Have you set a goal to loser weight? If so, you might be ready to throw some exercise into the mix... after all, that's what all the experts recommend right?
Well, actually, studies have shown that if you start diet & a full on exercise regime at the same time, you could be setting yourself up for failure.
When you first start a diet, studies have shown you should not do a full on exercise programme right away. Yep, that's right! You can skip exercise for the first few days whilst your body adjusts to the calorie deficit and what the body can handle.
The rationale is that the body is losing it's normal calorie intake and your body will not feel energised, perhaps it will even feel fatigued. Therefore, your mind and body won't feel like exercising, so what ever exercise you may do won't be done as best as what you're actually capable of.
Once your body adjusts to the calorie deficit, it will adapt to use the energy it already has stored (the stored fats and sugars). Once adjusted, the best form of exercise is small and light to ease your body into it. Think of the first lot of exercises as the warm up for the full on exercise regime.
This "warm up"exercise regime will prepare your muscles, help to prevent injury and enable you to build up a workout habit you feel comfortable and energised to do - your mind and body will therefore be ready to do full on exercise and the drop-out rate for exercise has been shown to fall considerably with this method.
So what is the best workout?
There is a lot of debate out there about what the best workout is. The tricky part is finding the one that suits you and works for you - mind & body. Your mind has to be in it for your body to succeed, otherwise the workout is just a tedious chore you'd rather put off (like ironing *shudder*).
Forget the glossy, high-priced gym programmes or workout fads - once you've found the one that works for you, stick to it and increase the intensity of it over time.
When to add variation...
Once your body gets used to the workout and the intensity has reached its peak, then variety can come into play. Variety is the spice of life and it is no different for exercise. You want to shake things up before your mind and body fall into an "exercise rut".
Smart workouts are varied, with different workouts targeting different areas of the body on different days e.g. arms on a Monday, cardio on a Tuesday, rest day Wednesday, legs & bums on a Thursday, stomach on a Friday etc.
Shaking up the style of the workouts can also help keep pushing your body to achieve further weight loss & toning, whilst also keeping it fresh for your mind. For example, there are so many different types of lunges.
What about the long-term?
We all know diets are supposed to helps us lose weight but what about for the long run? You can't be on a diet for the rest of your life. This is how a lot of diets fail - after starving your body of what you're craving, it is easy to slip post-diet and gain the weight back. The key with the jab is that it takes away the hunger but what about when you stop the jab? People ask "won't the hunger just come back??".
Well, according to the clinical trials and several studies, no. Your body adjusts to the calorie difference and combined with exercise, your body knows what it needs to sustain itself and have some fuel leftover for the workouts you have been doing.
Therefore, to maintain that status quo, exercise is key for long-term maintenance. Experts suggest around 4 hours of exercise a week to maintain your lost weight. Sounds like a lot? Think of it like this - 4 hours is only an hour a day for 4 days a week, or 45 minutes a day for 4 days and an hour for a 5th day.
The body is then retrained, as is your brain, not only with the nutritional side of things but with the fuel-burning exercise side of things. The yin and yang of weight loss.