Plant-Based Weight Loss: Maximize Your Exercise Plan
Topics » Fitness & Athletics » Plant-Based Weight Loss: Maximize Your Exercise Plan 0 0 Plant-Based Weight Loss: Maximize Your Exercise Plan By Karen Asp, MA January 8, 2019
When it comes to losing weight, the classic formula has long been to “eat less and exercise more.” Yet, people often overestimate how many calories they have burned through exercise while underestimating how many calories they are consuming in a given meal. On top of that, research has shown that vigorous exercise tends to increase our appetites, leading us to consume more calories than we otherwise would. Thus, if your only goal is shedding pounds, your first priority should always be a healthy diet–specifically, a whole food, plant-based diet that is packed with nutrients but lower in calories. (Scientists now know that getting enough sleep plays an essential role as well.) Yet, exercise is still important for a number of reasons. First, although you can lose weight without exercising, doing so means that you’ll also lose muscle and bone density, which isn’t wise. Second, physical activity will help you keep the weight off once you’ve lost it. Regular exercise increases your metabolism, in part because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when you’re at rest. On top of that, exercise improves your mood and cognitive function, helps you sleep better, boosts your immune system , and so much more. An Exercise Plan for Weight Loss
Now that we understand the vital importance of getting regular exercise, let’s talk about how to develop a routine that works best for you. In designing exercise programs for clients, trainers consider three main elements: Cardiovascular activity, strength training, and flexibility.
While cardiovascular activity will burn calories, strength training will help build muscle, which can increase fat burning when you’re at rest. And although flexibility doesn’t have a direct impact on weight, it can help you avoid injury, which can derail your whole training regimen. It’ll also help you perform strength and cardio better, which could translate into more effective workouts. The upshot? Each of these three components complements the other, and if you want a complete fitness program, you’ve got to include them all.
Exercise improves your mood and cognitive function, helps you sleep better, boosts your immune system, and so much more.
Of course, you need more details than that, which is where the FITT principle comes into play. FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise, and trainers use this principle to create workouts that meet specific goals, weight loss in this case. Here’s what a weight loss-oriented workout program using the FITT principle might look like: Cardio Activity
Frequency : Government guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week for optimal health. That amounts to 30 minutes per day, five days a week at a minimum. While that’s a start, you may ultimately need to bump it up to about six weekly workouts for weight loss.
Intensity : While most of your workouts should be at a moderate intensity, aim to challenge your body by doing higher intensity exercise one or two days a week on non-consecutive days. Try interval training where you alternate between hard and easy work, perhaps in a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio—i.e. one minute hard followed by one minute easy or one minute hard followed by two minutes easy. Monitor intensity by rating your exertion on a scale of one to ten, with one being very light and ten extremely hard. For moderate-intensity workouts, shoot for five to seven. For high-intensity, you’ll want to be at eight or nine.
Time : As intensity goes up, time goes down. So for low to moderate intensity workouts, plan to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, veer toward shorter workouts, even just 20 minutes for high-intensity work. Of course, if you’re new to exercise, start with short bouts—even 10 minutes—and gradually build.
Type : This depends on personal preference—choose exercises that you enjoy—and the equipment at your disposal. Some suggestions: running, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, water aerobics, or Zumba or other dance classes. Note that when we repeatedly engage in any specific type of exercise, our bodies tend to become more efficient at performing that exercise, which may lead to a plateau in your performance and weight loss results. Mixing up your workouts will help you avoid this pitfall. Try different activities—walking one day, tennis the next. You might also try different ways of doing your favorite activity. For example, if you typically swim using a freestyle stroke, try switching to the breast stroke. Aside from minimizing plateaus, a mix of activities will help to prevent injuries that might occur by repetitive strain on the same joints and muscles. It will also help to keep you from getting bored, which might discourage you from sticking with your program.