Whether someone is reaching a personal milestone in their life, like turning 50, or trying to start the New Year off right, weight loss tops the list of resolutions time after time. The problem with making resolution is that they’re either too general or we follow the advice to ‘aim big’ with no real strategy for doing so. Crash diets and fitness fads usually fail because they’re often too narrow in their focus, like diets that cut out entire food groups with no realistic follow-up advice, or too vague.
When we say we want to lose weight, we usually mean that we want to lose fat. One thing all fitness and weight loss experts agree on is that to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. The rationale, of course, is to force your body to use excess fat for energy. However, that often causes people to loss muscle mass as well, and that can lead to other health problems like fatigue and slow metabolism, which leads back to weight gain and starts the whole cycle over again with Procharge.
If you want to lose weight, but retain lean muscle mass, there are some simple ways to do it.
- Know the different types of weight loss.
As noted above, not all weight loss counts toward fitness. At the beginning of a diet or exercise regimen, your body mostly loses excess water weight and glycogen, which is a form of carbohydrate that’s stored in your muscle tissue. Depending on how far you’re exceeding your ideal weight, it’s at this stage that many people see their most rapid period of weight loss; when you drop the extra water and glycogen, your rate of weight loss will usually slow down.
This is the point where a lot of people either get discouraged and give up, or double down and develop harmful habits that result in muscle loss. It’s important to remember that you’re making a long-term change for the better. Like a lot of home-spun wisdom, “Slow and steady wins the race” became a thing for a reason.
- Choose low-impact cardio and aerobic exercise. The intense cardio and aerobics trends seem to drift in and out of popularity. While they can be fun and challenging, a lot of average people really weren’t getting the results they expected. High-intensity workouts DO strengthen your heart and cause weight loss, but lower impact activities like walking, swimming and biking focus your efforts on building more stress-resistant Type 1 muscle fibers without over-stressing and harming the less resistant Type 2 fibers.
- Alter your strength training.
Weight-bearing exercise is one of the best ways to build muscle, stave off conditions like osteoporosis and lose weight. However, instead of powering through an intense workout that will lead to muscle fatigue and injury, try a reverse-pyramid type approach to strength training. Start out with a higher number of reps, with a 20 – 30 second break between sets, and then lower the number of reps with each set. A good ratio to start is 10-5-3, with a break in between sets.
- Intervals are not just for workouts.
Interval training – alternating bursts of high-intensity activity with shorter periods of less-intense activity – is proven to be effective for workouts, but it’s also good for meal planning. Most weight loss meal plans try to keep the calorie limit that’s within a consistent range from day to day. The idea behind cycling your caloric intake is not to just change the calorie count, but to change the source of the calories.
Ideally, your protein intake should be the same each day, but you should consume more calories, with a higher amount of carbohydrates, on workout days, and slightly less calories, with fewer carbs, on rest days; a few days of rest are essential for giving your body some recovery time, especially if your workouts are intense.
- Find good sources for extra protein. Lean protein is essential for gaining and retaining lean muscle mass. Even if you aren’t working out regularly, increasing your overall protein intake and reducing – but not eliminating – your intake of healthy carbs, will result in weight loss. Aside from natural sources of protein, like fish and poultry, Pro Charge and other protein supplements will help make sure you’re getting enough protein without adding unhealthy fats.
Muscle is what gives you your shape, supports your skeleton and keeps your metabolism in check, especially as you age. You’re never too old or too out of shape to set a sensible course for healthier living, so there’s no better time to start than now. Whether you’re going for maximum cut or you just want a lean, sexy body, finding a fitness routine that keeps you inspired and making sensible food choices will give you steady, more lasting results.