Structuring a weight loss training program is intuitive and as long as you observe the basic principles, you’ll have workouts that help you to lose weight.
Do note that you cannot out-exercise a poor diet. So, the first step will be making sure that you’re at a caloric deficit every day and you should clean up your diet as much as you can.
A good fitness program will have 3 components to it:
It’s best to engage in stretching exercises daily. 15 to 20 minutes of stretching will help to lengthen your muscles and also strengthen them. If you have the opportunity to attend yoga or Pilates classes, do go for them.
Both are good for stretching you out and aligning your body while strengthening your core. While all the flexibility training in the world will make almost no visible difference on your body, being limber will help you to execute your movements better with less risk of injury.
Aim to stretch daily.
- Cardiovascular Training
This is commonly known as cardio and it’s any activity that increases your heart rate for a prolonged period of time. Brisk walking, swimming, rowing, etc. are all very effective forms of cardio.
There are two types of cardio – high intensity and low intensity. Depending on your level of fitness, you’ll need to choose one type and go with it till you can improve.
Your goal should always be to reach a level of fitness where your cardio sessions are high intensity. However, if you’re severely overweight, it may be best to stick to low intensity cardio such as walking.
You’ll be less likely to get injured and it will be easier. As you shed the excess pounds, you’ll get lighter and be able to take on higher intensity training.
If you’re doing light cardio, you can do it 5 to 6 times a week. If you’re doing high intensity cardio, 3 times a week will suffice, or at most 4. You really do not need to have more than 4 high intensity sessions a week.
- Resistance Training
This is weight training where you lift barbells, dumbbells or use the swanky machines at the gym. The goal of resistance training is to strengthen your muscles and joints.
A well-rounded training program will have a mix of cardio and resistance training in it. For example, if you do 3 high intensity cardio sessions a week, you may wish to do resistance training on the 2 days when you take a break between each cardio session.
If you do light cardio 5 times a week, you may wish to engage in about 15 to 20 minutes of resistance training before you go for your walk or swim.
Resistance training can be done with weights or your own bodyweight. Depending on your level on fitness, you may decide if you wish to use heavier or lighter weights.
Always focus on compound movements, rather than isolation exercises. A deadlift or squat will always be better for weight loss than a bicep curl or a calf raise. Compound movements engage more muscle groups and burn more calories.
Training for weight loss is different from training for hypertrophy. If you’re building your body and trying to make it muscular, isolation movements may help to carve out better muscles. If you’re trying to shed the stubborn fat, compound movements are more effective.
Armed with this knowledge, structure a training program where you train 5 to 6 days a week with flexibility training every day.
Resistance training twice or three times a week. Cardio 5 times a week if it’s light and 3 times a week if it’s high intensity. Always have a day of rest where you do nothing. 2 days of rest is fine too.
Lastly, be consistent with your training program and avoid skipping workouts. If you skip one today, you might end up skipping the next day and the day after that.
Next thing you know, you’ve not trained in 10 years. So, be alert and stick to your regimen. That’s the only way you’ll see results.