There are common misconceptions when it comes to exercise, one of the biggest ones being that if you workout you’ll lose weight. Aside from the generalization that everyone who exercises is trying to lose weight (which isn’t the case), sometimes there’s a lot of other factors you need to consider. Not everyone has the same body, and therefore everyone’s body responds differently to different exercises. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin your workout regiment.
You’re going to gain before you lose.
Sure, for some people, and some approaches, that’s the obvious outcome. Most times though, you build muscle mass and in turn gain weight before seeing any form of loss. The muscle markup commonly discourages people, and they then turn in their sneakers and turn away from the gym.
Cardio can’t do it all.
Too often people assume that a run or cycling session is all you need to shed some pounds. While cardio does a great job of getting you in shape and increasing your endurance, increased muscle mass burns a lot more calories. Consider adding a few lifting reps to the end of your workout. It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated; you just need to ensure that you’re keeping your the muscle groups that aren’t necessarily toned by cardio conditioned as well.
Quality over quantity.
This one is as simple as it sounds. Don’t just run through your reps. Think about your form. If you’re sloppy, you only do yourself a disservice. Along the same lines, make sure you’re pushing yourself. In the end, it saves you more time than it costs you. As Jennifer Cohen says, “Your workouts should be intensity-dependent, not time dependent. Keep this fact in mind: the harder you work, the shorter your workout time may need to be.”
Diet makes a difference.
When I say diet, I don’t mean some unrealistic elimination approach. It really doesn’t have to be that complicated if you aren’t in a position to make a massive lifestyle overhaul. Just think about what you eat. Do you need the extra scoop of ice cream? Probably not. Are you snacking because you’re hungry or because you’re bored? By taking a moment to pause before you eat can make a big difference in your weight loss journey.
If you’re more of a numbers person, Fitness Magazine broke it down to readers like this. “To drop a pound, which is 3,500 calories, in one week, aim to eat 300 fewer calories every day (300 x 7 = 2,100) while burning 300 calories from exercise five times a week (300 x 5 = 1,500).”
Mix things ups.
This applies to every workout. If you only ever run for twenty minutes at a steady pace followed by a lifting regiment that always consists of the same reps and positioning, you’re not capitalizing on your effort. Your body instead falls into the routine of things, and your routine no longer becomes a challenge that’s pushing your body a little bit further than it had the week before.
Remember, the scale doesn’t tell the full story either. If you gained by 5 pounds, but you look and feel better, remember that while you may be losing fat, you may also be gaining muscle. Muscle is a good thing too. Don’t let a little gain deter you from your fitness journey. What matters most is how you feel, and if you feel healthier, you will feel happier.