Losing weight starts with a healthy diet, but incorporating fitness is also an important part of the equation.
Exercise can increase your calorie budget, giving you more room to enjoy healthy snacks throughout the day, and is also an important part of maintaining your overall health.
Hopefully, through a bit of experimentation, you’ve already built an exercise routine into your schedule. But if you haven’t, start out small, with 3-4 routines a week, and build from there.
To help you along, there are several hacks you can do to make it more enjoyable and stay consistent to bump that weight loss to the next level!
1) Focus on fun, not fury.
If you’re absolutely miserable the entire time you’re working out, you’re likely setting yourself up for failure. By furiously upping the intensity every time you work out, there’s a chance you’ll burn out. Instead, do something you enjoy, where the fact that you’re exercising is more back-of-mind. That may be a sport, or a certain machine at the gym, or even just going for a walk — whatever it is, enjoying it will go a long way towards sticking with it.
2) Substitute a superset for cardio.
Hate running? Don’t enjoy 45 minutes on the elliptical? You’re not alone. Cardio is a great way to boost your metabolism, sure, but it’s also not something some of us like doing. Instead, try doing supersets, which elevate your heart rate during the exercise — and keep it elevated afterward. Supersets are performing two or more different exercises back-to-back. For example, you might start with 5 minutes of jumping jacks, then switch directly to 3 minutes of running, then go back to the jumping jacks, with short periods of rest in between. It works out different parts of your body and keeps your mind activated so the routine won’t get boring.
3) See to your strength training.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you need to do lots of cardio to burn calories when you’re trying to lose weight. But hang on — your muscles need some love, too! Building strength and toning those muscles is the best way to bump up lean muscle mass, known to play a big role in increasing basal metabolic rate so you’re burning calories long after you’ve set the weights down. If you’re doing at least 20-30 minutes of exercise 4-5 days a week, try to spend at least 30% of those routines on strength training.
4) Recuperation is paramount.
People that get really into exercising often forget one of the most important parts — recovery! Recovery means you should not only be taking rest days, but also making sure you eat right and get enough sleep. Your body needs the down time to heal and prepare for your next fitness routine. Not prioritizing recovery can actually make losing weight even more difficult. Not getting enough sleep, for example, has been linked to less impulse control, which could cause you to snack more and eat more unnecessary calories than you otherwise would.
5) Track your progress.
One of the best feelings is when you start seeing the results of your diligence. If, for example, you start out with a 20-minute walk three days a week and suddenly notice you’re able to walk 30 minutes the next week, that’s a heck of a feeling. Or maybe you were lifting 10-pound weights, and started to notice they were too light, so you upped it to 15 pounds. Make sure you’re noting any gains you make, whether that’s via a fitness tracker, a journal or an app.
6) Go for short and intense, not long and gradual.
If you’re finding it difficult to consistently fit a 40-minute workout into your daily routine a few times a week, you might benefit from opting for shorter workouts — maybe 10 to 15 minutes — six days a week instead. Sometimes, it’s easier to fit in something shorter than trying to schedule around a larger chunk of time — and that’s more than okay. The key is to stay the course and do it without fail, whatever that looks like for you.
Doing just a few of these simple hacks could go a long way towards making fitness a regular part of your healthy lifestyle — and getting the added weight loss benefit that goes with it!*