People often ask me for advice and tips on starting a workout routine for weight loss, physical fitness or general good health. I always emphasize that such goals are best achieved through a program that combines cardiovascular (cardio) exercise with resistance (weight) training.
Cardio is one of the most effective methods for increasing your daily calorie expenditure, which is an integral component of weight management. By burning excess calories and preventing/reducing fat storage, cardio exercise also improves your body composition. An ideal body composition is basically one that encompasses a high proportion of fat-free weight and a lower level of body fat.
With just 45 minutes of cardio exercise you can burn anywhere between 300 and 500 calories!
Now, you won’t typically burn as many calories with weight training compared to cardio. However, this type of training is an absolute must since it’s the only method of preserving “fat-free” components (muscle) of body composition. Weight training also has metabolism-boosting effects that ultimately support your body’s calorie burning potential and weight loss over time
If you want to lose weight, your primary focus should be on losing body fat. I recommend losing fat through moderate calorie restriction and exercise training at a maximum rate of 2 pounds each week. Losses greater than this can lead to muscle wasting.
Given that a pound of fat has approximately 3,500 calories, a daily calorie reduction of 250-500 calories will total about 1,750-3,500 calories a week, which equates to 1/2-1 pound a week. Combined with exercise training, this will promote the recommended loss of 1-2 pounds of fat each week and help keep it off for good.
Personally, at this point in my life, I’m shooting for weight maintenance as I’ve already achieved a very high degree of physical fitness and I’ve reached a body weight that’s comfortable for me.
But, since I’ve trained pretty hard for the last 15 years, I typically have to work out at relatively high intensities in order to maintain the level of physical fitness that I so wish to maintain. As such, I currently engage in exercise training 5-6 days a week with 1-2 full rest days during which I engage in more leisure types of physical activity like walking, gardening, hiking, house cleaning, and cooking.
My weekly workout plan is awesome and one that works very well for me as I do a little bit of everything to keep it nice and fresh. In addition, I perform most of my workouts outside the gym.
The bulk of my training is comprised of moderate-to-high-intensity weight training, distance running, cycling, stair climbing, and elliptical training. I typically burn anywhere between 600 and 1,000 calories during cardio sessions, depending on the day and the workout.
For your information I’ve outlined my weekly workout plan detailing both my cardio exercise and weight training programs. Check out both programs as you may be able to use them as rough guidelines for putting together your own (click the links below to find out more).