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BODYBUILDING & TRAINING

Getting physical

Exercise and fat loss guidelines and misconceptions


2003

We live in an age of quick fixes. Quick fixes may cost lots of money, but they require minimal effort, are usually instant and come with some kind of �guarantee�. It is these characteristics that make them so appealing and sought after.

Much less appealing, is the idea of changing an attitude and subsequent behaviour. This requires substantial effort, a major time investment and a guarantee that is strictly subject to your input!

Let�s face it - passive exercise (a contradiction in terms), miracle diets and all other fads associated with �instant� weight loss simply don�t work! Yes, unfortunately, if you are looking for long-term weight loss and maintenance � the only way to succeed is to change your lifestyle for life! This means eating a healthy, balanced, low-fat, moderate diet and exercising regularly.

Exercise requires effort, it doesn�t always feel pleasant and it often requires serious motivation when the conditions are far more conducive to a �lie-in� or cuddling up in front of a fire. BUT � there is no doubt that the benefits are so numerous that NOT incorporating it into your lifestyle is doing yourself a major disservice.

And if you are trying to lose fat � exercise is an absolute non-negotiable.

So what works and what should be avoided?

12 tips that should help you to succeed!
IN: Increase the frequency or duration of the cardiovascular component of your sessions � this is the session in which the real fat-burning happens.

OUT: But � don�t overdo it! Doing too much too soon can result in an injury which puts you out of action and certainly won�t help to speed up fat loss!

IN: Try to incorporate at least one high intensity training session a week. Variation in intensity helps to keep your metabolic rate on a roll and you�ll really feel revitalized after a challenging workout.

IN: Get a training partner. Trying to motivate yourself is not easy � particularly if you�ve had a tough day at the office. Encourage each other regularly.

IN: Vary your workouts. Don�t repeat the same routine day after day. By doing different workouts, you exercise different muscles and also ensure that you don�t get bored.

IN: Incorporate at least two sessions of light weight resistance training a week. This increases your muscle mass or lean tissue which burns up much more energy than fat tissue and therefore increases your metabolic rate.

OUT: Spot-reduction exercises. If you are trying to lose fat for example on your stomach � 100 abdominal crunches actually won�t do the trick! They might tone your abs � but fat is lost from all over your body when you exercise and not just from a specific site.

IN: Activate your lifestyle. Change the way you think. Don�t just think of exercise in terms of formal sessions � but in terms of any physical activity that increases your heart rate. So climb those stairs to your office throughout the day; carry your shopping bags instead of pushing a trolley; mow the lawn rather than paying the gardening service to do it for you and walk to the corner shop for your newspaper. All these �bits and pieces� of exercise throughout the day benefit your health substantially and help to burn up extra energy.

IN: Keep a record of your progress! You�ll be amazed at how motivating it is to see your progress from one week and then one month to the next. Keep track of your sessions, your waist measurement, factors like your blood pressure etc. Don�t allow the scale to be your main measure of success � it provides very limited information.

IN: Set yourself a goal every month related to your exercise. It might be to exercise at least 3 times a week; to lose a certain number of centimeters or to normalize your blood pressure.

OUT: Setting unrealistic goals and setting yourself up to fail! There�s nothing worse than having really unrealistic expectations of yourself, being unable to perform and then feeling like a failure!

IN: Reward yourself with special treats when you reach an important goal whether it be with a massage; an aromatherapy treatment or a new training outfit.

Effort required? - YES!

Worth it? - Without a doubt!

I�ll see you through the sweat droplets!

Kathy Mc Quaide, Sports Scientist, Manager of the Health Promotions Department at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. (SSISA) and OptiFit Walk and Run Health Programme Manager. For more information about the wellness and fitness programmes and other services offered by the Sports Science Institute, visit our web site www.ssisa.com or call us on (021) 659 5600.


 

      

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