Eat less, move more? A practical approach to part 2 – moving more

This is part 2 of how to lose weight – eat less (part 1) is listed here.

So, you know you need to move more, and as discussed in part 1, you know you need a 500 calorie deficit per day in order to lose 1 pound per week (a 1 to 2 pound per week weight loss rate is considered healthy). A general recommendation is that you get 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic exercise AND 2 days a week of muscle strengthening activities (source: CDC: How much physical activity do adults need?). How are you going to do this?

QUESTION: What do you like to do?

If you don’t move your body more in a way that you like, chances are, you aren’t going to stick with it. Adherence is the key and glue to any healthy lifestyle! If you don’t keep doing it, you aren’t helping yourself out! Here are a few things to help you out, and a lot of them are really simple!

  1. Walking? This seems so simple, but if you like to walk, you might be amazed how easy this is to build up your routine! If you live in a safe neighborhood, try walking around few blocks a day to get yourself built up. Set yourself a number of steps goal so you can measure this. Get a pedometer (step counter) to help you here – they are often free or nearly free. What is a good goal? 10,000 – but you don’t have to start there! Get going at 3,000 / day for week one, and add 500 to 1,000 steps / day until you can get yourself to 10,000 steps a day. How can you do some easy things to help you accomplish this? Park far away where ever you go – avoid the urge to search endlessly for that often elusive close spot. Walk an indoor space or park with a lot of people watching opportunities – this will help keep your mind off the task and help you hit your numbers. Lastly, walking is FREE! Unless you do it at a mall, and find a really cute outfit or pair of shoes or something else while walking that catches your eye 😉 Move this to a brisk walk to get you to the CDC target!
  2. At home workouts? I have a couple of HUGE cautions here – at home workouts are so easy to skip and there are some dangerous stuff posted online. We get into our normal habits as soon as we get home, so we often will find any excuse to skip these. I only bring this option up because budget can often be a concern, and at home workouts can be free – yes, FREE. You can find a lot of stuff online for bodyweight based exercised (think boot camp, cardio, etc). Find a spot in your home that you can do this – and then stick to doing your workouts in that space. This will help you with adherence! If you choose to go this route, carve out 30 to 60 minutes every single day to dedicate to your workout and do it for at least 3 weeks consistently. This will help you build it into your daily routine. CAUTION: don’t find excuses to skip and be careful that what you find is coming from a reputable source to ensure you are moving your body safely.
  3. Muscular strengthening? This will likely come with an investment – either to build an at home gym (see above about excuses) or a gym membership. Frankly, everyone needs some resistance training in their lives. We should all be doing some sort of weight bearing exercising every week. The CDC recommends at least 2 days a week of muscle strengthening exercise, defined as: “Physical activity, including exercise that increases skeletal muscle strength, power, endurance, and mass.” What counts?
    1. Lifting weights (you may wish to seek council of a Personal Trainer to help you get started)
    2. Working with resistance bands (seek out a group Personal Training class to help introduce you to these devices, as they can be dangerous)
    3. Doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (i.e., push ups, sit ups)
    4. Heavy gardening (i.e., digging, shoveling)
    5. Yoga
  4. Class or Group Fitness? Whether you choose to go this route, let me tell you that this is what hooked me! You don’t have to join a gym or fitness club to do this, as often you can find boutique studios that can give you the benefits of everything above. There are many benefits to going this route:
    1. Other people in class to keep you motivated
    2. Feeling a part of a crowd, so you’re just kind of going with the flow
    3. Accountability – if you pay for it, you will feel motivated to ensure you get maximum benefit for your dollars
    4. Cheaper than Personal Training, but with the design and science of fitness experts
    5. You can find a class that works for you! Step? Zumba (dance)? Weight lifting / toning? You name it, it’s out there for you. The variety is impressive. My suggestion here is to try many different classes to find a few classes that you like, and keep doing it. Then, after a couple months, change it up! Make sure those classes keep changing moves and music to keep your body guessing!
  5. Fitness Center / Club / Gym? This will be a fee here, but you’ll get a lot of value for that cost. Many people find they need one of these facilities, but either get intimidated or find excuses to not go. Here’s a secret most them don’t want you to know: If you don’t go, but still send them money every month? They LOVE that! Get value for your money and GO GO GO! Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of joining a gym:
    1. Find one that is near to work or home so it’s easy to make it as part of your commute. If you like to workout in the morning, do it on your way to work. Vice verse. If you don’t have one right near either of those places, find one that’s on the way – then make it a crucial stop every single day.
    2. Find a facility that offers what you want! Do you like a steam room, sauna, hot tub, pool, etc? Get a tour before you join. Do they offer personal trainers? Every club will give you a free tour and answer any questions you may have before you join. Do your due diligence.
    3. Have a (healthy) buddy that likes a certain facility? Having a gym buddy helps you with adherence and motivation to work your hardest! Join the club your friend is a member of, and that’ll make sure your butt gets in there several times a week.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider, but it doesn’t have to be hard. There are a ton of resources out there for you! The only thing holding you back is YOU!