Recently, I've had a lot of conversations dealing with people wanting to lose weight. I love my job as a fitness instructor and always want to give people game plans of success (or what I think would lead to success), but no one really ever asked me, so I'm telling you what I would do anyway. Maybe I should become a personal trainer so I could really do this more. Oh well. Here's what I would suggest as a weightloss game plan:
*First-you know your body. You know how hard you can go. If you are starting from ground zero, ease into it (30 minutes a day--3 days a week). Don't go freaky. Two hours of exercise a day is the most I would suggest. If you do more than that, it comes across as an addiction/problem.*
Before you start. Take measurements! We like to see improvement! I would suggest: Weight, waist (the skinniest area or from the naval), chest, ribcage, arms (center point from elbow to armpit), hips, butt, thighs (just under the curve of the bottom), and calves-if you really want. Don't weight yourself daily-rather do it once a week at the same time (Monday morning for example).
Diet: You don't really need to overhaul your diet unless you eat like crap and a lot of it. The key is moderation. If you want chocolate-eat it! But stick to a serving size! If you crave McDonalds-fine-but go for a Happymeal instead of super-sized fries. Don't restrict yourself--you'll just end up craving it. Have lots of veggies available to munch on--just hold the fatty ranch and go for fat-free. Calorie wise, most people need to stick between 1500-2000 calories. Try to keep fat lowish, saturated fat even lower, and trans fat non-existant. If you are going to exercise, you need to eat to keep up energy. Just watch what you eat and you'll be fine.
Exercise: This is where I am passionate! If you really want to lose weight, shoot for burning at least 500 calories a day (and don't replace these lost calories!). Stick with cardio every day you workout (at least 3-5 days a week), and lift weights at least twice a week.
Cardio Options: (gym class goers)
With kickboxing, bootcamp, spin, and step aerobics you will easily burn at least 500 calories in a 60 min class. Zumba, hip hop, and other dance classes should be pretty close also.
Cardio: (on your own)
Treadmills, elipticals, and stationary bikes are great and usually have monitors to gage calorie burn. Walking is good-better with light hand weights, and running is stellar (I average about 100 calories per 10 min/1 mile-I am not really a runner!). If you workout on your own, play with speed, inclines, and intensity. Don't be afraid to push yourself. Your body needs a shock every now and then to make it work! You can also do your own bootcamp with jump ups, stair runs, jumping jacks, sprints, track drills, pushups, etc, to give yourself a rockin' workout!
Strength Training: (gym)
Most clubs have some sort of group lifting class. This are fantastic for a total body workout. Most focus on light weight, lots of reps, sort of training. This is a great way to get definition without the bulk (which us girls normally shoot for). They also keep ya moving. I average about 400 calories in an hour class, which is high for lifting. Other great options are pilates and yoga. If you've never tried one of those classes, you will feel muscles the next day you didn't know existed!
Strength Training: (on your own)
If you have your own weights, do a circuit training hitting all your major muscles (shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, chest, quads, hams, calves, and abs). You can do upper body one day, and lower the next, or just hit the whole body twice a week. I like to listen to upbeat music with a heavy beat and lift with that to keep a tempo and keep me going. No weights? No problem! Grab some cans, your kids, water bottles, (or anything else) and use that! Pushups, situps, dips, squats, and lunges can be done with just your own weight. There's lots of workout videos with the same ideas (Jillian Michaels has great ones, and of course all the pilates and yoga videos available at the library, ondemand, and probably at any friends house!).
Get yourself on a schedule so you know what to expect. For a gym goer example:
Monday: Cardio-kickboxing 60 min
Tuesday: Cardio-run 30 min, Strength training-circuit train 30 min
Wednesday: Cardio-spin 60 min
Thursday: Cardio-run 30 min, Strength train-class 60 min
Friday: Cardio-kickboxing 60 min
Saturday: Cario-step aerobic 60 min, Abs
On your own:
Monday: Cardio-treadmill or run 45 min
Tuesday: Strength-pilates video, Cardio-walk 30 min (find a hill!)
Wednesday: Cardio-kickboxing video or do your own bootcamp 60 min
Thursday: Strength-lift weights-total body-60 min, Cardio-walk 30 min
Friday: Cardio-treadmill or run 45 min
Saturday: Cardio-bike ride 60 min
Realistically, you should only lose 1-2 lbs a week if you really need to lose weight, or about 1-3 lbs a month if you just think you need to lose weight (you skinny folk that are never happy with your skinnyness). Don't expect miracles! You will probably gain a little weight at first with the muscle you are building.
If you want your own personalized game plan-let me know! I thrive on this crap. I know what worked for me, and what I've seen work for others! And basically, this is what I would have you do, if you asked me!