2 out of 3 adults in the U.K. are uncomfortable with their weight, but for those among them who are trying to lose weight by focusing on cardio exercises, just the thought of having to put in a 30-minute slog on a stationary bike can bring about tremors of anxiety.
The fact is that many of us really don’t like to do cardio; any type of physical activity that elevates our heart rates and leaves us gulping for more oxygen. In fact, one recent survey done by Health Digest listed running as one of our least favorite exercises. Another survey that was done on 25,000 people revealed that half of them either “hated” or “could barely tolerate” their aerobic exercise routines. Still, many of us believe that only cardio will help us lose weight and keep it off.
That’s not true. And, if cardio isn’t your thing, have we got news for you!
We visited a fitness studio in Canary Wharf (London) to talk with a personal trainer about the real necessity of cardio in weight loss, and we discovered that there are many strategies facilitating weight loss that we can adopt without having to go through the torture of high-intensity cardio routines.
Establish a Calorie Deficit
One personal trainer made it plainly obvious – to lose weight we need to create a calorie deficit. In other words, we need to expend more calories than we’re consuming, and that’s why cardio and aerobic exercise are often perceived as the holy grails of weight loss. However, we were also told that even IF cardio is your thing, we can run all day long but if we’re not achieving a calorie deficit, we’re not going to be happy with the results we get.
It’s a phenomenon that has Londoners turning to personal trainers to help them build a healthier lifestyle by integrating the right physical exercises that can put their bodies in a perpetual state of burning more calories than they consume.
Focus on Eating More Protein
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more Americans than ever are now dieting in an effort to lose extra weight. It’s important for these people to remember that eating enough protein is a crucial factor in successful dieting. Increasing your protein intake will make you feel fuller which minimizes how often you will experience those pesky hunger “cravings,” and consuming high-protein foods also leads to a reduction in the number of calories we consume.
One recent study that was done on overweight men demonstrated that by increasing the amount of protein to 25% of their total caloric intake, they were able to reduce their hunger cravings by 60%. If you’re not eating enough protein, we’ve found a list of over 40 high-protein food choices to add to your diet.
All our internal organs operate in a fluid, water-based environment and when we supplement our bodies with a constant stream of fresh water, we are giving our body’s metabolism what it needs to operate at optimal levels. In fact, even if our bodies are dehydrated by as little as 1%, we can experience a profound decrease in our metabolic rate.
Remember, whenever you take a slug of chilled water, it sparks your body’s metabolism to burn the calories it needs just to warm the water to our body temperature. We also came across one study that showed how women were able to shed significant amounts of weight by substituting water for their routine sugary beverages. But the most compelling statistic of all is the fact that by drinking just one liter of water every day for 12-months, it’s enough to incinerate over 4 lbs. of fat.
We get it. For some, toting around a bottle of water everywhere can be an adjustment, so here are some other effective means of increasing your H20 intake:
Drink a full glass of water before you start your day and as you’re going to bed
For one meal a day, try drinking only water with your meal instead of soda or coffee
Up your intake of cucumbers, celery, and other veggies as snacks instead of carb-loaded chips
Take advantage of free smartphone apps that help you increase your water intake
Be More Active
This may sound overly simplistic but personal trainers will tell you that this is a marquee strategy that works wonders for their clients. It’s a concept called non-exercise activity thermogenics, or NEAT - it’s a reference to the activities we do throughout our day that don’t include working out or sleeping.
Examples include taking the stairs (and skipping the elevator), walking your dog, or taking longer routes to where you’re going in the office. Fitness professionals have even encouraged their clients to do “plank” exercise during each commercial while they’re watching TV at night. The beauty of these NEAT activities is that they are very useful in helping us get to that desired “calorie deficit” zone.
If you’re hoping to increase the NEAT activities in your lifestyle, it’s always beneficial to connect with a personal trainer to drum up some ideas that will fit into your lifestyle. Otherwise, there’s some good content online to get you started.
We shouldn’t vilify cardio so harshly because it’s still a sound method for achieving a calorie deficit, but if heart-pounding, high-intensity workout routines aren’t quite your thing, the methods discussed above, along with the guidance and direction of a personal trainer can undoubtedly produce some great results.