Are you planning to join a weight loss programme? Choosing a programme that helps in losing a consistent number of pounds each week is better in the long-term, suggests a study. The study’s results showed that those who experienced consistent weight loss in the first six and 12 weeks of the programme were more likely to have maintained their weight loss at 12 and 24 months, compared with those whose weight fluctuated. For example, a person who lost four pounds one week, regained two pounds the next week, and lost one pound the following week were less likely to achieve long-term weight loss than those who consistently lost one pound over the same three-week period.
“It seems that developing stable, repeatable behaviours related to food intake and weight loss early on in a weight control programme is really important for maintaining changes over the long term,” said lead author Emily Feig, postdoctoral student at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Settle on a weight loss plan that you can maintain week in and week out, even if that means consistently losing three-fourth of a pound each week,” added Michael Lowe, professor at Drexel University, US.
Interestingly, participants who reported lower preoccupation with food, lower binge eating, and lower emotional eating at study baseline experienced greater weight fluctuation and lower total weight loss.
These findings indicate that it may not be a person’s relationship with food or food-related behaviours that influence long-term weight loss. Rather, it may be down to the consistency of weight loss, the researchers explained.
For the study, published in the journal Obesity, the researchers enrolled 183 individuals who were overweight or obese into a year-long weight-loss programme that used meal replacements along with behavioural goals such as self-monitoring, calorie monitoring and increasing physical activity.
It’s finally dawned on you that despite working out everyday, you are not getting anywhere. Where is it that you’re going wrong? Are you aware of the right principals that go into meeting your specific goal? Stop to think for a moment.
Here’s a quick checklist you can run through to figure out what you need to rectify.
1. Too cool: no warm up, sudden start
The body has to prepare for the routine that is to follow. Thus, a warm-up phase is absolutely essential prior to any workout. Jump-starting this period will only lead to sudden muscle pulls and tendons tears but also terrorise the body. Also, if you’ve had some gaps in your workout, do not presume that you can re-start at the same pace. Be sensible and gradually ease into it.
2. Too much: weight without enough experience
There is a keen, competitive, eagerness to ape the guy framed on the poster staring right in front of you. He has probably taken ages to get there and is on the wall to inspire you and not to wrestle with you in direct competition. Be realistic in your goal setting and aim to achieve one milestone at a time. Chart your progress and reward your successes amply.
3. Too little: importance of cardiovascular work
You may be keen on building brawn but you must also consider aerobic workouts significant enough. Do not carry the false belief that you will lose much of what they have worked for in the first place. Each effort, involving muscle building, heart and lung efficiency and increase in flexibility, work on different principles. And each of them requires that they be trained separately. A well-balanced program will give you much better long-term results and will make you feel fitter rather than just look fit.
4. Too late: and close to dinner
Life in the fast lane today leaves us with very little time for ourselves. But there are some who find their work around and spend a couple of hours over a heavy-duty routine in the gym even way past 10.00 PM. However, working out too close to your bedtime will leave you too far charged and will interfere in the quality of sleep.
5. Too fast: control rather than momentum
Rather than mindlessly pumping weights at the pace of a racehorse, if you were to think about engaging the muscle (when contracting it during the exercise) even when you are not using an iota of weight, you can specifically work that muscle more effectively. The idea is to target the muscle and work with concentration not speed, control not momentum.
6. Too soon: no less than 48 hours gap
A common fallacy people have, is to work at the same muscle or muscle group day after day, in the fear that if you don’t use it you’ll lose it. This fear has no grounding because muscles need time to repair, recover and the growth takes place during the rest period, not the workout period. At least 48 hours between your last work on a particular muscle/group is what is required.
7. Too many: sets for the same muscle / group
Endlessly working on the same biceps or abdominal muscle is just a waste of time. A minimum of 8 or 12 or 18 repetitions done in two to three sets is all you really need. Use the rest of the time in a fruitful manner by training on the treadmill or cycle or work on improving your flexibility instead.
8. Too confused: with breathing
Just remember the EX-EX principal, breathe out or exhale on the exertion, when you are contracting a muscle. Inhale when you have finished the move.
9. Too hot: cool down and stretch
Do not walk away without working at getting the original length of the muscles back in order. The easiest way? By stretching them of course! And remember that weight training involves bursts of energy that heat the body. There is a very strong need for the body to be brought back to homeostasis for it benefit entirely from the hard work you have put in.
10. Too stale: variety in program
Do not get stuck in a rut and go over the same exercises week after week. The body gets accustomed to a certain routine and then does not produce the required results.
Instead, keep the body guessing by frequently changing the equipment (dumbbells instead of barbell), the stances (standing rather than sitting, sitting rather than lying). This requires a small amount of ingenuity but is worth the while in the long run. Variety training will keep the body on its toes and you will achieve more stunning results in no time!