We polled our community and had our team of physiotherapists, answer some common questions about working out for weight loss. Our team is qualified to answer questions about weight loss because they have extensive knowledge in the field of human movement and exercise physiology. Here is what they had to say:
What Are some good workout plans for men and women trying to lose weight?
Cardio, without a doubt, is the most effective thing to do if the only goal is to reduce body fat. If your goal is to only build muscle, weight training is the most effective method.
When I am working with a patient or a client, I often recommend a combination of cardio and weight training, I find this helps with improving overall body composition. A fairly basic workout plan targeting weight loss might involve 3 cardio days and 2 strength training days.
For cardio, any physiotherapist will tell you the number one low impact, cardiovascular exercise is swimming. It is an excellent low-impact workout that burns fat like crazy. Your natural buoyancy in water allows you to exercise without putting any stress on your joints. Going for long, steady runs can be really time-consuming and they have been proven to be less effective than HIIT workouts for burning fat. A HIIT workout stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. 30 minutes of HIIT, where you alternate between sprinting for one minute and then jogging for two minutes, will burn fat like crazy.
On your strength training days, we want to maximize the amount of muscles we activate.
Compound lifts, like squat, deadlift, and clean & press, utilize multiple muscle groups and require a lot more energy during the exercise. The more muscles are activated, the more energy is required, which equates to more fat loss. That is why we use compound movements. Exercises like squats engage your quadriceps, lower back muscles, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, and core. Deadlift engages your hamstrings, lower back, glutes, hip flexors, and core. Clean & Press is a really well-rounded exercise, it targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, core, hip flexors, deltoids, chest, lats, traps, and triceps. Do compound lifts!
What are the factors To consider when selecting a workout plan for weight loss?
When I am working with a client/patient, we always begin with a baseline assessment. This assessment covers a variety of different internal and external factors that can have an impact on our ability to lose weight. The first factor we look at is age. Old and young people develop/grow their muscles in the same way. However, as we get older, our bodies become less efficient at building muscle. This makes it more difficult for older people to exercise, but at the same time, it makes it even more important for older people to exercise!
It is important that you structure a workout plan that is suitable for your age. We typically don’t recommend senior citizens to jump on crazy diets and high-impact activities, as this can lead to complications and injuries, in turn slowing down the weight loss process. I recommend seniors do weight training as it will help build muscle, reduce fat, and maintain bone density, which will be crucial for staying healthy for years to come.
External factors like, what you do for work and proximity to your place of workout are important as well. If you live a very sedentary lifestyle and sit 8 hours for work a day, we often try to make some subtle changes that can help individuals hit their weight loss goals. Things like a treadmill desk, standing desk or just simply going for short 5-minute walks to break up the day can help.
At the end of the day, you can work till the cows come home, but if you are eating an excess in calories, you won’t lose any weight. For weight loss, diet will always be more effective than physical activity. I will often tell patients/clients that it will take 45 minutes of running to burn off the amount of carries in a Mcdonald’s medium fries. You have to do an insane amount of cardio to lose weight, however, if you follow the right steps in the kitchen, you’ll hit your goals in no time.
Other tips for men and women trying to lose weight
The best advice I can give to an individual who is trying to lose weight is something I tell my patients every day. Motivation will only take you so far, maybe a few weeks or a couple of months, if you are lucky. Discipline will take you the distance.
For individuals who live very sedentary lives and are new to exercise, I recommend they set a goal of 150 minutes of exercise per week. This is a baseline for health and it applies to the majority of people, both active and sedentary. However, it is unlikely to assume that a sedentary person will be able to keep up with an active person’s 30-minute sprinting workout. There is a lot of cool technology out there these days. I see more and more Apple watches and Fitbits on my patients. Utilizing tech to track your heart rate can be a great way to see if what you are currently doing is enough exercise for your body. Below I have included the ideal heart rate for increasing metabolism (fat burning) and aerobic endurance for specific age groups:
Target Heart Rates Chart
|20s||120 – 140 BPM|
|30s||114 – 133 BPM|
|40s||108 – 126 BPM|
|50s||102 – 119 BPM|
|60s||96 – 112 BPM|
If you don’t have access to tech, pay attention to the signs our body is showing work just as well, like breaking a sweat. A lot of people don’t realize that just going for a walk for 30 minutes is incredibly effective. Non-exercisers will notice a significant change in their heart rate after a 30-minute walk. This is a starting point, once your body starts getting used to this type of exertion, ramp up the intensity, and the heart rate will follow.
The last tip I’ll give is arguably one of the most important, sleep. Getting 7-8.5 hours of high-quality sleep is incredibly important. Research has shown that inadequate sleep while can reduce weight loss and encourage overeating.
I hope this helps on your healthy lifestyle journey.