By Daniel, LifeShape Clinic Exercise Physiologist Coordinator
It’s a common misconception that you have to be hammering yourself at the gym to achieve significant weight loss. Not only is this not true, but taken to extremes, it can actually have a negative impact on your weight loss efforts. Fear of the gym may even be a reason you have put off joining a weight loss program in the past.
Losing weight and getting healthy isn’t about thrashing your body. In its simplest terms, to achieve healthy weight loss, there must be more energy expended than energy consumed. Exercise accounts for only a small fraction of your daily energy expenditure. Most of the energy you burn throughout the day will be to maintain your body’s normal functions like walking or standing, so often people need to do much less exercise than they think.
Here are some points to consider to get the most out of your workout routine.
What do you want to achieve?
There are many modes of exercise, which have different benefits. Before deciding what type of exercise to complete, you should think about what you want to achieve. Do you want to decrease your overall weight? Do you want build lean tissue and “tone up”? Are you of a healthy weight and simply want to improve your fitness?
Creating a varied routine will also help prevent your body getting used to a routine and negate plateaus. It’s recommended to alternate cardio with resistance training, to allow your cardiovascular and muscular systems time to recover.
What’s your overall fitness level?
Attempting too much too soon when embarking on a new exercise routine can put your body into a shock survival mode, hampering your results. Risk factors of too much exercise can include injuries, fatigue, muscle loss, and mood changes.
When embarking on a new routine, create a plan that’s sustainable long term that will improve your fitness gradually. If the body loses weight under conditions that aren’t sustainable, you set yourself up for failure when it comes to weight maintenance. If an intense training program is your norm from the get go, when this stops or decreases your metabolism will be geared against you. The result? Eating less to maintain an energy deficit due to the sharp decrease in physical activity.
Increased physical activity = Increased hunger
Higher levels of physical activity will burn more energy, but will also increase your hunger. This turns into a cycle of increased activity, eating more, then doing more activity to burn off the extra intake. If you are able to curtail your hunger, the body can go into starvation mode. This can have negative consequences on the body’s ability to conserve lean tissue, which will in turn affect your metabolism and weight maintenance.
While we’re on the topic, a common trap is consuming too many calories after a workout. It’s important to fuel your body adequately before and after exercise, however don’t be fooled into having a treat because you “earned it”.
Where to start
Exercising effectively is about quality over quantity. Learning what’s best for your body puts you in a better position for quicker results and a sustainable approach to exercise. LifeShape Clinic clients receive a personalised meal and exercise plan, and conduct an exercise test with an Exercise Physiologist to ascertain their “peak fat burning zone” to get the most from their physical activity.
Please consult your health care professional before embarking on any new exercise routine.
About the LifeShape Clinic
Over 15 years, the LifeShape Clinic (formerly Wesley LifeShape Clinic) has helped more than 10,000 Australians achieve healthier, happier lives through their award winning weight management programs. The LifeShape program enables the lifestyle and health benefits gained from losing weight, improving your health and gaining a positive mindset.
The clinic’s team of specialist medical professionals support each client by creating a personalised weight loss plan to reach a healthy weight, improve nutrition, exercise and mindset – helping to find balance and break the dieting cycle.
Find out how the clinic can help you achieve your health and wellness goals.