Exercise machines help you burn calories, build muscle and improve your endurance. Certain machines deliver a more intense cardiovascular workout than others, meaning you burn calories at a faster rate. The way you use cardiovascular exercise equipment also affects how efficiently you burn fat. Use the machines’ settings and additional tools to maximize your workout’s aerobic and strengthening benefits.
Burn Calories on a Treadmill
Of all the equipment in your gym or club, the cardiovascular exercise machines deliver the workout that burns the most calories. Running on a treadmill burns more calories than any other machine-centered workout. Before you begin, check the settings and select an intense pace to burn more calories. If you weigh between 125 and 185 pounds and jog at 5 mph for one hour, you burn between 480 and 710 or more calories, depending upon your fitness level and weight. Pick up your pace to 7.5 mph and you burn between 750 and 1,110 calories, which means you can lose up to 2.5 pounds per week running six of the days. Rather than running faster, you can also intensify the workout and burn extra calories by setting the treadmill at an incline, so you’re running “uphill.”
Use an Elliptical Trainer
An elliptical trainer can offer you an excellent aerobic workout. However, because you power the pace of an elliptical trainer, it is easy to slip into coasting when you get tired. To maximize its calorie-burning benefits, work out at high speed and use a machine that has movable handles so you work your arms as well. An added benefit of exercising on an elliptical trainer is that your feet never leave the pedals, making it a low-impact aerobic workout. An hour on the elliptical can burn 540 to 800 calories or more. You can also adjust the resistance and incline on an elliptical trainer to burn extra calories.
Other Cardiovascular Exercise Machines
Other machines that make you raise your heart rate also burn calories efficiently. For example, climbing a stair treadmill burns between 360 and 532 calories in one hour. The workout is lower-impact, so it will not stress your joints, muscles and tendons as much as running high speed on a treadmill. Stair-climbing also provides a strengthening workout for your gluteal, thigh and calf muscles. However, avoid leaning on or holding onto the machine; it reduces the number of calories burned. Using a stationary rowing machines provides a total body-strengthening and aerobic workout, burning between 310 and 754 calories in one hour. Doing indoor cycling at a vigorous rate burns 630 and 932 calories per hour.
Interval Training on Exercise Machines
Most exercise machines feature settings that allow you to make the workout more intense, thus burning more calories. If your machine has an interval setting, using it will dramatically boost your calories burned. This setting varies your pace, usually starting with a warm-up, moving to a vigorous pace then adding in some sprints. The sprints boost your heart rate higher and keep it there, even when you slow down to a recovery pace. You can program your own intervals on an exercise machine by increasing the pace or changing the incline every few minutes and sustaining the sprint or climb for at least 30 seconds. Consult your doctor before beginning interval training or any other new exercise regimen.
You’ve made the decision to lose weight, and you are so pumped right now! Great — so how do you begin? What should you eat? How should you work out? Here are the 10 healthiest, most effective things you can do to lose weight . . . and keep it off.
Set Small, Realistic Goals and Have a Plan
Even if you have big weight-loss goals, set mini weekly or monthly goals to act as stepping stones to get there. “Lose one pound this week” or “exercise five times this week” are great specific goals you can work on every day. Get out a notebook, your calendar, or your laptop and set a weekly plan. Write down your meals for the week and include your workouts, too.
Eat These Three Things Every Time You Eat
In order to feel satisfied and stay full longer, aim to eat protein (20 to 30 grams), carbs (40 to 75 grams), and healthy fats (six to 25 grams) at every meal. Go for lean or plant-based protein, such as grilled chicken or tofu, and choose complex carbs like baked sweet potatoes rather than processed carbs. And eat whole grains and unsaturated fats like nuts and avocado.
Keep a Food Journal
It’s important to know how many calories you should be eating each day so you can figure out how many you need to stick to in order to lose weight.
Just remember to tally every single thing you eat for accuracy — taking photos of what you eat can help you remember. It’ll not only allow you to track your calories and your macros, but you’ll also be able to see if you’re eating healthy most of the time.
Do These Two Types of Workouts
Commit to exercising every single day. Five days out of the week should be 45- to 60-minute workouts that include a mix of calorie-burning cardio (especially HIIT!) and muscle-building strength training. And the other two days of the week can be active rest, like some light yoga or going for a walk.
While cardio will burn fat, weightlifting boosts your metabolism and will allow you to gain more muscle mass, which lets you burn even more calories. Aim to strength train three to four times a week.
Drink Mostly Water — and Drink a Lot of It
Skip the soda (yes, even diet!), juices, and milk, and make your go-to beverage plain, refreshing water. With zero calories, it not only hydrates you and prevents bloating, but it also fills you up. Many times thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so aim to drink water throughout the day, around 70 to 100 ounces. If you hate plain water, add fresh lemon or grapefruit slices for flavor.
Eat Veggies at Every Meal
Certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition says there’s one simple thing you need to do to jump-start your weight loss and start seeing results: “eat more veggies.” Aim to eat them at every meal, even breakfast. Since they’re low in calories and high in fiber, they’ll fill you up without using up a ton of your daily calories.
Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can contribute to weight gain. It lowers levels of the hunger-regulating hormone, leptin, while raising levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Studies show that women who don’t sleep enough eat an average of 300 more calories than those who get enough sleep. So snuggle into bed early and get at least seven hours of sleep.
Keep the Hunger Scale in Mind
Counting calories is one way to lose weight, but this is going to be a lifestyle for you, and you can’t always count calories 100 percent of the time. That’s where the hunger scale comes into play when it comes to practicing portion control. Don’t eat unless you’re hungry, and eat until you’re satisfied but not stuffed.
Live by the 80/20 Rule
Eating healthy most of the time and allowing indulgences every once in a while, known as 80/20, is a lifestyle you can maintain forever. This means that 80 percent of the time, you eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, and that you cut down on the sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Then, 20 percent of the time, you get the green light to enjoy some chocolate, a glass of wine, or some french fries. Knowing you can indulge a little satisfies cravings so you never feel deprived.
Monitor Your Progress
Find a way to keep track of your progress. The scale can be a great measure of how much weight you’ve lost, but don’t rely on it as your only method. Take photos of yourself every month, have your body-fat percentage measured. How you feel is also an excellent judge, so if you feel great and your clothes are fitting better, you might want to ditch the scale entirely!
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It’s every weight loss enthusiast’s dream to zap belly fat but, far from pure vanity, there’s actually a reason why having a lot of fat in the abdominal region can be dangerous. Fat is stored all over our body, but how does an expanding waistline grow your risk for chronic illness?
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Your body’s fat impacts your health differently depending on where it’s stored. While most fat found on other parts of our bodies (think arms, legs, buttocks) are considered “subcutaneous fat,” belly fat is more likely to be “visceral.”
PINCHABLE VERSUS PRESSABLE
“Subcutaneous fat” is the pinchable, squishy fat right between your skin and muscle that helps keep you warm, cushions you against shock, and stores extra calories. “Visceral fat” stores calories too, but isn’t as pinchable because it is located in and around your organs. It’s hidden deep within the belly region, which is what makes it firm (rather than squishy) when you press it.
Fat doesn’t just store calories—it’s a living tissue capable of producing and releasing hormones that affect your other organs. Because visceral fat sits near our organs, its release of these chemicals is poorly situated. Having more visceral fat can raise your LDL (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) and blood pressure. Visceral fat can also make you less sensitive to insulin, which increases your risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
TELLING BAD BELLY FAT APART
Even if you’re thin, you can still have visceral fat around the abdominal region—being “skinny” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. There’s no sure-fire way to tell visceral from subcutaneous fat short of an expensive CT scan, but it’s important for you to get a rough idea of what your visceral stores are. Here are a few tricks to figure out where your belly stands:
APPLES AND PEARS
You’re probably wondering, “What does fruit have to do with it?” These two fruits give a quick visual of where most of your fat is stored on the body. Pears tend to store fat in the lower extremities (hips, thighs, buttocks) as subcutaneous fat while apples tend to store fat in the upper region (belly, chest) as visceral fat. It takes a quick inspection, but this is an imperfect way to tell these two fats apart.
WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE (WC)
Feel for the top of your hip bone (it’s at the same level as the top of your belly button) and circle a tape measure around this point. Remember to relax and don’t suck in your gut (be honest!). Take 2-3 measurements and figure out the average. Men should have a WC of less than 40 inches (102 cm) and women should have a WC of less than 35 inches (89 cm).
The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) takes the circumference of your waist (see above) and divides it by the circumference of your hips. To measure your hips, stand in front of a mirror then figure out the widest part of your butt and measure that circumference. Then use this formula:
WHR = (Waist circumference) / (Hip circumference).
Men should have a WHR of less than 1 while women should have a WHR of less than 0.8.
KNOW YOUR FAMILY HEALTHY HISTORY
If your parents or siblings have insulin resistance, heart disease or non-alcoholic fatty liver, you may be at a greater risk for storing visceral fat. Keeping an eye on your visceral fat may be beneficial, but know that the causes of these chronic diseases are complex. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider.
READ MORE > ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO FAT
BANISHING VISCERAL FAT
If you fall in the normal range for WC and WHR, that’s great! Keep working at your weight goals as you see fit. If you’re not there, don’t despair. Because of its proximity to the liver, visceral fat is usually the easier fat to burn. It’s the less risky subcutaneous fat that likes to stick around.
Unfortunately, you can’t forcefully spot reduce fat around your belly no matter how many crunches you do. The next best thing is to live a healthy lifestyle:
- Go beyond weight tracking. You can track your waist, hip and even neck circumference in the app. Use this feature to see how your measurements change over time as you lose weight.
- Sweat for 30-60 minutes each day. Visceral fat responds well to regular endurance exercises, such as running, biking, rowing, swimming, that elevate your heart rate. As your body uses fat to fuel exercise, it’ll start using up your visceral stores.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Eat a diet high in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein with calories set for gradual weight loss (e.g. about 1-2 pounds per week). Cut way back on added sugars and alcohol since these nutrients will more likely end up as visceral fat.
- Sleep more, stress less. It’s easier said than done, but in order to take care of your physical body, you have to take care of your mental state. Sleep loss and stress can sabotage your health and fitness goals, so learn more about getting a quality night’s rest and use meditation or yoga to calm your mind. Remember, it’s not just about your health; it’s about your happiness, too.
JANUARY 19, 2018
BY DARYA ROSE
NOVEMBER 3, 2017
Did this headline strike a nerve?
If so, you are not alone. I’ve been there. Confession: I’m actually close to there now as I managed to put on a few pounds this fall — and it hasn’t all been muscle. This time of year is especially tough for hitting weight-loss goals (read: holiday parties, hot chocolate, sweet potato pie and love handle-hiding puffy coats). Studies have shown Americans gain the most weight between Halloween and New Year’s adding about 0.7% to their frame on average.
For an average man weighing 195.7 pounds, that equates to 1.4 pounds (which is actually lower than I expected). So if you’re already above your goal weight, be realistic with yourself: Instead of focusing on trying to lose weight during the holidays, focus on not gaining additional weight. If you wind up dropping a few pounds with this mindset, great! Consider it icing on the cake.
When it comes to weight loss, maintenance is a victory in itself as it can sometimes be harder than losing in the first place. Here are some tried-and-true weight-maintenance tips I use during the holiday season:
1. ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT CAUSED YOU TO GAIN THE WEIGHT
Knowledge is power and the best way to prevent repeating past mistakes is to reflect on where you may have gone offtrack. Did you fail to prioritize your workouts? Did you start eating dinner later? Have you been snacking more than usual? Did you stop logging your food?
The key here is not to beat yourself up but use this reflection as an opportunity to make better decisions going forward.
READ MORE > WHAT THE FAFH? 5 KEYS TO EATING ON THE ROAD
2. MAKE YOUR HOME AND WORK A SAFE SPACE
In most cases, you’re in control of the food in your home, so get rid of potential landmines in the kitchen! My former trainer, Errick, always says, “If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.”
So, if you know you have a propensity to snack on candy at night, keep it out of your kitchen. If you find yourself constantly raiding a coworker’s junk food jar (which was totally me at my last job!), then start bringing in healthy snacks to keep at your desk or in the communal snack area. I️ started bringing in clementines, Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix and dried seaweed. Bonus: Healthy habits are contagious, so your coworkers will probably appreciate it, too! Plus, if you have healthy food at home you can start meal prepping and bringing lunch to work or school, making it much easier to log your meals and stay on track.
3. GET MOVING (EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS)
It’s sounds super basic, but whenever you have the opportunity to add activity to your day, take it. Take the stairs, set up a walking meeting, go to the coffee shop that’s a couple blocks further and walk around the building (in the hallways or hit the streets) instead of spending 10 minutes on Instagram or Facebook at your desk. Schedule workouts on your calendar so they don’t fall by the wayside. The holidays are NOT the time to stop exercising altogether.
Next time you are watching “This Is Us” (Beth and Randall are #CoupleGoals) or any TV show, do some pushups or crunches. The workout will go by faster because you’ll be distracted and it will also prevent you from wanting to snack.
5. GO INTO HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES WITH A GAME PLAN
Be proactive in prepping for holiday festivities by scheduling a morning workout, hydrating throughout the day and eating filling, high-fiber foods during the day so you don’t do a face-dive into the holiday spread when you arrive.
Something I always do is grab a healthy snack before I head to a party. (Did you know a single apple has 5 grams of fiber?) I’ve even been known to Uber to a party while eating an apple in the backseat because I knew there’d be temptations like pizza and chocolate cake. Being proactive with a game plan can help keep you in control.
And remember, the holidays should be fun! They often come with travel, food and family, so don’t forget to enjoy this time … but they can be a tough time to focus on losing weight, so if you find yourself starting at a disadvantage, shift your focus to maintenance mode, which sets you up for less frustration and more success.
How do you stay on track (or get back on track) during the holiday season?
Although you work out and stay physically fit, you can always boost your efforts to make healthy choices and stave off extra pounds. To start, try healthy lifestyle swaps like these four below, which can impact your overall well-being.
Why: Research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicinesuggests ingesting caffeine hours before nightfall causes a disturbance in sleep. In this study, participants who consumed caffeine up to six hours before bed lost more than an hour of sleep.
The Swap: To avoid the 4 p.m. slump, hit the stairs. A new study published inPhysiology & Behavior found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine. (This is the equivalent to about a cup of green tea (59 mg), two cans of soda (58 mg) or just less than a shot of espresso (63 mg)).
Why: The American Heart Association released a science advisory on the dangers of sedentary behavior. It states that Americans, on average, sit 6–8 hours per day, which leads to all types of health issues, ranging from diabetes to death. Even those who stay active in their personal time don’t have the same problematic health reductions as those who move more.
The Swap: To improve your daily mobility, try switching your smaller work meetings, such as one-on-ones, to walking meetings. “The goal with walking meetings isn’t to sweat up a storm. The goal is just to integrate a little more natural movement into daily life,” says Dani Singer, fitness director of Fit2Go Personal Training in Baltimore, Maryland. “The boost you receive in mood and energy will pay off much higher than the calories you burn.” As added bonuses: research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychologysuggests that walking leads to increased creative thinking, and an exploratory study from the Harvard Business Review proposes that walking meetings support better cognitive engagement on the job.
Why: A vacation may not only leave you with extra weight, but it can hang around for six weeks post vacation. In a study published in Physiology & Behavior, participants who took a one- to three-week vacation gained an average of almost 1 pound. To put this amount in perspective, the average American gains 1–2 pounds per year.
The Swap: Skip the depressing hotel gym and build exercise into your vacation by doing what the locals do. “Different places often have different cultures when it comes to exercise, and trying working out their way can add a fantastic experience to your trip. In India, try yoga; in China, try tai chi,” says Julia Buckley, a trainer in the U.K. and author of “The Fat Burn Revolution.” “Change your mindset from seeing exercise as a chore which you shouldn’t have to do on vacation to thinking of it as something that will enhance your vacation by energizing your body and calming your mind.”
Why: Although the percentage of online shoppers continues to outpace in-person buyers, the statistics show people still prefer brick-and-mortar stores.Retail TouchPoints, an online publishing network for retail executives, conducted a survey of consumers and found that 85% prefer to shop in person because they like to touch and feel products before they purchase; 36% don’t like waiting for items to be delivered and 30% like to receive advice on what products they should purchase.
The Swap: Park your car far from the front and enjoy the time spent strolling around — you’re burning calories. Use a basket instead of a shopping cart if you’re only picking up a few items. To find out how many calories you’ll burn, use the MapMyRun calorie calculator.
by JENNIFER PURDIE
What do you do? Continue with the exercise and healthy eating plan? Throw in the towel, and go back to what you were doing before? Start restricting your eating even more as an effort to make weight loss happen faster?
These are all completely normal and reasonable reactions to a lack of success on the scale. Weight loss, maintenance or gain can be tricky to navigate. Put more plainly: The scale can be tricky to navigate.
Weight fluctuations are common because your weight is determined by a variety of factors. These include but are not limited to how hydrated you are, what you recently ate, your bathroom habits, the climate and your exercise routine. A few pounds of weight fluctuation here or there are usually not a result of fat gain but a result of your body doing exactly what it needs to do to regulate its physiological functions. So, how often should you weigh yourself? Whether your goal is maintenance, loss or gain, let’s talk about the scale.
The very first question you need to ask yourself is: “Will weighing myself (daily, weekly, periodically, etc.) help me or harm me?” Since there’s no magic answer for how often to weigh yourself, figuring out what is helpful and motivating for you as an individual is how you decide.
Many people find weighing in daily provides a sense of accountability and is helpful for having a good idea of where they are with their progress. For many, it helps to keep progress on track. If you’re able to look at the overall trend and not stress about the fluctuations, then by all means, weigh yourself daily.
Does a 0.4-pound weight gain sour your mood? Or, are you absolutely elated to see that you’re down 1 pound? If the daily weigh-ins powerfully affect your mood and behavior, then you might want to reconsider how often you weigh yourself. The number on the scale should not have the power to dictate your mood, the events of the day or your overall quality of life — it’s just a number.
Weighing weekly can have its advantages — it allows you to track progress while still having six whole days to not focus on your weight.
For best results, pick a consistent day each week, and weigh yourself in the morning. Look for trends, but don’t get caught up in the minutiae. Recognize that it will take a few weeks to get a picture of where the trend is heading. This can be a good tool to help you feel accountable without making you ride the daily emotional roller coaster that is (or can be) the scale.
Some people opt for the occasional weight check-in. People may do this at home or rely on the scale at the gym or doctor’s office to get an idea of where they are. People who opt for the occasional weigh-in often have alternative ways of identifying weight shifts, like the way their clothes fit or how strong they feel while exercising.
There are many people out there who smash their scale and never look back. Some people find it helpful to focus on how they feel in their clothes, the balance of their meals and snacks and how they perform with their exercise rather than focusing on the number. This can be a valid way to approach health — there’s much more to health than a number on the scale!
If you are weighing yourself multiple times per day, stop! With rare exceptions, you should not weigh yourself more than once per day. Obsessing over a number on the scale can turn into a very problematic pattern that can disturb the peace and happiness in your life. If you decide to weigh yourself, the scale should be a tool that helps you, not harms you.
Overall, ask yourself about what is most helpful for you. For some, daily weigh-ins are the best route. For others, weighing less often is better for overall health. Each of us has different ways of experiencing things and inviting motivation and positivity into our lives. Find what works for you and stick to it!