About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Starting an Exercise Plan

Now that I’ve started exercising, I thought I would do an article on setting up an exercise plan. Exercise is an essential component to getting the weight off. When you exercise you burn more calories and it goes beyond just the time you spend working out. The extra calorie burn goes on for hours after you workout and after it becomes a regular habit, your body will react by anticipating your normal workout and it will begin burning calories before you even begin. In addition to burning more calories and increasing your metabolism, you will also feel better.  Exercising releases endorphins that can help to make you feel happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out.  Of course losing weight will also help boost your confidence and self esteem.  Below are some tips to help you get started:

Know your limitations and take it slow – Before you even begin you have to be realistic about your abilities. If you have existing conditions that might affect what you can do, talk to a doctor about your plan. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, don’t expect to be able to lift weights or run for hours like you might have done in high school. If you overdo it in the beginning, at best you will end up really sore and at worst you will injure yourself. If that happens you will lose the momentum while you recover and have to start all over again.

Make a plan – Are you going to workout at home or at a gym? Are you going to workout in the morning, midday, or in the evening? Make a plan that fits you lifestyle. Try to shoot for 3-5 days each week.  Also, don't forget the weekends.  Sometimes we get hung up on working out during the normal work week and we forget that often the weekends have more free time to get a couple workouts in.

Include Strength Training – The best form of exercising for losing weight is strength training. As your body builds muscle it requires more calories each day to maintain that muscle. Every extra pound of muscle burns an extra 50 calories each day. Strength training will also give your metabolism a boost as well. Even if you are a woman, don’t fear strength training. You won’t bulk up and 30 minutes of strength training will beat 45 minutes on a treadmill any day of the week when it comes to losing weight.

Be ready to make changes in your workout – One of the biggest problems people have with working out is that they end up getting bored. Plan ahead for this and come up with ways to mix things up. I have about 10 different workout plans so when I get bored I switch from one to the next. The changes don’t have to be huge. For example, in workout “A” I do a bench press. In workout “B” I do pushups instead. In workout “C” I do pushups on a flipped over BOSU ball. Even small changes in your routine can help to break the boredom and it also has the benefit of making your muscles work in different ways.

Adjust your diet – When you do strength training, it’s best to get some protein in within the first hour after working out. If you work out in the morning you might need a small snack before you start too. Be prepared to adjust your diet slightly to accommodate your increase in activity. If you find yourself constantly sore or feeling tired all the time, you might even need to eat more calories.

Challenge yourself – Keep track of your progress and try to do a little more each week. Set short term and long term SMART goals to give you purpose. You can even set benchmarks before you begin; see how many push-ups and sit-ups you can do or time yourself to run or walk a mile. You will be surprised at how much you can improve in just 6 weeks time.

Don’t lose the momentum – Getting started is one of the hardest parts; once you get the ball rolling, don’t let it stop. If you feel like taking a day off, instead consider doing a “light” workout. Even if you only workout for half the time, you at least keep the momentum going. Once you start skipping workouts, it gets easier and easier to skip more often and eventually the momentum is completely lost.

Getting regular exercise is an essential tool in the battle to lose weight. However, don’t just limit yourself to increased activity for just one short duration every day. Look for ways to increase your activity level all the time. Find fun things to do that also provide exercise. Go swimming, ride a bike, play tennis, or just go for a walk. There are all sorts of opportunities for you to increase your activity level each and every day. What are you waiting for? Get started today!

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