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Why Am I Overweight?

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If you struggle to keep the excess weight off, you may have wondered why you seem to gain weight easily. Even mere pictures of food seem to add a few more pounds to your weight. Then, on the other end is your sibling who seems to never gain an ounce even after they eat a horse. Whew!

So, what could be the cause of your weight gain?

Causes Of Obesity

Not a small percentage of Americans are overweight and just like America, obesity remains a major health problem in many parts of the world.

Obesity has been linked to several health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease among so many others ailments. While anyone can become overweight from their lifestyle choices, weight gain can be influenced by several factors.

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the known causes of excessive weight gain. Hopefully, by the end of the article, you will understand why you may be overweight and how you can treat or prevent the condition especially if you are genetically predisposed to gain weight.

Causes Of Weight Gain: Defining Weight

Your weight depends on your calorie consumption, the calories your body stores, and how many of those you burn. However, these factors are influenced by your genes and environment and both, in turn, can affect your physiology.  Now, all of these begin at conception and often continues throughout your life. That said, there are several possible causes of obesity and some of these will be discussed below.

                              Why You Are Overweight

Food Availability

While food and nutrition quality has significantly improved over the past several decades, it has become a major factor in obesity. Today, you can access junk food everywhere. The neighborhood shops are not left out in their display of hard-to-resist foods; all strategically located and the meals arranged to grab your attention.

Even worse is the fact that junk foods often come cheaper than whole, healthy foods in most places. This means people living in poor neighborhoods may not always have access to fresh, healthy ingredients to make healthier meals. These people often have to consume overly processed, packaged junk foods leading to weight gain in the long run.

Too Much Variety

Variety they say is the spice of life but can also be a pitfall if you are trying to shed some pounds or maintain a healthy weight.  Buffets, for example, offer you several choices. And you would naturally want a taste of almost everything, and expectedly, you will be scooping more food into your plate than you would have in a non-buffet setting.

While you want to meet your nutritional needs with as many varieties as possible, you also want to make sure that you are feeding on the right ones. You want foods that are low in calories but nutrient-dense and this includes veggies, fruits, soups, low-fat dairy and whole grains.

Hunger-Promoting Junk Foods

Junk foods are heavily processed. They are often made with highly refined ingredients and then mixed with additives such as taste enhancers and preservatives. The former makes these food types taste “better” than “normal” food causing them to become too hard to resist. The preservatives keep them longer than the actual ingredients would have lasted in their natural states. And this, in turn, makes them incredibly cheap, the product manufacturers getting more sales and gaining more “loyal” and possibly life-long customers.

Genetic Influences

Several genes have been discovered to be responsible for obesity however though, only a few are currently known to play a major role. Our genes contribute to obesity by affecting our satiety, appetite, metabolism, body fat distribution and our eating habits when stressed.

According to some researches, for some, genetics may account for about 25% of the predisposition to be overweight while for others, the influence goes as high as 80%.

Knowing how much role your gene plays in your weight gain gives you clues with which you can manage your weight problems.

Signs that your gene plays a significant role in your obesity

  • Losing weight and keeping it off is hard for you to accomplish even with an increase in physical activity and your calorie-control measures
  • You have been overweight from your childhood
  • You have parents and relatives that are also overweight

Signs that your genes contribute little to your obesity

  • You have been moderately overweight since your childhood although can lose weight with a good diet and exercises
  • You regain lost weight whenever your eating or exercise habits change
  • You are influenced strongly by food when available

Distracted Eating

If you are trying to lose weight, distracted eating is a habit you have to do away with. It is simply the act of unconsciously eating from a big bowl or a bag while doing something else like watching TV, using your smartphone, reading a book or any other activity. In this state, you are multitasking and as such not paying attention to what you are eating and therefore tend to overeat.

This habit is the opposite of mindful eating. With mindful eating, you taste and savor the flavor of every spoonful. Your food should touch your senses, and not just fill your belly until it can no longer contain more.

Sleep Deprivation

According to studies, sleep deprivation can cause obesity. And sadly, not a few continue to deprive themselves of sleep in this increasingly fast-paced world. Even worse is the fact that quality sleep is not talked about enough in wellness.

Today, there are tons of information and activities to distract and keep you from sleeping well but like every other aspect of wellness, it takes a conscious decision to fight off these distractions and get a truly restful sleep.

So, if you’ve had trouble keeping the weight off and have tried other weight-loss strategies, you may want to check your sleep pattern. Do you sleep long enough? (you want to aim for up to 7 hours of sleep each night) do you sleep early? If you don’t, your poor sleep habits might be contributing to your obesity.

Medications

While modern pharmaceuticals have greatly improved the quality of life, they are not without their side effects. These side effects can include obesity. This is a common side effect in drugs for seizures, diabetes, and antidepressant among many others.

These drugs often alter your body’s function stimulating appetite or even slowing your body’s metabolism.  However, because these medications are important hence prescribed by your doctor, you will have to adjust other aspects of your diet to keep your weight in check.

Why Am I Overweight? Conclusion

There are several possible reasons for your obesity and some of the common ones have been discussed here. They include; genetics, eating habits, sleep deprivation, and junk food consumption.

While you have only little control over factors such as how your genetics’ influences your weight, there are measures you can take to keep your weight in check. These measures include opting for healthier food options, regular exercise, and mindful eating. All of these and more are discussed in this article on how to lose weight fast and the best cardio exercises for weight loss.

Thoughts? Questions? Share in the comment section below.

Dawn is a health and fitness enthusiast, a massage therapist and she also loves to write!

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Food

Why Am I Always Hungry? Here’s why you’re Always Feeling Hungry

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Why am I always hungry? Why do I feel hungry all the time? Why do I eat too much?

If these are some of the questions on your mind regarding your appetite, then there may be an explanation for this behavior

In this article, we’ll list out  possible reasons for your excessive eating. We’ll also include things you can do to curb this behavior. Read on!

Why Am I Always Hungry?

First, hunger isn’t even close to being a bad thing. In fact, it is an essential human drive and without it, we simply cannot thrive. For one, food helps our brain function optimally and it is also essential for muscle building and quick recovery from physical activities and ailments.

So, hunger isn’t a bad thing at all.  But what if you’re always hungry for no apparent reason at all? What could be the cause of your persistent hunger?

Why Do I Feel Hungry All the Time?

Your hunger drive is supposed to go away after each meal, at least temporarily.  If you do not feel full after a meal or always want to continue eating after one or two servings, then there could be an underlying issue.

Thankfully, excessive eating can be managed or reduced by making certain dietary or lifestyle changes. But, if after you make these changes and nothing seems to help, then you book an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can.

Below are some of the possible reasons you may be feeling hungry every time.

Dehydration

Adequate hydration is essential for well-being. If you feel hungry every time, you may be lacking in this aspect.  Water can help you feel fuller after a meal besides aiding digestion.

In one study, researchers investigated the effect of water intake on overweight women.  Participants in the study drank 0.5 liters of water 30 minutes before they ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. At the end of the 8th week, the women had lost weight and had reduced appetite.

Diabetes

If you’re always hungry, it may be a symptom of type 2 diabetes. This disorder can cause glucose to remain in the blood instead of entering the cells. Left untreated, you’ll have little or no glucose to generate energy for your body and this could cause you to feel tired and hungry more often.

You may also experience the following symptoms with type 2 diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Vision problems
  • Increased thirst from urinating frequently
  • Drastic or gradual unexplained weight loss
  • Poor wound healing by your body

If you have type 2 diabetes or you suspect you have it, see a doctor for evaluation. He will check for diabetes with a simple blood test and place you on medications if diagnosed with the condition. He may also recommend certain lifestyle and dietary changes.

 

If you’ve diagnosed with diabetes already, you may be managing it poorly.  You should see your doctor for the next step if you feel your current treatment isn’t doing much to help.

Boredom

Are you frequently bored? If you are, it may be the reason you overeat. Boredom can cause you to seek rewarding behaviors and this can include eating.

Find a way to keep busy to avoid boredom. You can take a trip to the park, walk around your neighborhood, workout or anything to keep your mind and mouth away from food.

Salt

If you consume a lot of salt, it could be the reason you constantly feel hungry. High salt intake may in the short term cause you to drink more water but with time, it can cause you to drink less water and eat more according to research.

In one study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, participants placed on a high salt diet were reportedly hungrier than before. This is because salt causes the body to conserve water by producing urea, a process that requires a lot of calories. This increases your appetite causing you to feel hungry all the time.

If you eat a lot of processed foods, you should consider cutting down on it. Processed foods contain hidden sodium that could cause the aforementioned effect. So, opt instead for fresh food most of the time.

Too Far Apart Mealtimes

What is the space between each of your meals? Is it too far apart? If it is, it could be the reason you always feel hungry.  Constantly staying hungry for long may cause your body to send signals reminding you to feed it.

If you eat too far apart or you’re not sure if your spacing is alright for you, you should consult a dietician. He or she would be able to evaluate how often your body requires fuel (food) considering your level of activity and meal schedule.

Or you can experiment on your own to see how full you feel with smaller meals spread out few hours apart without overeating.

Medications

Some medications you take can affect your hunger signals and body metabolism. For example, some antipsychotics and antidepressant may cause people on them to feel hungrier than they normal.

If you noticed you feel hungrier or gained more weight on a new medication, you should let your doctor know. He or she may either recommend some things you can do to cope or change the medication entirely.

Your Protein Intake Is Inadequate

Protein is essential for satiety. If you continuously feel hungry, you may not be getting enough protein. Ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein for your weight and lifestyle and try to include some protein in most of your meals.

There are delicious protein-rich foods, snacks and even raw veggies that you can include in your meals to help you feel fuller.

On A Diet

Are you currently on a diet or usually on one diet or the other? It may be the answer to the question “why am I always hungry”.

This is particularly true if you’re on some calorie-restricted diet. It can cause you to feel hungry all or most of the time because you’re consuming fewer calories than your body burns.

Poor Sleep/Sleep Disruption

Insufficient or poor sleep can disrupt your body’s hormonal balance, thus elevating the feeling of hunger in some cases.

In some studies, sleep disruption has been linked to an array of health problems including diabetes and obesity.

Overactive Thyroid/hyperthyroidism

If your thyroid is underactive, it can lead to weight gain. Overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism is its exact opposite. You may notice increased hunger levels if you suffer from this condition. Other symptoms you may notice include:

  • Sweating
  • Hair loss
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Change in menstrual pattern

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should talk to a doctor.

You’re Eating Too Much Sugar

Many foods and beverages contain a lot of sugar. And this can cause appetite increase and weight gain. Eating too much sugar may cause your body to produce more ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and also affect activities in certain areas of the brain to make you feel less full.

Stress

In some studies, appetite control issues were linked to stress. In one of the studies, people dealing with high-stress marital issues had significantly higher levels of ghrelin – the hunger hormone and a poorer diet compared to those in happy or stable marriages.

Alcohol Consumption

Drinking alcoholic beverages may cause you to feel hungrier than normal.  According to research, the link between alcohol intake and excessive eating may due to alcohol’s effect on hunger signals in the brain.

In another study, women consuming alcohol before a meal had heightened sensitivity to food aromas and this caused them to eat more.

Menopause

For females going through menopause, the hormonal changes may be the reason you feel hungry all the time. Menopause may also cause an increase in your weight. In one 2017 study, a decline in estrogen levels during menopause was shown to lead to an increase in appetite.

You should speak to your doctor if you believe your excessive eating may be linked to menopause.

Too Little Fiber

Having less fiber than you require can cause you to feel hungry all the time. Fibers are naturally filling just like protein, so you may feel hungrier if you don’t get enough of it.

Ensure you include fresh veggies, fruits, and whole-grain in your diet as they contain the fibers you need.

You’re suffering from Anxiety/Worrying Too Much

Do you worry a lot? If you do, it may be responsible for your excessive eating. Stress elevates your cortisol levels triggering hunger.

You can manage stress or anxiety induced overeating by meditating or practicing yoga. These activities can help you relax and also sleep better.

Leptin Resistance

The hormone leptin rises when your stomach is full. If you suffer from leptin resistance, your body does not fully respond to leptin. This can mean that even after a full meal, you will still feel hungry.

It is therefore not very surprising that people with insulin resistance become overweight or obese, and may even feel hungrier than before their weight gain.

Breastfeeding

If you’re breastfeeding, you require more calories for milk production.  This high-calorie requirement can cause an increase in appetite and make you feel hungry frequently. Breastfeeding women are advised to consume 450 to 500 extra calories per day.

Final Words

Overeating can be a result of several factors. All or most of which can be managed with simple lifestyle changes, meal adjustments, exercises, and medical treatments.

Other general steps you can take to curb overeating include:

  • Reducing your sugar and salt/sodium consumption
  • Drinking enough water
  • Reducing your alcohol consumption
  • Eating more protein and fiber to stay full for longer

“Why do I eat too much”? Tell us, what do you suspect may be the cause of your overeating? Why do you think you’re eating too much?

If you suspect your overeating may have serious underlying causes, you should seek professional help from your doctor. Don’t spend too much time contemplating or trying to resolve health issues on your own.

Questions/thoughts? Share in the comment section below.

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Weight Loss

All You Need To Know About Cardio and 9 Best Cardio Exercises For Weight Loss

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Cardio exercises are great routines for a leaner frame. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds or need certain areas of your body toned or leaner, cardio exercises are excellent for it.

However, to get the best results out of cardio, you need to do the right ones for your weight and body goals, not every cardio exercise is efficient at burning calories.

 

We’ll outline 9 cardio exercises  effective for weight loss in this article, so read up to find a couple you can include in your regular workout routine. Before that, however, we’ll go through some cardio basics to help you understand this exercise type and why it is effective.

 

What is cardio?

 

When we hear “cardio”, many of us have this image of a really sweaty person running on a treadmill or running on the sidewalk before or after work. While both are cardio exercises, it is a lot more than that.

 

Cardio exercises are workout activities that depend primarily on aerobic energy-generating process. The routines require controlled breathing and use large muscle groups such as the legs or the upper body. Cardio exercises can also increase the heart rate and keeps in an aerobic zone for a certain amount of time.

How much cardio do I need to lose weight?

 

If you’re using cardio for weight loss, the amount you’ll need to lose weight may depend on several factors. These factors include your daily activity, age, diet, and your current weight.

It must be added that while cardio is effective for weight loss, combining it with strength training can hasten your weight loss.

That said, to lose weight through cardio, whether or not you combine with strength training exercises, you’ll need to create a calorie deficit. Remember, your diet is a determining factor in your weight loss goal.

Your calorie consumption has to be less than the calories you burn and how much you burn can be determined by your daily activities and the number of cardio exercises you’ll be willing to perform weekly.

Not sure how to create a calorie deficit or could use some help? A calorie counting app can help. The app allows you track your calories when you input your daily food intake and your physical activity all day. With it, you’re able to calculate your consumed calories and your used calories.

 

                                Cardio exercises for weight loss

 

Moderate pace running

 

Moderate pace running is an effective cardio exercise for weight loss. However, if you’re looking to build or even maintain muscles with cardio, this may not be the best exercise for it. Running at this pace can break down muscles as it involves a lot of mileage for the time and effort that is put in.

The exercise is great if you intend doing it every couple of weeks to bolster your aerobic capacity. But not more than that or you’ll end up wearing out those muscles.

If you’re running on a treadmill, you can set the incline to 2-3% to create the same pace of running outside.

Also, note that running may become boring with time. If it starts to feel that way, try running on different routes each time you run or find a partner/join a local running group. Doing the latter can make the miles seem go by a lot more than it would seem if you were running alone.

 

Stairclimber

 

This cardio exercise offers you another effective way to burn the extra calories. It requires a higher leg lift and so uses up more muscles than regular walking, which can be a good thing as it strengthens your legs in a functional way.

There’s a drawback though; the stair climber puts a lot of pressure and weight on your joints so it may be challenging for people with bad knees to practice.

 

Rope jumping

 

This is a cheap and easy cardio exercise you should incorporate into your weight loss routines. It is an effective calorie burner and also a great exercise for increasing foot speed, improving shoulder strength and coordination.

Because the exercise simulates sprinting, it allows you to burn up to 500 calories in just 3 minutes.

To maximize the results of your rope jumping, it is best to do intervals of fast and slow jumps instead of jumping on the rope for 30 minutes straight. Or, you can try jumping as fast you can for one minute, then rest for about 30 seconds.

Repeat the process until you’re done. If you travel a lot, rope jumping is a cardio exercise you can do wherever you are; simply toss in a jump rope in your luggage for some calorie burn without needing to leave your hotel room.

 

Cycling

 

Cycling is not only fun but also been shown to burn up to 600 calories per hour. The exercise is great for your heart health, for strengthening the leg muscles and burning extra calories.

It also a fantastic way to get your vitamin D and fresh air needs outside.

Don’t own a bike or just not comfortable cycling outdoors? No problem! You can join an indoor cycling class

It is a fun and effective way to burn those calories. Imagine riding a bike in a room full of people and great workout music topped with a great trainer, you wouldn’t want to leave!

 

Swimming

 

This is one workout where the work really begins immediately you start. On water, your body is already on “fight mode”, trying hard to stay afloat throughout your stay in the water. It’s hardly surprising that in just one minute of fast swimming you burn up to 14 calories!

While it is effective for fat burn, must be stated that the type of stroke matters a lot. You can burn more calories in every session by incorporating different strokes. A breaststroke for example burns fewer calories than the butterfly.

One effective way to burn calories with swimming is by simply treading water. You can choose to do a few laps then have a water-treading interval and repeat as fast as you can for as long as possible.

You can also swim down the length of the pool and back then swim slower on the same distance.

 

Elliptical

 

The elliptical was originally designed for lessening the impact on the hips and knees but they are also great machines for fat burn.

Granted, they may not be as effective as the treadmills and Stairmasters, they’re still excellent machines for burning calories without wearing out the joints.

You can burn more calories and activate the glutes by adding a high incline or lower the incline and then increase the resistance to get a skiing feel that completely engages your quads.

 

Rowing

 

Rowing is one cardio exercise that is effective at engaging the upper and lower body in a low-stress manner. Rowing is also a fantastic way to engage the posterior chain.

At a moderate pace, the rowing machine can help you burn 800 calories or more hourly. You can burn more per hour by increasing the intensity with short sprints.

When using the rowing machine, make sure you keep your chest up and your entire body involved in the rowing. Avoid letting your arms do all the work; involve your legs to get the burn going.

You can start by setting a clock for 30 minutes, then row 250 meters as fast as you can. Rest for a minute and repeat for again for 30 minutes.

 

High-Intensity Interval Training

 

With HIIT, you enjoy a well-rounded workout while burning lots of calories. The HIIT workouts come in so many varieties and they range from 500 calories per hour to 1500+ calories per hour depending on the individual.

The exercises are effective because of the high intensity of each exercise and also because of the variations of the exercises and the reps.

Want to give it a shot? There are probably HIIIT, high-impact aerobic classes ongoing at your local gym, take those classes and I promise you, the result will blow your mind.

 

Sprinting

 

Sprints are powerful fat burners. It doesn’t matter where you do them; on the treadmill, the stairs, or bleachers. No special equipment is required just comfortable workout clothing.

It is simple to carry out and it burns larger amounts of calories than many cardio exercises.

Another thing you’ll love about sprints is how the exercise leaves the muscles unaffected. If you’re trying to lose the extra fat and build muscles in its place, you can sprint all you want with no concerns about it getting in the way of your goal.

To get the most out of your sprint sessions; on a track, sprint a lap and jog the other lap. Repeat this as many times as you can.

On a treadmill, perform an all-out sprint for 30 seconds, slow the belt and jog for a minute and then repeat.

On a flight of stairs or at a stadium, run up as fast you can to the top then walk or jog down.

NOTE: Avoid running down the stairs or a bleacher; it is unsafe to do so. And if you’re using the stairs for cardio, see the downward portion as an opportunity to take your rest before the next upward run.

 

Guidelines for cardio exercises

There are general guidelines you should follow in order to maximize your cardio exercises and they’re outlined below.

The right technique

The right technique is just as important as the exercise itself. It can determine how much result you get from the routine. Devote some time to learning the correct posture instead of doing tons of reps when just a “good” 12 would have done a better job.

Get your body used to HIIT workouts: one of the surest ways to get a workout injury is failing to get your body accustomed to High-Intensity Exercises before you begin. If your body isn’t trained for it, you can almost be certain of getting injured in the process.

 

Breathe in and out

 

You need to breathe! You need to lose weight but you also have to be alive to make that happen. So, breathe in and out!

 

Wear the right shoes

 

Your shoes are an important part of your cardio workouts. Get quality shoes and the right shoes for cardio, they protect the soles of your feet and help you maintain balance.

Don’t overdo it: you read that right, it is possible to overdo cardio. Fine, you want to burn off those calories just before summer, for the wedding or for whatever reason.

But you have to remember this; the weight gain didn’t happen overnight. It took time, it is only reasonable therefore to expect the weight loss to take time especially if you’re doing only cardio.

Excessive cardio or even any other exercise can wear out your joints and muscles. Instead, combine cardio with strength training and stretching exercises so your entire body is engaged in a broad range of motion.

 

Drink water

 

You don’t have to “love” water to drink it. At least, not when you’re engaging in a strenuous activity like cardio. You need to keep hydrated to replace the fluid you lose from sweating.

Take a sip from your water bottle every 15 – 20 minutes during your workout to refuel yourself and maintain your stamina. If you feel like drinking more before 15 minutes, then, by all means, do so.

 

Get your muscles engaged

 

Engage your muscles during your cardio workouts. You’ll find it hard to truly target a specific area without fully engaging or contracting your muscles. During rowing, for example, you should contract your legs as much you can. You should also try to engage your shoulder blades to activate and work your muscles.

 

Pre and post-workout drinks are essential

 

Not only do drinks make delicious rewards after a really stressful workout, healthy ones can actually jumpstart your session. No, they don’t have to be protein shakes; freshly squeezed orange or apple juice with ice will do. Then, refuel yourself during the workout with water from your drinking bottle.

 

Why you need to start doing cardio: a summary

 

Cardio may be popular for weight loss but it isn’t the only thing these workout types can do. When done right, cardio offers more benefits than many probably know. Some of these benefits are listed out below.

 

  • Improved heart and lung health
  • Improved muscle power and stamina
  • Confidence-boosting
  • Muscle-strengthening
  • Improved bone health
  • Enhanced energy levels and productivity
  • Effective at preventing anxiety and depression
  • Improved sleep and overall wellbeing

 

Mixing your workouts

 

Eventually, your exercises will lose its effectiveness after being repeated frequently at the same pace and intensity. This is called the plateau point. At this point, you may be tempted to over increase your pace and intensity to restore its effectiveness but try not to do so; because while building on your pace and intensity is fine, it can lead to burnout.

To prevent your exercise from losing its effectiveness and also prevent a burnout, ensure you combine moderate-intensity and high-intensity cardio exercises to your weight loss/fitness routine.

Instead of performing moderate-intensity cardio exercises such as swimming or jogging for seven days straight, you can perform them for 30 – 45 minutes for 3 – 4 days a week then increase the intensity with exercises like running and cycling for the last two days dedicating a day or two to recovery.

If you’re opting for only high-intensity interval training, you should consider reducing the total amount of time you put into each exercise. For example, when you sprint, you can alternate with jogging intervals for 20 minutes and repeat.

 

Questions or thoughts? Share in the comment section.

 

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How Often Should I Train To Lose Weight?

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When it comes to weight loss, there are varying opinions on how to go at it correctly but the common ones are: eat less, move more, and exercise regularly.

All of the above have lots of truths to them, for one, if you’re looking to lose weight, you would have to work on some things including cutting down on the unhealthy fat/extra carb intake, you also need to move more as a sedentary lifestyle can play a major role in weight gain. And lastly, exercising regularly, of course, you need to work out more than occasionally not only to burn off the extra calories but for agility and strength.

Our focus in this post is on the last one; working out to lose weight. How often do you need to work out to lose weight?

First, this depends largely depends on you as an individual, and also on the exercise type. Exercises differ in terms of effectiveness and how quick they work. Some burn more fat than others, while others can increase your strength and agility even though they may not burn as much fat as the former.

If you’re looking to lose weight and keep it off, there are guidelines you have to follow to be successful at it. We’ve outlined them below.

Strength Training Vs. Cardiovascular Exercise

Contrary to belief, you’ll record more calorie loss with cardio/aerobic than you would with strength or resistance training.  It must be added here that choosing which to opt for as with most other things depends mainly on your fitness goal. Are you losing the calories to build more muscle mass or you just want to shed the extra fat to stay lean?

If the latter is your goal, strength training itself will not lead to a significant amount of weight loss, it builds muscle mass. Many wrongly believe that muscle mass is equivalent to calories burn but this, for the most part, is a myth.

In the studies that showed notable calories burn after a weight lifting session, the exercises were carried out by serious weight lifters who worked out for at least 60 minutes at a time lifting the weights they could on each set.

Now, this isn’t to say strength training isn’t necessary for your general wellbeing, it is. However, for more calorie burn, you’re better off with cardiovascular exercises.

How Often Should I Work Out If I’m Trying To Lose Weight?

If weight loss is your goal, not muscle gain, you should consider exercising at least every two days. To build muscle in the process, more intensity and challenge is required.

Unless you work your muscles harder than it is used to, you won’t be able to gain more muscles. Working the muscles is only part of the process, the “worked” muscles need time to build up and recover after your routines. This is why you should give your body up to two complete days of rest to recover after weight training exercises.

If you’re combining cardio with the weight training exercises, you can perform it on alternate days from the weight training routines.

Cardio exercises can include activities like running, jogging, swimming, and cycling. It can also include energy-demanding sports like baseball, hockey, soccer, and basketball. And they are all essential for keeping our hearts healthy. Not only that, including fun activities like the aforementioned ones can help to keep you motivated and eliminate boredom on your weight loss journey.

You will be able to tell if your exercise routines are working by observing changes in how your clothing items fit as time goes on.

Helpful tips for a weight loss workout that helps you meet your goals

Schedule your workouts

Don’t just trust yourself to keep up with your workouts; it’s all too easy to lose motivation when you do this. Instead, keep a calendar that indicates your specific workout dates and time. This way, you’ll have no excuses for not working out on exercise days.

Find a workout partner

Or partners. This is very important for accountability and company. You could start by asking your new buddy at the gym to be your regular workout partner or even ask a coworker or family member. When you do this, finding excuses to avoid workouts will be hard. It is easier to give yourself a million reasons why workout will not be possible today than telling it to your partner.

Don’t try to do a lot too quickly

You want to shed the extra pounds before Christmas and so you’re all fired up ready to begin. But hold your horses; while your motivation is laudable, it can set you back in many ways.

One, starting with the most challenging routines or the heaviest weights can leave you exhausted, causing your motivation to fizzle long before you make any remarkable progress. Or worse, you can get injured almost as soon as you start and be forced to give up.

Monitor your accomplishments

There are several apps for this and you can also write it down. Logging your workout time and the steps you take each day can be helpful for achieving your weekly goal. At the end of the week, you’ll be inspired to keep at it the next week.

Eat homemade meals, preferably the ones you cooked yourself

It’s easy to lose track of your calorie intake or even have no idea about it at all when you eat out. When you prepare your food yourself, you’ll be more able to gauge its calorie content plus, it will be a lot more nutritious and beneficial to your weight loss goals.

If you’re unable to prepare your meals yourself at home, let the person in charge of the meal preparation in on your concerns and they’ll likely be glad to help you watch your calorie intake.

Drink more water instead of wine, soda, etc.

Beers, wines, and soda packs calories, and so, you don’t need them, at least not when you’re trying hard to shed the extra. Plus, your meal already contains calories and adding a hundred more from a few glasses, can be detrimental to your weight loss goals. No, this doesn’t mean that you have to give up drinking entirely; you just need to cut down on it.

The “little” things matter

It’s easy to grab a few pies, crackers or cookies at that weekend party even before the main meal. While these are random calories that you probably don’t think much of, they add to the pile. Be conscious of that fact, since you probably will not work extra hours at the gym to burn them off.

 

Thoughts or questions? Share in the comment section below.

 

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