Spring is upon us! We’ve all had enough of heavy coats and thick jumpers, feeling cold and getting colds, so there’s no excuse: it’s time to get back into shape and be ready for the summer.
It’s so easy to get a bit lazy over the winter: when it’s cold outside, there is nothing more appealing than snuggling up on the sofa at home, under layers of clothes that hide our “imperfections” and make us feel okay with ourselves. But if you have spent the last few months eating junk food instead of fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking too much alcohol and doing too little exercise, your body will be feeling the effects now. But the good news is that it is never too late to fix it.
Getting back into shape and feeling better about yourself is possible; all you need is regular exercise and a proper diet. Let’s see how.
1 - Train wisely
We all know there is no point to last minute diets and spending hours and hours in the gym in a last minute rush to get results fast. The human body is a perfect machine and it deserves being treated properly, according to the rules. Being active and doing exercise in a healthy and intelligent way should become part of your daily routine. If you want to lose weight or just get back in shape, the winning solution is all about the combination of 3 elements: strength training, aerobic training, and a healthy balanced diet.
But what’s the best way to train if you want to lose weight?
Remember, there is one basic rule: any kind of exercise is better that slouching on the sofa. But, if you are really determined to get back in shape and get results in terms of how you look at the same time, you need to combine aerobic exercise with strength training (also called anaerobic exercise). Let’s have a look at why these two types of exercise should be combined instead of focusing too much on one of the two.
Aerobic exercise burns oxygen as its ‘fuel’, that’s why it is called ‘aerobic’. Oxygen can supply energy for extensive periods, but it can only be used as the main fuel if the intensity of the exercise is low to medium. So, aerobic exercise includes walking, jogging and running, swimming, cycling, cross-country skiing, and similar sports that can be done for a relatively long time. Benefits: at core level, aerobic exercise improves the efficiency of your heart and lungs, and at peripheral level it improves your capacity to use oxygen and to burn fats. Yes, that's right, long spells of aerobic exercise will burn fat.
Anaerobic exercise. As the name suggests, anaerobic exercise does not burn oxygen as its main fuel but uses sugar instead. This type of exercise is brief and intense; weight lifting is a typical example. The scientific community is increasingly stressing the importance of subjecting our muscles to heavy loads using weights. The resulting benefits go well beyond an aesthetic result, as they include a series of biochemical and hormonal alterations that are closely linked with our health and the general workings of our body. Strength training, for example, improves insulin resistance, your body becomes faster at lowering excess sugar in the blood (hyper-glycaemia) reducing the insulin in circulation. Our muscles are like a fabric that is metabolically much more active than fat, and burns more calories than fat even when they are at rest. Result? Strong, well-exercised muscles play a major part in weight loss or maintaining your body weight. And don’t forget that exercising your muscles helps strengthen your tendons, ligaments, bones and joints.
Aerobic and anaerobic exercise also stimulates the body so it becomes more dynamic and burns more, not just sugar but also fats. At the same time, we don’t risk losing muscle tone because it stimulates the muscles.
Effective exercise for weight loss can be done out of doors, in the gym, or at home: what's important is exercising correctly and regularly.
Let’s take a look at some of the tools that can help us to get the results we want. MyRun, for example, is perfect if you are looking to do aerobic exercise in the convenience of your own home. You can choose from several different training programmes depending on what you want to achieve. Bike Forma and Synchro Forma are also excellent tools for aerobic training.
But the good news is that these tools can be used intelligently for strength or ‘anaerobic’ training too, as we explained above.
Let’s have a look at a few examples:
My Run. 1. Walk at a fast pace (or light running) for 10 minutes
- Set the gradient to maximum and walk for one minute, taking long strides and without holding onto the handles. This is an excellent strength training exercise.
- Reset the gradient to zero, rest for two minutes and repeat the one-minute exercise at maximum gradient.
Repeat steps one to three, two or three times. You will have done an excellent general aerobic workout and strength training for the lower limbs.
Synchro Forma. Set the effort level so that the exercise feels moderately hard and keep it up for 10 minutes
- Set the effort level so that the exercise feels ‘hard’ and keep it up for one minute. Move your arms to help you and give it your all for one minute.
- Reset the effort level to the lowest setting, rest for two minutes and repeat the one-minute exercise at the previous level.
Repeat steps one to three, two or three times. You will have done an excellent general aerobic workout and strength training for the lower and upper limbs.
2 - Eat properly
We all know that eating properly is important for staying healthy, to prevent premature aging, and most of all to have a healthy and slim body.
You have to eat a balanced diet and make sure your intake includes all the vital nutrients for our body to perform well. If you want to lose weight, remember that skipping meals is not the solution, as our body will respond to the lack of food in the opposite way: It holds onto its reserves of food. Result? You gain weight and your metabolism will slow down. So, eat 5 meals a day and opt for natural, healthy food with a low fat and sugar content.
With the arrival of spring, fill up on fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked or enjoying them raw.
3 - Avoid drinking alcohol and opt for mineral water and fresh fruit juices
Everybody knows that alcohol is the enemy
for anyone trying to lose weight. Try to limit your intake of alcohol and fizzy or sugary drinks, otherwise your sacrifices at the table and your work in the gym will all have been in vain.
On special occasions, when you're out for dinner, drinks, or at a party, limit yourself to one drink, or choose a freshly-squeezed fruit juice or smoothie instead.
And don’t forget to drink plenty of water (at least 2 ½ litres a day). If you have just started exercising again, it will help reinstate the liquids you lose and prevent dehydration, the enemy of a healthy body. What’s more water flushes toxins out of your body and helps bowel functions.
Keep these simple tips in mind, and it will be easier to get results and look great this summer.