Winter’s gone, spring is here and summer is soon arriving. Great news, right? Well, it depends on how much extra weight you’d like to lose before the infamous “swimsuit test.”
How you look in the mirror isn’t the most scientific way to estimate body composition, but it’s the most honest. Electronic body fat percentage devices, the “pinch test,” and the simple act of getting on the scale may provide a solid baseline reference (a tangible number to measure), but statistics can be deceiving.
Sometimes, that superficial glimpse in the mirror can tell you much more than a mere number.
Forget “Weight Loss” and Start Thinking “Fat Loss”
Here is just one way where that number on the scale might be lying. Let’s say you’d like to lose 15 pounds. You start a disciplined regimen of slight calorie restriction, more exercise, optimal sleep, vitamins and supplements, the whole nine yards. Your energy level goes up, you feel great and you end up losing 2 inches off your waist. Then, you decide to hit the scale to see how much progress you’ve made.
And it shows you’ve GAINED 2 pounds.
It happens more often than you think. Muscle is denser than fat, so a rigorous exercise program combined with healthy eating can cause you to gain weight. But don’t sweat it (literally) – if you’re losing inches off your waist and other health markers are improving, forget about the scale.
It turns out the swimsuit test is an accurate measuring stick to track weight loss progress. So instead of focusing on just “weight loss,” think in terms of “fat loss.”
Diet, Exercise or Both – How Can I Accelerate Spring Weight Loss?
There’s an old adage about nutrition and fitness, and it’s one of the truest things ever said regarding exercise: “You can’t out-train a bad diet.”
Adjust Your Caloric Intake
Here’s the stubborn truth about all diets and weight loss plans: at some point, you have to start eating less. Without a caloric deficit, your body has no reason to tap into stored body fat. Insulin, the “fat storage” hormone, is always elevated if you’re constantly eating. Focusing on eating lighter drastically lowers insulin and also upregulates a process called lipolysis – essentially the body’s method of releasing fat into the bloodstream to be used as a fuel.
You may also want to consider breaking up your larger meals into smaller meals and snacks throughout the day. That way, you can manage your hunger throughout the day instead of focusing on consuming enough food to last you until your next meal.
Ditch Chronic Cardio – Sprint & Go All-Out Instead
Conventional fitness wisdom is pretty clear on cardio, isn’t it? Cardio in the morning, cardio in the afternoon, cardio all day long. More studies than ever before are showing just how harmful too much cardio can be – more oxidative stress, risk of heart problems, atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries) and more.
Want to really ramp up your spring weight loss effort? Then literally ramp up your workout regimen with sprints. Short, intense bursts of exercise show encouraging fitness research results. A recent study showed that just one minute of all-out effort is just as effective as 45 minutes of a typical cardio workout. There are plenty of reasons to start sprinting, but two that certainly stand out are that you can lose weight and save time.
How can you incorporate sprint workouts into your daily fitness regimen? You don’t. Sprinting, when done correctly, requires a day or two to recover, leaving you an extra day or two to focus on food prep or explore other, more leisurely exercises than you normally would, like walking around your neighborhood or enrolling in a stretch class like yoga or Pilates. And here’s another great thing about sprinting – actual running isn’t required. If you have joint pain or haven’t run in a while, try sprinting on a recumbent bike, an elliptical machine or even in the pool.
Here’s a great sample workout, whether you’re on foot, on a bike or in the pool:
- Do a light warm-up session for 5 minutes
- Sprint all-out for 10 seconds
- Decrease to a relaxed, moderate pace for 50 seconds
- Repeat steps 2-3 as many times as you’re comfortable
- And that’s it!
Once you become competent at sprinting, you’ll be surprised at how well it works at burning extra body fat!
Hit the Weights
You don’t have to be a muscle-bound fitness competitor to transform your body. A regular weight training session – two or three times per week, 25-30 minutes per session – helps build muscle, and that’s important for fat loss. The greater muscle mass you have, the higher resting metabolic rate you have – and that’s one of the primary factors that determines how much fat you can burn, even when you’re not exercising.
If you’re ready to get started, try this workout. Remember, if you’re just starting out, don’t overdo it – start with lower weights and work your way up:
- 10-15 bicep curls
- 5 bench presses (try 25% of your body weight to start)
- 10 deadlifts
- Ride the exercise bike at a moderate pace for 5-10 minutes
- Repeat steps 1-4.
For greater variety, alternate your weightlifting every 2-3 days. For example, you can do an arm and back workout Monday and a lower body workout Wednesday. Just remember to get enough quality rest between workouts.
Find Weight Loss Clinics in Arizona
Sometimes, a little expert advice and professional medical monitoring can help you meet and exceed your weight loss goals. Banner Urgent Care’s medical weight loss program offers a multi-tier solution to help you melt away the extra pounds. Our medical weight loss monitoring includes lab tests, physical exams (to get the most accurate results tracking possible), EKGs, one-on-one consultation and even vitamin B-12 injections.
In addition to our effective weight loss initiatives, Banner Urgent Care also has other programs to keep you as healthy as possible year-round. With these weight loss methods in place, we hope you meet and exceed your body composition goals. If you’ve hit a plateau with your fitness plan and need help shedding extra body fat, stop by any of our walk-in healthcare clinics today. With urgent care centers all across Arizona, you’re never far from a Banner Urgent Care facility. Visit our clinic locator page for more information. You can also call our office at (480) 988-9108 to speak with an Banner Urgent Care representative.