If you’re training with a goal of fat loss, you should plan to burn more calories over the whole day than you consume. What’s the best way to do this? How do you know if you’re doing the right thing to reach your goal?
Lots of people ask us: should I join a boot camp? Should I do HIIT classes? Should I work full body exercises or target specific muscle groups every day? Should I lift low weights / high reps or lift heavy weights / low reps?
The answer really couldn’t be more simple. If you want to build muscle mass or burn calories, the exercise intensity is less important than building an exercise habit of consistency.
The right exercise plan is the one you’ll stick with. For fat burning or muscle gain there are a lot of choices when it comes to the style of workout. You have to be self-aware and know what exercise plan you’ll be more likely to stick with over the long haul.
- For the more social person who enjoys commiserating with others, a boot camp or group fitness class may be more your style.
- For someone who’s more introverted, a bodybuilding or powerlifting program, while you wear your headphones & tune out others may be more up your alley.
- For those who are more competitive and want to compete every day, you might like a CrossFit-style program. Personal recommendation: be youthful or don’t hurt yourself trying to keep up with the younger athletes.
- Having a personal trainer can incorporate all or none of the above as they build a program around your strengths & weaknesses as well as your goals.
Finding an exercise program you enjoy & that fits your personality means you’re more likely to stick to it on a regular basis. Having that consistency means you’re more likely to balance your calories in & calories out in a favorable way.
To make sure you’re on target, weigh in every morning, after Nature’s Call and before you put on clothes. Keep track of these numbers and compare the average week to week. If you’re trending down and your goal is weight loss, then GREAT! Take some body measurements to make sure those reflect your goals too.
Of course, if you are very consistent, but still struggle with weight, then you’ll need to count the calories you eat & the calories you burn for at least a two-week period to get a better understanding of your calorie intake versus expenditure. People are surprised to find out what they really eat when they start paying attention to it. You know, all the little bites, licks and tastes of this & that add up!
Wearing a heart rate monitor and tracking your calories burned is often pretty eye-opening too. The super tough five-minute WOD may have only burned off a single Snickers fun size bar, if you’re lucky.
When you have clarity into your diet and you’re consistent with physical activity, you’re able to make adjustments that lead you toward losing weight or gaining pounds of muscle. We like making programs where people exercise as little as needed and eat as much as they can — all while still making progress. You can’t get that kind of balance without paying attention to what you’re doing.
Keep in mind, no matter what overall program you go with, it’s a good idea to include strength training, some sessions of vigorous intensity, and even rest days into any program. Creating variety is another way to ensure consistency. When you’re not bored, you’ll keep going, right?
You ever heard that phrase, “Never miss a Monday”? Now you know why we say it. If you never miss a Monday, then you’re setting yourself up for a pattern of consistency! Got it? Got it!
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