With so much nutritional information and misinformation out there, it’s sometimes difficult to know what the best approach to weight loss is regarding food and eating. But if there’s only one thing that all the experts agree on, it’s the benefits of being more active in our daily lives.
More and more of us lead sedentary lives, spending many hours a day simply sitting – whether it’s in our car, behind a desk, on the sofa watching TV, reading a book, or online shopping – very little of our daily routine involves raising our heart rate, using our muscles and burning off fat. Even though we’re generally busy and exhausted, the truth is that only 1 in 20 people are actually doing the right kind of activity their body needs each week.
Here are my top 5 lifestyle tips for helping to shed weight faster and forever:
1. Be more active – formal exercise isn’t for everyone, so why not take up an active hobby such as walking, dancing, cycling, swimming, bowling or gardening. Join a group so that you can meet like-minded individuals who will help to make being more active more fun. Or recruit your own family members or friends so that you can all keep fit together.
2. Combine resistance training with cardio – if you are one of those people who enjoys going to the gym, then try combining cardio and resistance training. This can be done by following each set of resistance exercise with a short burst of cardio for example with the following: 15 squats with leg curls followed by 60 seconds on the treadmill or cross-trainer, repeat 4-5 times.
In a study that compared groups doing different types of training, the combination group not only burned fat and built muscle at the same time, but the amount of fat they burned was a ten-fold increase over the amount burned by the groups that did cardio or resistance training only.
3. High intensity interval training (HIIT) – if weight training isn’t for you, one of the best ways to create a high post-exercise metabolic rate and calorie burning is via the high cardio efforts of a HIIT routine. HIIT in when you warm up, and then you do an intense burst of cardio followed by a full recovery period. This can be done on a bicycle, treadmill, cross-trainer or any other cardio machine, and could involve the following timings:
- 30 seconds flat out, 2 minutes easy, repeat 8 times
- 1 m inute flat out, 4 minutes easy, repeat 4 times
- 2 minutes flat out, 1 minute easy, repeat 5 times
4. Good fats to help you lose fat – researchers in Australia found that people to take omega-3 fish oil and exercise moderately lose more weight than people who exercise, but don’t use fish oil. The theory is that fish oil improves blood flow to muscles, which increases the benefits of exercise. With fish oil and 45 minutes of exercise three times a week, the body burned more fat than people who just did the exercise.
5. Get more good quality sleep – an easy way of enhancing your exercise routine and really maximising weight loss is to simply get more sleep. It’s all down to the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin helps to regulate you energy levels and keep your appetite low, while ghrelin stimulates hunger and often initiates the need to eat. The results of a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that participants who got more sleep had reduced ghrelin and increased leptin levels, which helped to control their appetites throughout the day.