It happens to me too you know. I struggle with my weight. My kid needs attention, a family member falls ill, my studio demands more and more of my time and yup, I don’t get my cardio in and that damn scale tells me in no time flat that I’ve been slacking. While you guys have the excuse that it’s difficult to get to a gym I wonder what my excuse is? I have a Spin bike in my house, running shoes in the closet and oh yeah, I stand in a gym all day. Sheesh.
I’m faithful to my twice a week Pilates practice but it’s cardio that keeps me in my skinny jeans. I’m also a stress eater and opening two Pilates studios in 11 weeks might have something to do with that. So here I am digging in the back of the closet for the double-digit jeans and pretty danged grumpy about it.
I’ve been emphasizing small goals for New Year’s Resolutions because they’re the easiest to keep. Also a little success gives you a boost as you work towards your final goal. So here’s my plan, what I actually do, to lose five pounds. Depending on how much you have to lose, just take a week off and then repeat.
Here’s what you need:
- 3 weeks
- Access to Cardio (yes running in your living room if you’re desperate counts)
- Access to free weights, flexbands, a gym, or some other type of resistance training equipment
- 240 minutes per week for cardio
- 135 minutes per week for resistance training
- a form of journaling, can be online, a notebook, excel spreadsheet, whatever, you gotta keep track though
Here’s the plan:
Six days per week you must do cardio for 30 minutes each day. This does not include warm-up and cool-down so you’ll need 40 minutes of actual time. Warm up with your chosen form of cardio until you break a sweat. Once you do, time 30 minutes from there and then go as hard as you can! No you can’t read a magazine, no you can’t watch TV, you are encouraged to have great tunes blasting away though.
There are many forms of cardio to choose from, brisk walking, running, cardio machines at the gym, Wii Fit, you know what to do, the trick is to actually do it. No excuses. If you have a heart rate monitor you want to work between 70% and 90% of your maximum heart rate. If you don’t work from the Rate of Perceived Exertion chart, on a scale of 1 to 10, one being the easiest you want to work between a 7 and a 9.
Three times per week you need to do resistance training. Here are some options, yoga, Pilates, circuit training at the gym, free weights or flex bands in your house, you get the idea. You can choose one thing and commit to it or you can mix it up. You basically need to push or pull something to get stronger. At a minimum you want 8 to 10 exercises to strength train all the parts of your body. I’ll do a 2nd post on a good overall routine. I’m budgeting 45 minutes per session but you could blitz through a simple routine in about 20 minutes. I strongly recommend hiring a personal trainer for a session or two just to get you started so you learn good form and get a well designed all over routine.
I’m a fan of Weight Watchers, the Sonoma Diet and Prevention Magazine’s Fat Buster diet, they are all very well-researched and effective. If you want to calories on your own, here’s a quick calculation to figure out how many calories a day you’ll need.
Multiply your weight by 11 if you’re a girl and 13 if you’re a boy. This will give you your basic metabolic rate in calories. So … 150 pounds X 11 = 1650 calories a day. This will maintain your weight if you stay in bed all day and don’t move an inch. This doesn’t include all the exercise that you’re doing and your general day to day activities. Take that number and subtract 300 calories which should roughly put you into a 500 calories a day deficit. If you’re starving add 100 calories a day. So our example above would eat 1,350 calories per day.
You need to weigh yourself daily, no excuses! First thing in the morning when you’re naked and hungry so you can’t cheat with how much your clothes weigh. You also need to record all your workouts. Break out the details, how many pushups did you do? What weights did you use for bicep curls, etc. Write down everything so you can see your progress. Don’t forget your body measurements, they might initially be depressing but they’ll quickly become exhilarating! I am personally a fan of excel spreadsheets but there are tons of programs you can download, or books to buy, or just a plain ‘ole notebook will work too. Whatever is easiest for you.
By committing to cardio almost daily you’ll keep your metabolism elevated. Resistance training three times a week will ensure that you lose fat and not muscle. Make sure you have one day of complete and total rest. Once the three weeks is over, take a quiet week with cardio 3 times per week and resistance training 2 times per week. You may also add 100 calories a day to your total during that week. Repeat as necessary until you reach your goal weight.
As for me, I’ve got 10 pounds to get off my butt! I’ll be starting on Monday, January 18th … who’s with me?