What goals should beginners focus on?

When you first start thinking about weight loss and exercise, surveying the internet and pop culture for where to start can be an overwhelming nightmare of false advertising, over bloated claims of results, and general misinformation. It’s understandable that for many it doesn’t take long before just plain giving up. After all, cupcakes look and taste amazing, no matter what anyone says.

I hope I can help simplify and streamline the early stages of weight loss by telling you that you only need to focus on two things. #1 being caloric restriction, and #2 being exercising consistently.

#1 Caloric Restriction

If you look at the basic laws of physics the truth of losing fat becomes quickly apparent – the only way it is possible to lose weight is to be at a caloric deficit. I won’t get into the science behind it here, but suffice it to say that your energy taken in must be less than your energy expended for your body to start using stored energy (fat) for it’s energy needs. Determining the size of your daily caloric deficit is up to you, as well as the method you use for achieving that deficit. It may take some time and experimentation to hit the sweet spot and the sweet strategy that works for you. But keep focusing and striving to hit that caloric deficit, and you will see results. Don’t let common stumbling blocks hold you back: forgetting to include beverage calories, secret eating, incorrect portion sizes. And no, starvation mode is not a thing. It is absolutely impossible to not lose weight on a caloric deficit. If you do, you’re doing something wrong, time to go back to the drawing block and get those problem solving juices flowing.

#2 Exercise Consistently

I see this scenario all the time: A beginner, decides, this is it, time to lose weight (great!), signs up for some crazy intense exercise class like cross fit or boot camp, sticks to it for a few weeks, gets injured and has to quit. The time off for injury breaks the momentum, leaving the beginner feeling defeated and not willing to try again for months. Unfortunately, “valiant effort” ribbons don’t make saddle bags disappear.

The key to exercise is to do it consistently. Pick something fun and level appropriate. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s something that gets you moving and you can keep it up over a period of weeks or months! Walking is a great place to start for most beginners. A brisk half hour walk every single day is effective as long as you stick to it! Join a class once a week, dance another day, take a walk on another, hit the gym two more days, and you’ve got a weekly program. The point is to be consistent. Don’t do things that will get you hurt or discouraged, leave those as something to look forward to once you get stronger. Not that I want to discourage you from trying new things, just stay aware of what your body is telling you. Need help coming up with a routine? Hire a trainer! Buy some workout videos or find some you like on YouTube. The possibilities are endless, you just need to keep it up over the long term. Change your routine regularly to keep yourself interested. Get friends and family to join. Be an inspiration to others. Whatever you do, cut the excuses and just don’t quit.

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