The most comprehensive beginner guide!
Weight loss is a little bit like Mondays. Often, the hardest part is finding the motivation to get started. Once you get going, you end up looking back, and you figure out it wasn’t that hard after all! This guide for beginners has all you need to know about how to take the first steps to crushing your weight loss goals!
We’ll go over exercise regimes and diets, providing all the necessary information to get you on the right path. If what you’re looking for is significant, permanent weight loss, this is the guide for you. Remember that for permanent weight loss, you need to make permanent changes.
Step 1: Make a total commitment to moving more!
The number one thing you can do to crush your weight loss goals is to move more. This means taking as many steps and climbing as many stairs as possible throughout the day, every day.
The American Heart Association recommends that we take about 10,000 steps every day. This roughly translates to five miles total. However, most Americans are taking as little as 2,000 steps a day.
Sedentary lifestyles are linked to all kinds of health complications. You probably knew that it’s bad for your heart and waistline, but did you know that prolonged sitting is also believed to raise your cancer risk?
That’s right, all the sitting you’re doing in front of your computer and television can raise your cancer risk by as much as 60%. Studies have found that prolonged sitting is particularly dangerous for women.
Not to mention, standing burns 50% more calories than sitting. So, just working while standing can help boost your weight loss.
That’s why the first step to weight loss and the #1 change we recommend for a healthier lifestyle is simply moving more. Check out these 10 Ways to Squeeze More Steps into Your Day to get some tips and tricks for hitting your daily step goal.
Step 2: Make it to the gym a minimum of 3 days per week.
Sure, going to the gym every day would help you lose weight faster, but it’s a goal that’s difficult to stick to long-term.
The truth is that we need some flexibility in our workout schedule. There are days when we’re going to be too busy or too tired. Forcing yourself to go to the gym even when you’re feeling exhausted will make exercise seem like a punishment.
Exercise should be fun! It should leave you feeling energized, powerful, and healthy! Instead of forcing yourself to go to the gym every day, commit to making it at least three times per week. You decide what days to go to the gym. You decide the time and the workout, just be there!
If you feel up to it, you can go more than three times per week. These 5 Best Home Workouts for Weight Loss are a good place to start. We also have plenty of beginner workouts, so check out our database for some great ideas.
Step 3: Incorporate cardio.
There are two main components to a weight loss gym routine: cardio and strength training. We’ll go over strength training in a little bit. But first, cardio.
Cardio is paramount for weight loss. Cardio is what drives up your heart rate and burns calories. The faster your heart rate, the more calories you’ll burn during your workout.
The most popular form of cardio is running. Running is great because you can do it on a treadmill or outdoors. This 17-Day Walk/Run is great for beginners who want to get into running.
Another good cardio option is High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. HIIT alternates bursts of intense exercise with brief rest periods. For example, you’ll jump rope non-stop for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 and repeat. You can do HIIT with sprints, jumps, or any other exercise that brings up your heart rate.
HIIT is a great alternative for people who get easily bored by regular cardio (walking, running, or biking). If you’re interested in HIIT, try this 12-Minute Home HIIT Challenge.
Step 4: Strength Training!
One of the biggest mistakes people who are new to working out make is leaving out strength training.
When people are eager to lose weight, they focus on the cardio, jogging for hours and spending their entire workout on the elliptical machine. Unfortunately, this isn’t the most effective way to lose weight for good.
For long-lasting weight loss, you need to incorporate strength training.
Strength training helps you develop muscle mass. Because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, more muscle means you’ll burn more calories throughout the day, even on days when you don’t work out!
If you take one thing away from this article, it should be that strength training is good for fat loss. Adding muscle actually helps you look leaner!
We suggest starting out with these two strength training guides. Arms that Slay: Weight Lifting Plan for Beginners will target the upper body, and Legs for Days: Weight Lifting Plan for Beginners is for the lower body.