Very few people would say that losing weight is an easy task. Certainly the prospect is not so difficult to comprehend – you simply have to burn more calories than you ingest. Yet, the inception is a little harder for most people. In reality, they must adopt an entirely new lifestyle, including a sustainable diet and exercise regimen that will keep them fit and healthy for life.
The problem, in truth, is that people simply don’t want to expend the mental and physical energy required to plan meals and stick to an exercise regimen. In a society characterized by instant gratification, everyone is looking for the quick fix. For many people, this includes a string of fad diets and machinery meant to do the exercising for you (like EMS devices).
Many also try weight loss supplements – in the form of pills, drinks, or special “meals” that are meant to help users drop weight quickly. However, they can also have some risky side effects. It’s wise to consider, whether or not they’re worth the risk.
Weight Loss Supplements
The first thing to remember is that weight loss supplements are not intended as a long-term solution. They are supposed to help drop a few pounds quickly, after which you’re meant to maintain your weight, sans the supplements. The only problem is that this particular scenario fails to account for the fact that most people don’t change their eating habits, which is the real culprit behind an inability to lose weight in most cases. Or, they eventually drop their temporary diet after hitting a goal weight.
And then the weight returns – often with additional gain. Of course, this is great for companies that sell supplements since it means many people keep buying them. But, it’s not so good for you.
Yoyo weight loss is tough on internal organs, potentially leading to even more damage than simply continuing to carry the weight, although neither is really healthy. But, the larger threat comes from the ingredients and the way that supplements are regulated. Many contain stimulants like caffeine (or caffeine substitutes), which help to quell your appetite and boost your metabolism for a short period of time. They also give you energy, which could help to motivate you to exercise.
On the downside, most weight loss supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Because many supplements contain “herbal” ingredients rather than chemical pharmaceuticals, they are not required to undergo the extensive testing that other drugs face. But this doesn’t mean they can’t be dangerous or harmful.
If you remember the ephedrine debacle, then you know that ephedrine was linked to more than 100 deaths and over 16,000 reported “adverse incidents” by the time it was banned in 2003. Even worse was that despite being purported to aid in weight loss, there was no proof that these claims were true. No FDA approval process means that no clinical testing is necessary to go to market. In short, there is little evidence that most of these supplements do anything to actually help you lose weight.
Considering the potential side effects associated with some of them, you may be better off going old-school with diet and exercise if you want to lose weight, keep it off, and enjoy a healthy and happy life.
Exercises for Maximum Weight Loss
When it comes to the prospect of exercise, people have all kinds of goals. It might be getting fit, toning muscles, gaining strength, or improving health. But many people also exercise to lose or maintain weight. It’s lucky, then, that all forms of movement burn calories, although some types work faster than others.
People who are actively trying to lose weight likely want to make the most of any time they spend exercising, burning maximum calories in the process. If you find yourself in this growing number you might be on the lookout for activities that are going to provide you with the best potential for weight loss with the least expenditure of time. Here are just a few exercise options you may want to try.
As you may know, any activity that elevates your heart rate is going to burn calories faster. So while walking could help you to lose weight, you’re going to progress at a snail’s pace, when it comes to reaching your goals by this method. You need to get your heart pumping if you really want to shed pounds faster. Cardiovascular exercise is the key and there are all kinds of ways to get it.
Some people enjoy the old-school appeal of jogging, cycling, and swimming laps while others prefer to do their thirty minutes of intense cardio each day on an elliptical machine. It all depends on whether you like to be outdoors enjoying fresh air, or you want to do double duty and catch up on your DVR cache while you work out. Or, you might enjoy music and love doing an aerobics routine like Zumba. It’s all up to you. Your physical limitations may also play a role, so always consult with your doctor before starting any new routine.
Of course, most of us will eventually get bored with the same regimen day after day. So if you’re looking to mix it up, consider joining a gym that offers a variety of classes like spinning, step aerobics, kick boxing, Zumba, and even Pilates and weight loss (or Vinyasa) yoga. Keep in mind that your body will eventually start to adapt to any exercise routine that you practice repeatedly, so switching it up and trying different forms of cardio exercise will keep your muscles challenged and help move you toward your weight loss goal, especially if you hit a plateau.
You should also know that cardio isn’t the only option when it comes to weight loss. Do not be afraid of picking up the weights to lose more! There seems to be an onslaught of misinformation where pumping irons is concerned, many surrounding concerns that you will “bulk up” if you lift weights. But, if you follow simple guidelines, you won’t add bulk by adding some weights to your routine. In fact, adding resistance could help you to shed pounds faster.
Here’s how it works. If you want to bulk, you have to meet specific criteria, including ratcheting up the amount of weight you lift and adding calories to your diet. If you want to lose weight, simply add small weights and lots of repetitions to your routine, pushing your body a little further, and be careful to keep your caloric intake the same. This helps to burn fat. And while you might build a small amount of muscle, remember that muscle burns more calories. So, a small gain in muscle weight at the outset will lead to bigger losses down the line. And those losses will be fat – exactly what you’re trying to achieve!
So, what would you go for?
Supplements or exercises for weight loss? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.