Losing weight and getting into shape is the most common fitness goals.
The harsh reality is that not every person that says they want to lose weight actually wants to. More often than not, people striving to lose weight don't have the right mindset or information.
A lot of work, time, and planning go into weight loss. Building muscle and losing body fat takes a different mindset. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to change.
There are a few things that trainers wish clients knew before they got to the gym.
Here's what successful weight loss takes, from the perspective of a personal trainer.
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What You Need to Know About Weight Loss
#1 - The Results Take Time
It's no secret you can almost immediately feel the effects of working out and exercising. The increased energy and better mood are wonderful.
You probably already know that it will take a while to get into shape, right? Unfortunately, knowing and accepting the fact are two different things.
Losing weight quickly isn't always a great idea. It's like a rubber band effect - you lose weight fast and when you stop dieting you rebound or even gain more than your starting weight.
Your body's metabolism decreases if you start starving the weight off. This means you burn fewer calories.
The general idea is your weight didn't come on overnight, don't expect to lose it that fast. Once you maintain your goal weight, you will now need to modify your diet so that you maintain weight.
Slow and steady is the best approach - one to two pounds lost per week is perfect.
#2 - Have an Important "Why"
Having a plan set for weight loss is the first step.
The next step is what you do when the going gets tough. Motivation will be low, you'll be sore, and inevitably hungry.
This is where you think about your reason for losing weight.
Why do you want to lose weight?
Is this doctor-ordered? Do you have kids you'd like to be able to play with pain-free? Looking to reinvigorate your sex life?
Whatever your "why" is, you will have to use this as your fuel when times are tough.
Make a vision board, write in a journal, and help others in their weight-loss journey. All of these will help take the focus off of how bad this sucks and transmute it into a lifestyle.
#3 - You Are Not Your Friend
Just because your friend lost weight while eating hot dogs and ramen noodles doesn't mean you will too.
It's easy to jump into the next fad diet or trendy workout. I mean, they are miracle diets that give you an unrealistic promise - what could go wrong?
If your friend started a Paleo diet and it's working great for them, that doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you.
Weight-loss is great because there are so many lifestyle choices you can make. The types of food you eat, when you eat, and how active you are determines how much weight you will lose.
It's important to realize that nutrition and exercise are extremely individual. Following your own set of rules based off of solid fitness fundamentals allow you to work with your schedule and tastes.
#4 - You Don't Have to Kill Yourself Training
These long and grueling workouts that you see posted online isn't the only way to lose weight.
Unfortunately, weight loss isn't sped up by how hard you work out - there's more to it. This is a recipe for injury, burnout, and an eventual rebound in weight.
Find activities you actually enjoy and stick with them. It's not hard to exercise when you enjoy taking hikes through your local park.
Find something active and take interest in it. You'll lose weight without it feeling like work.
#5 - Lifting Weights Are More Effective Than Cardio
When it comes to weight loss, cardio is king... Right?
Doing a ton of cardio is great - it improves your heart health, improves your conditioning, and improves your mobility.
Basing your weight loss off of a variety of healthy foods, lifting weights, and moving more will open the doors to weight loss success.
The more lean muscle you build improves your metabolism, improves your physique, and keeps you from looking skinny-fat when you reach your goal weight.
Resistance training and good nutrition are more effective for long-term results.
Get your cardio in, but lift a few weights when you can for real progress.
#6 - Watch Your Surroundings
Finding a community or a solid group of supportive friends can make a huge difference in your weight-loss journey.
You can't control your family's or your friend's habits, but you can certainly spend time with more fitness-minded friends.
It's true, you are the culmination of the five people you hang out with. Slowly adding in more fitness-minded friends will help you achieve your goals. No one does this alone.
Find a workout buddy or an accountability partner. Add in fitness challenges and even bets on who can maintain their progress.
#7 - Plan What You Will Do When You Reach Goal Weight
Reaching your goal weight is an amazing feeling. You've put months of work into changing your habits, increasing how much you move, and making better food choices.
Your weight-loss journey isn't done. In fact, a new chapter has been started.
Many people follow the same diet they've been using, some change their diets to match their new goal of maintaining, and some go back to their old ways.
Out of the three things above, two seem reasonable and one definitely won't work.
After you reach your goals, slowly start adding more nutritious foods to your diet. You will need to find a calorie intake that maintains your weight and supports your new lean muscle.
#8 - Weight Loss Shouldn't Be Your Primary Goal
Strive for athletic wellness and an improved quality of life.
Compete in a race, improving your maximum lifts, or simply tracking food intake for a month straight are all solid goals to have.
They all will result in weight loss, improving your overall health, and gives you something to look forward to when motivation is low.
Wrapping It Up
If the only thing you wake up to is "I hope this scale reads a pound lighter" then I highly suggest you take a look at the bigger picture.
Why did you start your weight loss journey? Were you tired of not going out because you don't want to be judged? Are you tired of struggling to roll out of bed every day?
Be real here, this is your make or break moment. WHY do you want to lose weight?
If you took the time to come up with your "why," now is the time to focus on that. Instead of thinking about having to sweat and eat healthy foods, have a picture of your daughter that you'll be able to run around with.
For me, getting to a healthy weight is to improve my overall performance, but I'd like to fit into a car with a smaller cockpit. I've been eyeballing a few Mercedes AMG. It'll be a tight fit, but if that's not enough motivation to keep me on track, I don't know what is.
Keep your nose to the grind and remember why you started. It's a long journey but these small steps make it tolerable.