What is the most effective workout for fat loss? Easy. It's the one you'll actually do!
If you know me at all I bet you thought I was going to answer that question with "lifting weights." I do believe there is nothing quite like the power of the iron when it comes to changing our physiques. But....If you're currently not exercising at all or are only exercising sporadically the most important thing you can do to improve both your health and your physique is build into your week consistent, regular exercise. Here are 3 actionable steps to get you going:
1. Figure out what you like to do in terms of exercise. Bike? Swim? Lift weights? Dance? And, no, surfing the net doesn't count;) What exercise have you done in the past that you've enjoyed? (or at least not dreaded!)
2. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being "not gonna happen" and 10 being "I can definitely do that" think about the activity you chose in step one. Consider everything from child care to comfort exercising in front of others to equipment needs. Where does this form of exercise fall on the scale? I want you to choose something that is a 9 or above. If the exercise you chose in step one is below a 9, go back to step one and choose again.
Here's an example: Let's say you chose Zumba in step one. For step two you would think about all of the various factors that could affect you successfully making it to Zumba class. Maybe you like to dance, but at your current weight you're not comfortable doing that in front of others. You give yourself a 6 or 7 on the scale. That's not high enough, so head back to step one to consider your options. This time lets say you chose biking. You would then consider the various factors that could affect you successfully getting out for a bike ride. Your bike is in good working condition. The weather is currently mild. You have child care options. You rate yourself a 9 on the scale. Great, you're ready to move on to step three. (Actually here's an important step 2 1/2: always consult with your health care provider before beginning any new exercise regimen.)
3. It's time to schedule your exercise. Really look at your upcoming week. How many times can you reasonably commit to exercising? The important thing is making it a habit, not going all-in at the start and burning out quickly. Choose somewhere between 1-3 times weekly to start.
Now get out your phone and add it to your calendar. Seriously. Just like you would schedule in a doctors visit or a lunch date with a friend you need to calendar your exercise. Once you've scheduled your exercise session hold it to the same cancellation standards you would for any other important appointment. If exercise is on your calendar and you're considering skipping it, ask yourself "Would I cancel my child's pediatrician appointment for this reason?" If the answer is "no" then keep that exercise appointment with yourself.
Look, the reality is that we are busy people with lots of balls to juggle. There are probably three or four reasons at any given time that I could give for not exercising on a particular day, yet I rarely miss a scheduled training session. Why? Because I've made my health and fitness a top priority in my life. Remember, when we make being healthy and fit a priority, everyone else in our lives benefits. Our spouse, our kids, our friends, our boss- they all benefit from us taking good care of ourselves. How? Because we show up in our lives better when we feel, move, and look better. We can serve all of the people we love so much better when we are taking care of ourselves. It's mostly a matter of making the decision to do it and cementing that habit in our lives consistently.
So, three steps: Choose an activity you find relatively enjoyable. Rate it on the scale explained above and find one that is at least a 9 or above. Calendar it as an appointment with yourself and keep that appointment. You're worth it and you deserve it. Get after it!
I'm a NASM certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies through strength training and sustainable nutritional habit changes.