WEIGHT LOSS EXERCISE
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The chances of your losing weight through dieting alone, and then maintaining that weight loss, are slim to none.
This is because your body is a very sophisticated, energy efficient and highly adaptive machine that doesn't work solely on the basis of calories in, calories out.
It is your bodys overall energy balance — a combination of many factors influencing the rate at which calories are burned — that plays a primary role in determining your weight and fitness.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) or the rate at which your body burns calories, is responsible for about 60% of daily energy consumption while you are awake or at rest.
Since lean body mass (muscle and bone) uses energy at a much higher rate than fat, by simply increasing lean muscle tissue you will automatically burn more calories, even as you sleep.
On the other hand, when calorie intake is too rigidly restricted the body begins to break down lean muscle mass.
The key is to find that delicate energy balance within yourself and maintain it, by eating right and exercising appropriately.
Your body is a very sophisticated machine.
When it encounters a sudden, severe calorie restriction, in other words, a diet below 1,200-1,500 calories daily, it will automatically decrease its energy usage. It will burn fewer calories and store more fat in preparation for what it perceives to be a potential famine.
When normal calorie intake resumes, your body will be cautious and cling stubbornly to its reduced level of metabolism — burning less, and storing the excess as fat. That's why dieters regain weight once they go off a calorie-restricted diet.
This adaptive effect is appropriately termed yo-yo dieting.
Only by reprogramming your body to effectively burn calories can you permanently solve your individual size/weight equation.
The solution, quite literally, is in your own hands.
The amount of energy expended during physical activity depends on the frequency, intensity, duration and type of exercise. It can range from 10% to 20% of your calories burned daily.
Regular exercise will not only help reduce your waistline, it will make you feel better as well.
It is most advisable to lose only 1-2 pounds per week. This will assure that the weight you lose is primarily fat tissue and not muscle.
To lose 1-2 pounds a week, decrease your calorie intake by 250-500 calories per day ... and increase your exercise accordingly.
Now you are ready to launch into a fitness program.
Crash dieting is dangerous and counterproductive. So, too, is an unplanned and overly aggressive exercise program.
Balance is the key.
Aerobic exercise, or cardiovascular endurance training, is a workout tailored for the heart and lungs. The very best forms of aerobic exercise are cross-country skiing, rowing and swimming because they involve all the major muscle groups in the upper and lower body. Bicycling, brisk walking or jogging also are excellent.
But aerobic exercise alone is not enough.
Strength training is an important component of a balanced fitness program. It helps improve the lean-to-fat body mass ratio, prevents the loss of the metabolically active muscle tissue, and provides greater endurance.
It's important, also, to select a strength training program that is safe and effective. For that reason, you may consider looking into equipment using isokinetic resistance as it automatically adjusts the amount of resistance to meet your ability level.
And, of course, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Aerobic exercise can perform the following:
* Strengthen your heart and lungs.
* Increase your metabolic rate for several hours afterward — burning still more calories.
Strength training will perform the following:
* Increase the amount of lean body mass, further enhancing your ability to burn calories, even at rest.
* Maintain bone mass.
* Improve muscular endurance.
■ Select low impact and enjoyable forms of exercise that are low to moderate in intensity. This will reduce discomfort and the risk of injury. (Running creates a force equal to 2.5 times one's body weight.)
■ Incorporate exercise into your regular daily activities. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk instead of driving.
■ Explore in-home exercise alternatives for your convenience, such as cross-country ski machines or home gyms.
■ Select activities that use the large muscle groups, are rhythmical, and expend significant amounts of calories.
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