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How to Use Fitness Challenges to Overcome Weight Loss Plateaus

How to Use Fitness Challenges to Overcome Weight Loss Plateaus

Even the best-laid plans can falter.

Weight-loss plateaus happen to virtually everyone who is trying to lose weight. At some point, you may well find that your own progress has stalled, even if you’re continuing to exercise and eat well. Such plateaus are extremely common and are no cause for despair.

All it takes to get your body over the hurdle is the right push. It’s not just about physiology, but also psychology. You may be experiencing a plateau because you have simply run out of the motivation required to reach your fitness goals.

This is also a very common experience and nothing to be ashamed of. Again, all you need is a jolt to get you going again. One of the best ways to jumpstart your fitness journey is with a fitness workout challenge.

A challenge with a strict time limit and structure, such as a 30-day challenge, is the ideal way to get things going again. Here are the very best fitness challenges to help you overcome your weight loss plateau.

30-Day Full Body Fitness Challenges

If you really need to feel the burn, then you need a full body custom workout plan to reignite every muscle in your body.

There are many effective ways to do this, but the most popular ones involve you dedicated each day of the week to a different body part, with one day off for rest.

So Monday would be your lower body day, Tuesday your upper body, Wednesday your cross-fit, and so on.

30-Day Cleanse Challenges

One sure-fire way to get your weight loss back on track is with a 30-day cleanse. There are countless ones to choose from, from paid programs like The Clean Program and ones you can easily do yourself, such as the Master Cleanse.

If you’re on a high-protein diet or are bulking up, certain types of cleanses are best avoided until you can gradually adjust your diet. Alternatively, there are a number of high-protein cleanses which will whip you into shape.

30-Day Ab Challenges

Sometimes the most effective workout challenges are those with a visible and tangible goal at the end. Telling yourself you want to get shredded within a month is a powerful visual motivator that will jump-start your weight loss journey in a heartbeat.

There are several highly-recommended ab challenges you can undertake without having to spend a single penny. Try the 30-day ab challenge app to start with, so you can game-if your weight loss and push yourself to the finish line.

30-Day Squat Challenges

This one is especially popular with the ladies, for good reason. Workout routines that make you look and feel good in a rapidly short period of time are few and far between.

The simplicity and ease of most squat challenges are a key part of their appeal and a great way to build up your motivation again.

Start off with just a few squats and keep building until you’re doing hundreds a day by the end on the month.

Learn More

It takes more than fitness challenges to reach the finish line and achieve the body of your dreams. You need support, expertise, and discipline to ensure your body is the very best it can be.

If you want the support and information you need to reach the top, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We’re here to get you on track – your success is our mission.

The Million Dollar Question: Should You Get a Fitness Coach?

The Million Dollar Question: Should You Get a Fitness Coach?

Motivating yourself is hard, ask anyone who works freelance. Going to the gym is often the same. Sometimes what you need is somebody to motivate you, to tell you that you are doing the right thing and that you can do this, that you are ever-so nearly there.

But hiring a fitness coach can help with more than just motivation. A coach is an expert who can tell you where you’re going wrong, what equipment and what exercises are the most effective. Sometimes a coach is all you need to ensure you meet your goals.

Getting Started

Some people start going to the gym in their teens, others in their 40s or older have never been to the gym. That is ok. The problem is the longer you put it off the harder it can become to know where to start.

Feelings of embarrassment at being unable to use the equipment or feeling you should give up after the first ten minutes are only natural.

A personal fitness coach can give you the confidence to be able to approach your first few times at the gym with the vigor you need to accomplish your goals.

Does the Gym Bore You?

Don’t lie, do you tell everyone you love going to the gym? Everyone says they love it but what they – and you – mean is you love having gone to the gym. You like the end result, the feeling you get after a good workout.

The feeling you get whilst you’re there, however, can be repetitive. And sometimes trying and failing at new routines can be disheartening. We can help keeping you inspired with our tips but they can only go so far in helping you stay in the game.

A personal coach can show you hundreds of different routines and show you how to take advantage of the more complicated equipment. They can also construct a routine that keeps you on your toes and does not involve you losing interest or focus.

Train For a Marathon Or Competition With A Fitness Coach

The biggest reason to hire a personal coach is if you want to train for a marathon or a competition. Some people do competitions or marathons because they involve setting goals on a big scale.

Such goals can help them prove to themselves that they are able to meet their personal goals or because gearing up for something big is the most effective way for them to get fit.

Either way, a gym coach can see you through the dark times as well as the good days if you decide to take on a marathon challenge. As you inevitably consider giving up out of fear or not being able to achieve your goals, they can be your guiding light.

Whilst it is possible to complete a marathon without training from a professional instructor, as celebrities who competed in the London Marathon have claimed, it is not advisable for most people.

As well as the motivating factors, running such a distance requires a level of pacing and self-control that only an instructor can safely advise you on.

Don’t Delay: Hire A Coach.

If you are hesitating about getting a fitness coach then the best advice is to just go for it. You can usually get a free trial and can get a chance to decide if you gel with your coach.

Remember you don’t have to have a coach with you at every session you do at the gym but one session once-a-week could really help you.

If you’re serious about getting fit why not get in touch and try our 9-week challenge with a personal coach.

Keep It Simple: How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Healthy Lifestyle Design

Keep It Simple: How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Healthy Lifestyle Design

Are you tired of feeling guilty for “cheating” on your diet?

Does the guilt cause you then to overeat for several days afterward which sabotages some of your progress?

Are you looking for an easier way to manage your healthy lifestyle choices? So you can stay on track and finally meet (or maintain) your weight and fitness goals?

If so, then applying the 80/20 rule to your diet and exercise plans may be the right fit for you.

What Is the 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 rule comes from the famous Pareto principle that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  While this originally related to the distribution of wealth in Italy, it’s now being applied to other things, including healthy lifestyle choices.

By following the 80-20 rule, you will focus on eating well and exercising 80% of the time. For example, eating well and working out during the week and indulging (a bit) on the weekend. Or, if you tend to go out with your coworkers for lunch on Friday or out with your friends on Friday night, perhaps your indulging days could be Friday and Saturday. The choice is yours.

In short, it doesn’t matter which times/meals you choose to have as your 20% indulging time, you need to keep it under 20% of the time.

What Can You Eat Following the 80-20 Rule?

For the majority (80%) of the time, you should focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods.

This includes a low-calorie breakfast, packed with protein and fiber to keep you full longer and fight off the desire to snack (or eat those bagels one of your coworkers loves to bring to the office). By limiting your calories at breakfast, you start your day off on the right foot.

Lunch and dinner options can vary widely depending on your personal preferences. Focus on whole foods that offer a variety of nutrients: lean proteins, whole grains, and veggies and fruits chosen from the colors of the rainbow.

For snacks, choose foods like nuts, yogurt, fruits or veggies with hummus or salsa.

During your 20% “indulging” time, try to choose things you really enjoy. Don’t grab the first sweet or salty snack that comes your way. Make it something you have been craving all week or that you don’t want to live without.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you get to eat an entire pizza or a whole pint of ice cream.

While following the 80/20 rule, as with any dietary plan, practicing portion control is a key factor for success.

How Much Exercise Do You Need to Do?

The experts say the average adult should do 2 1/2 hours of moderate activity per week and do muscle-building exercises at least 2 days per week.

This equates to a minimum of a half-hour each day (Monday through Friday) and a weight training session two days a week.

Or, if you prefer or your schedule doesn’t allow time every workday, you can add some time to your workouts and cut the sessions down to a few days per week.

How you choose to get your half-hour of “moderate activity” is up to you.

Walking at a rate where you are breathing harder than normal but can still talk well enough to keep up a conversation works fine.

Of course, biking, rollerskating, dancing, running, or any other kind of physical activity you enjoy works just fine, too!

Many may find keeping an exercise log beneficial in making sure they get the right amount of each type of exercise each week.

You just need to get moving. Your heart and body will thank you!

Give the 80/20 Rule a Try

Try following the 80-20 rule diet for a few weeks and see how great you’ll feel. Say goodbye to guilt and not having flexibility in your healthy lifestyle choices. Losing weight and staying fit doesn’t have to be complicated.

The right mindset doesn’t hurt either. For more about that, here’s a podcast about how to maintain the right mindset to succeed following the 80/20 rule.

Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fasting Diet

Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fasting Diet

Fasting is something that’s played a key role in virtually all of the world’s major religions and dates back millions of years. Today, though, while fasting is still observed for many religious purposes, it’s become a new lifestyle that helps individuals lose weight, have more energy, and fight disease.

While fasting isn’t a new concept, intermittent fasting is something that has emerged in the past few years. It has gained popularity due to the incredible benefits it offers against signs of aging and disease.

Keep reading to learn about intermittent fasting and why this may want to be a lifestyle change you make.

Understanding Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a process that involves cycling in and out of periods where you eat and don’t eat. While people do experience (often significant) weight loss with this eating schedule, it’s not as much of a diet plan as it is a lifestyle choice that provides a wide array of health benefits.

There are several methods used with intermittent fasting. These include:

The 5:2 Method

This is the method that allows you to eat normally for five days a week. The two days after are for fasting, but you still eat. The goal is to keep calorie intake on this day between 500 and 600.

The Eat-Stop-Eat Method

This method is a bit different. With this, you restrict all food for a period of 24 hours. This is repeated two to three times per week.

The 16/8 Method

Here, you consume all your daily calories within a shortened period of time. In most cases, you eat in a period of six to eight hours.

The remaining 14 to 16 hours during the day, you fast. This is the method that can be done daily, or several times a week.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

When you switch to intermittent fasting, it will expand your limits while boosting your performance in several ways. Some of the specific benefits offered by this way of eating include:

  • Increase energy
  • Reduce bad cholesterol
  • Protect against various neurodegenerative diseases
  • Boost weight loss
  • Promote longevity
  • Reduce insulin resistance
  • Promote cellular repair

As you can see, the benefits are vast. As a result, this may be something you should consider trying.

Tips to Make the Most of Intermittent Fasting

While not eating for specific amounts of time alone offers health benefits, if you want to make the most of this lifestyle choice, there are a few other tips you need to use.

It can’t be a free-for-all when you do eat, as this is going to negate many of the benefits this way of eating offers. Some additional tips include:

  • Avoid refined grains and sugars (choose low-carb snacks when possible)
  • Don’t snack between meals
  • Remain active
  • Avoid snacking or eating in the evening and at night

By using these tips, the results of your intermittent fasting will be much more evident.

Be Healthier and Happier with Intermittent Fasting

As you can see, there are several options to consider if you are interested in intermittent fasting. As a result, you aren’t going to feel as deprived or hungry while following this way of eating.

Do you want to make a change to be healthier and happier? If so, let us help! Contact us to learn more about our nine-week challenge.

The Most Important Meal of the Day: 10 Delicious Low-Cal Breakfast Ideas You Need to Try

The Most Important Meal of the Day: 10 Delicious Low-Cal Breakfast Ideas You Need to Try

Are you one of the 43% of Americans who are actively trying to make healthier choices in their lifestyle? If you are, you also might be in the 80% of people who believe that eating a healthy diet requires you to make sacrifices.

While you might not be able to eat a daily McMuffin or indulge in bacon fat eggs loaded with cheese and a side of oily hashbrowns, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice delicious meals while also eating healthier foods.

It might sound too good to be true that you can still eat nutritious low-calorie breakfasts to help with weight loss that taste anything but low calorie.

But it can be done with a bit of meal prep and trying out different recipes that work for you and your taste preferences.

Don’t believe us? Well, get ready to be proved wrong. This list of our 10 favorite low cal breakfast ideas and recipes is going to make you a believer.

Thinking of Skipping Breakfast Altogether? Think Again

You might be thinking to yourself that it’s better to save on calories by skipping breakfast altogether. But, did you know that skipping breakfast has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity/weight gain?

There’s a reason that breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day. Scientists believe that getting those essential nutrients and energy from food in the morning is crucial to regulating your hunger throughout the day.

Think about it from your own personal experience: when you skip breakfast, aren’t you starving by lunchtime? Aren’t you more likely to overeat or overindulge on snacks or at your next meal because you’re so hungry from not eating in the morning?

Not eating breakfast can also hurt your overall energy levels and mental performance throughout the day.

You’ll feel tired, unmotivated, a lack of concentration, etc. You also won’t have the energy to exercise, which is a crucial part of a weight loss journey.

Now that we’ve hopefully convinced you to stop skipping your morning meal, let’s get into some delicious recipes you can try out without going over on your allotted calories.

1. Fruit Protein Smoothie

Not everyone has the biggest appetite in the morning, which can lead to the desire to skip breakfast. But since you now know that you shouldn’t do that, even those who can’t stomach solid foods in the morning will be able to get the right start with a fruit and protein smoothie.

Studies show that eating protein in the morning can ward off hunger pangs, keep you feeling fuller for longer, and fight off cravings you might have for not-so-healthy foods (looking at you, office donuts).

Loading your smoothies with healthy fruits adds to your daily fiber intake, which can also help keep you full until your next meal, all while staying super low in calories.

Try out this recipe:

  • 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 1 small container of non-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of milk (either skim, almond, or soy)
  • 1 scoop protein powder

This will make a delicious smoothie that’s filling, nutritious, and under 300 calories!

2. Poached Egg Over Toast

Eggs are another excellent protein source to try out in the morning. They’re packed with protein, selenium, healthy fats, and healthy cholesterol. They’re also naturally low in calories: one large egg is only about 80 calories.

To avoid adding any extra unhealthy calories, don’t cook the eggs in butter or oil. You can cook it on a non-stick pan or with zero calorie spray, or you could try poaching or hard/soft boiling it.

Throw two large eggs over a piece of high-fiber multigrain toast, a little bit of hot sauce, and a cup of coffee, and you have a simple and easy low-calorie breakfast that will keep you full and focused.

3. Yogurt and Fruit Parfait

As with both protein smoothies and eggs, yogurt is a high-protein option to add to your breakfast recipe arsenal.

One study showed that people who ate yogurt throughout the week had a lower chance of being overweight or obese. The same study found these results were amplified when those people also ate diets high in fruit.

So combine the two by adding together a container of your favorite yogurt (Greek yogurt is highest in protein!) with some berries and bananas. You can also add in some healthy granola or nuts if you feel like you need to add a bit more substance to the meal.

Really want to cut down on your calories? Opt for plain yogurt with no added sugar and let the natural sugars in the fruit provide the sweetness.

4. Nut Butter, Banana, and Chia Seeds, Oh My!

This breakfast combines three “super breakfast foods” into one amazing meal.

Let’s start with bananas. Bananas are super high in fiber while also being low in calories. Fiber, as we mentioned before, can help ward off cravings and keep you feeling full for longer.

Studies also show adding fruit like bananas into your diet is strongly correlated with weight loss.

Chia seeds are also high in fiber, giving the same benefits we’ve gone over. But, they also have the unique quality of absorbancy. Chia seeds absorb liquid and expand after you consume them.

This will make you feel fuller. These tiny seeds are also high in protein and reduce levels of the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin.

Lastly, your favorite nut butter, whether that’s peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or whatever, is going to be packed with protein and healthy fats. While nut butter is high in calories, you only need a tiny amount, so it shouldn’t overload this recipe.

Take a small amount of nut butter, spread it on a slice of toast, and top it with sliced bananas and chia seeds for the perfect balanced breakfast.

5. Apple Cinnamon Oat Bran Muffin

We bet you thought that you’d have to give up all breakfast pastries to stay low cal in the morning, didn’t you?

But these apple cinnamon oat bran muffins are only a little over 120 calories per muffin. They’re also packed with protein, glycemic controlling oatmeal and bran, and fiber.

Spread a bit of nut butter or healthy jam on these muffins as you go for a filling and delicious breakfast.

6. Loaded Veggie Omelet

Let’s give you another savory option after giving almost only sweet ones. Omelets are notorious for getting unhealthy: remember that huge plate-sized one from your favorite dinner that oozed cheese and oil?

Yeah, this isn’t that. It’s just as delicious though and probably 1000 times healthier.

You’ll need:

  • Two large eggs
  • Zero calorie cooking spray
  • Diced onion
  • Mixed peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup spinach

All of these veggies are going to add very few calories but plenty of volume and nutrients to this meal. That combined with the eggs is going to keep you full for just around 300 calories.

First, throw the spinach into the pan to wilt. Once it’s reduced in size, add in the mushrooms and onion to cook down. Once the onions are translucent, add in the rest of the veggies and season with salt and pepper.

Lastly, add in your whisked eggs and cook everything into an omelet form. Season as you go with some salt and pepper. Dill is another great seasoning to add to eggs.

Top it off with some of your favorite hot sauce, and you have a large and filling breakfast that low in calories that also won’t make you feel gross the rest of the day like your old diner favorite probably will.

7. Sweet Potato Breakfast Burrito

This breakfast burrito is packed with food, you’ll be shocked to learn that the entire thing is only around 300 calories.

The protein comes from both egg whites and black beans. The black beans are also high in fiber, which you know by now is beneficial for low-calorie breakfasts to stay filling.

Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and have been shown to help regulate sugar levels. They also have healthy carbs that boost your energy and can help you burn calories in between meals. The avocado in this adds the perfect amount of creaminess along with healthy fats.

Here’s your ingredient list:

  • 1 low carb whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 large egg (separated white from the yolk)
  • 1/2 of a sweet potato
  • 2 teaspoons enchilada sauce
  • Cumin, salt, and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 avocado diced
  • 1/4 cup of canned black beans, rinsed

Start by microwaving the sweet potato for around 5 minutes, or until it’s soft. Remove, separate the flesh from the skin, and mash in a bowl.

Next, beat your egg whites. Add to a pan over medium heat. While the eggs cook, combine your beans and all of your spices in a bowl.

Once the eggs are cooked, remove them from the pan.

Warm your tortilla, and get to burrito making! Add the eggs, potato, avocado, and bean mixture altogether. Before rolling the burrito, add in your enchilada and/or hot sauce.

This goes great with salsa and sour cream. To avoid the calories of sour cream, try plain Greek yogurt for low fat, lower calories, and a boost of protein!

8. Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

Pancakes are another breakfast favorite you probably thought you’d never see again on a low-calorie diet. As with the muffin, you (fortunately) thought wrong!

This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction is only 122 calories per pancake. Load two of them up with strawberries, bananas, a bit of peanut butter, and a dash of maple syrup for a breakfast that feels indulgent but still is only about 300 calories.

These pancakes are also filled with excellent sources of protein and fiber. The oatmeal in it has been linked to balancing blood sugar levels, maintaining fullness, reducing appetite, and helping your cardiovascular health.

9. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich

Let’s end with a staple: the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Are you surprised to see both bacon and cheese on a list of low cal breakfast ideas?

Well, so are we. Both bacon and cheese are usually high in harmful fat and cholesterol. However, this recipe uses lean turkey bacon that’s low in fat and high in delicious protein.

It also uses fat-free cheese to keep the fat, and the calories, low while also giving you the delicious bacon cheesy goodness we all crave once in a while.

In total, this yummy and easy to make breakfast sandwich is only around 200 calories. Beef it up with a slice of avocado to add a bit more pizzazz, or keep in simple and plain with a side of berries.

Low Cal Breakfast Ideas to Start Your Day Right

No matter what type of breakfast you crave, you can find at least an idea of what you should eat right here on this list.

Sweet or savory, hot or cold, each one of these low cal breakfast ideas will provide you with key energy and nutrients you need without the excessive calories that traditional breakfasts can bring.

And with the variety you see here, perhaps it gives you a bit more confidence that you can maintain a low calorie and nutritious diet without getting bored or only eating dull and bland salads for every meal.

These meals are also quick and easy to make, so you don’t have any excuse not to try them out!

While weight loss and staying healthy doesn’t seem as quick and easy as these recipes, it can be. Try out our 9-week program to see fast results getting you closer to your dream body with each day!

Contact us with any questions or to get for more information to get started.

10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight and How to Fix Them

10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight and How to Fix Them

Over half of Americans say they’re trying to lose weight. It can often feel like you’re doing everything right, but you’re not losing weight.

You’ve tried the most recent fad diet and committed to a rigorous exercise regime, but the pounds aren’t shifting.

The answer has to be somewhere. Don’t give up just yet!

Instead, find out why losing weight is hard and what you can do to fix it. Check it out below!

1. Not Getting Enough Protein

If you’re having a hard time losing weight, then you could still be eating the wrong things.

Even if you’ve reduced your overall consumption, you might need to increase your protein intake. You want to lose fat, not muscle.

People who eat a protein-rich diet (between 15 and 25% of overall calories) store nearly 50% of excess calories as muscle rather than fat. If your diet consists of only 5% proteins, then 95% of your excess calories are stored as fat, not muscle.

So make sure you’re eating plenty of eggs, lean meats, and legumes in your diet.

2. Dehydration

Apparently, 80% of working Americans don’t drink enough water on a regular basis. You may be eating great, but are you drinking enough water?

After all, up to 65% of the human body is made up of water. It’s essential to the healthy functioning of your body.

However, it’s also really important when it comes to weight loss. High water consumption can even improve your metabolism by up to 30%.

3. High-Stress Levels

We’re stressed!

It could be about our country’s future. Our personal finances. Or about work.

If you’re trying to lose weight, then high-stress levels are really not helping. There is a correlation between high stress and larger weight lines, according to studies.

You can either get started with mindful meditation, which has been shown to reduce mental stress and anxiety. Or you may need to make some drastic decisions about your work and home life. Either way, your stressful life could be responsible for not losing weight with diet and exercise.

4. You’re Click Happy

We quickly moving toward a cashless society. However, this could have some significant consequences for people trying to lose weight.

Studies have shown that people who use credit cards to pay for groceries online are more likely to make unhealthy purchases. Therefore, if you think you’re guilty of being “click happy” with your credit card, then it’s time to switch back to the green stuff.

5. Missing Out On Sleep

You may have trouble losing weight because you’re not getting enough sleep.

According to research, not enough sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for developing obesity. Therefore, the fact that more than one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep is worrying.

If you want better sleep, you may need to consider when the best time to do exercise is to optimize your shut-eye. Or how you set a regular bedtime and wake-up time to improve your sleep patterns.

6. Lack of Vegetables and Fruits

Do you only ever buy food which has nutritional information on the label?

You don’t need to only purchase groceries which are labeled “low fat” or “no added sugar.”

Instead, why not purchase whole foods which don’t have any labels at all. Most importantly, you need to be eating fresh fruit and vegetables to lose weight.

By eating fresh fruit and veggies you can also maintain your healthy diet after you’ve achieved your weight loss goal.

7. Overeating

Do you ever think – “It’s healthy! I can eat as much of this as I want.” This is a dangerous game to play.

It’s also possible to overeat low-calorie and so-called “healthy” foods. Simply put, if you’re consuming calories that you’re not burning off, then you’re overeating.

Eating fruit can be essential to feed your cravings if you’re cutting out candy and chocolate. But, you can also eat too much of this good stuff too.

8. Drinking Calories

It’s so easy to concentrate too much on what you’re eating and forget that your drinks count as calories too.

If you often find yourself drinking lattes and smoothies instead of water, then you need to count those calories as well.

Although your regular black coffee doesn’t contain many calories, lattes and other milky coffee drinks do. Even a latte without sugar and low-fat milk contains up to 150 calories. However, if you’re choosing to add syrups and whole milk, you could be going over 400 calories.

When you consume sweet drinks, this also triggers your cravings for more food. So, you’re making it harder for yourself.

9. You’re Hungry

If you want to lose weight, you’re probably going to reduce the number of calories you are consuming. You can always go too far!

If you reduce your calories too much and too quickly, you could starve yourself. This slows down your metabolism so you can’t lose weight as easily.

If you’re eating less than 400 calories, your body could stop functioning normally. Your stress levels will increase and your thyroid hormones breakdown.

10. Run Don’t Walk

Even though any physical activity can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, if you want to lose weight, you need to do more than just walking.

Low-intensity workouts, such as walking with friends in the park, can be great, but you need to go up a gear as well.

You need to do moderate-intensity exercises if you want the pounds to fall off you. These include jogging, swimming, and cycling.

Why You’re Not Losing Weight

When you’re not losing weight with diet and exercise, it can be hard to stay motivated to achieve your weight loss goal. However, there are numerous reasons why you’re having a hard time losing weight.

Now you know what mistakes you need to watch out. It’s time to fix them and get back on track.

Do you want to find out more about how we can help you overcome your setback? Check out our 9-week challenge here!

How Much Weight Can You Lose In 2 Months? How to Set Weight Loss Goals that You Can Smash

How Much Weight Can You Lose In 2 Months? How to Set Weight Loss Goals that You Can Smash

Are you depressed by the statistic that 95% of people regain weight after losing it?

So many diets claim that you can lose weight with a magic pill or an expensive gym membership. What you really need is a heavy dose of realism!

Do you want to know how much weight can you lose in 2 months?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the safe amount of weight to lose in a month is 4 to 8 pounds. So, in over 2 months you can lose up to 16 pounds. But, it’s up to you!

Follow our tips to find out how you can set weight loss goals that you can smash this time. Let’s get started!

1. Concentrate on the Process

Imagine you want to achieve your weight loss goal of 16 pounds in 2 months. But, that’s not the whole story!

It’s important to concentrate on the process rather than the outcome. Your outcome goal is 16 pounds in 2 months. Your process goals are the steps you take to reach your outcome goal.

For example, your process goal may be to do 30 minutes of physical exercise each morning. Or eating a vegan diet during the weekdays.

Instead of thinking about the abstract goal at the end of the tunnel, you need to focus on the habits and behavior which can help you make it to the end.

2. Setbacks are Normal

Weight loss is not easy. You’re going to have setbacks along the way.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you binge eat after a difficult day at work. Or when you skip your yoga class to watch television.

If you expect setbacks are going to happen, you can prepare for them when you encounter them.

When you know your friend’s birthday party is around the corner, you can plan how you’re going to deal with it. How are you going to say no to the slice of pizza?

3. Adapt Your Goals

You begin with a goal of 16 pounds in 2 months. But, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to it!

If you’re making significant progress after a couple of weeks, you could increase your weight loss target to 20 pounds in 2 months.

You could decide that you were too ambitious with your goal the first time around. Instead, you need to reduce your weight loss goal!

Instead set a different target. This time ask yourself – can I lose 10 pounds in a month?

4. Get a Weight Loss Buddy

Social support is really important when it comes to weight loss. Your network of family and friends is hugely valuable. You also need a weight loss buddy who is going through the same thing as you.

When you’ve hit rock bottom and you’re on the edge of reaching for the refrigerator, you can call your weight loss buddy for help. Your weight loss buddy knows your weight loss goals and your strategies to achieve them. Your buddy keeps you accountable to your promises.

Instead of a weight loss buddy, you can also hire a professional coach to help you keep your weight loss goals.

5. Remind Yourself of Your Goal

Don’t allow yourself to forget your weight loss goal! There are numerous different techniques to remind yourself on a regular basis of what you set out to achieve.

You can visualize your success! Imagine what you’re going to look like when you’ve accomplished your goal.

Spend time repeating phrases which help you to stay motivated in hard times. Such as, “no thanks, I’ve already eaten” and “I can do this!”

6. Track Your Progress

It’s helpful to keep a weight loss journal which tracks your progress each day. Include everything you’re eating, your time spent doing exercise and your current weight and measurements.

It is easy to pretend you’re losing weight when you’re actually not. Telling yourself you’re eating healthy, but not counting the snacks you had in between meals is not helping.

7. Meditation to Focus

You may wonder what meditation has to do with weight loss. After all, surely sitting down and meditating is time wasted when you could be burning calories, right?

And yet, there is scientific evidence that meditation improves your ability to concentrate on your goals in weight loss. There are also numerous other health benefits of meditation practice. These include relieving the symptoms of stress and improving your emotional awareness.

8. Always Meal Prep

When you come home from work, the last thing you want to do is prepare and cook a delicious healthy meal. Instead, spend one day per week meal prepping for the rest of the week.

Then, when you come home from work, instead of getting a take-out, you just warm-up the healthy meal you made earlier. If you really need to order take-out, then choose a healthy option.

9. Buy New Clothes

We reward ourselves with tasty foods a lot of the time.

Did you get a promotion? Go buy some yummy candy from the store!

Graduated from college? Congrats! Let’s go out for an expensive meal.

When you want to lose weight, eating and drinking can longer be your reward for your achievements. When you’ve achieved one of your weight loss milestones, go shopping for clothes instead!

This doesn’t undo your hard work. But also, you get to enjoy your slimmer look in a new get-up.

10. Sleep Well

If you want to achieve your weight loss goal, then you need to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is just as important as healthy eating and physical activity for weight loss.

Many people don’t get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. In fact, over one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep.

Poor sleep increases your risk of obesity by up to 55%. So, make sure you get plenty of shut-eye.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in 2 Months?

If you want to achieve your weight loss goal, then follow our tips for staying on track. We can help you to determine how much weight can you lose in 2 months. We’ll help you every step of the way.

If you want to know more about how we can help you, check out our 9-week challenge now!

17 Fun Weight Loss Rewards to Help Keep You Inspired

17 Fun Weight Loss Rewards to Help Keep You Inspired

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study conducted a few years ago, almost 50 percent of Americans are trying to lose weight at any given time.

Some people are attempting to shed a few pounds to make themselves healthier. Others are doing it in an effort to look better in their clothes. And there are, of course, some moms looking to bounce back from pregnancy and lose baby weight.

There are so many different reasons to lose weight, but finding the motivation to do it can be tough. It’s why you should consider treating yourself to weight loss rewards throughout your journey.

Exercise rewards will make you more motivated than ever before to lose as much weight as you can. They’ll also give you something to look forward to as you strive to lose weight.

Here are 17 rewards that are guaranteed to keep you inspired.

1. Purchase New Workout Gear

There are a lot of people who make the mistake of treating themselves to new workout gear as soon as they commit to getting back in the gym to lose weight. They think it’ll help them take their commitment more seriously.

Resist the urge to do this and wait until after you’ve established a routine before buying new workout gear. It’ll prevent you from buying gear that you don’t actually need. It’ll also allow new workout gear to serve as one of your very first weight loss rewards.

2. Treat Yourself to a Massage

Is your goal to completely transform the look of your body by losing weight? This 9 Week Challenge will provide you with everything you’ll need to make your weight loss dreams a reality in a short amount of time.

You will, however, find that you’re pretty sore during the first few weeks of working out. Your muscles are going to ache, and your entire body will feel drained at times.

This is not necessarily a bad thing! It’s actually a sign that your body is responding to the workouts you’re doing and getting into better shape. But that won’t make you feel any better when you’re very sore.

A massage can take care of the soreness and inflammation you might feel following a string of hard workouts. It’ll also improve your blood flow and make your muscles feel looser than they would otherwise.

Treat yourself to a nice massage to get your body feeling its best again. This will motivate you to get back into the gym quicker.

3. Take a Beach Vacation

A study that was done a few years ago revealed that about one-third of Americans would rather take a trip to the dentist’s office than put on a bathing suit. They simply can’t stand the way they look in a swimsuit.

This won’t be a problem for you once you start losing a bunch of weight. You’re going to be excited about slipping into a swimsuit for the first time in a long time.

Circle a date on your calendar and tell yourself that you’re going to take a beach vacation at that time. You’ll feel an unprecedented amount of motivation every time you go to the gym when you use beach vacations as exercise rewards.

4. Try a New Hairstyle

Once you start losing weight, you’re going to have to get used to hearing, “You look so much different!”, every time you bump into someone who hasn’t seen you in a while. They’ll be blown away by your new look.

Why not start getting used to it now by trying a new hairstyle? Whether you decide to chop all your hair off or just make a small change to it, it’ll help you prepare for all the looks you’re going to be getting when the pounds start coming off in the coming weeks.

5. Participate in a Recreational Sports League

There’s a reason why about 80 percent of American adults don’t get enough exercise on a regular basis. It’s because they don’t enjoy the monotony that comes along with going to the gym day after day after day after…well, you get the point.

When you spend almost every day in the gym, it can start to get boring after a little while. So why not spice things up by finding fun ways to exercise in between gym workouts?

One good way to do it is by participating in a recreational sports league. There are adult leagues all over the country that would be more than happy to welcome you into the mix.

You can sign up for a sports league on your own and meet some new friends or team up with your existing friends to start your own team. Either way, it’ll allow you to blow off some steam while taking part in something you enjoy.

6. Get a Tattoo

We’ve already talked about how you’re going to want to show off plenty of skin once you begin losing weight. Going to the beach and sitting by the pool will start to become the norm for you when you’re not carrying around a bunch of extra weight.

And while you’re showing off your skin for the first time in a while, won’t it be great to show off a new tattoo (or two?!), too? Tattoos make great weight loss rewards for those who are ready to start showing off their muscles more in the future.

Studies have shown that about 40 percent of Americans now have tattoos. Additionally, 25 percent have more than one tattoo. Treat yourself to some fresh ink today and use it to remind yourself of how far you’ve come so far.

7. Pick Up New Running Sneakers

Most fitness experts will tell you that it’s smart to replace your running sneakers every 300 to 500 miles. That might seem like a long time in between sneaker replacements, but it’ll sneak up on you when you’re knocking out a few miles at a time.

If your current sneakers are on the older side, throw them in the trash and replace them with new ones as one of your exercise rewards. You’ll love how they fit, and you’ll cut down on your chances of suffering feet and leg injuries thanks to your new sneakers.

8. Have Updated Headshots Taken at Work

Do you cringe every time you look at the photo on your work ID? Or do you have a professional headshot on your company’s website that makes you want to quit tomorrow just so that they’ll take the picture down?

Now is the perfect time to do something about it. Walk into work as soon as you can and ask for a new photo to be taken of you. As long as you like the weight loss progress you’ve made thus far, it’ll give you an opportunity to show off how far you’ve come.

9. Splurge on a Mani-Pedi

The best weight loss rewards are the ones that allow you to pamper yourself. We already talked about the benefits of getting a massage, but there are other ways you can pamper yourself when you’re not lying down on the massage table.

Splurging on a manicure and pedicure is one terrific option. You’ll feel so relaxed after heading down to the salon to get both your fingernails and your toenails pampered.

And if you need more rewards than just that? Go all out and visit a local spa for a mani-pedi along with a facial and whatever other spa treatments they have to offer.

10. Enroll in Cooking Classes

Working out is obviously one of the keys to losing weight. You need to burn as many calories as you possibly can in the gym to see the pounds start to fall off.

But outside of working out, it’s also important for you to eat healthily. This starts with finding the right foods for your specific body type and also includes learning how to prepare the proper meals in your kitchen.

To make it easier for you to diet, consider enrolling yourself in some cooking classes so that you can learn how to cook things that will taste good and be good for you. This is one of the weight loss rewards that will continue rewarding you for a long, long time.

11. Buy a Better Mattress

In addition to working out and eating right, there’s one other thing you’ll need to do to lose weight: Sleep! Sleep will allow your body to recover from your workouts and make losing weight easier on you.

The problem? Americans are becoming more and more sleep deprived by the year. Smartphones, Netflix, and all the other technological advances that have come along have made sleep expendable for some people. It’s why one-third of Americans don’t sleep enough.

Avoid being sleep deprived by buying yourself a better mattress. It’ll make you want to spend as much time in bed as you possibly can moving forward.

12. Invest in New Headphones

Are you still using the headphones that came with your smartphone to listen to music at the gym?

Put an end to that immediately and invest in high-quality headphones that will enhance your workout. Ideally, you should look for a pair of Bluetooth headphones that will sync up with your smartphone or, better yet, your smartwatch and make it easy to scroll through your workout playlist.

13. Put Together a New Playlist

Speaking of a workout playlist, you do have one of those, right?

If not, get on it immediately. There are hundreds of workout songs that’ll get you into the right frame of mind to work out harder in the gym.

Studies have shown that music can actually make it more fun to exercise. It can also motivate you to push yourself, which will ultimately lead to you losing more weight than you could have imagined.

14. Ask Friends to Take a Fitness Class

If your motivation levels have been low in the gym lately, think about making one of your weight loss rewards fitness classes with your friends. Whether you choose to take yoga classes, spin classes, or other types of classes, you’ll find that you get more out of your workouts when you’re in a group.

There are many benefits that come along with working out as part of a group. They include everything from increased socialization to lower stress levels. Give it a shot today.

15. Subscribe to a New Magazine

There is so much you can learn about making the most of your workouts right online. You don’t need fitness magazines anymore to obtain workout tips.

But if you still enjoy getting your hands on a magazine every now and then (maybe to bring along with you on your beach vacation?), subscribe to one of the many fitness magazines as one of your exercise rewards.

You can find tips on working out, eating right, sleeping, and so much more in these magazines. And if nothing else, looking at photos of other fit people will give you a kick in the butt and motivate you like never before.

16. Enjoy a Cheat Day

Sticking to a diet day in and day out is a tall task. It can start to feel like it’s going to be impossible to do it when there’s no end in sight. Enter: The cheat day!

Cheat days give you a chance to eat all the things you abstain from on a regular basis. You can chow down on pizza, brownies, and whatever else you miss eating when you’re dieting.

You shouldn’t go too crazy with your cheat days and end up slipping back into old habits. But if you indulge every now and again, it can actually help you stay on track as you work towards losing weight.

17. Take On a New Training Routine

After you spend a few months working out and lose a bunch of weight, it’s not uncommon to hit what’s called a “weight loss plateau.” It’s when you suddenly stop losing weight after dropping a bunch of pounds.

One way to combat a weight loss plateau is by trying a new training routine on for size. If you’ve been doing nothing but weight training, give cardio a try. Or if you’ve been doing nothing but running, try hitting the weights and see how it goes.

By simply switching up your workout, you can shake things up in your body and get it to start burning calories and shedding pounds again.

Start Using These Weight Loss Rewards Now

Losing weight takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. But you also need to reward yourself from time to time to keep your motivation levels up.

The weight loss rewards listed here should give you all the motivation you’ll need to keep working hard in the gym and continue eating right. Work your way through them and reward yourself whenever you need a quick boost.

Contact us today to get the fitness coaching and training you need to keep your weight loss goals on track.

Tools of the Trade: 15 Must-Have Gym Accessories You Should Keep in Your Gym Bag

Tools of the Trade: 15 Must-Have Gym Accessories You Should Keep in Your Gym Bag

Are you just getting started in fitness? At least the kind of fitness that involves going to the gym or working with a trainer?

A lot of people never start because they feel intimidated. They feel like there’s a workout learning curve and they don’t want to feel silly. First of all – everyone looks silly at first and second, that’s why you need a plan from respected trainers.

Once you get past the anxiety, you learn that there are gym accessories you need as well. But don’t worry about figuring out what they are. We have thirteen essentials for you to throw in your bag below.

1. Gym Bag Dividers

If you’re the kind of person who gets serious at the gym: like changes and showers out of their sweaty clothes after, then you need dividers or at least a gym bag with good pockets.

You don’t want to be standing in the locker room hot and sweaty trying to find all the things you need to take to the shower. Instead, they should be in some sort of shower-friendly bag/kit.

Look for materials made out of mesh or netting, so if they get wet, the water can escape and dry. If they do get wet, wrap them in your used towel on your way home.

The towel will soak up any water and it won’t get anything else in your bag wet.

Dividers or pockets are also great for shoes so that the dirty bottoms don’t touch your other clothes. Ideally, you’ll have gym shoes that you only wear in the gym – but there are germs indoor too.

2. Deodorant

Yes, this one seems like a no brainer, but we all know that person in the gym that forgets it. You should have a separate deodorant that only lives in your gym bag.

When you use it, put it right back in its little pocket. This way, you’ll never be without.

But having deodorant on hand has another, less known use. If you forgot your chafe cream or you’re starting to rub a blister, you can glide deodorant on.

For a blister-to-be, the best solution is duct tape. But aside from that, you can rub some deodorant on the skin (under your sock) where you’re getting rubbed.

Some people like to rub deodorant on the outside of the sock over the spot, but that’s your choice.

If this happens to you a lot or you’re a bigger person (you’re welcome here), look into Body Glide. It’s a product made to prevent skin-on-skin chafing.

3. Hair Accessories

As long as you have hair, this point is for you. Whether that means a hairbrush, a comb, or both and some hair ties.

Being without a hair tie at the gym with long hair is only second to forgetting your headphones. A good trick to make sure you never forget them is to loop some around your water bottle.

Or, keep them around the base of your hairbrush. That way you’ll have them at hand. You can also throw in bobby pins, dry shampoo, and headbands if you’d like.

For shorter hair, don’t forget any styling products like gels.

4. Arnica Gel or Icy Hot

It happens to everyone — even us. You step wrong or you over-lift and you already know you’ll be hurting tomorrow. Prep yourself and decrease the inflammation with some pain-relief gel.

Some people like the sensation of Tiger Balm or Icy Hot — while others hate it. If you don’t want to tingle into tomorrow, try Arnica gel. It’s a natural remedy for soreness (and bruises).

5. Cleansing Wipes

In a perfect world, you should have time to shower after a workout. But we don’t live in that perfect world — do you? Many of us have to run off to another thing, lucky if we have time to change clothes.

Working out at home can help with the rush factor, but still, you shouldn’t run around all sweaty and smelly. Throw both some face wipes and baby wipes in your gym bag.

Neutrogena has a great product for this use, their Grapefruit Cleansing Wipes. We love the smell and their effectiveness. The wipes have cleansers in them, so they shouldn’t be used on sensitive body parts.

One of the most important places to wipe down (if you can’t shower) after a workout, is your crotch. A soggy crotch creates a perfect environment for bacteria.

That’s why our next item is on the list.

The baby wipes are perfect of wiping down those more sensitive areas and you can use them for all sorts of things too. Spill some protein powder in your bag? Now you have what you need to wipe it up.

6. Fresh Underwear

Yes, we said it. You should never, ever, stay in the same pants and underpants you just worked out in.

The yoga pants-type material most workout bottoms come in don’t breathe. That means whatever sweat that gathers there during your workout, stays there.

If you don’t change your underwear after a workout, you’re more likely to get both yeast infections and UTI’s.

Even if you didn’t bring a whole new outfit, make sure you stash a few pairs of clean underwear in your bag in case you forget.

And men – it’s not likely you’ll get those annoying conditions, but it’s still more sanitary to change after.

7. A Shaker Bottle

The two tips that follow this one aren’t any good on their own. You can “dry scoop” your pre-workout, but it’s not good for your taste buds (or lungs).

So, you want to make sure you have a good shaker bottle. The brand name Shaker Bottle came out around 2010. It has a little round ball in it which breaks up clumps of powder in liquid.

But there are other brands as well. The hurricane cup is a great one, as are bottles that have screens and shaker balls combined. You can find these at any large store near you.

Or check online if that’s more your jam.

If you do both pre and post workout drinks, look for a bottle that has a powder container. They usually screw on the bottom of the cup.

That way you can mix your pre or post workout fresh once you get to the gym.

8. Pre-Workout Powder or Drink

There’s one thing a lot of people don’t realize they need when working out – pre-workout. Pre-workout is a powder made of proteins, vitamins and some caffeine – all things that help you blast through your reps.

Right now, BANG is the big name in pre-workout, but it changes every couple of months. People like BANG because it’s low carb, which is great for people following the keto diet.

When you’re looking for pre-workout, make sure you read reviews online first. Some brands put too much caffeine and people note feeling jittery and anxious, not motivated to get through their workout.

If you’re jumping out of bed and running to the gym bright eyed and bushy tailed, then you can skip this. But if you’re trying to get through a workout after work and you’re already tired, try pre-workout.

The difference in your energy will surprise you.

9. Some Form of Protein (Post-Workout)

You need to eat protein within 20 minutes of finishing your workout. That’s what your muscles and your body needs to “lock in” the muscles you just built.

And yes, even if you’re not lifting large amounts, this applies to you too.

A lot of people take protein powder to the gym or keep it in their car for their way home, but that’s not the only option.

You can throw some almonds or pre-packed snacks full of protein in your bag as well.

Along with your protein, some people like to take amino acids after they workout. They find that they’re less sore the next day, so they can go just as hard as they did the day before.

You can look for those as post-workout or recovery drinks. Just make sure they have the essential amino acids in them before you buy.

10. The Right Shoes

We know that workout shoes are expensive, but think of them as a specialty item. Cross trainers are made/shaped differently than shoes meant for running.

And that’s a good thing! When you’re doing fast footwork, you don’t want shoes that have a big or tall bottom part. Why? If you move side to side in those shoes, you have more chance of rolling your ankle by stepping sideways.

Another example: runners need a lot of cushioning in their shoes. They are literally pounding the pavement after all. If you’re weight lifting, usually the gym floor (or your home carpet) is padded.

You don’t need as much cushioning as those continuously hitting the pavement.

If you use our program, look for some minimalist cross-trainers. They’re going to serve you best for the large range of exercises in our most popular programs.

11. Wireless Headphones

One of the best things about Bluetooth technology? Not having to be tied down to headphones in the gym. If you workout as hard as we do, you’re always accidentally yanking one out or the other.

And it’s annoying to feel that little bounce from the wires as you do cardio with headphones attached to your phone.

Go the route Google and Apple are already pushing people and invest in wireless headphones. The pair you choose shouldn’t have too long of a cord connecting them if there’s a cord at all.

Airbuds are the ideal solution, but they’re expensive and get lost easily.

If you don’t go the airbuds and look-alikes route, look for some that will hook over your ears. This will keep the buds in when you’re really giving those moves everything you’ve got.

And hey, when you’re done, wipe them down with a baby wipe to keep sweat and bacteria from building up on them. Good thing you already have those in your bag!

12. A Timer (or SmartWatch)

We already know that using some form of interval training is essential for burning fat. And to do interval training, you need some sort of timer.

Phones have timers, but they can be obnoxious to mess with and you can fall into looking-at-your-apps land. Instead, look for a smartwatch or fitness watch that has pre-set (or settable) timer/HIIT options.

These are also good to track your heart rate, potential calorie burn, and make sure you don’t miss an important call while your phone is in your pocket.

Fitbit is the big brand name, but there are plenty of other good options.

13. Portable Phone Charger

The worst thing that could happen (okay, at least one of them) is that your phone dies before your workout. Now not only do you not have your notes or exercises, but you don’t have any music.

Doing a hard workout without music isn’t something we’d wish on even our worst enemies.

So, make sure you’re never stuck in that position. Get a small portable charger and throw it in your bag. That way you have juice on the go.

And if you use it while you’re working out – plug it into the car jack on your way home. That way you remember to grab it and it’ll be charged next time you get out of the car.

Your Gym Accessories

Obviously, this list is going to change from person to person and from gym to gym. Maybe your gym doesn’t even have showers, so you don’t need to worry about that.

Or maybe you do all your workouts from home, in which case, there’s a different set of things you need (like hand weights).

But those are the basic gym accessories, at least according to us.

Ready to get started with your new, perfectly packed gym bag? Click here.

Cardio vs Weightlifting: How to Decide Which Is Best for Your Weight Loss

Cardio vs Weightlifting: How to Decide Which Is Best for Your Weight Loss

You know how it goes.

You try to prepare healthy meals for yourself. Maybe you even count your calories. Sometimes, it just isn’t enough.

For those of us who want to lose weight, we need to add some exercise to our routine to see the best results.

With so many options, it can be hard to choose what’s best for you. Let’s talk about the two most popular types of exercise. Weightlifting and cardio.

Why Diet Doesn’t Always Cut It

This is a tough one to say because a good diet has so much to offer.

Don’t think that we’re saying diet isn’t important! You’ve probably heard the expression: “Abs start in the kitchen.” It’s true. Diet can account for the majority of our weight loss results. The issue is that for some of us, it just isn’t enough.

For some people, the problem is having too many cheat meals. For others, it’s simple genetics.

A proper combination of diet and exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. Let’s talk about the benefits.

Why Exercise is Important

Let’s start with the basics. To understand which form of exercise is right for you, we need to understand what we’re talking about.

We all know that diet and exercise can lead to a very healthy life, but why?

Here are just a few benefits of regular exercise, in any capacity:

Increased Energy 

Okay, yes. Sometimes we leave the gym feeling exhausted. There is no denying it.

However, we still benefit from a lot of energy-boosting hormones that develop the more we exercise.

People who work out tend to get better, more effective sleep. This leads to significantly improved levels of energy throughout the day. No more feeling tired at work!

Check out the best times to exercise for better sleep.

Improved Mood and Brain Health

Exercise is known for the benefits to your body. It can go a long way for your overall health, too.

Regular exercise releases hormones and neurotransmitters. These include:

  • Serotonin – Known as the “Happy Hormone”. It regulates mood, social behavior, sleep, memory, and digestion.
  • Dopamine – Known for pleasurable effects, as well as improved memory and emotions.
  • Norepinephrine – Promotes memory and focuses attention.

These neurotransmitters are naturally formed by your body. Keeping a healthy balance of them is believed to have a critical role in preventing conditions. These conditions include depression, anxiety, and even dementia.

If you haven’t heard enough reasons to start hitting the gym, we’re not even done!

Gaining Self-Confidence

This is an issue more and more people are struggling with. Whether we like it or not, we all want to look good.

Nothing helps build confidence like seeing results in the mirror. The best part: the results can keep coming!

Achieve the body you’ve always wanted, and learn to be happy with how you look!

Increased Strength and Endurance

This is the one we hear about the most.

Have you ever been out of breath after walking up a couple flights of stairs? Maybe you’ve had an embarrassing moment trying to lift up something heavy. We’ve all been there.

This is avoidable. Regular exercise can get us in shape, and build our strength!

Clearly, there are a lot of benefits to exercise. Enough to fill up a book. So let’s talk about the most popular types of exercise.

Weightlifting

Strength training has been a popular and effective tool for humans since the start of their existence. But everything evolves.

There are so many different forms of strength training, it’s hard to keep track. So let’s only talk about lifting weights, which has a few subcategories of its own.

Let’s discuss the most popular.

Machines

Weight machines are a new development and are very popular. You’ll see them in almost every weight room.

There are a lot of benefits to machines, including:

  • Ease of use – Machines do not require training for form. There are usually images that will show you the proper movement. You also only need to move a pin to change the weight.
  • Availability – Almost every gym now has incorporated machines into their equipment.
  • Muscle growth – Varying your machine use is typically used for muscle growth, more than strength.

Let’s flip to the other side of the coin. Here are some of the downsides of machines:

  • Isolation movements – Machines tend to focus on one muscle or one muscle group. Compound movements are more effective for gaining strength.
  • Limited function – These are unnatural movements and do not translate well into functional strength.
  • Can increase the risk of injury – With the unnatural movements involved, and the added weight, it can lead to injury.

Here is a helpful guide to weight machines if you want to learn more.

Free Weights

Using dumbbells and barbells is great for functional strength and muscular endurance.

Free weight exercises have a lot of benefits:

  • Control and stability – Gain more balance and coordination by mastering the movements.
  • Strength – You will see strength gains in free weight training a lot more than with machines.
  • Function – Gain functional strength to help you with your daily activities.

The risks of free weight exercises include:

  • Learning the form – This can take time, but it’s absolutely necessary.
  • The potential for injury – This is especially true if we don’t learn the form!

These exercises can include a very wide variety. Here are some examples of free weight exercises.

Powerlifting

This is the best for pure strength. Powerlifting consists of only three functional movements:

  • Squat – Mimics the motion of sitting down and standing up. Improves leg and core strength.
  • Bench Press – Uses a pushing motion. Improves chest, tricep and shoulder strength.
  • Deadlift – Practices the act of lifting something off of the ground. Works on core, back and leg strength.

The benefits of powerlifting are simple: building strength.

The downsides are just as clear:

  • Training – There is lots of practice involved in learning the proper form to limit the risk of injury.
  • Limited movements – You also commit yourself to train three specific movements. That’s not to say you can’t incorporate other training with it. Most powerlifters do.

So we’ve learned a bit about the different forms of weightlifting. You can learn more about weightlifting here. We will get into the benefits in a bit. For now, let’s talk about cardio.

Cardio

Let’s dive into a few popular forms of cardio.

Machines

Every gym has some treadmills. This can be an easy way to get started.

We all know about other machines like:

  • Elliptical machines – Not a very functional movement, but great for burning some calories!
  • Stair climbers – These are excellent for cardio, but they wear you out quickly.
  • Stationary bikes – Very popular and easy to use.

These are great. The most obvious downside is that it can get boring. Staying in one place the whole time can make you lose your motivation.

An added bonus is that a lot of these machines will give you feedback. Many will even estimate the number of calories you burn while using them.

There are a lot of different cardio machines out there. Here is a guide to the best and worst cardio machines if you want to learn more.

Running

This is something you can do anywhere.

Whether you’re jogging or sprinting, running can be very beneficial.

Find out which type of running is better for you.

Circuit Training

This could be anything. It often involves strength training, but typically with body-weight movements.

Circuit training can apply to pure weight training, as well.

For cardio, it can apply to combinations of running, jumping rope, or anything you can think of.

Check out some ideas on how to develop a circuit training routine.

Weightlifting and Cardio: Which is Better?

We’ve gone over a lot about how weightlifting and cardio differ. So which one is better? Let’s quickly summarize and talk about their benefits and risks.

Benefits of Weightlifting

Let’s discuss the overall benefits of weightlifting that all types share:

  • Increased metabolism – This is a big key to weight loss. Your starving muscles become a fat-burning machine. Calories burned lifting weights are not as much as with cardio. That’s during the workout. The “afterburn” more than makes up for it.
  • Improved strength – This can help you in your everyday life, in more ways than you would expect.
  • Long-term benefits – It is easier to get out of shape than to lose strength. On top of that, the metabolic benefits tend to last longer with weight training.

Let’s also debunk the myth that lifting weights will make women too bulky. It’s not a risk unless you are training for it.

An added bonus with weightlifting is you have more freedom. There is a large variety of movements. On top of that, you can change up your weight and rep scheme with ease.

Also, weightlifting can be fun! A lot of people get bored with cardio and other exercises. Weight training can be new and exciting almost every time you start a session.

There are a lot more benefits that we haven’t discussed. Talk to a personal trainer or click here to learn more.

Risks of Weightlifting

Let’s face it, you can have all of the practice in the world. It can be any type of weightlifting. There is a higher potential for injury.

Luckily, there are skilled personal trainers out there to help you avoid this.

On top of that, you are more likely to feel sore after a strength training workout. While beneficial, this can be a pain. Literally.

Weightlifting can be tough for beginners. The more you train, the more you gain. The risks will take care of themselves with proper training and consistency.

Benefits of Cardio

There are a lot. Cardio is largely associated with the health benefits that we discussed at the beginning. Let’s go over just a few:

  • Fewer restrictions – Cardio can be done anywhere, at any time. No need for equipment.
  • Heart health – It’s in the name.
  • Burning calories – This is cardio’s claim to fame.
  • Brain health – Cardio is a big help for releasing the hormones and neurotransmitters we discussed. There is really nothing better for it.

It’s easy to see why cardio can be appealing. You can let your mind wander and perform your tasks without thinking about it too much.

You also have the benefit of a pleasurable feeling the next day. There is less risk of feeling sore.

Obviously, these rewards don’t come without risks.

Risks of Cardio

One possible side effect of cardio is the loss of muscle. This is especially true for distance runners and joggers.

Another issue is exhaustion. Doing extensive amounts of cardio can lead to a hard desire to go to bed.

Last, but not least: fat retention. That’s right. Over-training with cardio can make your body adapt to stress. This can make your body lose muscle, and lower your metabolic rate. Research about the pros and cons of cardio to learn more.

No good thing comes without downsides. There are ways to avoid these. The longer you keep up with your training, the easier it gets.

Check out the 6 crucial facts of cardio to learn more.

The Winner

The edge has to go to weight lifting. The benefits of the “afterburn” are too hard to pass up. That increase in metabolism is extremely helpful in losing weight.

This is not to say that a combination of the two is a bad idea. There is nothing wrong with running and lifting weights. Cardio and weightlifting can go hand in hand.

Think about it. The stress reduction and other health benefits of cardio? The strength and metabolism boost from weightlifting? They make a great pair.

None of this can be accomplished without getting started. If you’re already doing cardio, and want to change it up, read up on how to start weightlifting now!

What’s Right For You?

Honestly, there is no right answer here.

The best advice we can give is to utilize the best of both worlds. Weightlifting and cardio. Or at least to try them both out and see what is best for you. Sticking to the plan is the most important part.

Either way, we’ve learned the benefits of exercising. There’s no need to wait. Now is the best time to start losing weight!

Check out our 9-week challenge and get started today!

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