We need exercise in order to lose weight and keep it off. Exercise helps us build and/or maintain muscle mass. The more muscle, the faster your metabolism, the more fat is burned.
Our bodies were not meant for sedentary life. I’m not talking about the extreme couch potato who doesn’t do anything all day but sits around and watches TV.
Sure, we may be guilty of having our lazy days, but what I’m referring to is our lifestyle which has become inactive. Which is strange since it seems like we have so much going on, and we’re always on the go. But most of our work is sitting behind the desk in front of the computer. When we’re not at work, we’re sitting through the daily commute. Even after shuttling the kids to their various sports and activities, we’re probably sitting around waiting for them to finish. And because everything is rush, rush, rush, it is more convenient to take the car rather than walk.
And this is just a typical day for most of us!
It’s no wonder when we think of exercise, the majority of us inwardly (or outwardly) groan.
Let’s face it. No one really likes to exercise.
And it’s not because of the exercise itself (although sometimes can be). It’s because it’s yet another thing we have to fit in to an already hectic schedule. You either have to do it at the end of the day, when you’re too exhausted. Or early in the morning, when you have to drag yourself out of bed an hour earlier, eating into your much needed sleep. Or at lunchtime, because you have that hour to spare and there’s a gym right around the corner from where you work.
But exercising under any of these circumstances or similar is a recipe for disaster.
You see, exercising when you’re body is tired is guaranteed to be ineffective at best. But at worst, it could actually backfire, making you burn valuable muscle tissue instead of fat. And exercising when you should be taking a break and eating a healthy lunch instead is counter productive to your weight loss goals.
So while exercise is important in losing weight, it is less important than the first three steps. To put it in the right context, research has shown that:
Weight loss is 75% diet, and only 25% exercise.
We’re not trying to talk you out of exercising, but if you really want to make great strides in losing weight, your hour is better spent getting that extra sleep, cooking up healthy meals, or getting a massage to help you de-stress.
Now before you start throwing rotten tomatoes at us for daring to say “skip the gym,” here is our reasoning, and I guarantee you even your well-paid personal trainer cannot argue with this logic:
Everything you do burns calories.
But if you’re taking in too much extra unnecessary calories, or your body’s fat burning mechanisms aren’t working properly, then “everything” you’re doing, is just not going to burn off calories effectively, and that includes exercise.
Consider Steps 1, 2, and 3 as your foundation.
These steps are truly the key to actually helping you lose weight AND keeping it off for good. Why? Because these steps will have the biggest impact on resetting your hormones and internal body clocks. They will correct the very reason your weight has exponentially increased in the first place. They will repair the damage of past yo-yo dieting has caused. Once you’ve developed these good habits and your body has normalized, then ANY manner of physical activity, whether it be at the gym or running around after the kids, will actually become effective exercise that furthers your weight loss goals.
There’s a popular saying in the fitness industry: You can’t exercise yourself out of a bad diet.
So for now, stop punishing yourself at the gym. Or stop punishing yourself for not going to the gym. Focus instead on those first three steps until they become second nature where you are not having to make any extra effort (hence adding more to your stress). As for “exercise,” we recommend keeping things simple and manageable by following this rule:
Make only one choice a day to be active – for at least three days a week.
And when we say simple, we mean simple. For example:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator (if extremely overweight, start off with only one or two floors)
- Walk with your kids to school one day a week (only if reasonably practical)
- Walk over to you’re your colleague’s desk for a discussion, instead of phoning or emailing
- Enjoy a short and pleasant evening stroll with the family, especially when the weather is awesome
- Shoot some hoops with the kids. (And I mean, just shoot. Don’t try and do a crazy one-on-one with your highly energized 10-year-old and give yourself a heart attack).
- Make whoopee with your hubby or significant other. Bonus: you’ll accomplish step 3 at the same time 😉
- Take the heavy garbage out. (Hahaha, your hubby will love that! But don’t make a habit of it, or else he’ll think he’s excused from doing it ever!)
- Take public transport instead of driving – it means you have to do a little walking to/from the bus or train stop.
- Use the photocopier or printer located on the other side of the building.
- Laugh more. Laughing reduces cortisol. And as a bonus, laughing for about 15 minutes a day (not necessarily all at once) burns 10-40 calories a day
- Make whoopee with your hubby or significant other. Sorry, but I think this deserves repeating!
And so on. I think you get the idea. Oh, and have fun! Exercise should be an activity that you enjoy. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to continue doing it without it feeling like a chore.
The ByeByeToBellyFat Team
P.S. If you already feel comfortable with Steps 1, 2 and 3 and are looking to be more challenged and give your metabolism an added boost, read on for the best exercise to lose belly fat for women…