The proper workout weight loss strategy is one of the key ingredients to losing weight and keeping it off, yet it’s surprising how difficult it is to find anyone with a coherent strategy underpinning their time in the gym, riding the bike, or on the court. Truth be told, the “just get out there and do it” plan can be pretty effective for many people, but if losing weigh is your primary goal, wouldn’t you rather do it faster, and with less effort? That’s where a real, strategic, weight loss plan comes into play.
It’s true that activity of any kind, whether it’s gardening, cleaning your house, or doing cleans in the gym can be used to lose weight. If you’re actually heading to the gym or hopping on your bike every day with the express intention of losing weight, there’s probably at least a part of you that can’t wait for it to be over. To keep that part of you happy, you need to either tell it to just shut up, or you need to find a faster workout that will get you the fat burning results you need.
There are different workouts for different purposes, but there are also different workouts for different people. What works best for Bill doesn’t necessarily give Jon the best results, and what Mary swears by, Renee’ can do like mad without dropping an ounce. You also have to take into account your injury history. For example, if you’ve got more titanium in your knee than they used to build the space shuttle, maybe singles tennis is something you should stay away from.
Forming an effective weight loss workout strategy requires that you take the various factors into account that influence the outcome. Remember that much of your fat loss will be determined by your diet, but for now we’ll just look at the exercise component of the equation. There are several things for you to consider when formulating your strategy:
What Are Your Goals, Really?
How much weight are your trying to lose, and how fast would you like to lose it? Of course your answer is “All the extra I’m carrying around, and as fast as possible.” That’s great, but you need quantifiable goals. That way you can set targets to reach for and track, which is a very effective weight loss technique you can begin using right now. It doesn’t hurt or cost anything.
To really determine exactly how much weight you can shoot for with any precision, it is a good idea to get your body fat level tested. That way you’ll know how much fat you have to lose, which is more beneficial than just having a target weight loss number. Because different people’s muscle mass varies so widely, even among folks the same height, it is easier to know where you stand if you look at the actual percentage of your body that is fat.
To get an idea of what I’m talking about, when I weighed 225lbs at 6’2, I was about the same size as New Orleans Saints
linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who I can assure you looks much different (better) than I did at that height and weight. If you choose your goals based on a body fat test, you’ll know exactly what to shoot for.
The time frame you’re working with is an important goal also. Need to lose 30lbs for your 20-year reunion this summer to impress the one who got away? Maybe you have much more weight to lose, and no real schedule to stick to. In that case, you can put yourself on one. Break your goals down into manageable chunks; little mini goals that will end up with you reaching your ultimate goal. That makes sure they’re achievable, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment when you reach them. It will strengthen your motivation and driving you forward to your next mini goal.
Personal History – When you’ve determined your goals you can start to develop a workout strategy for reaching them. One of the first things you have to examine is your personal history, combined your likes and dislikes. Ultimately, you’d like to have your strategy fit perfectly within them and accomplish your goals too.
Rather pull out your fingernails with rusty pliers than run farther than from your car to Starbucks front door? That’s good to know, because if you try to incorporate running as a core component of your weight loss workout eventually one of two things will happen; you’ll either grow to love running (not bloody likely), or you’ll endure it for a while and then quit, never to return. I’m a strong proponent of making workouts fun, so you stay with them.
Trust me, going to do something fun is much more likely to be repeated than taking another trip to the torture chamber. Although a few lucky individuals with willpowers of steel can buck this rule, they’re definitely the exception to it.
Although progress is a powerful motivator, a fun workout quickly becomes part of your lifestyle, rather than a chore. Once it takes a place as part of your lifestyle, you’re much less likely to let it go.
What’s Been Broken?
Another determining factor in your choice is your injury history. As I mentioned above, it’s important to listen to what your body and your orthopedist are telling you when it comes to designing a workout you can live with for a long time. If you’ve got 3 bad knees, find activities and exercises that aren’t likely to re-injure them, or make you reach for the Ibprofen. Hack squats out, swimming in. Trade in bump skiing for a bit of sightseeing on some tele boards. You get the picture. Again, make it fun, but keep in mind what your body’s been through already.
Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Something Old ,Something New…..
Try something new when you’re trying to develop a long term plan. You may find something you really like. I
discovered tennis about 18 months ago, and cardio has never been easier or more fun, plus it’s great for the leg muscles, although the same cannot be said for the knees.
A New, Billion Dollar Business?
You should approach your fitness plan much like you would create a business plan for a new business. You’ll include your goals, progress markers, and the exercise schedule (days, specific exercises, and durations / sets / reps) you need to do to reach your weight loss and fitness goals.
Much like a business plan, your weight loss exercise plan should be adaptable to meet changing conditions and progress. That way, if your progress is running above or below your goals, you can adapt your plan to compensate. Speaking of adjusting your plan………
All Mixed Up?
One training principle that’s actually been around for decades but has been receiving a ton of press lately is muscle confusion; the practice of constantly changing your exercise so your body has to continually adapt. This is a sound strategy, because the whole point of training is to precipitate an adaptive response to it. The more you can make your body adapt to an increasing load, the more progress you’ll make for a longer period of time.
This is a great thing to incorporate into your exercise plan. Planned randomization to your training can give you a couple of benefits. One is that you’re less likely to get bored from doing the same thing, over and over again, for months on end. The other benefit from mixing things up is the performance advantages you’ll get. You’ll build more muscle, so you’re metabolism will increase faster, and you’ll burn more calories even when you’re sitting on your behind watching those Matlock reruns.
Fail to Plan, Plan to???
There an old business axiom, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This could have been written for weight loss too. While not planning is certainly no guarantee of failure, spending a half hour planning can make sure you succeed faster and with less effort,that’s definitely time well spent. Have you ever actually planned your workout strategy? Let me know in the comments….