Our expert says:
You are not alone, as you would have seen on the forum already. I agree that one of the most vital aspects to long term success is partnership, and I would therefore encourage you not to just give up on the gym idea, but to try again, this time with someone else. It would be good to meet up with others who can assist and encourage and motivate you. The reason it's so important is because exercise is the only way - you've experienced the dark side of crash diets and yo-yo weight change, and so now it's time to look at long term lifestyle changes. It's definitely the way to go.
With regards to the exercise, cardiovascular-type activities are preferential for weight loss. These include activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, aerobics, swimming etc. It is important to exercise between 4 and 5 times a week, for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes each session. It is also ideal to work at a moderate to hard intensity, but for a longer duration. You should aim to do these sessions at an intensity that allows you to complete the session without feeling completely exhausted, but having worked up a good sweat and feeling that your breathing and metabolic rate are elevated. A moderate intensity is certainly the way to go - if you train too easily, nothing will happen, and if you train too hard, then you soon become tired and burned out. So, aim for an intensity that will allow you to finish a session and recover by the next one. If you feel like you are carrying a whole week's worth of training in your body, then you are traininig too hard. Other than intensity, the rest is easy - you just have to go out and get those sessions in. Of course, if you are just starting out, then I would suggest starting off by training every other day, and possibly for only 20 minutes. THen you should aim to build up gradually until you reach the 30 to 45 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week mark.
The best thing for you to do is to check out the following programme on the Health 24 site.
Go to "Fitness" and then click on "Shape up". Here you will find a number of different programmes, including one for walking, another for running 10 km, and a cycling one. You can choose which you prefer. These programmes contain both cardiovascular (good for weight loss) and resistance training (for toning the muscles) and so are good overall complete programmes.
Finally, diet is vital and so seeing a dietician would be a very good idea. If you can combine diet and exercise, with a little help from a friend or two, you'll be well on your way!
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