Categories: Mindset, Movement

Effective Workouts for Weight Loss

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Weight loss is not a new concept. As trainers, we get more inquiries on weight loss than on any other topic. Majority of the people who hire a trainer or get a gym membership do so with a weight loss goal. But weight loss can have far more significance than we think.

According to the WHO, the worldwide prevalence of obesity increased three times between 1975-2016 alone. Based on a study conducted in 2016, 1.9 billion adults globally were overweight. These statistics are staggering and turn the focus on finding the root cause and learning to take care of ourselves in a holistic way. You should aim for a better connection with your body, better sleep patterns, better nutrition choices, along with a genuine interest to take care of yourself. A thorough training plan will focus on every aspect of your health, instead of only losing weight.

Before we get into the most effective workouts for weight loss, it’s important to look at some mindset shifts we need to have in place before we start a program. This section will bust some common myths and steer your focus in a direction of self-care and acceptance.

  • We can’t spot reduce fat Effective fat loss must be accompanied by full body training. That’s why doing 100 crunches a day won’t give you 6-pack abs in a month. You need to work your entire body and target muscles with different training styles. You also need to follow progressive overload so that your body doesn’t get used to a particular routine for too long. Workouts need to be scaled over time, with both progressions as well as regressions if required.
  • Being overweight is in many ways a lifestyle disorder – Losing weight therefore is a process that depends on various factors beyond exercising. Nutrition, good quality sleep, stress management are some equally important factors. Due to that, we’ll include stress management tips all through the post.
  • Instead of looking at exercise as an hour in the gym every day, try to focus on building an active lifestyle. Instead of focusing only on exercising, look at movement as a vital component of healthy living. We’re always moving, and mobility is more important than any fads that may be popular in the fitness world right now. Trends will change but mobility will last a lifetime. 
  • A lot of women suffer from body image issues. The last thing we need is more criticisms hurled at ourselves often through our own self talk. Setting goals that are too vague or too complicated can increase these feelings of failure and act as a deterrent to future program adherence. It may seem odd at first, but let’s try a look at weight loss from a slightly different perspective, as something that’s more than fitting into a size 4 dress. Maybe with time, we could start enjoying the process of getting healthy?
  • Speaking of fun, it’s important to find exercises that make you excited and look forward to your workouts. Before starting a plan, take some time to find what kind of movements appeal to you. When we do something that gives us joy, we remove a lot of mental barriers from the get-go. There’s nothing worse than dreading your workouts! 

Now that we have got the basics out of our way, lets look at some of the best workout styles to help you lose weight while improving mind-body connection, stress reduction, and promoting an overall healthy lifestyle.

Walking

Can be an easy option to fit into your day due to many reasons. If you haven’t worked out in a while, or are recovering from an illness, you might not find the motivation to jump into an intense routine straight away. Walking can be a simple and low impact way of adding more movement to your day. It’s also a great starting point for anyone who is pressed for time. Apart from giving you an energy boost, walking can also be a way to burn some extra calories. 

Walking is extremely scalable. A lot of people like to take long walks in nature to clear their head, or to walk their dog. Indoor working workouts have become popular due to the extended lockdowns we experienced during the pandemic. Walking doesn’t require any equipment other than comfortable shoes, but you can add resistance bands or ankle weights to your indoor walking routines to add another layer of difficulty. Just make sure to keep your form clean.

Once you are comfortable walking while maintaining good form, you can gradually move towards jogging, or even running if you want. 

Restorative Yoga

When we talk about weight loss, we’re usually drawn to images of high-intensity, calorie-torching workouts. There’s nothing wrong with cardiovascular training, and it’s essential to overall health. But yoga, particularly restorative routines address a vital aspect of weight loss that is often overlooked – stress reduction. Stress has been shown to affect us negatively inside out, make our hormonal balance go out of whack, and disrupt our metabolism. 

Restorative yoga involves holding a stretch longer than other forms of yoga and often uses props like blocks, stretching bands etc. The focus of a session is to rejuvenate your mind and body by working on deep connective tissues that many workouts don’t work on. If you don’t have props, you can substitute them with easily available items such as a towel for a deeper stretch, or a pillow and blanket as an aid for relaxation. 

However, restorative yoga can be a bit too intense for some people. In that case, a regular yoga or stretching session would do just fine. The trick is to find something that relaxes you and the intensity doesn’t really matter. Add some essential oil to a diffuser, light a candle, play some soothing music, and let go of your stresses.

Pilates and barre

Another discipline that works great to improve mind-body connection and alignment is Pilates. It’s one of those deceptively simple-looking routines that can surprise you with some serious burn! Pilates is wonderful for strengthening those deep core muscles and providing pelvic stability that a lot of abs focused routines miss. It’s known to tone and tighten the muscles worked while focusing on mindful breathing. Win-win, right? Resistance bands and ankle weights are good additions to Pilates as well. But make sure to only add them when you have perfected your form.

Exercises done at the barre are quite like Pilates as both deal with alignment and pelvic stability. Barre is essentially used in ballet but can be a great addition to any fitness routine. 

Strength training

Many women can feel intimidated at the thought of lifting heavy, but strength training necessarily does not mean training with weights. In this section, we’ll look at the benefits of weight training as well as those that are purely bodyweight. 

Strength training is one of our favorite ways to train. It helps restore range of motion, while strengthening skeletal muscles to perform essential movements with ease. It’s effective for injury prevention as well. 

Bodyweight strength training can pack a serious punch while improving mobility. Performing them properly requires mindful focus as they are easy to skimp through. Bodyweight strength training can be great practice to master form before adding resistance. Again, add weights only when you’re confident of your form and don’t stress your muscles by overloading them.

Interval training

This includes both high intensity and steady state interval training. Getting your heart rate up not only burns calories and tones the entire body, it’s also vital for heart health. According to the American Heart Association, all you need is 150 mins of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 mins of vigorous aerobic training per week to meet the minimum requirements of good heart health.

Weight loss is the cumulative effect of a good diet, total body exercise, restful sleep, and stress reduction.

Making lifestyle changes is essential to see long-term results in weight management. We’ll end this post with some additional lifestyle tips for weight loss: 

  • Hydrate – Keeping yourself hydrated will help your internal organs function normally and in maintaining a stable core body temperature.
  • A restful night’s sleep: a pre-bedtime routine can help you relax and wind down. Taking a bath, going for a massage, doing some stretches in bed will all work to disconnect your mind from the day’s busyness. Taking short naps during the day is OK too!
  •  Meditate – practice some breathing exercises every day, no matter the duration.

If you need individualized guidance and a dedicated coach to guide you through your weight loss journey, check out our upcoming coaching programs here.

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