Well Known Fat Burning "Secrets"
Everyone knows the basic common sense issues related to losing weight or body fat. Here are some well known "tips" that we all need reminding about from time to time. If you have already read my "No Nonsense Fat Loss" article you already know all you wanted to about fat burning zones, fuel mix and the importance of routine cardiovascular exercise. You are now ready to ponder some of the smaller details that commonly trip up individuals on their way to a leaner meaner physique!
Motivation is a key part to losing weight. If you are going to reduce the amount of fat on your body, you have to stay dedicated to the cause. Having a partner is a great way to stay motivated about routine cardiovascular exercise. Some days you will not feel like exercising, but knowing that someone will be waiting on you should give you that extra push out of bed in the morning. Pick a dependable partner of similar interests and goals. Having similar goals is very important because if your programs require different workouts you will not stay partners for very long.
Another great motivating factor is setting a goal and reaching it. If you set your goals too high it is easy to become discouraged when you are actually making progress. Instead of focusing on the final result pick smaller more manageable goals that you can achieve in a relatively short amount of time. Try aiming for using one smaller hole on your belt; or moving down one size of clothes; or progress towards finishing a 6 mile run after 2 months of training. If a goal is realistic and achievable you will be more motivated after reaching that goal and setting your goals slightly higher.
Making your exercise fun is an overlooked secret of losing weight. If you hate the exercise you have chosen, then chances are good that you will burn out after a few weeks. Do not pick an exercise because "experts" say that it burns more calories than any other exercise. We are all highly individualized. Doing what you enjoy will motivate you much more highly, encourage you to put more effort in and hopefully result in a better outcome! If you are getting bored with your routine try changing one of the variables. I ride a stationary bike that has a little simulated pace rider. Sometimes, I set the pace rider at a much slower pace, so I can kick his electronic butt. You would be surprised how much fun and motivating it can be to try and lap that little guy just one more time. Other things you can try are:
- Try to push yourself a little farther within the same amount of time.
- Try to add one more minute to what you did last time or last week. · Listen to music on headphones (indoors).
- Challenge yourself to a mileage per month.
- Find a good fun training partner.
- Wear a mascot uniform in a race (always wanted to do this one).
Enjoying exercise ranks very highly on the 'Stick To It' scale.
Keeping a log of your exercise programs can be highly motivating. If you are the type of person that has trouble finishing a project, then this can be a great tip. Jot down the basics of your exercise on a wall calendar in your office or kitchen. You should keep it in a place where you look on a regular basis. Mine hangs in my office right next to my computer. I look at it between 10 to 30 times every day. If you notice that you have not exercised in a couple of days you should use this as a intervening moment to get moving! It can also be motivational to see how far you have come.
Basic information that you should keep in a log is, what you are doing (type of exercise), how long you are doing it for (e.g. 45 min), and how far you have travelled (e.g. 5 miles). Using the examples, if you look back and started off only jogging for 10 minutes 3 times a week for 1 mile, you can be very proud of yourself for significantly increasing your fitness! Record when you purchase new shoes so you will know when to replace them (approximately 300 miles running).
Make exercise convenient and consistent. Take your exercise clothes with you in your car to work. Keep walking shoes in your desk for that after lunch walk. If you always take the dog for a walk after dinner, then keep the leash in the same easy to reach location, with backup rain gear. If you make exercise too difficult to stick with then you will not! This does not necessarily mean going out and purchasing a room full of equipment. Sometimes you can make it too convenient and well-intended exercise equipment becomes a towel rack.
Speaking of equipment, having the right equipment is also very important. If you are running in cross training shoes (for example) you are at risk for running injuries. Spend the extra bucks and get shoes for running and cross training shoes for cross training. If you are swimming in normal shorts, chances are the pockets fill up like a drag shute. You will end up spending more time jettisoning the water than actually swimming in it. Having the right equipment not only reduces your chances of getting injured, it also makes it more enjoyable and more effective for weight loss.
Another overlooked tip is to make sure you are not consuming more calories during the exercise than you are using for the exercise. Guzzling 32 ounces of your favorite sports drink will not get you a TV commercial if you are walking for 20 minutes. Chances are the 200 calories you burned minus the 300 calories you drank will result in one pound of additional fat gained per month! Do yourself a favor and stick with water unless you are training aerobically for more than 90 minutes.
Finally, reward yourself if you have earned it, but avoid food rewards. I see individuals who are trying to lose weight making these types of mistakes all of the time. If you walk for 30 minutes and reward yourself with a pastry (800 Kcals), congratulations, you did not make any fat losses today! Rewarding yourself is fine, and actually a pastry can be an acceptable reward, but do not do this on a daily basis. For example a pastry reward because you have walked 500 miles in the last 6 months and you have lost 14 pounds in the process, is a great acceptable reward. There are many things you can reward yourself with other than food. How about extra time with your family? How about purchasing a new outfit? How about a movie rental on a week day? All of these things can be excellent non-food based rewards for keeping with your exercise schedule. But they have to be meaningful for yourself. Good luck, stay motivated, and soon you will unlock the secrets of fat loss!