Exercising for Weight Loss
It’s no secret that increasing your physical activity level is a great way to lose unwanted weight, so why is it so hard to put into practice? There are a number of reasons that people do not meet their weight loss goals, but the most important reasons for most individuals are as follows;
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of discipline
- Unsure of the proper routine to facilitate weight loss
The most important rule for weight loss is ensuring that you are in a negative energy balance. This is a fancy way of saying you need to be consuming less calories than you are burning on a consistent basis. There are multiple ways to do this.
First, you need to determine your TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure. I will link a TDEE calculator below where you can enter some information about yourself and it will give you an estimate of how many calories you burn daily between basic metabolic functions and your current physical activity habits.
TDEE calculator- ,TDEE Calculator: Learn Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure
Great! Now you know how many calories you burn every day, but what do we do with this information? The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that for weight loss, you should start with a 200-500 calorie deficit from your maintenance calories, but do not dip below 1,200 calories a day. This can be done entirely through eating less calories, however it is a much better idea to use a combination of calorie restriction and exercise. For example, if your goal is to be in a 400 calorie deficit, you should restrict daily calories by 200 while also aiming to burn 200 additional calories through exercise.
Now that the importance of diet in weight loss has been discussed, let’s talk about exercise.
- Lack of motivation- The National Weight Control Registry has determined that people who had a medical reason for losing weight were far more successful in their weight loss endeavors than those who did not have a medical reason. This demonstrates the importance of having a “Why”. While fitting into a smaller size of pants may motivate some, this is not the case for most. Identify a reason that holds intrinsic value for you to lose weight, whether it’s wanting to keep up with your children during playtime, or just wanting to feel better and more productive in daily life, you need to find a reason to lose the weight that deeply resonates with you.
- Lack of discipline- Many people find their “Why” and go strong in the gym for a while, but end up discontinuing exercise for a number of reasons. Being disciplined in your weight loss journey can mean many different things. I suggest that people find eating and exercise routines that they know they can adhere to. You DO NOT need to train every day and run yourself into the ground on the treadmill if you know you will not be able to stick to that. Make an effort to go on a walk every day. Find resistance exercises that you enjoy and master them. The perfect exercise program is the one that you can stick to. Make it fun!
- Unsure of the proper routine to facilitate weight loss- With the countless trends in fitness today, it is very easy to get lost in the fluff. What machines and exercises should you utilize to optimize weight loss? The answer is actually quite simple; just move! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults partake in 150 – 250 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week for weight loss. There are many ways to define moderate intensity exercise using heart rate and metabolic equations, but to put it simply, a good rule is that you should be able to hold light conversation throughout the session, but you should not be able to sing. There are many charts online that will tell you the heart rate zones for mod-intensity exercise, but the zones differ depending on age. As far as resistance training goes, ACSM recommends 2-3 days of muscle strengthening exercises for each muscle group. Perform 2-4 exercises for 8-12 repetitions for each muscle group.
Let’s get to work!
,National Weight Control Registry (nwcr.ws)