Having lost 115 pounds, I will be the first to admit that over 80% of my weight loss can be attributed to my diet and nutrition. But I do not discount the role of exercise. It’s definitely important as well. I’m not a personal trainer, or a fitness buff, so I can’t really give you a full and complete workout plan, but I can speak from my own experiences and what works for me. The truth is I did exercise, but I did not go to the gym one time. I did all of my exercising at home or outside, with minimal, inexpensive equipment.
I like to keep workouts simple. And while there are hundreds of workouts and thousands of exercises to choose from, and most of them are probably effective, it can be a bit overwhelming at first.
The key is to start where you are. Imagine a map. You see the little red dot that says “You are here.” You know where you want to go. You just need to figure out how to get from the little red dot “a” to little red dot “b.” There are thousands of ways to get there. The only right way is the way that’s right for you, and one of the most important things is that it feels right to you.
There are a whole slew of exercises that I just hate doing for whatever reason. First, I ask myself if it’s because they are too hard, or if it’s because I just don’t enjoy them. If it’s because they just aren’t for me then that’s fine, I find other ways to work those muscle groups. It’s like the Google navigator. Sometimes you just don’t want to go the way she wants to take you. So you don’t listen to her and turn another way. There’s too much traffic on that street, or it’s too hard to make a left hand turn. She’ll find another way for you to get there. There are thousands of ways to achieve a goal. If it’s not for you it’s not the right way.
Don’t expect yourself to get there overnight either. Just make progress everyday. You are only in competition with yourself. You are only trying to beat yesterday’s numbers and yesterday’s version of yourself.
There are a few things to think about when exercising. It’s not the calories you burn in the workout that matter, it’s the changes in your metabolism that the workout triggers. That’s why it’s important to work your muscles, especially the larger muscles, and to workout with intensity. This way you’ll continue to burn calories long after your workout is over.
Here are my top 5 simple exercises for weight loss, specifically, for fat loss, as these will promote muscle building.
This is about bursts of cardio, so when you can build up to it, add in jogging intervals. Then when you can, make those sprinting intervals. If you never can move beyond the walking, just do some speed walking intervals. Try a couch to 5k app on your smart phone, they have voice prompts to help you step up each time. A little more running with a little less walking in between. The trick is to really try to push yourself with the running spurts.
Push-ups may be an old fashioned exercise but they are certainly a good go to. There is no equipment required and they are hard to mess up. Try the knee push-ups if you need to. I hate calling them “girl” push-ups. Come on, really? Girls are awesome! Push-ups are great for your arms and chest muscles. There are so many variations of these as well. Google it and you can find dozens of YouTube tutorials. Some of them are highly entertaining.
Squats are another great exercise. I prefer them over lunges due to my knee issues. There are a ton of variations on squats too, so check some out on YouTube and get yourself some really good form do that you don’t injure your knees! I like to add some weights to my squats so I can do double duty. I’m all about getting the most out of my workout in the least amount of time, so I’ll curl some dumbbells while I squat. Try some sumo squats, goblet squats, or plié squats for variations.
There are so many different types of crunches, I try to do several in each routine. I really like reverse crunches since I feel them more than any other, but oblique crunches (from the side) are another favorite as well. Again, Google these and find a tutorial to get the proper form. Full sit ups work too. I try to hold on to a dumbbell or medicine ball and get a little extra weight. Every bit helps.
I used to hate planks. Not only did I think they were boring, but I also found them incredibly painful. That’s when I realized my form was way off. I’m surprised I didn’t injure myself. I thought planks were an arm exercise. Turns out they are all about engaging your core. Yep, I was doing them wrong. There are multiple ways to plank as well. I find forearm planks to be a good way to start out. There is more of you touching the ground which seems to be a bit easier on the body and the balance. That’s just what I find. There are modified, knee planks as well. I’m not sure how beneficial those are. You can probably find a better way to spend your exercise time. Start with 30 second planks and work up to 60 second planks. Once you master these try plank jacks or one leg planks and all the fun stuff that’s out there.
I find it helpful to use a yoga mat when planking. I get rug burn on my elbows if I don’t.
So there you have it, five of the exercises that helped me the most in my weight loss efforts. There are dozens of variations of these of course, and you need to find what works best for you!
Let me know what you think!