Hi there! So it’s REALLY hot outside here in Wilmington, NC. I’ve found it very hard to motivate myself to get everything done for the day, much less exercise! Which leads to the question, “How much do I really need to work out and still lose weight?”
Of course, just like everything else in health and fitness, there is no perfect one size fits all.
Let’s start with someone who is not doing any exercise at all currently. As long as your daily calorie intake is appropriate for maintenance at your current weight, you should lose pounds by adding any activity at all to your routine. I would recommend 30 minutes a day as a good place to start.
If you are already active but are not losing, you can either bump up the intensity or extend the time. You can add intensity by incorporating interval training to your workouts. For example, if you usually walk for 30 minutes, you could run 1 minute and walk 2 throughout the session. If you are using the half hour to do weight training, switch it up for a circuit training routine where you don’t have any breaks and/or add short bursts of cardio in between sets. This could be on a cardio machine or you could get creative with jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, running in place, etc.
When it comes to exercise, it’s often more about what you do (and at what intensity), than how long you do it. I used to be the queen of long, slow cardio, thinking more was better. But then I found circuit training. You really can get a fantastic workout in only 30 minutes as long as you have a plan and keep moving the whole time. For example, a 155 lb woman will burn 252 calories an hour walking at an easy pace of 3.0 miles per hour and 352 calories at 4.0 miles per hour. If you were to circuit train with very little rest for that same hour, you would burn about 563 calories! Considering you need a deficit of 500 calories a day to lose one lb per week, which would you rather do?
I’d rather work smarter, not longer!
Besides calorie burn, circuit training done right will also net you beautifully sculpted muscles as well as melting the fat away. Another bonus is a spike in your metabolism even after the workout is over! This means that if your workout is intense enough to cause you to be sore, you should rest those muscles the next day. Yes, it is okay to only workout 2-3 times per week if you are working hard enough. However, if weight loss is your goal, you may want to add easy cardio on the in-between days for extra calorie burn.
Okay, now for the bad news. You CAN NOT out exercise a poor diet. Maybe if you were working out ALL DAY LONG. Otherwise, you will have keep your diet in check. Find out what your recommended calorie count is for the day and stick to it! I highly recommend the MyFitnessPal app for free food tracking.
Alright, it’s time to get moving. Remember, any workout is better than none! Pick up the intensity = Even better results! Have fun and stay cool.
Are you a woman over 40? New to exercise, lost at how to lose weight, or want to get back on track and don’t know where to start? I’d like to help. Click here, fill out a simple questionnaire, and I’ll call you to chat.