As a certified personal trainer, I spend a lot of time educating myself on exercise. In fact, it’s a true passion of mine and one that I love to share with others. Whether you’re on a weight-loss journey or you’re simply an active person who enjoys working out, there are so many benefits to engaging in physical activity.
The important thing to remember is that fitness is just one important tool in your weight-loss toolbox. A tool is a resource, not a solution. If achieving a healthy weight was as simple as incorporating some exercise into our routines, there wouldn’t be so many of us struggling to reach our goals.
In this article, I want to shed some light on what smart exercise looks like when you’re on a journey to becoming a healthier version of yourself and how you can incorporate it into your Found Weight Loss Medication and Coaching. Plus, I’ll talk to you about how I’m personally combining exercise with my Found Wellness path to optimize my health and achieve my goals.
What Role Does Exercise Play in Your Health and Weight Loss Journey?
Have you ever heard the adage “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet”? It’s true. While exercise certainly can play a role in weight loss, it’s not the driver of your weight loss car, so to speak. Exercise is more like the passenger in the car, there to help guide you along and support your journey, enhancing it along the way.
As a personal trainer and someone who is passionate about fitness, it can feel frustrating to know that working out alone isn’t going to help you reach your goals - I wish it were that easy! The truth of the matter is that it’s all about energy balance, which looks like this: energy intake (eating and drinking) vs. energy expenditure (nonexercise thermogenesis and exercise).
In order to achieve weight loss, you need to maintain an energy deficit, meaning you need to expend more energy than you take in, and that will mostly come from your nutrition. However, the American Diabetes Association, the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics all agree that exercise plays an important role in any weight loss program.
This study had weight loss participants assigned to two groups: one group was assigned a calorie restriction diet plus an exercise program and the other group was assigned just a calorie restriction diet. In both groups, the caloric restriction remained the same for a six-month period. In the end, there was a 10% weight reduction achieved over the time period in both groups without any kind of significant change in body fat loss. That said, the group that also incorporated exercise did see an improvement in their aerobic fitness.
So, Is Exercise Really Necessary Then?
Yes, exercise plays a critical role in our overall health, wellness, strength, and aging. Even though exercise is not the driving force behind weight loss, it provides those of us on a weight loss or weight maintenance journey with so many benefits.
Here are just a few of the benefits that exercise can bring to your life:
- Aid in weight loss.
- Assist with body recomposition
- Strengthen our muscles, bones, and joints.
- Promote healthy aging and independence.
- Increase our cardiovascular capacity.
- Boost our moods.
- Develop muscles.
- Give us mental clarity.
- Provide us with energy.
- Help us to sleep better at night.
- Allow us to eat more calories.
- Increase our metabolism.
The benefits of exercise on the mind and body are many, so despite the fact that exercise in studies doesn’t show to be as powerful of a tool in weight loss as diet and nutrition, it still brings to the table a wealth of value that helps to improve your overall life.
What Kinds Of Exercise Should Be Incorporated Into Your Routine to Aid in Weight Loss
What kind of exercise is best for weight loss; cardio, or weight training? The answer: Both!
Both cardio workouts (running, walking, cycling, rowing, etc.) and strength training workouts (weights and resistance training) can help you lose weight and put your energy balance into a deficit.
We all know that cardio burns calories, but what’s less understood is that weight training does, too. But what really separates cardio from resistance training is the fact that resistance training also has the ability to help you build muscle. The more muscle you have on your frame, the higher your metabolic rate and the more calories you burn throughout the day, even at rest.
Muscle is a more metabolically expensive tissue to maintain on your body, meaning that you need to eat adequate calories (i.e. protein) to keep it than you do for fat tissue. With more muscle on your body, your body will metabolism more calories and use it as fuel, not stored as fat, which means that you’ll be able to eat more calories. I don’t know about you, but the more calories I can eat and still maintain my weight loss or weight maintenance, the better!
How Often Should You Exercise?
Movement of some kind should be a normal part of your everyday life. But before you panic and think that you need to hit the gym every day in order to achieve your goals, let’s first talk about movement vs exercise.
Exercise is structured workouts that you intentionally add to your weekly schedule. These workouts should include a mixture of resistance or weight training and cardio, with a heavier emphasis on weight training.
Movement is your daily activity. The biggest component here is your daily steps. While a 10k per day step goal has become the gold standard for daily steps, research shows that you can reap weight-loss benefits from just 7,500 steps per day. The more steps you take each day, the more you’re increasing your NEAT. Let’s talk about that next.
What Is Your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) and How Can You Increase It?
NEAT is your energy expenditure for everything you do that is not sleeping, eating, and performing dedicated exercise. Your NEAT can include everything from the energy you expend walking to the energy you expend sitting at your desk typing at the computer. The goal is to increase your NEAT so that you’re burning more calories while doing your everyday activities.
Now that you have an understanding of your NEAT, here’s how to increase it to optimize your calorie expenditure throughout the day and aid in your weight loss:
- Stand more throughout the day
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Pace while talking on the phone or on conference calls
- Take an extra lap around the building on your bathroom breaks
- Pick up your pace when you’re out for a walk
- Pace the sidelines while at your child’s sporting event
- Make more trips from the car with your groceries instead of trying to do it all at one
The bottom line is that the more you get creative with finding ways to move your body more throughout the day, the higher your NEAT will be and the more results you’ll see on your health journey.
My Experience With Found and How It’s Helping Me Accomplish My Goals
You might be tempted to think that because I am a fitness professional that I have it all figured out when it comes to my health, however, that’s not always the case. We all have areas of our life that we need additional help, guidance, and accountability with. For me, it’s nutrition.
Growing up, I didn’t have the best guidance when it came to nutrition. It’s only been over the last few years that I’ve really dialed in and begun researching nutrition as it pertains to my health and wellness goals.
For me, my biggest struggle is snacking. If left to my own devices, I could snack all day. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a snack, but the desire to always be munching on something isn’t healthy or efficient for weight loss or even weight maintenance. So when I signed up for Found, my intention was to get some accountability and tools for managing my snacking habits.
Upon signing up for Found and after submitting my information, I was put on their wellness path which does not include prescription medication. Shortly after receiving my welcome email, I was contacted by my health coach, Nicole, who introduced herself via text and began asking me some questions about myself and my goals.
I explained to her that I find myself mindlessly eating at the pantry, particularly at night after dinner and that I feel as though my snacking habits are ruining my progress. She acknowledged that she understood my feelings and was confident that this was an area that she could help me improve.
After several text messages from Nicole, discussing my goals and what I’d like to get out of Found’s wellness path, she set me up with a plan for my first four weeks in the program. To start things off, we decided to begin with focusing on mindful eating, which I am all about!
Thus far in my journey, we’ve been focusing on things like being mindful of how full I am when I’m eating and assigning a hunger level to myself each time I eat. Last week, my challenge was to put my utensil down after each bite of my meal si that I would chew more slowly and deliberately.
While these challenges seem small and frivolous, they really help your mind to lock into what it is that you want to get control of. And for me, it’s mindless snacking, so the more I pay attention and tune into my eating habits, the more I can identify when I’m snacking just to snack or when I’m truly hungry.
Easy Access to My Coach
One thing that I find to be incredibly helpful about my journey with Found so far is the fact that I can access my health coach, Nicole, any time I want through text message. By offering coaching over text, I feel like I am more likely to open up and really say what’s on my mind as opposed to being face to face with someone where I’d be more likely to hold back for fear of embarrassment or judgment.
Plus, Nicole regularly checks in with me three times a week with specific challenges, follow-ups, and accountability messages, which is always a great way to bring my mind back to my goals and keep me focused. There is no pressure to jump into a crazy restrictive diet, just gentle reminders to be vigilant in your goals and helpful tips to move towards them with intention.
Found Compliments My Fitness Routine Perfectly
As a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, it’s easy for me to get up and get moving, but I know my fitness routine isn’t the main driver of my weight management goals. Especially as I’ve aged, I’ve noticed that my nutrition needs to be locked in for me to see results, so this is where I find so much value in the coaching and accountability that Found is offering.
Next Steps To Successful Weight Loss Through Exercise
Exercise is an important piece of the weight loss puzzle, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Moving your body will undoubtedly improve your health and can certainly help aid in weight loss, muscle growth, and body recomposition (all great things!), but it needs to be done smartly and in tandem with a healthy, sustainable nutrition and coaching program to be most successful.
The biggest takeaway that you should get from joining Found is that you’re not alone in your struggles and that there is help out there for you that can push you beyond your current circumstances and empower you to not only reach your goals but to maintain them for the long term.
Interested in learning more? You can read more about my thoughts on this weight management program by clicking the button, which will take you to the review article. Or, you can head on over to my YouTube channel to watch the video version:
In conclusion, get out there and find the exercise that feels best for you and use the tool of movement to fuel your journey to a fitter, healthier life! Take a look at all the home workouts I put together. And if you need help with your journey, consider turning to Found for a healthy, sustainable plan.
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