Fitness Column: The Right Way to Lose Weight

Fitness Column: The Right Way to Lose Weight

The resolution season is upon us and many of you are deciding to make this the year you lose those extra pounds. Whether it’s a couple pounds or many, the key to successful weight loss is to do it the right way.

I see people every day who are achieving their goals and shedding those excess pounds by eating right and exercising. This is the right way to lose weight. Crash diets, trendy weight loss methods and expensive gimmicks and supplements might provide some temporary success on the scale. But, invariably, they will fail and leave you right back the way you started or even worse.

Even though many of you may be rocket scientists, it doesn’t take one to understand how weight loss works. It’s a simple practice of burning more calories than you take in.

So, what does it take to lose a pound? To lose a pound you need to have a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. That might sound like a lot but if you think about how you can do it, it really isn’t so bad.

There are three ways to get that caloric deficit; reduce your calorie intake, burn more calories through exercise, and add muscle to your body that will consume calories.

If you currently eat 2,500 calories a day, you can reduce your caloric intake by 375 calories a day if you cut your consumption by just 15 percent. And a 15 percent reduction really isn’t that hard for most people. Reduce your portion size a little, eliminate high calorie snacks, and cut back on fats and sugars in your diet and you’ll get that fifteen percent or more.

Next, add some more cardiovascular exercise to your routine. Just 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace can burn about 300 calories. Jump on a treadmill or elliptical trainer, climb on a stair stepper, ride a bike, or hit the rowing machine and you’ll not only burn the calories but also make your heart and lungs stronger.

Then, lift some weights to add muscle to your body. A pound of muscle can burn up to 50 calories a day in a normally active person. That’s just by having the muscle on your body. You’ll burn even more when using that muscle. Add just five pounds of muscle and you’ll burn an additional 250 calories every day.

If you do these three things, you’ll be able to lose nearly two pounds per week, safely and effectively. Imagine a 25 pound weight loss by the first of April, or even 50 pounds by the beginning of summer.

So now is the time to get started. Hit the gym and start lifting and doing cardio. If you’re new to the gym, ask for some help or have a trainer set up a workout program for you. Clean out the kitchen to get rid of those unneeded high calorie snacks.

This is going to be your year to lose those extra pounds and be healthier than ever. You can do it with just a little work and the motivation of knowing that you will accomplish your goals.

Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center. Direct questions about the information in this column to Pegg at 505.662.5232.