Health

The road to weight loss and the importance of a fitness regime

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Your approach to exercise and eating depends on where you need to go and how fast you need to get there

Like everything else in life, fitness and weight loss also need to be approached differently based on the goal. Are you looking for short-term success with no current worries about the long term (getting in shape for an occasion, training for a tournament, losing a quick couple of kilos after a vacation)? Or are you looking to make a change that will last for a long time to come (losing weight gained over the years, making a transformation, improving performance or strength or functionality for life)?

For short term success…

Never miss a workout no matter what. Even if you don’t feel your best, get in some form of workout; it could be a very light one.

Be very specific about what and how much you eat. It doesn’t matter if it is an occasion or celebration; say a strong no to things that are not part of your diet or plan.

Stay on top of your numbers. For some this is bodyweight or girth and for others it is some form of performance metric. But one way or the other, there are numbers that can dictate next steps. Track them closely.

Use external motivators to help yourself stay on track. This could be posting about progress on social media or being a part of a programme or working with a coach or preparing for a competition or tournament.

But keep in mind that leading a life that is too disciplined is not sustainable for more than a few months. Exceptions exist, but people who live like this for longer periods of time are very few in number and are usually those whose livelihoods in some way depend on their fitness or aesthetics (bodybuilders, movie stars, fitness professionals, models).

 

For long-term success…

Work out 3-5 days of the week and don’t stress if you miss a day once in a while or don’t do much during a vacation. This is to be followed not just for a few weeks, but for many years. When duration increases, pragmatism kicks in and severity decreases.

When it comes to nutrition, have a decent understanding of what works for you and what doesn’t. Based on this understanding, come up with simple guiding principles or rules to help make, not the perfect choice all the time but, the right choice most of the time. Occasionally, indulge in what life has to offer without overdoing it and if overdone, balance things out over the next few meals.

Set outer limits to your metrics and work to stay in the right zone. Be it bodyweight or circumference or performance metrics, track only occasionally but ensure progress continues to happen, even if it is very slow.

Keep the larger goal of fitness, health and happiness in mind and use habits as a way to stay on track. Exercising regularly, eating protein and vegetables at every meal, not reaching for sugar every day, sleeping enough, all need to be cultivated. They take time but once they become (good) habits, they stick around for a long time and help keep you fit, healthy and, happy.

But feel free to use the short-term approach when trying to work towards a specific goal or accelerate your rate of results. The trick here is that after a few weeks of any relatively aggressive short-term approach, you need to get back to the relatively simple long-term approach in order to maintain those gains.

The road to weight loss and the importance of a fitness regime

Conclusion

There is no single approach that is superior to the other. It all depends on what you’re looking for. They are both simply tools to help you build a better version of yourself. Use them well and you can look, feel and function better, day after day.

 

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Raj Ganpath is an NCCA-accredited personal fitness trainer; a certified coach in fitness, nutrition, barbell and kettlebell training and a Functional Training and Senior Fitness Specialist, with over 5,000 hours of coaching experience.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:09:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/life-in-fast-or-slow-lane/article24251838.ece

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