“Training is exercise with purpose”
Unlike exercise, which is boring, often pointless and invariable hard to stick with, we are interested in giving it purpose and meaning beyond just weight loss, so you need to set goals and challenges that you are training for.
In addition to giving your exercise a purpose, the side effects of a training program, (especially a strength one) include many health benefits, including:
- It tells your body what you want to be composed of (Muscle or fat)
- It makes you feel better and healthier
- Reduced risk of Cardiovascular disease
- Reduces psychological disorders, and improves mood and self-esteem.
- Reduces blood pressure
- Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
- Decreases inflammation and related diseases
- Increases bone density so reduces osteoporosis.
It also acts as a great distraction to suppress appetite when fasting, which is the best way to train when weight loss is the objective.
What to train for, as part of a weight loss program.
In a word, Strength! It is critical if you are losing weight that you train to be strong. That’s the same for men and women. The reason is simple, by training to be strong you are telling your body you need your muscles, so to burn fat rather than muscle for energy.
It is important to differentiate strong from big. We are not training to be bigger, we are not bodybuilders, if you want to be big then that is a different type of training.
The importance of muscle
Muscle (and body mass) is predominantly what drives your metabolism. I.e. how many calories your body burns before you do anything. And clearly burning more calories is going to help you lose weight. So it is vital to retain as much muscle mass as possible.
Secondly. One reason that people get fat again after they stop dieting is that their bodies have used muscle as fuel during their weight loss, which means that their metabolism has slowed down. So as soon as they stop eating a restrictive diet and go back to eating how they used to, their bodies and hormones thinking they have been starving and do their best to store the excess calories (from a lowered metabolism) as fat.
In addition to training for strength, I would also suggest a great way to lose fat is to do what we were designed to do, specifically walk. Get out into the countryside and go hiking. Long walks (especially with hills and picnics) are good for the soul and a great activity to do as a family or with friends, plus it burns calories without trying too hard.
What not to do.
Despite what you may have been told, long slow cardio such as distance running and cycling, is terrible for fat loss. And in the end you will most likely find that you have become “skinny fat”. The reason for this is that your body predominately burns fat as fuel whilst doing long slow cardio, which tells your body that its OK to burn muscle as its not really needed but fat is really important. So your metabolism slows down, and your body stores fat like crazy. Think Middle aged men in lycra on bikes – not good!
I will post some more specific exercise programs shortly.