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Weight Loss Workout Plans for Beginners: What to Look For

Weight loss can be a challenging goal to tackle. If you feel like you might need a little more encouragement to exercise, then a gym might be the best place to start. Because of the higher rate of obesity among teens and young adults, many gyms are offering weight-loss workout plans for beginners. These can be a very good option for those of us who have not previously attempted to lose weight or who haven’t incorporated exercise into a weight-loss plan.

Weight-loss workout plan

Lifting weights to lose weight for beginners: is it healthy?

If you’re a beginner, finding the right gym workout to lose weight can be a struggle. The gym needs to meet certain criteria to be just right for your personality and your fitness goals. Any type of exercise that you add to your daily routine is better than doing nothing. It will help your body burn calories. However, weight lifting alone will not show significant results. Lifting weights to lose weight (especially for beginners) may lead to frustration. 

This type of exercise helps to build or tone muscle. It is not a strenuous cardio workout and does not burn nearly the same number of calories as even a brisk walk will accomplish. Weight lifting can be part of your total workout plan but cannot be used exclusively for weight loss. In fact, if you lift weights on a regular basis, the increase in muscle mass will actually cause you to gain some weight.

Your weight-loss workout plan

Your weight-loss workout plan is just that: it is yours! It won’t work if you don’t believe in it or aren’t willing to follow it. A good plan for weight loss should include more than just exercise. It will also need to include the following:

  • Nutritional counseling — A healthy weight-loss diet might be necessary to accomplish your goal. 
  • Varied routine — A good gym routine allows for some variation. This might be to exercise different muscle groups, to do cardio instead of weight lifting, etc.
  • Group and/or individual classes and coaching — Having other people around you will give you support and encouragement.
  • Measurement — To keep track of your progress, you need a way for you and/or a coach to monitor your gains and make adjustments as necessary.

Weight loss for beginners: the basics 

You should know right from the beginning that weight loss will not be successful or lasting if it’s not done properly. Weight loss should never include fad diets or “lose weight fast” programs. They are not only unhealthy but also highly unsuccessful.

Most health professionals will recommend a weight-loss program that includes healthy diet modification and weight-bearing exercises at least three days a week. One or the other will not work as well alone. Make sure to consult with your doctor about how much weight you’d like to lose; a healthy goal for most people is about one to two pounds per week.

Weight loss is not an overnight quick fix. It will take time, energy, and willpower to complete your goal.

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A woman walking to lose weight

A long walk accomplishes several things. It burns calories, increases circulation, facilitates digestion, and helps deliver oxygen-rich blood to vital organs (including the brain) and the muscles being worked during this exercise.

A long walk also allows you to reduce stress. In response to exercise, your body releases endorphins — the “feel good” hormones. 

This low-impact form of exercise can be especially beneficial during your period to relieve bloating and cramping or directly after childbirth to help regulate your hormones, tone muscles, and improve your energy levels. A long walk can also help you sleep better at night. Studies have suggested that exercise is directly associated with improvements in sleep

A healthy diet is a must: a short nutritional guide to losing weight

When you’re dieting or trying to lose weight, it often seems like there are fewer things that you can indulge in and too many that you have to avoid. This is partially true, but it also depends on your portions and how often you eat certain foods.

High-fat foods are often one of the first things that you’re told to eliminate from your diet. However, it isn’t necessary (or healthy!) to cut out all fat from your diet. There are healthy fats that you can and should include in your diet.

If you eat meat, be sure to choose leaner cuts and eat smaller portions. The American Heart Association recommendations for adults are to limit the amount of red meat that they eat and replace it with lean poultry and fish. Opt for white-meat chicken or turkey, and chose fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, trout, or herring). Preparing these meats by broiling, baking, or roasting is healthier than frying.

The American Heart Association also suggests that you increase the amount of fruit and vegetables that you eat. As much as possible, pick fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables because canned foods sometimes have higher amounts of added salt. When fruit and vegetables are in season, they tend to be grown closer to where you live, less expensive, and fresher.

Add fiber to your diet for a healthy gut and normal intestinal function. There’s a complex mix of over 100 trillion healthy bacteria cells in your gut, which can influence your metabolism, nutrition, and immune function.

Any disturbance in this balance can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Some of these disturbances have been linked to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity. One dietary strategy for controlling the microbiota in your gut is to eat more fiber. 

Empty calories are those foods and drinks that contain a lot of calories without any significant nutritional value. These should be eliminated from your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. Some of these foods include:

  • sugar, pastries, ice cream, candy, and soft drinks 
  • products that contain high fructose corn syrup
  • sweetened cereals and breakfast bars
  • condiments
  • products containing trans fats and saturated fats (commonly seen in fast food and fried food)
  • chips, crackers, and microwave popcorn 
  • packaged frozen snacks
  • alcohol

Finally, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, not just when exercising. Hydration not only helps quench your thirst but also helps to flush out toxins and byproducts from your body and aids in digestion.

A fitness coach

It can be really helpful to find a coach you like who can help you achieve your fitness and lifestyle goals. They should not be intimidating, but encouraging and supportive. Sometimes working with a coach or trainer is included in your gym membership, but you might have to pay extra for it. 

Weight loss for beginners can be tough. You need a realistic plan that you can follow and that doesn’t make you miserable. You will need to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Ultimately, you need to burn more calories than you consume and aim to lose around one to two pounds per week. Find a good weight-loss workout plan that fits your schedule, budget, and personality, and make sure to talk to your doctor before you get started. 

https://doi.org/10.1177/1756283X13482996

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/aha-diet-and-lifestyle-recommendations

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/beware-empty-calories

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