This guest post comes from Paige Corley, a Program Director at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge.
It’s very difficult to really know what you need to do with your workout these days. Between the fad workouts that claim high calorie burn in a short amount of time to the magic pill that will result in miracle weight loss, we are constantly bombarded with misinformation that leaves us feeling confused and overwhelmed.
Advertising can make matters even worse when all we see is “Healthy Cookies” and “Fat Free Potato Chip” products claiming to lower cholesterol and have a lot of fiber. Even tougher, we hear that we can’t simply go to the gym and workout; we have to be concerned about what order we do the exercises, how high we get our heart rate and what formats are the best.
For what it is worth, I have compiled the top ten things to do and know in order to simplify your healthy lifestyle attempts:
- Simply become more active. A bunch of little activities (taking the stairs, walking your dog longer, playing with your kids, walking to the store, etc) can often add up to more than one big thing (workout at the gym).
- Don’t believe front-of-the box advertising. Always look at the label on the back, and know what is in your food.
- When it comes down to it, whether you do your cardio or your weights first does not matter – just do them.
- Stay away from processed foods. Eat fresh foods – even if you over eat on them at least you are putting healthy food into your body.
- Weight training doesn’t need to take more than 20 minutes and can be done on the weight stack machines. Yes, free weights have their advantage but if they intimidate you to the point that you will not do them then stick with the machines – at least then you are strengthening your muscles.
- Watch your portion sizes. Keep it small and go back if you are still hungry.
- You never have to run to be in good shape. Walking is a wonderful, low impact form of exercise and will often result in fewer injuries than running.
- Give yourself a break – not every workout needs to be a red-in-the-face-puke-in-the-trash-can workout. Moderate workouts are the foundation of any good workout program. Even if you only do moderate workouts you will feel better.
- Know your theoretical Max Heart Rate: 220-your age. Take that number and multiply it by 55-80%. Most workouts need to be moderate intensity and knowing what your heart rate should be at different intensities can help guide you through a workout.
- Try setting a workout goal based on time not days. For example: set a goal of working out 5 hours a week instead of 5 days. Sometimes it’s easier to get 2 hours in on a Saturday and 2 hours in on a Sunday – then you only need to get in one hour during the week – which might take the pressure off –especially if you have a stressful job.
- Add value to your workouts – do it because you know it will make you feel better later. You don’t have to want to work out; you just need to work out.