As you’re putting together a weight loss plan, nutrition won’t be your only challenge. You also need to exercise, and for some people that’s an entirely new frontier. What types of activities do you need to do, how long do you do them, how often do you do them, and how much should you challenge yourself? These are just some of the question you’re probably asking yourself.
It can be easy to become overwhelmed by all of the options available, and to feel like you have to do everything in order to be successful. Luckily, that isn’t true. But you do need a structured exercise plan, in order to stay accountable and on track toward your goals.
These ten steps can help you put together an exercise plan that is effective, but also fun and not overwhelming, so that you aren’t tempted to quit.
Adopt the right mindset. Remember that you’re looking for gradual changes in your body. You won’t see results overnight, but over time you will both see and feel a difference.
Start with walking. It’s a great full-body workout and doesn’t require any special equipment (other than shoes).
Set new goals weekly. Remember the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Continue to set small, attainable goals each week, such as adding a few minutes to your walking time.
Don’t worry too much about calorie burn. It’s okay to use an app to estimate calorie burn if you find that motivating, but the numbers aren’t set in stone. Mostly you should focus on gradually increasing the length and difficulty of your workouts.
Change up your workouts over time. Add new elements or try new activities to prevent boredom. Even just walking in a different place will feel rejuvenating.
Schedule your workouts. Treat them with the same seriousness you place on other commitments.
Try interval training, adding bursts of speed to walks. Or, try jogging for a minute at a time once you feel capable.
Incorporate weight training to build muscle and increase round-the-clock metabolism.
Find ways to make your workouts fun. Music, a friend, new activities, and more can make workouts enjoyable.
If you need help putting together a workout plan, give us a call. We can help you decide which activities are safe for your level of health, and will help you meet your weight loss and fitness goals.
We often talk about how a weight loss plan is not a temporary “diet”, but a permanent lifestyle change. After all, you want your results to be permanent, so you must permanently change your habits as well. Each of these habits only require a few minutes of your time each day, but can set you up for success.
Prep your meals. Each night, prepare for a healthy breakfast and lunch the following day. When you have everything ready to go first thing in the morning, you’re less likely to “cheat” on your eating plan.
Prepare for exercise, too. Make sure your workout clothes are clean, you know where your walking shoes are, and you have all other equipment you need ready to go. Now you won’t get in a rush and forget something important, and you’ll enjoy your workouts more.
Exercise in short bursts. Aside from your regular workouts, start a new habit of fitting in short bursts of activity whenever you can. Get up and walk vigorously for a few minutes to break up sedentary periods, or practice a few body weight moves during lulls in cooking or other activities.
Bust your stress. Establish a routine that lowers your stress levels and keeps hormones balance. Early morning herbal tea, meditation, yoga, or a walk to clear your mind are common options. But you’re not limited to those; whatever works for you is what you should do.
Create a mindful eating routine. Pay attention to your meals by avoiding screen time or other distractions. Drink a glass of water first, evaluate your emotions and hunger, and take the time to truly savor each bite.
Journal your progress. Take a few moments each day to jot down your meals and snacks, exercise routine, and important notes about your mood or energy levels. As your weight loss plan progresses, your journal can offer valuable insight about what’s working and what needs to change. Most importantly, seeing your progress in black and white can motivate you to keep going!
Regular exercise is critical to your weight loss plan. But what happens if you find yourself feeling fatigued and sluggish every time you head out for a walk? You’re probably more likely to give up and call it a day, but of course that’s not going to help you reach your goals.
Assuming you’re getting enough sleep at night, one of these five factors might be to blame.
You’re doing too much, too soon. If you haven’t exercised regularly before, don’t beat yourself up about feeling tired in the beginning. Start out with bursts of activity for just a few minutes at a time, rather than trying to head out for an hour-long hike. Go for a ten-minute walk several times per day, and then gradually lengthen your exercise sessions as you feel comfortable.
You’re wearing the wrong shoes. If your feet are hurting, or if you’re over-using other muscles to compensate, you will feel tired more quickly during exercise. Get fitted for the appropriate footwear, such as walking or running shoes.
You’re using incorrect form. If you’re slouching, using an awkward gait, not swinging your arms correctly, or otherwise using poor form, your body will tire out faster. This is because you aren’t using muscles as they’re intended, and you’re placing undue strain on your joints. Make sure you’ve researched the appropriate form for the exercise you’re pursuing, and that you’re paying attention during workouts.
You’re not fueling your body correctly. Food is the body’s fuel, and you will feel worn out if you don’t fuel up for exercise. Avoid cutting calories so low that you feel like you’re starving, and remember to pair complex carbs with protein when you snack. Remember to carry a bottle of water and sip regularly, too, because dehydration can sap your energy.
You have a pre-existing condition. Before you begin an exercise routine, come visit us to discuss your plans. We can screen you for underlying health conditions that can make exercise more challenging, so that you can exercise safely. We will also offer you tips on nutrition to support your weight loss plan, and address any other concerns you might have