Friday, October 23, 2009

Feel Fantastic Through Fitness

Do you want to burn fat? Fantastic! Is there a magic exercise you can use to achieve fat loss? Unfortunately, no! Fat burning is actually pretty simple. When the energy you expend during a day is greater than the energy you’re ingesting, you will lose fat. A balanced diet is fundamental to weight loss, and any form of exercise and any exercise intensity will help to motivate you to maintain a healthy weight.

A report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that exercising while you diet not only boosts your mood, it also helps you stick to your diet. In this study, women who exercised lost more weight and ate less calories than the non-exercisers. Bear in mind that fat loss will not occur unless calorie intake is reduced.

So many people have excuses not to be active. Find your excuse and learn how to overcome it.

Excuse #1: “I don't have time”
Solution: Change your priorities.
There are hours in the day when you might be bored, feeling restless or down. These are the hours when you should plan to be active. Spend half an hour enjoying a brisk walk at lunchtime - you will feel much better and your mind will be clearer. Convince a colleague to walk with you.

Excuse #2: “I don't lose weight when I exercise”
Solution: Change your philosophy.
Do not exercise to lose weight, exercise to feel better. Feeling good, an immediate benefit is reason enough to continue with your exercise program. Regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight; a balanced diet results in weight loss.

Excuse #3: “My gym is too far from me”
Solution: Change your gym.
No matter how much you like your gym, if it includes one hour of traveling time, you simply won't go regularly. Your gym can also be your family room; get out those exercise CDs and get moving. Remember that walking is easy and available anywhere, anytime.

Excuse #4: “I feel intimidated in a gym”
Solution: Change your gym.
Make sure the gym you choose suits your needs. Visit several gyms in your area before you join. Take a tour and don’t worry if the people look amazing in their fashionable outfits, you’re not joining a health club to impress anyone; your intention is to feel good. Make sure the gym’s staff are concerned with your interests and understand your needs. They should offer to assess your level of fitness and flexibility, keep your record on file and give you a copy. The staff should plan exercises and activities to suit you, and a reassessment should be done every six months.

Excuse #5: “I feel like a klutz in my exercise class”
Solution: Change your reaction to other people
When you start an exercise class, it takes a while to assimilate the routine, become familiar with the people in the class and feel comfortable. Take a place in the back row. Concentrate on your steps and the fun you get out of moving. Try to get your feet to follow the steps before adding the arm movements. After five or six classes, you will feel coordinated and part of the group.

Excuse #6: “Exercise hurts my knee/back”
Solution: Change your type of exercise.
If certain exercises hurt your back or knees, try other forms of activity. Instead of using a stair climber, use the stationary bike with a backrest. Whenever you begin a fitness program, remember that the cardiovascular system (heart and lungs) is more forgiving than the musculoskeletal system. Muscles and tendons need to be gently coaxed into action; otherwise the result will be overuse injuries.

Excuse #7: “I feel too lazy”
Solution: Change your attitude.
If you’re not motivated to go to the gym, put on an exercise CD at home and watch it. Once it’s playing, you will find you want to try the stretching. Once you start stretching, your energy increases rapidly, before you know it, you are into the workout. Don’t underestimate yourself. Push the “play” button now! You will never regret it.

Excuse #8: “Exercise cuts into family time”
Solution: Change your time management.
Do not separate exercise from your family. Be active with family members. Go walking/running/skiing with your partner or children. Exercise will benefit your whole family. Family time and exercise time can be one and the same.

Excuse #9: “Exercise is boring”
Solution: Change your activity.
While effective aerobic exercise should be at least thirty minutes, it doesn’t have to be boring. I read the newspaper while on the stationary bike. If I don’t work out, I don’t read the paper - I lose out twice. Some people listen to music or watch television. Another tactic is to alternate workouts from bike to weights, machines, aerobics, Pilates, step or stretching classes or yoga. Search for new ways to be active. You know what you like; there is no need to get bored.

Excuse #10: “I don’t like to exercise because I always hurt the next day”
Solution: Change your approach.
A well-structured exercise program may leave you a little stiff, but it’s a nice stiffness. Feeling slightly sore for a few days after starting a new activity is okay. The more often you exercise, the more your body won’t fight back. You’ll start to enjoy working out even though you feel a little stiff. As one of my clients said: "For the first time I can feel and see my muscles, and I’m 50 years old!”

Excuse #11: “I don't want to build up muscles”
Solution: Change your weight routine. Use lighter weights and increase repetitions.
The muscle definition you then develop is attractive and gives you a smooth, sleek look. Consult with the gym staff to help you develop a weight routine that is geared to you.

Excuse #12: “I travel too much to be active”
Solution: Change your strategy.
People who travel a lot need exercise too. Pack sneakers and exercise clothes. Hours sitting in an airplane, or in a car, may drain your creative energy. Exercise will help. When traveling, always find out where the closest gym is - usually it’s in the hotel. Then check it out and dress accordingly. For example, when I travel I may do the stationary bike for thirty minutes and weights for fifteen minutes or swim for twenty minutes and machines for ten minutes and I always stretch to relax my back. If possible, I walk and explore the city, and then do stretches in the hotel room.

Once you start exercising regularly, you will have more fun, increase your energy level, meet interesting people, feel good and relaxed, forget worries, feel accomplished, increase your self-image, control stress, improve your mood and feel attractive. Not bad for just 30 minutes a day!
The long-term benefits of an active lifestyle are not as obvious but equally important.
They include: reducing body fat, building muscle, lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, back problems, injury and disability, and increasing metabolism.
Aren’t those benefits great! You deserve to take advantage of them every day. So, get moving!