Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What’s the Ideal Amount of Exercise to Lose Weight?

Here is a great article by fitness expert Yuri Elkaim. We love Yuri's approach because he focuses on total-body fitness and wellness - taking a holistic approach to fitness and exercise. Check this one out for some great info.

What’s the Ideal Amount of Exercise to Lose Weight?
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN

Ah, yet another thought-provoking exercise question. How much is enough??? Well, it depends. What do you classify as exercise and how do you structure your workouts?

To give you some more clarity on the question of workout frequency, let me break it down for you.

Our bodies were meant to move, not sit. The bare minimum amount of activity needs to be daily walking for at least 30-45 minutes. And it shouldn't be a lazy stroll. You should be walking at a moderate to fast pace so that you can slightly hear your breathing. Walking is so important for your health and your ability to lose weight. It's no wonder that Europeans are more slim than North Americans - they walk more!

Fighting Fitness is the ultimate 30 minute wor...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I wouldn't stress too much about doing hours and hours of cardio. What you'll realize is that full body workouts that engage a lot of muscle will actually give you an incredible cardio workout. 

If anything, you should be interval training for your cardio workouts. You can do as little as 10 minutes after your workouts or dedicate 1 to 2 days a week to cranking 20-25 minutes of intense interval training. And, believe me, that's all you'll be able to do.

Strength training is truly the key to losing weight and maintaining a lean and fit body. I'm not a big fan of bodybuilding workout routines that break up workouts into body parts, like doing chest and back. It's not functional and doesn't serve much purpose besides gaining size. If that's your goal then terrific. If not, then you need to be doing full body strength training workouts at least every other day. That means you should be working out 3-4 times a week.

What you need to be doing, especially if you want to lose weight and get fit, is increase the intensity of your workouts and train movements - not muscles. The easiest way to do that is use heavier weights and challenge yourself with only 6-10 reps using full body exercises like squats, lunge walks, deadlifts, pull-ups, and step-ups - just to name a few.

The reason that you want to train using full body exercises is that you target all your muscles - not just 1 or 2. As a result, you strengthen your body as a whole and burn more calories in the process. Burn more calories? Yup! Because you involve more muscle mass, you inherently burn more calories because your body will require more oxygen to fuel the given movements.

And since you're not breaking up your workouts into "split routines" that target specific muscle groups you won't have to hit the gym 6 or 7 times a week. Instead, because full body workouts train all your muscles, your body will need 24-48 hours rest between workouts. Therefore, working out every day wouldn't make sense, and would actually be detrimental. Rest and recovery are key components to getting stronger and achieving your fitness goals. So those 2-3 days of rest are important especially if you're sweating up a storm and challenging your muscles each time you hit the gym.

A complete weight training workout can be perf...
A complete weight training workout can be performed with a pair of adjustable dumbbells and a set of weight disks (plates). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Repeat this workout for 3 sets. For each superset, take 30-60 seconds rest only once you've completed a set of each exercise (therefore no rest in between).

DB Swings x 8 reps
Stability Ball Roll-outs x 8 reps

Step-ups x 8 reps (each leg)
Bench Press x reps

Squat Presses x 8 reps
Pull-ups x maximum reps

Remember to take at least 1-day rest in between each workout. Repeat this workout 3-4 times per week and you’ll be on your way to losing weight and getting fit in no time!

About the Author
Yuri Elkaim is a world-renowned fitness, nutrition, and weight loss expert. He is the creator Fitter U and Treadmill Trainer, author of Eating for Energy, and the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for men's soccer program at the University of Toronto. His trademarked 12-week Fitter U iPod workout program has been helping thousands of people around the world get in shape and lose weight fast without the cost and inconvenience of hiring a trainer. Click Here to go to www.myFitterU.com now to get your FREE Fitter U workout and "How to Get Fit and Lose Weight Fast" report!
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