Women often focus primarily on cardiovascular exercise for weight management or loss. If this is you, then follow these tips to understand how to exercise for optimal weight loss. I do encourage you though to focus on nutrition as well since what you eat can contribute up to 80% of how you look.
There are so many strategies that have a huge impact on weight loss and, when used properly, yield amazing results. Not only will they help with weight loss, but they are critical for overall health and optimal aging. After all, it’s not just about the numbers on the scale.
Some of these strategies include:
- Cardiovascular exercise
- Intermittent fasting
- Protein fasting
- Leptin reset
- Strength Training
An important mistake I see women make is that they don’t understand the difference between movement and exercise.
Movement versus Exercise
Walking is a fantastic form of movement that yields wonderful health benefits. You’ll want to consider walking whenever possible. Walking at least 20 minutes is important for lymphatic circulation, improving insulin resistance, reducing cardiovascular risk, dementia and improving mitochondrial function.
There’s a difference though between movement and exercise. Walking is not intense enough to create the same physiological adaptation that you get from an activity such as high intensity interval training (HIIT). For weight loss purposes, you want to focus on exercise that is brief, purposeful, intense and safe.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the optimal choice for weight loss.
HIIT training is so effective because it causes you to produce more human growth factor (a protein hormone) than regular cardio or even a 45 minutes strength workout. This protein hormone helps to maintain, build and repair healthy tissue in the body. It helps speed up metabolism and fat loss. A HIIT workout burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time, and your metabolic rate is higher for hours after a HIIT workout. The same can’t be said for walking. HIIT can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time
HIIT is repeated, extremely hard bouts of work interspersed with periods of recovery.
It’s not the same as interval training, which is also a hard effort. HIIT exercise uses the anaerobic pathway and it will be an all out effort.
This means you are showing up and giving 100% effort, not 80 or 90%.
For this kind of workout to be effective a 30 second all out effort is long enough to get the physiological benefits for weight loss.
I recommend using a heart rate monitor to give you an accurate read on your level of effort. Somedays I think I’m giving it my all, but my monitor tells me otherwise. It’s useful feedback.
I like to use a 3:1 ratio when I do a HIIT workout. First I’ll warm-up for 10 minutes with a slow jog. Your warm-up can be any activity that slightly raises your heart rate and prepares your body for the upcoming activity.
I then run 30 seconds at an all out effort, followed by a very slow jog or walk for 90 seconds. You want to fully recover during the rest period so that you can go very hard each time.
This cycle can be repealed 6 to 15 times. The more in shape you get, the more cycles you can do. If you’re new to HIIT workouts, start at the lower end. After 3 weeks or so, add an extra cycle to your workout and gradually continue to increase.
End with a 5 minute cool-down.
Exercise ideas for HIIT:
- Jog in place
- Bodyweight squats
Don’t do HIIT training more than twice a week. Start with once a week then move to twice a week, but once will suffice.
Do a cardio HIIT session 3 days apart from a strength workout.
HOW THIS LOOKS
- Be sure to get medical clearance before engaging in cardiovascular exercise.
- 10 minute warm-up
- 30 second all out sprint (running, biking, rowing, skipping, swimming)
- 60 to 90 second recovery – you may even have to stop and rest for 90 seconds. Be sure to bring your heart rate down.
- 6 to 15 cycles
- Cool-down of 5 to 10 minutes
Remember though, that in terms of your physical appearance, exercise is about 20% of the equation.
Understanding how to eat for health will minimize fat gain and optimize muscle tone and definition. What you eat makes much more of a difference than what you burn by means of exercise. In fact, excessive exercise can actually work against you, spiking your cortisol and making you gain weight.
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