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Question
Posted by: K | 2004/11/17

Need to lose weight, tone & get fit.

Hi there,

I know the title sounds like most people want and is almost impossible but let me explain my situation.

I used to play a lot of squash and be quite active but ever since I started working, I dont walk around during the day etc.
I have just joined the gym again and what I need help with is excersize that I can do for my butt and legs. I have a small stomach so no problem there, just the mentioned problem areas. What are the best excersizes to do for them?

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Our expert says:
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Hi K

I think that just the mere fact that you have a job in which you don't need to walk about is the start of the problem. It's not hard to realise that all it takes is to become active again - you will never see a highly active person who is struggling to lose weight. So, the first piece of advice is that you need to find a way to get some sort of physical activity into your daily schedule. Whether this be walking, jogging, swimming, joining an aerobics class, I can't choose - you must do whatever it is you enjoy most. The important thing is that you do cardio training - I believe that even for the specific areas like the butt and legs, cardio training is the most effective. The only way you will be able to lift your metabolic rate, and therefore burn more energy including fat, is by doing regular cardio training. Weight training has its place, as I will explain, but the cardio is the vital aspect that needs to be there to kickstart weight loss.

This is repetitive, but again, cardio would 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.

now, with regards to weight training, it is important because lean muscle has a naturally higher metabolic rate than fat does. So, if you can increase your lean muscle mass (by weight training) then the idea is that you will also increase the metabolic rate, which means that you will, even at rest, be able to burn more energy. Hence, you will be able to keep weight off. So, that is where it fits in. However, the most important thing is to get started and to actually lose weight, you must be doing cardio training - the increase you get in metabolic rate during a 30 minute bout of cardio (and for the few hours after) far outweighs the weight training increases, and so if it's weight loss you are after, then cardio is the way to go. Once you have achieved weight loss, or you are still busy achieving it, then the weight training becomes important to sustain it. In your case, the weight training also adds to the definition, and so by doing some exercises for the legs and butt, you will in theory improve defintion. All of this is irrelevant without cardio and weight loss though, and that's why it's the main focus.

If you would like to have a programme to follow, here is a good one that you can try for walking:

http://www.health24.com/fitness/Getting_started/16-474-488,24069.asp

Here you will see a number of options for training programmes. My advice would be to choose the Shape up for Summer programme (the first or second one) and then go for that.


Finally, remember the importance of diet and just go for it.

Hope this helps
Regards

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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