This week I weighed in at 206 pounds, which is .2 pounds MORE than I weighed last week. So, I didn't have the greatest week. It took me a few days after my last post to get motivated again, and I'm sure that this weigh-in is a reflection of that. But, on the upside, I'm feeling MUCH more motivated again and I went to the gym yesterday and today! So, a tiny setback, but nothing I can't overcome. :)
In response to my own question about, "Why go to the gym when I can lose weight without it?" I did some research about the benefits of working out. Everyone knows that working out helps you maintain a healthy weight and helps you lose weight. But why else is it good? Why workout?
Benefits of working out:
1. You can eat more!!! This is my favorite reason - who doesn't want to eat more without gaining weight?
2. Aerobic exercise (anything that gets your heart rate between a moderate-high rate, also known as cardio) works your heart, which (in case you've forgotten from 8th grade health!) is a muscle. It needs to be worked to stay strong. The stronger it is, the more efficiently it can pump blood to all parts of your body. In fact, physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients (important things) to all the tissues in your body, and helps your entire cardiovascular system work more efficiently. The more efficient your muscles and systems, the more energy that YOU have. Also, a strong heart helps prevent heart disease and decrease the possibility of heart attacks. In short - strong heart is good!
3. Strength training (lifting weights, crunches, etc.) builds strong muscles which helps support your joints and prevents injuries. For example - strong abs help support your lower back. Also, muscles burns more energy than fat when your body is at rest, so building muscles helps you burn more calories!
4. Flexibility training (stretching) reduces the risk of strained muscles and sprains.
5. Exercise of any kind produces endorphins, which can help you feel more generally peaceful and happy. It also combats depression and low self-esteem, as well as helping you sleep more deeply. By sleeping better, you can improve your concentration, productivity and mood. (Who wants to be grumpy and scatterbrained?) Be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime, though, or you might be too energized to fall asleep!
6. Exercise lowers the risk of diseases like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes by decreasing your body fat percentage.
7. Exercise can help you age well by preventing diseases like osteoporosis. This might seem like a small thing if you're in your twenties, but your body will thank you later! It's the only body you're ever going to get. And adding exercise as a routine will give you more energy and keep your body strong as you get older. It's much easier to continue exercising than to suddenly start in your 40's.
So, knowing this, consider the other options. If you DON'T workout, you become weaker, fatter, lazier, more tired and more prone to disease and injury. Why NOT workout?! On a weight loss journey, why wouldn't you do something that's going to help you lose weight faster? Not to mention look more toned, have more energy and generally feel better? There's so many reasons to workout, and the only reasons I can think of NOT to workout is if 1) you're busy, or 2) you're tired/lazy. Pretty crappy reasons when compared to all the benefits you get from spending a little time at the gym.
I know not everyone can spend an hour and a half in the gym every day - I don’t even have time for that all the time! Here’s a great website to help make your short workouts effective: http://zenhabits.net/2007/06/16-tips-to-triple-your-workout-effectiveness/
(Careful - this website says it's designed for people who already have a regular workout program. It has some good advice, but don't rush your body.)
Here are some of my favorites:
1. High Intensity -Focus on keeping your intensity high through your shorter workouts. The higher the intensity, the more calories you burn! High intensity = high heart rate, but be careful not to push your heart too hard. If it feels like it's going to pound out of your chest, you might be working too hard.
2. One set, to failure - If you're limited on time but still want to fit in strength training, do only 1 set of repetitions with heavier weights, instead of 2-3 with lighter ones. Lift until you can no longer keep a proper form - when you start to shake, it's too time to stop!
3. Mix it up - don't repeat the same workout forever! Your body gets used to this and starts to burn less calories than if you switch it up.
4. Hills - if you find your cardio workout getting easier, start upping the incline on your treadmill/elliptical machine. This makes you stronger as well as burning more calories.
Happy gym-going!! Thank you for reading and for your constant support!