If you want to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way, here are 8 fitness tips time and tested by fitness professionals. If you’re just starting out, find a couple that you feel comfortable with and keep up with them day in and day out. When you feel that you are starting to have more energy, then tack on a couple more. And boy, will you see that weight drop off – and it’ll keep off for good!
1. Find physical activity you can do consistently.
Maintainable weight loss is best done when it comes through changes that will actually stick. Start smaller than you might think. Often people overcommit because they are excited. However, it’s then easy to get burnt out.
Start with one day a week, especially if they haven’t been consistently doing any movement so far.
Then after a few weeks, add in a second day. When that feels seamless, add in a third. Keep going until you feel like your days of movement fit the lifestyle you desire, and it feels sustainable. You can increase the time you are doing the activity as well. Your body eventually adapts to whatever you’re doing, so constantly increasing intensity over time is a good way to ensure you continue to get stronger and see results over time.
2. Get walking.
Walking more frequently is a sustainable, approachable way to burn more calories and stick with your weight-loss goals. It’s also low impact and is not a super strenuous form of movement, which increases the chances that someone will stick with it.
A brisk 30-minute walk a day (even if it’s broken up into three 10-minute walks) has been shown to increase calorie burn and push you closer to your weight loss goals.
You can bring your dog and a podcast and make it fun! To increase intensity, walk faster or longer. Just remember to recover with hydration, fuel, and stretching. Be super consistent with your walking, and be okay with the fact that the distance and location might change occasionally. Don’t let a short walk derail you from your motivation, and remember how good you will feel when you’re done!
3. Ask a trainer for help.
Having a trainer helps create a program that is specific to your needs and ensures that you are more likely to get the results you are looking for and keep your body safe in the process. There are a variety of trainers out there, so take the time you need to find someone who fits your goals, training style, and budget.
Working with a trainer at least once a week ensures that you are getting in that movement consistently and that your form is also correct.
It’s typical to have programming outside of those sessions, so decide on a number of days that fits your goals and lifestyles, and ask your trainer to help hold you accountable.
Working with a trainer has so many benefits beyond weight loss, but if that is the focus, they will likely help you put more muscle on your body, which helps you burn more calories even at rest, resulting in possible weight loss.
4. Get your heart rate up.
The easiest way to do this? Cardio. If sustained on a regular basis, cardio can help you lose weight and maintain that weight loss. The average recommendation for cardiovascular activity is 150 to 300 minutes a week (two and a half to five hours a week), per The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
However, this number can vary based on someone’s individual health, and the intensity of the cardio. Consistency is key! If you can establish and stick to a cardio schedule, you have a better chance at losing weight and keeping it off. Secondly, make your cardio fun! Play sports, grab a friend, or listen to a podcast while doing your cardio. You will be more inclined to stick with this habit if you enjoy it.
5. Start making weights a part of your routine.
While it’s important to enjoy the movement you do, lifting weights consistently has so many benefits. It helps with balance and stability, improves metabolism, and even lowers your risk of certain diseases.
It’s easy to assume that lifting weights makes you bulky, so many women avoid going to the gym or grabbing heavier weights.
This is not typically the case unless your body is predisposed to that body type or you are intentionally lifting to gain muscle mass in that way. If you’re a beginner, you can always practice weighted exercises without the weights first to get comfortable with the form.
Try lifting weights three to five days a week. This ensures that you are able to target specific muscle groups multiple times and focus on progressive overload, which means gradually increasing the weight, frequency, or number of reps over time. This will constantly keep the body adapting and your muscles growing.
And eating is also a huge part of supporting your body as you start adding in weights. Make sure you are doing a programmed routine consistently and eating to support putting more muscle on your body. Don’t cut back on calories; your body needs them to function and to ensure that you can build healthy muscles over time.
6. If you’re short on time, ramp up the intensity.
While these aren’t for everyone, HIIT workouts are a great way to build muscle and expend a lot of energy in a short period of time.
As long as you feel you can maintain proper form, it’s a great way to get in a workout for people with busy schedules. Even one day is better than no days, but aim for about three days if possible with more low-intensity movement one to two other days. You can ramp up the intensity by trying to get in more reps during a certain amount of time or using heavier weights while maintaining the same time goal. Both will increase your intensity and continue to challenge your body.
If you love HIIT workouts, make sure you are also implementing rest days. Make sure to use your recoveries properly and don’t overdo it. People can get so fixated on weight loss that they end up hurting themselves. Take time to stretch, rest, and recover as needed.
7. Persevere through setbacks.
When you encounter a setback in your weight-loss journey (like when you skip a few days of workouts), it can be discouraging and all-consuming, and can cause you to fall off track.
We think if we veer from our plan in one element of our lives, the day is ruined and we might as well veer from the whole plan. One of the most crucial components of successfully reaching a goal is to not let setbacks ruin our progress. The setback is often not as severe as we think, and will not impact our end goal very much at all. If we meet the setback with the understanding that we are all human and mistakes are normal, we can simply move forward with our healthy mindset and plan.
Giving yourself grace and returning to your plan will help reinforce your goal and remind you that this weight-loss journey requires patience and perseverance.
Practice giving yourself and others grace when they slip up! As long as it doesn’t become a habit, you will continue moving forward towards your goal.
8. Think ‘lifestyle movement.’
This means looking at the overall lifestyle you want and building movement into it. Some people have very little desire to go to the gym and lift weights or go to a workout class. That’s fine! Hiking, swimming, skiing, surfing, or biking are all forms of movement that might feel more sustainable.
It’s all about finding ways to incorporate more movement into your daily life, like taking the stairs every day at work, walking around the block two times on your lunch break, or holding a plank first thing in the morning.
All these things add up over time and can feel more reasonable for someone who is not your typical gym goer. When it comes to lifestyle movement, find things you can do almost daily. You can always increase intensity by increasing the amount of time you spend doing these activities or the number of activities you try to do in a day.