Losing a large amount of weight can seem daunting. You might want to lose 40 pounds, or possibly even more, but breaking your end goal down into smaller, more achievable short term targets is paramount and MayoClinic.com advises aiming for one to two pounds of weight loss each week. When you're starting a weight loss workout at the gym, you need to take into account your current weight, condition and fitness levels when planning your program.
Kicking Off with Cardio
Cardiovascular training is a key element to any weight loss program, as it increases your fitness and burns calories. This calorie burn helps you create a bigger calorie deficit, thus aiding weight loss. If you have over 40 pounds to lose, you're best to stick to low-impact cardio, as this will be easier on your joints. Stationary or recumbent bike cycling, swimming, rowing or using the elliptical are all better choices than running. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults start with 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio each week.
Getting a Leg Up
Provided you have a calorie-controlled diet in place, weight training will actually aid weight loss, rather than make you gain weight. The muscles in your legs -- the quads, hamstrings and glutes, are all large muscle groups, so by working them, you're expending more calories. Include two lower-body moves in your weight workouts, advises strength coach Mike Boyle. One of these should be a knee-dominant exercise, such as a squat and the other a hip-dominant exercise like a glute bridge. Start with easy versions of both exercises such as squats to a bench or high box and glute bridges with both legs on the floor.
Make pushup variations and pulling exercises the foundation of your upper-body routine, adds Boyle. Pushups can be performed on your knees, or with your hands on an elevated surface to make them easier. For rows, stick to band, cable or machine rows, performed either seated or standing. In your weights session, perform three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each exercise, focusing on using perfect form. The best weight moves are ones that work multiple muscle groups such as the aforementioned pushups, rows, squats and glute bridges, along with dumbbell or barbell presses, lunges and pull-downs. Only increase the weight or make the exercise more challenging when you feel you're ready.
Split your workouts up however best fits your schedule. If training for 15 to 30 minutes per day works best for you, opt for that. Likewise if you'd rather only go to the gym twice a week, then complete longer workouts combining strength training and cardio in the same session. While exercise is vital for weight loss, your diet is just as important. To lose weight you need to reduce your calorie intake by eating less. Reducing your daily calorie intake by 500, you'll lose one pound each week from dietary changes alone. Add that to the gym exercises you're now doing and you should hit the one to two pound per week target. Always consult your doctor before starting a gym routine and get help from a trainer if you need assistance with any exercises or with setting up a program.
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