With so many Texans having sedentary jobs and supersized portions, it’s no wonder our waistlines are wider than ever. Here are a few expert recommendations for getting those extra pounds off.
- Get an Assessment
An honest assessment of capabilities, which you can receive from trainers at most gyms, will determine whether to begin with a gentle stroll, a jog, or use of an elliptical, depending on past injuries. “Try not to make dramatic changes, especially in routine or diet. Take small steps and know your boundaries, especially physical limitations,” says Matt Lofland, head trainer at Orange Theory Fitness.
- Move at Least 30 Minutes a Day
“Try to get 30 minutes of movement in a day,” says Langham Creek YMCA’s Healthy Living Director Charlotte Vargo. “Even if you have to break it into three 10-minute segments, you can start out walking your dog or take to the trails.” If the social aspect is appealing, a regular run with friends or group classes can keep us active and accountable, which is a nice bonus.
- Start Running and Use Apps
“We’re bred to run and walk,” says Vargo, “but running is a mental game.” She recommends any of the numerous gadgets and apps that encourage users to keep the heart rate up, organize effective workouts or create running routes. “They can coach you with researched, proven methods, even if you’ve never run,” Vargo advises. Aim for manageable distance goals, stay hydrated and step out at cooler times of the day.
- Get Into Weight Training
Weight training is vital, especially as we mature, to guard against injury and maintain a strong core, abdominal area and lower back. “The benefits of weight training are countless and range from increasing your ability to do everyday activities to lowering your blood pressure to increasing your calorie burn,” says Trish Josephs a certified personal trainer at Texas Fit Chicks. Begin with two to three exercises each for the upper and lower body, plus a couple of drills dedicated to the core. Execute three sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise. “You should focus on proper form and rest 30 seconds between sets.” Josephs also advises that when selecting a weight, choose one that is heavy enough that you feel fatigued by the last rep, but don’t compromise form.
- Take Classes You Enjoy
To fight fatigue and keep it fun, ramp up the intensity or interest. Many group classes progress through fitness levels, focusing on body areas like abs and core, or various means to move the body. For example, Langham Creek YMCA offers BODYPUMP™, an adjustable, barbell-based workout of every major muscle group to motivating music. Pilates reformer classes develop and improve core strength, flexibility, posture, and alignment, using traditional equipment. High intensity interval training, or HITT, achieves high output in a short workout with plyometric drills on top of strength, power resistance and abs or core training moves.
MORE DO’S & DON’TS
- DO Drink lots of water and stay hydrated
- DO Push through when it gets hard
- DON’T Ruin your workout by overeating
- DO Find ways to stay moving all day
- DO Train your mind to enjoy exercise
- DON’T Overdo it or you may end up quitting
After three books and writing internationally for magazines, Gail G. Collins feels writing is the best excuse anywhere to know others better.