As a fitness professional, I can't count how often I hear people complain that although they "work out," they can't seem to lose weight. I always begin my response to them with a few questions, like, "How often are you working out?" and "For how long?" These questions usually open the door for a closer look at the truth.
For many, the act of working out has become more of a dreaded chore and less of an activity of enjoyment. As a result, many people do not work out effectively enough to lose weight in the process. In the fitness industry, we like to use the term, "train" when referring to exercise. I want you to train with the mindset of an athlete, even if you may not yet actually be a true athlete. This mindset gives you the focus, drive and determination to train harder and more effectively. Think about some of the greatest athletes; Muhammad Ali, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Michael Jordan. They trained for greatness, yet they were not always great. My point is that you must begin somewhere, and changing your mindset to think like an athlete will begin to manifest a stronger training ethic.
Take inventory of the intensity level of your average workout. Are you merely walking briskly on the treadmill or at the park for an hour; possibly while reading a magazine or singing along to your favorite Beyoncétrack, or are you tackling a challenging uphill interval treadmill circuit? You see, you must break a sweat, get your heart rate up into the fat-burning zone and really push yourself beyond your comfort level. I tell my clients all the time that if they are comfortable when training, then they are not really training! So, put away the magazine while on the treadmill and get your athletic mindset in gear. If you never jog on the treadmill, then incorporate jogging for 15 seconds at a time and gradually build up to jogging more and walking less. If you are currently jogging, gradually add sprints starting with 10 second sets, with a 20 second rest period. This will build up your cardio endurance.
Remember, cardio is not enough to build a healthier and stronger body. You must train with weights. Resistance Training is what actually sculpts and changes the way your body looks. Your goal should be to build more lean muscle mass so that you create a rockin' metabolism!
Chaunda is the owner of The Bella Fitness Group in Lawrenceville, GA. She has lost over 115 pounds and is now a passionate fitness advocate, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a professional singer. Visit her on the web at bellafitnessgroup.com.