When it comes to training and keeping a healthy weight, motivation and determination are key, but sometimes it takes a bit more than that, sometimes we get sidetracked or discouraged after an indulging weekend or simply can’t find the time go to the gym. Truth is, there are no excuses and there are endless ways in which we can keep ourselves active – So I thought I’d bring you an expert’s advice, my friend Inja from Shapedfit a certified Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer shared with us a few basic but essential tips as well as key information for those who want a steady but efficient workout routine – no equipment required!
A guest post by Inja from Shapedfit – Images Emma Anderson
It’s easy to fall into the trap of fitness myths as they get passed along from friends, family members or third parties. You figure it must be true because everyone says so, but is it really? A lot of fitness myths are the reason that your are not gaining your personal workout goals. Some myths are technically just harmless. However others can actually be harmful and increase the risk of injuries. Furthermore can they cause frustration and make you give up on your goal all together.
The problem that people don’t take under consideration is, that we all adapt to workouts individually. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for you or me. In this sense, you have to find your own truth. Continue reading to find out helpful tips for beginners to lose weight and get in shape.
The importance of exercising and caloric intake
There are three major myths that we believe to be true, but are they really?
1) We only need to do A LOT of cardio in order to lose weight
Regular exercising in any type and form reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases. It also shapes and tones your body and makes you become more confident, mentally and physically. As soon as we think about weight loss, though, most of us associate hours of time spend running long distance in order to lose weight. It can most certainly help to burn calories and lead to fat loss, as it improves stamina, which helps you to get through more difficult workouts as time goes on.
However, if done on its own it might not be the most efficient way of losing weight. The key for losing weight is still eating less calories than you burn throughout the day. Meaning, no matter how much cardio you do, if you still eat more or equally as much as you burn you will not lose any weight.
Furthermore, through strengthening training with or without weights, you will be able to built muscles. The more muscles you have the more fat you will burn throughout the day. Therefor strengthening training is just as important as cardio training.
2) We can spot reduce fat for example around our midsection (bellyfat)
I hate to say it, but this is actually not possible. Sorry guys. There is no such thing as spot reducing fat. You will loose fat and built muscles as you work out, yes. But those are two completely different processes that have nothing to do with each other. A lot of us believe that sit ups and crunches are the best way to achieve a flat stomach. Doing sit ups day in and day out will not give you the abs of your dreams. Losing weight and achieving a fit and toned body cannot be achieved overnight – nor is it possible to spot reduce. It requires dedication to a healthy and balanced lifestyle. You can do 100 crunches and still not see the results you wish for. There are ways to give yourself a better chance at getting flat abs.
Fat loss is systemic, meaning it happens throughout your whole body, not one trouble spot at a time. To reduce fat in any place, you need to perform the all so well known “more-calories-out-than-in” approach that addresses body fat as a whole. In combination with a healthy diet in general as well as cardiovascular activities and resistance exercises that target all areas of your body you will be able to not only burn more calories and lose weight but built up muscles that shape and tone up your body over time. For better results try planks, burpees and exercises facing downwards as
you are working against gravity. You will not only shape your midsection better, but also tone up your whole body. Strengthening these muscles increases your stability, minimizes many types of back pain and improves your posture.
3) The more and longer we workout the better results we can get.
Our body is not a machine and it is the only one we have, so we should treat it with kindness and respect. Our body needs time to recover and rebuilt the muscles after every workout, no matter how intense the workout was. As a beginner you should rest every other day at least. There is no shortcut in life for anything and especially not, for gaining muscles and losing weight. You need patience and dedication. Don’t expect 100% results if you are only willing to put in 20% of effort. A great way even for beginners is interval training, which can be of low or high intensity. I personally recommend a lower intensity at the beginning in order to prevent a burn out of your body.
A full body interval training targets all major parts of your body. The best part is you only have to spend about 30 min a day working out. If your goal is not to become a body builder or marathon runner there is no need to spend hours and hours at the gym or run long distance.
Cardio and Resistance Training:
As a beginner, I recommend doing a 30 minute cardiovascular workout two to three times a week, and about 30 minutes of a strength training two to three times a week. No matter what type of workout you are doing, be sure to start slow and then gradually increase the intensity and time of your workout. Always listen to your body and don’t exhaust.
It is vital to find time to rest. With our very busy lifestyle nowadays, we tend to overwork our body and we often forget that we also need to rest just as much as we need to be physically active. When we rest, we significantly give our body the opportunity it needs to renew, repair and recover from all the hard work done during the day.
Preferably, we should be able to obtain eight hours of restful sleep each night. Inadequate rest and constant sleep deprivation could result to stress and lethargy and increases the risk of injuries.
For low intensity cardio training you can pretty much do anything that you enjoy doing for minimum 30-40 minutes and that keeps your heart rate going. For example you could go for runs, go swimming or on a bike ride, you can take dance classes or aerobic classes. For a high intensity cardio training you can incorporate exercises such as sprints, jumping jacks, mountain climbers and high knees.
Many fitness enthusiasts swear by planks, squats, crunches and weights. All these and many more similar exercises fall into the category of resistance training. Here are a few body weight exercises you should give a try to. Make sure to read through the step by step instructions to keep the proper form and alignment for best results and in oder to prevent injury.
1. Lay down at on your back on a mat with your feet extended out in front of you.
2. Place your hands behind your ears with your elbows reaching to the side. Bend your knees and lift off your legs so your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle towards each other and your lower legs are parallel to the floor. This is a tabletop position.
3. Gently lift off your head, shoulder blades and torso of the floor as you engage your abdominals. This is your starting position.
4. From here extend your right leg at a 45-degree angle from the floor, while bringing your left knee into your chest at the same time.
5. Extend your left leg and bring your right one into your chest. Repeat the movement. Once you have the leg movement established, add your torso.
6. As you bring your left knee into your chest, simultaneously rotate your torso towards your left side bringing your right shoulder in the direction of your knee. Keep your elbows pointed to the sides.
7. Immediately extend your left knee while bending your right one. Simultaneously rotate your torso towards over to the right side bringing your left shoulder in the direction of your knee. Keep your elbows pointed to the sides.
8. Repeat step 4-6.
1. Place both hands on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart behind you resting on the balls of your feet. Ensure that your shoulders are placed right above your wrists and your back remains straight. This is a push up position.
2. With your abdominals engaged and your back straight lower yourself gently towards the floor bending your elbows until they are at a 90-degree angle. Keep your fingers spread and your elbows slightly facing outwards.
3. Push through your chest and extend your arms until you are back in a push up position.
4. Repeat step 2+3.
VARIATION: Perform push ups with your knees on the floor.y.
Bent Leg Raises
1. Start by laying down on your back at on a mat with your legs extended out in front of you and your arms resting next to your torso.
2. Engage your abdominals by drawing your belly button to your spine. As you lift off your legs at the same time, bend your knees and your hips, bringing your knees into your chest.
3. Extend your legs until they hover right above the floor before bringing them back into your chest. Keep your abdominals contracted throughout the exercise to prevent your back from arching.
4. Repeat step 2+3.
VARIATION: single leg raises, straight leg raises
1. Plant both feet on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. Keep your back straight and in a 45-90 degree angle of your hips as you bend your knees until your upper legs are parallel to the floor. Ensure that your knees stay behind your toes at all times. This is called a squat position.
3. Squeeze your glutes muscles together as you straighten your legs and lift your torso to come into a standing position.
4. Repeat step 2+3.
VARIATION: Jump Squats, Sumo Squats, In and out Jump Squats
1. Stand nice and tall with your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor.
2. Shift your weight onto your left leg and take a big step forward with your right. Plant your right foot firmly on the floor and lift off your right heel.
3. Bend both knees at approximately 90-degrees with your weight evenly distributed between both legs. This is a lunge position.
4. Tip: Your front knee should be right above your ankle and your back knee hovering right above the floor. If this is not the case and your knee is pushed in front of your ankle, take a bigger step.
5. Push through your feet and straighten both knees before bending them for the next repetition.
6. Repeat step 1-4.
7. Repeat step 1-4 on the left side.
VARIATION: Walking Lunges, Front Lunges, Reverse Lunge, Jump Lunges
Let’s be real… By now you are aware of that there is no recipe for killer abs and a nice booty. We have to work hard to get it and be patient with ourselves as well as listen to our body when it tells us to rest. With the right doze of motivation, dedication and consistency you can do it. You can reach YOUR dream body and become fitter, stronger and healthier as well as more confident and comfortable over all. To be fit is not a destination, it is also a major mental and lifestyle change in general. With that being said, the only way to lose the right amount of weight is by adopting a diet that supports your goal as well as performing resistance and cardio training.
Be creative with your workouts so they don’t become boring. You can use a gallon of milk or water bottles instead of dumbbells, pack some books in your backpack and add it when you do lunges or squats, use a chair or staircase for an incline or decline…
There are so many things you can do, without even leaving your house or spending an extra penny. However, I do recommend a pair of dumbbells though and a resistance band. Can be purchased at Amazon for a few bucks and it is super convenient and easy to take on vacation or any type of travel as well. I believe in you and there is no reason why you shouldn’t. You’ve got this!