Thanks so much for your input. It's all very helpful and I really appreciate it!
I love the swimming suggestion. I was a pretty strong swimmer at one point in my life. Right now, though, I'm a little uncomfortable in a bathing suit, and because I live in MA the only option at this point in the year would be a pool at a gym. I'm not ready for that quite yet, but hopefully within a few months that will change.
Thanks also for the ST suggestion. I am definitely going to incorporate that into my workouts.
I'm not convinced that your mother's experience indicates that intense exercise doesn't work long term. It is entirely normal for weight loss to slow down as you approach your goal weight. It's easy to lose weight quickly when you have 80 lbs to lose, harder when you have just 20 lbs to go. This applies pretty much regardless of exercise program design.
The best thing you can do in terms of exercise is making it a long term habit, and part of your lifestyle. After all, the form of exercise that burns the most calories is the one you stick to. So pick something you actually enjoy.
But in terms of intensity, I very much believe you should start out gently, and ramp things up from there. This has nothing to do with weight loss stalling out later, but rather:
* establishing a new habit of regular exercise is hard. But it is easier if you are confident that your workout is within your (current) limits. Intense workouts can be intimidating, and you are more likely then to invent excuses not to do them. As you get fitter and able to do more demanding exercise, then you can increase the intensity at that stage. * Doing intense exercise cold turkey increases your risk of injury. Over time, your body adapts to the demands you make of it, and gets fitter and stronger, and more capable of doing more. After a few weeks of regular exercise, you can likely comfortably do what would have been (dangerously?) challenging earlier?
I am a fan of intense exercise as being far more effective than just 'cruising along', but I also believe that this is something you should work up to gradually.
Tabata workouts are great, but the poster who suggested an exercise beginner do them 3 times per week is way off beam.
One thing that should be part of your exercise routine from the start though is strength training. Without ST, up to 25% of your weight loss can come from lost muscle, rather than fat. Muscle burns calories even at rest, and over time, this lost muscle can slow your metabolism, and mark your ongoing weight loss efforts harder. And it is a lot easier to maintain your existing muscle by doing ST now, than it is to add it back later.
Edited by: MOTIVATED@LAST at: 9/15/2013 (03:58)
Fitness Minutes: (8,243)
9/14/13 11:00 A
Find something that you enjoy, you will be more apt to stick with it.
A great choice if you have access and are amenable to it is swimming. It's extremely low impact, and thus hard to injury yourself compared to other things. It's also (If you're doing it right) a great full-body exercise that can be done in a relatively short amount of time.
This being said, if you've never swam before, I would strongly recommend you take a class or have a few lessons before jumping into the deep end.
I think it is always best to start small and work your way up. That helps keep injuries at a minimum and keeps you from burning out quickly.
9/14/13 8:51 A
The best exercise method for weight loss is to do whatever you will stick with consistently. That will be different for different people. One consideration is the time of day. For me, if it is not finished by around 7 - 7:30 in the morning, it is not going to happen. There are no demands on my time at 5 AM, no one cares what I do! By 8 AM the phone is ringing and I am off to work...
The other consideration is what you do. I like variety so mix it up with jogging, strength training, ballet, yoga, pilates, swimming, biking, aerobics and so on.
The main thing is to figure out what works with your lifestyle, pocket book, fitness level and interests. make it fun!
Fitness Minutes: (232,468)
9/14/13 8:12 A
Great tips so far... I would add... start small and work your way up, so you don't become overwhelmed! Personally, I started with Zumba... it kicked by rear, but I loved it because of the music... I just kept going... and even though I still don't have all the moves down I continue to love it! I'm also a BIG supporter of walking....as it's something that can be done anywhere, anytime.... Bottom line keep moving and refuse to give up.
9/14/13 7:42 A
Tabatas at least 3 times a week with weight training.
Fitness Minutes: (4,131)
536 9/14/13 6:42 A
Fitness Minutes: (13,224)
130 9/14/13 6:32 A
As you're not currently exercising I think starting slow is a good idea. You're more likely to stick with it and less likely to injure yourself.
However, as has been stated diet is the main factor in weight loss, so make sure that aligns with your activity level.
Fitness Minutes: (119,419)
9/13/13 8:09 P
running on the treadmill at a fast pace worked for me.
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
9/13/13 3:02 P
First weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. So managing what you eat is a much bigger part of the whole thing than exercise.
That being said, the most effective exercise is the one you do and can commit to doing long term. So would I suggest immediately hitting the gym 6 days a week (3 cardio sessions and 3 strength sessions)? No. It's highly unlikely that that would be sustainable for you to maintain if you didn't ease into it. That being said, if I was paying for a personal trainer, that would keep me going because I wouldn't want the money I paid to be wasted. Also if my trainer wasn't increasing the intensity of my workouts as they got easier, I'd wonder what I was paying them for. Your body adapts to a certain level of exercise so you have to keep challenging yourself when you exercise by going for longer or harder during cardio sessions or lifting more challenging weights when strength training.
Weight loss is also not at all a linear thing. We can only lose about 3% of the weight we have to lose per week with a calorie deficit created through diet and exercise. So yeah, a person with 50# to lose could lose 1.5# per week but once that person had only 15# to lose, he/she would be lucky to lose 0.5# per week. Make sense?
So I'm wondering which is the most effective method in terms of weight loss for someone who is not currently an avid exerciser:
- Start slowly and build up - Start off hard
I know starting off with more intense workouts could lead to quicker burnout, but could it also result in a plateau? My mother started seeing a personal trainer a couple years ago and right from the get-go, he started her on a fairly intense routine. This worked for her and she lost weight pretty quickly, but after about 60 lbs, she started to stall out (she had about 20 lbs more to go). Could this have been avoided if she'd eased into exercising? Since I am not working out regularly now, will less intense exercise still take the weight off?
In the long run, is it more beneficial to increase intensity as you become more in shape, even though difficult workouts may initially take off some weight? If I started with harder workouts and stuck with them, would I still be able to drop the weight I want in the end?
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