A common misconception among many women new to the gym is that cardio is the best way to lose body fat. In reality, it is a combination of proper nutrition, cardio, and strength training.
Strength training will increase muscle mass, which will increase your resting metabolic rate. Your resting metabolic rate or RMR is how many calories your body burns at rest. With more muscle mass, you will burn more calories, sitting watching TV than if you did no strength training at all. In addition to increasing your RMR, research has shown that strength training can also create an ‘after-burn effect’ where you continue to burn more calories for up to 38 hours post workout. Strength training essentially causes tiny tears to muscle tissue – the after-burn effect is your body repairing the muscle tissue, and in turn using more calories to do so.
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to pick up some weights and get lifting – Consistency is Key.
When setting your fitness goals, make sure they are attainable, and make sure you devise a plan that you will be able to stick to. If it is your first time in the gym, you go to the pub for multiple pints over the weekend, and you get a take away twice a week, don’t tell yourself that you are going to start training 5 days a week, stop drinking completely and eat chicken and broccoli for every meal. It’s not going to happen. If your goal is fat-loss, yes you will probably see the number on the scale go down right off the bat, but 99% of the time, you will gain it all, if not more back, because this isn’t something that you will be able to stick to for the long term. Instead, start by training a couple times a week, have one pint and then switch to vodka soda, and cut the take away down to once a week. If you make small, consistent changes to your routine over time, you are more easily able to adapt and stay on track than if you were to make a massive change over night. Most importantly, you don’t need to give up your social life to achieve your fitness goals.
Fad diets : A Marketing Masterpiece
What do all of these fad diets have in common? They help you lose weight by lowering your calories. Every fad diet claims that they have come up with some magic equation that will easily help people shed the pounds, and fast. In reality, they are all doing the same thing and it can be very confusing. Everyone must consume a certain amount of calories daily to maintain their current body weight, at their current activity level. These are your maintenance calories. In order to lose weight, you must consume less than your maintenance calories, leaving you in a caloric deficit. It is as simple as that. You can find your maintenance calories by multiplying your weight in pounds by 12,13 or 14. 12 if you have a desk job and are quite inactive, or 14 if you are very active. Track your calories and monitor your progress weekly, and adjust as needed.
If one of these diets helps you stay on track, then go for it! Do what works for you. But just understand why you are doing what you are doing.