Exercise as an aid to Weight Loss

Let's face it, there's hundreds of exercises out there to choose from - routines, machines and magic-pill solutions but they basically boil down into 2 categories.

1. RESISTANCE training. Moving something that resists our attempts to do so. Weight lifting is a great example of this be it using classic bar bells or our own body weight. Also, resistance 'bands' provide increased resistance the more we stretch them, thus putting our muscles under strain.

2. CARDIO workouts. Anything that increases our heart rate can be deemed as 'cardio'. Jogging, football, checking our credit card statement all cause our engine to burn more fuel. What is interesting to us older gents is - what is the right kind of cardio activity we should be doing to get fit and reduce our waistline?

Lifting weights. 

Breaking down and repairing muscle has multiple benefits:

It uses fat as fuel, even hours after finishing your session.

More lean muscle increases your daily calorie burn.

It helps raise testosterone levels.

You feel better because you look better!

    • Compound exercises target multiple muscle groups which burn fat long after you have finished your workout routine.
    • Muscles are put under increasing stress when you workout, but they can only grow with the right amount of food and, most importantly, rest. If you want to increase size/definition, don't train the same muscle groups too many times a week, they'll never have a chance to rebuild properly.
    • Feed your muscles. High protein is good, no carb is not. You'll need to draw upon your energy reserves to get the best out of the workout and the body needs carbs for that. Just balance them out. Ideally, if you're looking to shift some fat and put on some muscle, you probably want: 

    40% Protein 30% Carbs and 30% Healthy Fats.
    (more info on Healthy Eating for Fat loss here)

    Cardio Vs HIIT

    A lot has been written about the difference between 'steady state cardio' (running machines, jogging, aerobics etc.) and HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training.

    Traditional Cardio sessions can easily last 45 minutes to an hour - or more - and burn hundreds of calories. However, in today's busy society, we don't all have time to spend 4 or 5 hours a week on the elliptical or the treadmill. With HIIT you can burn the same amount of calories doing much shorter routines but at a higher work rate. Also, as we age, our joints become less able to take the repeated shocks that long sessions of steady cardio can put them through. Working faster for a shorter period of time could also help us preserve our knees a while longer!

    You can find more information on HIIT and links to some routines below:

    HIIT - What is it? Wikipedia  American College of Sports Medicine
    HIIT workout routines - Darebee Workout - 30 Days of HIIT  HIIT Workout for People Who Get Bored Easily
    Cardio Workout DVD - an old favourite of mine as you can make it as easy or brutal as you like.
    Fighting Fit, Fighting Fat.