Exercise tips for weight loss

  • By
    Katie Hiscock - Fitness writer and sports therapist

Wondering why all your efforts in the gym aren't paying off? Fitness writer, Katie Hiscock shares her top tips to help you get the most from your workouts, shed the pounds and stay on track...

Exercise for weight loss tips

If your waistline is groaning from the excesses of Christmas and you want to kick-start a fitness routine that lasts well beyond the winter months, here are our tips to help you stay on track and shed the pounds...

Remember why you’re doing it

To lose weight, you need to be in calorie deficit from your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). In plain English, the amount of calories you eat needs to be less than the amount of calories you burn each day. If you’re embarking on a fitness and weight loss programme, it’s worth remembering the basic principle of this energy balance equation and finding out roughly what your TDEE is to understand exactly why that extra gym class or eliminating that daily bag of crisps at lunch can help you lose weight. You can find TDEE calculators online.

 

Beware the compensation effectWeights

Going to the gym but not losing weight? Studies show that people who exercise often cancel out the calories they burn by eating more. This could be because their appetite increases, or simply as a reward for a good gym session. So beware of that seemingly innocuous hot chocolate after a gym session – it may actually being undoing all your hard work!

 

Watch out for sports drinks

Sports drinks contain salts and sugars to replenish what the body has lost through sweating that water alone can’t replace. Their purpose is to bring the levels of minerals in your blood closer to their normal levels, so you can continue your workout as if you just started. Many of them are packed with carbohydrates however – which means they also contain calories. Unless you need the energy contained in these drinks to fuel your activity (such as a long run of over an hour), it’s wiser to choose simple water, or a zero-calorie electrolyte drink and avoid the hidden calories.

 

Walk the dogActivity doesn’t just mean the gym

Moving more doesn’t mean you need to join a gym. From walking up stairs to gardening, any activity that gets your heart rate going and your muscles moving will have an effect. 

 

Walk your way to weight loss

You don’t necessarily need to take up a high intensity Zumba class to lose weight either. Research shows that moderate exercise, such a walking, can be just as effective for weight loss since it doesn’t trigger the appetite hormones, which can lead to you reaching for the biscuit tin after a hard workout.

 

Consider the hidden fat

While we need a certain level of fat to be healthy, excess fat isn’t good for anyone. Everyone holds fat in different places and where you get fat deposits depends on your genetics, lifestyle and gender. Subcutaneous fat is held beneath the surface of the skin and is the visible fat that we can see, while visceral (or ectopic) fat – the danger fat - is hidden fat held around the body’s organs.

“Your body wants to get rid of the visceral fat before it gets rid of the subcutaneous fat,” says Andrew Tew, Running Services Manager for ASICS. “This is why a lot of people get disheartened when they go to the gym – particularly when they start going as they expect to see an instant result around the outside of their body, which they often don't because the body wants to get rid of visceral fat first.”

 

Shun the scalesScales

As you lose fat and build muscle, keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat, so you may find that your weight actually creeps up. Shun the scales in favour of a body composition test, which will measure your fat and muscle percentage and show the progress you’re making. You can buy simple body composition scales for home use, but the more accurate scales can be found in some gyms and fitness centres.

 

Build muscle to burn energy

Building muscle mass isn’t just about building a six-pack, muscle tissue also uses up more energy than fat tissue. This means that if you increase your muscle mass and lose fat you’ll be burning more calories more efficiently - even while you’re at rest.

 

VegetablesMove more, eat wisely

There’s little point in going to the gym five times a week if you’re going to undo it by eating a poor diet and consuming more calories than you’ve managed to burn. When it comes to food choices and losing weight, it’s a case of eating less and eating wisely. Alongside upping your activity levels, eating regular meals, avoiding hidden calories in alcohol, shunning saturated fats, increasing your intake of vegetables and snacking wisely will help you to shed those excess pounds. 

 

Katie Hiscock is a fitness writer with diplomas in personal training and sports massage therapy. With an interest in sports nutrition, antenatal exercise and injury prevention, she works as a therapist for Brighton & Hove Albion.
 

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact  your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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Cherry Smith's picture

Great post! Some really useful points included. I recently found another helpful post which lists foods that aid natural weight loss as they require lots of chewing, fill you up, are low in calories, contain high amounts of water or air and improve satiety (to you and me that means keep us satisfied so that we don’t need to over eat, naturally :)) - it's definitely worth a read! http://magazine.siansplan.com/9-foods-that-are-great-for-natural-weight-...

Maggie's Oven's picture

"Move more, eat wisely" ! These four words are the single, most powerful recipe for health!

jessybrain's picture

Everybody loves to have weight loss tips. They are little reminders of what we should and should not do. Tips are like a good friend, always nudging you to do the right thing. First you need set up your mind you wanna lose your weight, then understand what actually you want, draw your plan and finally perform it. However, engage in strength training exercises then combine cardio and strength training.
http://www.ihomeremedy.net/7-natural-ways-to-shed-off-weight/

jeanhaynes's picture

I have an underactive thyroid and am on a permanent low fat low calorie diet but can not move me excess weight even though I go to the gym regularly. Can you suggest some foods that will help to boost the rate of my metabolism. Thank you

Kerry Torrens's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question.
When you are on a weight loss diet it’s important to ensure you are including all the nutrients your thyroid needs – these include minerals like selenium – just a couple of brazil nuts a day will supply your daily requirements, iodine from seafood and fish as well as the healthy omega 3 oils from fatty fish like salmon. There are some foods that are thought to boost metabolism, these “thermogenic” foods include protein foods like lean meat and fish and certain spices like chilli peppers and ginger.

Carlg's picture

Hi Jean, An under-active thyroid or hypothyroidism can cause your metabolic rate too slow down. Eating regular SMALL meals or snacks every 3-4hours can speed up your metabolism because your body is constantly working to try break down the food. Try porridge oats with a low fat greek style yogurt for breakfast its good for slow release of energy and tastes pretty good. Try a hand full of mixed nuts (unsalted) and seeds as a snack as these take a while to break down in your system. For dinner maybe chicken stir fry with vegetables and Wholegrain rice.

Try eat more veg with meals as these contain more essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs. You should always have more veg than most on your and always start your meal by eating these first.

Giving your hypothyroidism you probably suffer from tiredness a lot and probably drink fizzy drinks / tea / coffee for energy? just drink Loads of water instead. Vit B helps release the energy in your body so you could take supplements and Vit k from your vegetables helps with this too.

And always always always exercise.... " Even if you walk around your estate a few times, your still lapin everybody on the couch " Hope some of this helps and good luck :D

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