For losing weight, you can get the most done in the least amount of time by running. For a ~150-pound person like myself, running burns about one hundred calories per mile. I can do about four miles if I push it, so I’m burning four hundred calories right there. Plus, vigorous physical activity speeds up the metabolism, so you’re burning calories faster, even if you’re sitting on your butt doing nothing.
As for toning your body, a judicious combination of aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming, etc.) and weight training works well. Be sure to warm up, cool down and stretch, too - IMPORTANT, if you want to avoid injury and unnecessary pain.
This is difficult question to answer. The most important variable in the exercise conundrum is how motivated are you?
After you determine that I would recommend (if you are a man) reading the "Testosterone Advantage Plan". This book will debunk everything you thought you knew about exercise. After you read that read another general nutrition book. Upon doing this you will be able to make an educated decision.
I suggest a cycling plan ahead of running because of the wear running induces on the body. Like Lodrain said you will burn more calories running however if you bike hard enough you will burn the same or more calories. Combine this with a day or two in the gym per week and you will see results.
Please, if you do nothing else read the Testosterone Advantage Plan. You will have a new perspective on being fit.
I looked over the info for “Testosterone Advantage Plan”, and I’m a little skeptical. It might be good, but something about it just doesn’t sit quite right with me.
But anyway, the best kind of exercise is the one you can stick with. Plain and simple, it doesn’t matter how effective an exercise is if you’re not motivated to do it.
If you’re really concerned about the effects of cardio on your knees and other joints, I recommend that you take up swimming. It’s pretty much zero impact, and it’s about as good an endurance exercise as you’re gonna find (with the exception of running).
Weightlifting is also extremely important. A pound of fat burns two calories an hour when you’re just sitting around. A pound of muscle burns twenty-five times that. So you can imagine what kind of effect an increase in muscle mass has on your aerobic sessions.
There are a few things to keep in mind about lifting:[ul][li] Nothing is more important than proper form, even if you have to sacrifice weight to get to it. Lifting with proper form will cut down on the number of injuries you experience and make your exercise sessions more effective.[/li][li] Each rep should last seven or eight seconds. That’s two seconds up, two seconds holding it up there, and four seconds down. Get into this habit at the start, cause if you don’t, it’s a bitch to get into later.[/li][li] Start with your large muscles, and move on to your smaller ones. The smaller ones are the limiting factor in how much you can lift with your larger ones, and you don’t want to fatigue them early.[/li][li] The goal is muscle failure, not fatigue. You don’t want to quit when you’re tired–you want to quit when you have to (or when you experience abnormal pain).[/li][li] Muscles come in antagonist pairs–if one muscle moves a joint this way, there’s another muscle that moves that joint the other way. If you work one muscle, work its antagonist as well; if you don’t, you can end up with serious health problems.[/li] Lift through the full range of motion. If you don’t, you won’t gain strength outside of the range you use.[/ul]As far as books go, I really like A Practical Approach to Strength Training by Matt Brzycki. By the number of studies he cites, you can tell he’s done his homework and knows what he’s talking about.
FTR, I’m female and very motivated. I have reached the mental point where I AM going to lose weight. I just wanted to know the best approach to lose the weight (exercise-wise, I already have the food thing worked out), and then to keep myself toned and healthy after it’s gone.
I’m currently doing a half hour of brisk walking each evening, but want to add to that routine.
Thanks to all for the info so far, and thanks for the link ultrafilter, I’ve bookmarked it for further reading. Any other info would be appreciated
I’m pretty sure that should be “A pound of fat burns one to two calories a day.” A pound of muscle burns about 35 per day–so if you add an extra ten pounds of muscle, you could be burning 350 calories each day without exercising–that would burn off about a pound of fat every ten days.
Also the Metabolic effect of running only lasts around 24 hours. So if you only do it once a week, don’t feel like you are increasing your metabolism. Weight training increases the metabolism by creating muscle that, as others have said, burn calories just existing.
Wouldn’t having more muscle increase calorie burning effects that running offers? (or even fat?) A 200lb person has to move less mass than a 250lb person. Wouldn’t the increase in mass moved increase the fuel needed to move it? Or is it an insignifigant difference?
Two individuals in the same range of health - say two non athletes…and one is 250, while one is 200:
the 250lb male will burn about 3000 calories just ‘exisiting’, while the 200lb male will burn 2400.
However, the ‘muscle burns more than fat arguement’ comes into play when you have two people, both the same height/age/185lbs, and one is lean, with 12% body fat, while the other has belly and love handles, and is actually 30% body fat.
The lean guy could probably consume about 300-500 calories a day more to keep his weight and body fat levels, while the guy carrying 30% body fat would gradually gain weight from such a diet.
I’m about 15% body fat, and I have good lean muscle, so I eat about 3200 calories a day, and I maintain my weight.
I have peers who are at 25-30% body fat, and to lose weight on diet plans they must hold off at 1800 calories. To maintain their weight, they should use 2200 as the ceiling, maybe 2500 if they exercise.
However, they can’t start eating 3200 calories until the have lean muscle replacing the fat.
That is the math behind it. I eat more than they do, and they struggle with their weight.
aerobics = increased heart rate, usually for 15 mins. Riding a bike briskly, jogging, class aerobics, etc. Generally, getting the heart rate and breathing up to 80% capacity for about 15 mins. Playing with kids could be aerobics. Generally, what is pushed down everyone’s throat is the aerobics that are ‘most efficient’, and that is going past 15 mins into the ‘fat burning range’ and keeping heart rate up 78-80% of max.
resistance involves weights = To burn fat with resistance training, keep the reps up. Like, if you were doing arm curls with weights, you’d want enough weight to make your arms tired after about 15-20 reps (going for what we call ‘tone’) Bodybuilders and such would add weight ad reduce reps to 6-12 for ‘mass’.
Think like this: a 3500 calorie deficit between what I eat and burn = 1 lb of fat burned.
So, count your calories and figure out how much you exercise.
Please remember that about 80% of the effort needs to be on diet.
You have to walk about 40 miles to lose 1 pound of body fat.
Exercises to lose and tone should available 3-5 times/week, and sould be a mix of aerobics and resistance training. Losing a pound a week by creating a 500 calorie diet/exercise deficit will produce the ‘tone’ desired.