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Working Out at a Gym to Get to Your Right Size

Updated on November 30, 2014

Gym Exercising to Shed Pounds

Working out at a gym to lose weight offers a place to exercise for 12 months of the year, and these days joining a gym can be done for as little as $10 per month.

The key to exercise for weight loss is being consistent in your workouts. Losing fat isn't just about going on a diet but is about exercising on a regular basis and observing the guidelines of good nutrition.

In order to lose weight you'll need to burn more calories than you consume. When you exercise your body needs energy and this energy comes from either the fat stored in your body tissues or from the calories from food you've recently consumed. Your body first burn calories you've eaten and then use stored fat. Top notch nutrition always plays an integral role in any weight loss program.

If you're wondering how much fat you can burn off at the gym the answer is that in general you must burn 3500 calories in order to lose one pound of fat. If you go to the gym faithfully (think every day or thereabouts) then if you work out on a variety of equipment and engage in interval training then you should burn an estimated 500 calories a day which equals a pound a fat per week.

Preparing for Your Workout:

Before you arrive at the gym decide what kind of workout you plan to do and how much time you can commit to your exercise routine. It also helps to map out your goal for the workout which in this case is weight loss. Get your workout bag ready the day or night before and then prepare your body for physical activity.

You need to be well hydrated and not be hungry when you go to the gym. About two hours before your workout drink some water and have a light healthy snack such as some yogurt, a smoothie or half a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.

Getting Started with Warm Ups:

Warm ups before an exercise routine are essential for both your body and your mind. Warming up increases your body temperature and warms your muscles thereby increasing the amount of oxygen flowing through your body. It also helps to increase the blood flowing to your muscles. This helps your muscles to contract and relax much faster.

Warming up the body allows the ligaments, tendons and other connective tissues to be more elastic. It also helps reduce injuries and long-term issues. It can also increase your body's ability to perform better on the equipment you plan to use. Warm up for a period of five to 10 minutes at a time and include plenty of stretching.

Cardiovascular Training:

Exercising at the gym can be loosely broken down into two parts. There is cardio training and strength training. Here we focus our attention on cardio training as this helps best for weight loss.

Cardiovascular training, or simply cardio, is not just about burning calories to lose weight but also about conditioning the heart. The heart is a muscle after all and it needs to be worked out just like the rest of the body. The gym offers any number of pieces of equipment for cardiovascular strength such as treadmills, stationary bikes, Stairmasters, steppers, etc. Take your pick!

The kind of cardio equipment you choose should be based on your particular level of fitness as well as what equipment you like to work with - and what happens to be available at the time! Any exercise - and this includes running or walking - that makes use of the large muscles of the body like the legs, and makes it possible to get the heart rate up and keep it there is a worthy form of cardiovascular exercise.

You next need to consider your exercise intensity.

In other words, how hard are you willing to work your body during a workout? The measure of physical activity can be determined by perceived exertion or Target Heart Rate. Interval training is one type of workout that can be extremely effective when it comes to shedding unwanted pounds.

Interval training is a kind of workout where high and low bouts of intense exercise are alternated. These types of workouts are beneficial in terms of improving the aerobic power of the body. As well, interval training burns a great number of calories. Interval training is an excellent means of starting any exercise program at the gym.

One of my favorite pieces of equipment in the gym for interval training is the elliptical bike. Set it to a program that does interval hills, where you’ll pedal with no resistance for one minute, then pedal with increasing intensity for one minute and repeat. You’ll be surprised how many calories you can burn this way in 20 minutes.

The duration of your workout also makes a difference. This depends upon your level of fitness and your weight loss goals. Aiming for 20 to 30 minutes at a time is a sufficient length of time. To keep your body as challenged as possible it helps to have a variety of different workouts that you can put your body through.

Ending with Cool Downs:

More people tend to perform warm ups than cool downs. However both are equally important. A cool down is important because it allows your body to recover (and in particular your muscle groups) and will make it more prepared for your next trip to the gym.

Cool downs are essential for a variety of reasons. They allow the heart rate and the respiration of your lungs to slow down at a gradual pace. By cooling down your muscles can effectively get rid of waste products that have built up during exercise, such as lactic acid.

Some individuals can find themselves feeling little dizzy or can even faint if they end their work- out abruptly. This is also because blood pools in the legs due to sudden cessation of physical activity. When you stop gradually and take the time to cool down this problem is avoided.

Cooling down is especially essential after a cardiovascular workout. Take a few minutes to cool down your body and end your workout appropriately. A method I learnt was at the end of the exercise to not stop but slow down and continue to move but not fast, cool off and then stretch.

Doing these things can make your weight loss goals more attainable and your workouts more enjoyable and healthier!

Next Steps:

Participate in other forms of physical activities whenever possible. Throwing a Frisbee or tossing a football around with your sons on a Saturday afternoon is exercise and will do your body good.

It's tempting when you exercise for weight loss at a gym to go for 45 -60 minutes - easy to lose track of time especially if your workout circuit consists of multiple equipment. Remember you're not doing strength training and certainly not aiming for aerobic either. Limit your workout to around 20 minutes as anything beyond will add fat to your body rather than remove it.

As you look for more intensity move to interval work rather than increase your workout duration.

With interval work in the gym you can achieve the same calorie burning workout in ½ the time. This type of exercising has you exercising slow for two minutes and then increasing intensity for one minute, before slacking off for two and repeating intensity for one minute. Continue with this pattern - and increasing in intensity each time for up to 20 minutes. Choose gym equipment appropriate for doing interval work.

Be careful not to shoot for longer than 20 minutes as anything beyond will add body fat rather than remove it.

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