Although you can lose weight through dieting, the American Council on Exercise recommends also incorporating regular exercise into your weight-loss regimen. This will give you the weight-loss edge, because you'll be losing weight and improving your physical fitness, which can help you keep the weight off in the long run.
How Much and How Fast
It might seem easy to drastically cut calories to lose a lot of weight quickly, but over time, this does more damage than good. Maintaining the drastic measures that resulted in the weight loss is often difficult, and according to the Weight-Control Information Network, fast weight loss can trigger nutritional deficiencies, an increased risk of gallstones and potential heart problems. They recommend losing no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. At this safe, healthy rate, you can lose 8 to 16 pounds in two months.
Burn Calories with Cardio
To lose 1 pound of fat in a week, you must create a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day. Because cardiovascular exercise burn calories it can contribute to this deficit. The American Heart Association recommends doing 60 minutes of moderate cardio on most days of the week. This can be anything from walking briskly and riding a bike to swimming and jumping rope. If you can't do an entire cardio session in one time, splitting in up into three, 20-minute sessions over the day, is also effective.
Incorporate High-Intense Interval Training
High-Intense Interval Training (HIIT) can add variety to your cardio routine and effectively help you lose weight. The intensity of this type of training gives your caloric burn a boost; you burn calories while you're working out and after your workout when your muscles repair themselves. During this type of training you alternate between an easy-to-maintain, moderate exercise pace and a vigorous pace. For instance, jog for two minutes, and then speed up to a one-minute sprint. Alternate between the intensities for about 15 minutes, or longer as you gain experience.
Build Muscles with Strength Training
Strength training performed twice a week can help you maintain and increase lean muscle tissue as you lose weight and exercise. You burn calories during your strength-training session and continue to burn calories in the hours after finishing your workout when your body works to replenish your energy-drained muscles and to repair them. Focus on working your large muscle groups including your legs, arms, chest, back, abs, and hips, for optimal results. You can use your body weight, weightlifting machines, exercise bands or free weights for resistance.
Eating Healthy Foods
Ensuring that your body gets the nutrients it needs is essential to provide you with energy throughout the day as you lose weight. Low-fat or non-fat dairy, lean protein, fruits, veggies and whole grains, should all be part of your diet. To cut calories from food, serve yourself smaller portions and replace high-calorie foods with nutritious, low-calorie foods. Drinking water instead of sugary soda or alcohol, and snacking on fruits and veggies instead of chips and cookies, can have a big impact. Make gradual changes to your diet that you can easily maintain over the long run.
- American Council on Exercise: Weight Loss: Diet vs. Exercise
- Weight-Control Information Network: Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths
- American Heart Association: Losing Weight
- Shape.com: 8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- National Council on Strength and Fitness: A Pound of Muscle Burns 30-50 Kcal/Day, Really…
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Aim for a Healthy Weight