Archive | August, 2008

Want to Have a Great Body? Follow These Tips

21 Aug

I have been going to the gym regularly (well, almost) for the last one year. And I have lost about 19 lbs too. Considering the fact that I was not overweight and weighed 145 lbs, that’s no mean achievement, losing 13% of my body weight.

But it didn’t take me one year to lose 19 lbs. I didn’t lose any weight in the first six months. It could be because I was not going to the gym as often as I should have, or I was not working out properly, or it could be some other reason. Then in January this year, I asked the fitness director of the club why I still have fat around my tummy. After all, I joined the gym to get rid of this fat, not to lose weight. He gave me just one tip – run faster on the treadmill, rest, run, rest.

I used to run at 5 mph on the treadmill for about 30-40 minutes. I changed my routine and started running at 6 mph for 2 minutes, then walked at 4.2 mph for 2 minutes, and so on. Then I started to gradually increase the duration for which I ran at a faster pace. Eventually, I ran 30 minutes at 6 mph, walked for 5 minutes, and ran again for 10-12 minutes. With this routine, I spned more than 700 calories in an hour. And yes, I kept increasing the incline of the treadmill, finally stopping at 3.5.

Any exercise is incomplete without cardio, strength, and stretching. So I spend about 20-25 minutes on strength trainging, working with various machines and dumbbells, and exercising all parts of my body. I lost weight in about four months, and even now, I’m losing some weight – half to one lb a month or so.

I have found the way to a great looking body and a great health. Here’s my take on what to do:

Control your diet

  • Read the nutrition facts on everything you buy. Discard it if it contains any amount of saturated fat or trans fat. If the calorie count seems too high, don’t buy it.
  • Calculate the calories you eat in a day. Contrary to popular perception that an average person requires 2000 calories a day, most of us need 500 to 1500 calories a day unless someone has a physically demanding job.
  • Do the math. If your calorie intake is more than the calories you need, chances are you will gain weight and/or clog your arteries or both.
  • Keep food items out of sight. It is easier and tempting to keep eating whatever is close by. Keep high-calorie stuff in difficult-to-reach places.

Exercise

  • The best way to exercise is to make it a routine, and a routine can easily maintained by joining a gym, 3-4 days a week (3 is the minimum).
  • Do the right exercises – 10 minutes warm up, 20 minutes strength exercise (yes, even if you are a woman), 45 minutes cardio (running is the best cardio exercise), and 10-15 minutes stretching and cool down.
  • Don’t take your weight every day. Fat comes off very slowly and not seeing a drop in weight can be very demotivating.
  • Give it at least six months before expecting any result.
  • Keep the intensity of exercise high. The formula for an optimum heart beat rate – subtract your age from 220 – your heart beat rate should be 80% of this number (if you are a beginner to intermediate level) or 90% (if you have been exercising consistently for a few months).

Motivation

  • The most difficuly to achiive, maintaining consistency can be very boring and hence, demotivating. Pair up with someone, especially a health freak.
  • Vary your exercise regimen.
  • Don’t go to the gym if you feel like staying home or doing something else (but don’t make it a habit).

I have compiled the list of tips above from my experience and trust me … IT WORKS.

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