Last month I mentioned that it is estimated that by 2015 75% of Canada’s population will be overweight or obese. Modern society is obsessed with convenience. We are putting personal entertainment and modern technology at a higher priority than our own health. Simply put, we are Lazy!
-Did you know that obese people sit for 2.5 more hours per day than thin people.
-Did you know that over the past 20 years exercise rates stayed about the same while sitting increased by over 8% and obesity doubled?
All is NOT doom and gloom. Especially if you are in the “majority”. Finding a balance between work, school, family and social life may seem impossible. The question here is how devoted are you to your health and vibrancy? If you keep doing what you have always been doing you’re going to have the energy and body you’ve always had. Your body will adapt to whatever you give it – so it’s time to wake up.
A common misunderstanding is that people who are overweight should stick to cardio workouts so that they can “lose weight” before building muscle. Lifting weights is non-impact. The increased muscle gains will better shape your body than cardio.
Remember that intensity rules no matter what type of exercising you are doing. You need to be sweating and breathing hard to really get results. Too many times I’ve seen people at the gym going through the motions – wasting their time and only fooling themselves. Then wonder why they see no results and quit after a short time period.
And here’s a wake up call - The majority of people that work out are focusing on the wrong thing - not only are they doing things inefficiently but they make no effort to improve their diets.
Simply put - YOU CAN NOT OUTWORK A POOR DIET.
A healthy lifestyle requires both exercise and controlled calorie intake (of the healthy variety).
Here are some pointers;
Keep your heart rate up for the duration of your workout. Use the perceived exertion test 0 if you can talk normally while exercising you aren't working hard enough.
Do weights before cardio to burn more fat. By weight training first you burn off your stored glycogen (carbs) first. After this preferred fuel source is used up, your body has no choice but to dip into fat stores once these carbs are used up.
Add some non-exercise specific activity into your day — like taking the stairs
Stop smoking. The reason many people gain weight after quitting smoking is because they stop "going out" for that smoke, and, start to eat more to curb the craving. And if you do quit - DO NOT "try it"for any reason - you will start again! Continue to go outside for a walk. You will also realize your food will taste better.
Now, regarding food....
Flush your system by drinking water with every meal and avoid caffeine and sugar. Yes, coffee withdrawal will bring on a headache but after a few days the symptoms disappear. Try a herbal or green tea or a hot lemon water instead.
Eat breakfast every day. And that doesn’t mean sugary cereal or bagels either. Have an egg and some oatmeal. Sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal – the thermogenic properties help you burn fat.
Eat an apple before your meal. This will help curb your appetite.
Eat whole grain foods (bread and pasta) that include the bran, germ and grain seed (endosperm). Note that 100% whole wheat bread is NOT the same since it made with whole wheat flour which is processed and only consists of a portion of grain’s main nutrients.
Ensure you eat protein with every meal. This helps cut the amount of insulin released in half, which actually helps reduce fat storage.
By combining clean eating with resistance training your body will actually be warmer. It’s not the fat that keeps you warm it’s your metabolism. One pound of muscle burns 50 calories per day while one pound of fat only burns 3 calories. Since lean muscle burns more fuel than fat you need to weight train. Now isn’t that a good thing to know when winter is coming??
Finally, you need to stop worrying about weight and focus more on feeling better about yourself and your body. Just remember, the fat will come off in time. Obsessing about it will result in frustration and lack of motivation. It’s one of the main reasons why most people give up. The weight won’t come off any quicker.
Besides, don’t you feel much better after a good workout?
There are no magic formulas for improving your health. Best results come from a long-term strategy involving eating and activity habits. Take baby steps - you have the rest of your life to run...