by Jill Csillag, a certified Personal Trainer in Dayton, OH. Jill has lost over 100 pounds and is certified through the Kenneth Cooper Aerobic Institute. She has a personal intimate connection with Auto-Immune diseases, specifically those that target women. You can visit her website, www.thefitcoach.biz, to learn more about her story.
In my experience as a Personal Trainer over the last three years, I have had the wonderful pleasure of meeting folks from all walks of life. Thick, thin, muscular, lean, and everywhere in between. Different clients, different goals, with one common denominator – to take charge of one’s health and feel better.
We all know the tried and true equation that in order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. There are no miracle cures or quick fixes, unfortunately – that is, unless you are looking for a way to lose a quick buck or two. You must move your body, fuel it properly, and perform resistance training.
That being said, I have found that people are like snowflakes when it comes to weight loss; no two are identical. What works well for one may not be optimal for another, there is no “One size fits all” when devising a fitness plan.
The key is finding what works for YOU. Not only what your body responds to physically, but also emotionally. What do you enjoy doing? If you find a physical activity that burns calories as well as feeds your soul and you enjoy, your chances of success are much higher.
Here are some basic rules when it comes to beginning a fitness/weight loss plan:
- Start slowly. Sure, I understand you may feel like Super Man (or Woman) those first few workouts, and it’s difficult not to overdo it. You are enthusiastic and you want results! I get it! However, you must learn to pace yourself, similar to running a marathon…..slow and steady wins the race. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is typically worst on the 2nd day post workout, so ease into a program to keep this at a minimum. Otherwise, you will likely be so sore that you can barely get out of bed, let alone even think about getting back into the gym. Give those muscles time to acclimate to the new demands you are placing upon them.
- NEVER work the same muscles two days in a row. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild the muscle tissue you have worked during an intense session. Resistance training actually causes tiny microscopic tears within the muscle fibers. It’s during the recovery phase, after your workout, that these fibers heal and essentially knit themselves back together. The end result of this process is larger, stronger muscle fibers, which we all want. If you continually work the same muscle fibers day after day, with no rest, the muscles continue to tear and don’t have adequate time to repair themselves. Give those hard working muscles time to recover and grow!
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.. The human body is comprised of anywhere from 50-65% water, so it only makes sense that we need to constantly replenish our water stores. This is even more important when engaging in a vigorous exercise routine. Water is the preferred choice, naturally; decaf tea is an acceptable substitute for 50% of your water intake. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these have a diuretic effect on the body and can lead to further dehydration. It’s also a no brainer to fuel your body with adequate carbohydrates to fuel your workouts, and protein to speed muscle healing
- Stretch. So many of us rush through our workouts and neglect to stretch, before AND after our workouts. It’s so important to keep those muscle fibers loose, long and elastic. Dynamic stretching should happen pre-workout: Fluid movements, think big arm circles, knee lifts, etc…..10-20 reps per exercise. The idea is to get the muscles warmed up and the heart rate raised slowly. Static stretching happens post workout: deep stretching, holding each stretch for 30-60 seconds. No bouncing in a static stretch! Never push your muscles past your comfort zone in any stretching routine.
- Last but not least, Be kind to yourself! Face it – you didn’t gain those 20 extra pounds overnight, nor will you wake up tomorrow morning to find them gone, despite your very best efforts. Weight loss takes time to manifest on the scale and reflect in inches lost. Take heart and don’t lose faith on this journey. This is a lifestyle change, and you WILL see results if you are honest with yourself. I can promise you that you will notice improvement in how you FEEL rather quickly after starting an exercise program. It’s empowering to take charge of one’s own health.
Keep your eyes on the prize (wellness) and before you know it, victory will be yours!
Be well & good luck – You can do it!!!