work. Keep in mind that the cost is even greater if you don’t commit.

For more weight loss tips, contact the FieldHouse in Sudbury.

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Weight Loss, What Personal Trainers Want You to Know

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 10, 2018

FieldHouse, Sudbury, MA Weight loss is one of the most common fitness goals personal trainers deal with. The reality, however, is that not every person who seeks to lose weight ends up reaching their goal. Often times, that’s because people striving for weight loss don’t go into it with the right mindset or information about what really works when it comes to shedding fat and building muscle.

Here’s what trainers want you to know about dropping pounds, plus what successful weight loss looks like from their perspective.

RESULTS TAKE TIME, AND IT’S BETTER THAT WAY

You probably already know it can take a while to see the benefits of working out and eating healthy, but knowing something and accepting it are two different things. Many clients will join a fitness program only to terminate too soon. Think about it this way: The weight that you might want to lose didn’t get there in one day, so we know that it won’t come off in a day.

Plus, there’s the fact that losing weight really quickly isn’t a great idea. The faster you lose weight, the more likely it is to come right back (plus some) when you stop dieting. When you lose weight too quickly, you also decrease your body’s metabolism, meaning that you burn fewer calories. When you have reached your weight goal and go back to a normal, healthy diet, you may have decreased your metabolism so much that even a ‘normal’ diet will make you gain weight fast. That’s why slow and steady is the best approach, which means 1–2 pounds of weight loss per week maximum.

YOUR “WHY” IS AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR “HOW”

Having a plan for how you’re going to lose weight is great, but there will inevitably be moments when your motivation wanes. During those times, the reason you want to lose weight in the first place becomes even more crucial. Ask yourself: Why are you doing this? Is this doctor-ordered for your health? If so, why would you follow those orders?" After all, most people know what they should be doing: Eat more broccoli and less sugar, get eight hours of sleep, exercise or be active for about 20 minutes a day. To actually make those lifestyle changes that will affect your body composition requires a big “why.”

Whatever it is, no one’s goal is really the number on the scale. Get to the real why and make yourself conscious of it daily.  However you do it, the more you focus on the specific reasons you want to lose weight — the ones without numbers attached — the more likely you are to stick to it.

WHAT WORKED FOR YOUR FRIEND MIGHT NOT WORK FOR YOU

It’s easy to get caught up in trendy workouts, diets and wellness trends, thinking they could be the answer to all your weight-related woes. Someone will see what’s working for their friend and think that they need to be doing the same thing. That’s great but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to lose weight or meet your goals.  Instead, it’s better to figure out a plan that capitalizes on the healthy eating and workout habits you may already have. It’s important to realize that weight loss and nutrition are extremely individual and it’s OK to follow your own set of rules — within reason, of course.

CRAZY-HARD WORKOUTS AREN’T REQUIRED

You might think the harder you work out, the faster the weight will come off, but that’s not necessarily true. Don’t sign up for the most challenging boot camp in town with a goal of totally burning off your bad food choices. This is a recipe for injury and burnout. Instead, find fitness activities that you enjoy and stick with them. If fitness is viewed as fun and something you look forward to, then there is no limit to how long you can maintain it.

RESISTANCE TRAINING WILL MAKE A BIGGER DIFFERENCE THAN CARDIO

It’s a common misconception that to lose weight, you have to do a ton of cardio. By mainly basing your weight loss on lifting weights and eating healthy food — and not just on lots of cardio and a super low-calorie diet — you will permanently increase your base metabolism, meaning that you will burn more calories every second of the day, even when you are not working out. As you build more muscle mass and your metabolism increases, it will become easier and easier to lose weight and to maintain your weight loss. Of course, cardio isn’t a bad thing, and it deserves a place in your routine no matter what your goals are, but perhaps a smaller one than you might expect. Resistance training and good nutrition are more effective for long-term results.

THE PEOPLE YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH MATTER

Having a community to reach out to can make a world of difference, and while you might not be able to control your family’s health habits, you can certainly make an effort to spend time with fitness-minded friends. Don’t forget that you are the culmination of the five people you hang around with the most, so be sure to seek out friends who are already living that healthy and fit lifestyle. The bottom line is that no one does this alone.

PLAN HOW YOU’LL END YOUR WEIGHT LOSS

One of the most common weight-loss mistakes is not having a plan for what to do after you reach your goals. Most people either keep following the same diet they used to lose weight or end up going back to how they ate before their weight loss. Neither choice is ideal. Instead, don’t think of your weight-loss journey as being done until you have managed to keep your goal weight for at least a month. How do you do this? After you reach your weight-loss goal, slowly start adding a little more (healthy) food into your daily diet. Finding a calorie intake that allows you to keep your weight stable is just as much a part of the weight-loss process as shedding pounds.

IT’S BETTER NOT TO HAVE WEIGHT LOSS AS YOUR PRIMARY GOAL

You might be thinking, "What? How can this not be the goal if it’s why I’m training?” Easy. Strive for athletic and wellness goals such as completing a race, improving your maximum lifts or tracking your food intake for 30 days straight. The weight loss will follow. If you train as an athlete, you will eventually look like an athlete.

For more information on weight loss or personal training, contact the FieldHouse in Sudbury.

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