Tag Archives: exercise

lose weight faster

Why You Lose Fast Faster if You Lift Weights

Strength training is the key to improving your metabolism, shedding fat, and getting the body you want. If you want to lose fat faster, then it’s time to add strength training to your routine.

If you despise running and all forms of cardio to lose weight, then there’s great news for you.

Although running is commonly suggested as one of the first types of exercises to start doing if you want to lose weight, it’s not the only option. And it’s not even your best option.

In all the dieting and exercise you’ve done on your weight loss journey, how much of it has been strength training?

Strength training is actually one of the best kinds of exercise to do if you want to lose fat faster. 

Building more muscle is the key to lose fat faster

Strength training is how you build muscle on your body.

Whether you lift weights or do bodyweight exercises, any exercise that’s intended to make your muscles stronger is a strength training exercise.

And when you build strength, your body composition changes in ways that make it easier to lose fat.

Your body composition is your ratio of lean tissue to fat tissue on your body. And your lean mass is basically anything that’s not fat.

As you build muscle, your body requires more energy to sustain it. Even at rest–which means your resting metabolism increases when you have more muscle. 

In fact, one pound of muscle tissue burns 3x more calories than one pound of fat.

So if your body uses more calories to fuel muscle than fat, then the more muscle you have the more calories you burn—even at rest. And your body will start to break down those extra fat stores for fuel between meals.

Now, the downside is you may feel more hungry. This means it’s still so important to follow a healthy diet that’s high in proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs. It’s also a good idea to count your calories until you get into a rhythm to do more intuitive eating for your needs.

Because to lose weight you still need to be in a calorie deficit each day.

You still can’t out-exercise a bad diet

Despite how wonderful strength training is for your metabolism and your ability to lose fat, you still have to maintain a healthy diet. 

In fact, diet alone is going to lead to greater weight loss than exercise alone—simply because it’s easier to cut out enough calories to be in a deficit than to burn enough calories through exercise and work yourself into a calorie deficit.

So in the short term, diet is especially important to start losing weight by getting into a caloric deficit.

But that doesn’t mean you should only diet and not exercise. Because the studies show that if you want to lose weight and keep the weight off, combining exercise and diet leads to more long-term weight loss far better than diet alone.

But if you want to lose weight more efficiently and build the body you’ve always wanted to have —one that is strong and lean, then weight training is essential to include in your routine.

Does cardio also help with weight loss?

Of course! Any type of exercise that helps you burn more calories than you take in helps you lose weight.

But if you only focus on cardio your heart health and entire cardiovascular system will be in tip-top shape.

But what you won’t achieve is the same balance, stability, strength, and bone-density results that you get from strength training.

All of these are essential to maintain a high standard of living and improve your health. And that’s what you get from strength training.

So the next time you think that burning more calories on the treadmill will get you closer to your weight loss goals than lifting some weights, remember how important it is to build muscle! And think about how you can factor both modes of training into your routine.

The lowest recommendation for strength training each week is two days. But 3 or 4 is even better—especially if you want to lose weight faster.

If you need help with your full diet and exercise weight loss plan, we’re here for you.

At Valley Medical Weight Loss, we do more than specialize in medical weight loss options.

Our doctors are experts in weight loss using holistic options like diet and exercise too. While many of our patients use FDA approved injections and supplements to help achieve their weight loss goals faster, there are plenty of others who don’t.

We help all of our patients learn and develop healthy lifestyle habits to see a drastic improvement in their health and wellbeing. And they learn how to lose the fat and keep it off. 

To start your weight loss journey with compassionate professionals who create personalized programs to fit your needs—reach out to your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss Center today to book your first appointment.

Sources

  1. “Does Strength Training Really Increase Metabolism?” ACAP HealthWorks, 22 Sept. 2017, www.acaphealthworks.com/strength-training-increase-metabolism/.
  2. Donald Hensrud, M.D. “Exercise or Diet: Which Works Best?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Feb. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/weight-loss/faq-20058292#:~:text=Which%20is%20better%20for%20weight,fewer%20calories%20than%20you%20burn.
  3. Miller, WC, et al. “A Meta-Analysis of the Past 25 Years of Weight Loss Research Using Diet, Exercise or Diet plus Exercise Intervention.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, www.nature.com/articles/0800499
stay active at home

Best Tips to Stay Active at Home

Not going to the gym doesn’t have to stop you from exercising. You can have fantastic workouts and stay active at home with the right plan in place.

Everyone has their opinion of what makes the best exercise. But the truth is—a lot of the claims that there’s a “best” type of exercise is nothing more than personal opinion.

We often complicate exercise to the point it becomes dreadful. And we create unrealistic expectations and routines that are impossible to stick to.

The most important thing about making time for exercise is to find something you like and keep doing it.

But that may be harder for many of you right now. Your gym may be closed right now. Or if your gym is open, it’s harder to get in with limited capacity rules in place. 

And then there are reasons totally unrelated to being in the middle of a pandemic that influence whether or not you want to exercise in a gym.

Some gyms are intimidating, especially if you’re new to exercise. You may not live close to a gym. Or you may not have extra time to add it to your routine.

But the good news is that you don’t need a gym for effective workouts.

Whatever your reason for wanting to exercise at home—it can be done, and you can do it well.

So let’s break down everything you need to know about getting a great workout done at home.

How much exercise do you need?

Your ideal exercise routine depends on how much exercise your goals require.

Whether it’s weight loss, strength gain, or increased mobility, your exercise plan will be unique and depend on where you start and where you want to end.

But there is a minimum amount of exercise that’s recommended for every adult.

These are the CDC recommendations:

  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week + 2 days of strength training

OR

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week + 2 days of strength training

The reason the CDC includes both aerobic exercise and strength training is that they have different benefits for your health.

Aerobic exercise—a.k.a. “cardio”—is any exercise that conditions your cardiovascular system. 

Your cardiovascular system is also called your circulatory system. It’s your heart and blood vessels that transport blood and oxygen around your body.

Cardio workouts keep your heart and lungs strong and healthy by targeting these systems in your body. When you do cardio your breathing intensifies and your heart pumps faster.

Some examples of aerobic exercises are running, swimming, biking, hiking, or power-walking.

On the other hand, strength training is any exercise that’s intended to build muscle.

These kinds of exercises are done in short bursts or for limited amounts of time (while cardio is sustained for longer stretches of time).

Strength training is an important component of your workout routine because it improves your balance, mobility, and bone density.

How to stay active at home

You don’t have to worry about missing out by not going to the gym.

Home workouts can be fun and effective. Even without a full home gym.

Here are the best ways to stay active at home. 

Take stretch and movement breaks throughout the day

Many of us don’t spend all day on our feet. If your work requires you to spend most of the day sitting, then you’ll benefit from short movement breaks in your day.

All these breaks do is get you up and out of your chair to get your blood flowing.

You can make them 5 or 10-minute breaks. Do some stretches, air squats, or just go for a little walk around your home or office. 

The key is to break up your day with bouts of movement until you reach 30 minutes of movement over the course of your day. 

You’ll not only get your body moving, but you’ll notice other benefits too.

Taking a short break away from your work can improve your concentration when you return. Plus, movement improves your mood—so you can return to your work feeling reinspired and content.

These breaks are good for days you don’t work too. Take some time to move between your Netflix episodes!

Follow workout videos online

Staying active at home is easier than ever thanks to the internet.

There’s a never-ending stream of workout videos online. Many of them posted by expert trainers who are so passionate about seeing you improve that they post short workouts for free. There are classes you can pay for online as well, but it’s worth checking out those free videos (often available on YouTube) to see what you like first.

Here are some of the best types of workouts to look for:

  • Yoga classes 

There are so many types of yoga classes out there. Your favorite types will depend on your ability level and 

You’ll find yoga classes that are slow-paced with deep stretches, moderate classes that challenge you just a little bit, and classes designed to get your sweat on and your heart pumping.

It’s worth finding a few different types of classes you can enjoy if yoga becomes your go-to for online workout videos. That way you get the benefits of a varied workout routine and yoga practice.

  • HIIT workouts

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. This is a type of exercise where you go through phases of high-intensity exercise and rest.

These workouts are perfect to do at home. They don’t require equipment. They’re great for cardio (especially if you hate running).

  • Body-weight workouts

You’ll find a ton of strength training workouts that require nothing more than your body. Many of these videos range from 20 to 30 minutes that help you get stronger at tough exercises that require no weights at all. Movements push-ups, planks, or pull-ups.

So they’re great for building strength and require a minimal time commitment each day.

Sign-up to work with an online personal trainer or yoga instructor

Working with a personal trainer is one of the best ways to ensure you get results. They hold you accountable and they’re experts in designing training routines for a wide range of needs.

Now, with the rise in online training, there are so many ways you can get a trainer without ever stepping foot in a gym.

Some online trainers still offer very personalized plans online. While others offer a subscription to general classes for anyone to take.

Many online trainers offer more cost-effective online training programs on a month-to-month basis. And you can choose a level of personalization that’s right for you.

The reality is, it’s easier than ever to find a personal trainer. This means you have even more support options as you go through your weight loss journey.

Need help staying active at home?

If your goal is to lose weight, exercise will help you get there. And it’ll make you healthier in other ways, like elevated mood and improved heart health.

But it’s hard to figure it all out on your own.

Our weight loss specialists help you create and stick to an exercise plan that’s right for you. One that goes along with the diet and weight loss plan we create just for you.

So if you need support and guidance in your weight loss goals, reach out to your closest Valley Medical location today.

Sources

  1. “How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 Oct. 2020, www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
weight loss treadmill

Make Your Weight Loss Resolution a Success this Year

If it’s your goal to lose weight this year, here are some of the best tips to help you stick to your New Year’s weight loss resolution.

We go into every year feeling hopeful about what we can accomplish. We always want the next year to be different than the one before in some way. Especially this year. We’re all ready to leave 2020 behind for better times. And millions of Americans are preparing by making resolutions for next year.

If your resolution for 2021 is to finally stick to that new diet plan and hit your weight loss goals, then it’s time to get a strategy in place.

Because without a plan, you’re bound to end up with the results that many of us who have made a weight loss resolution are familiar with—after only a month, or sometimes just a few weeks into the new year, you fall back into your regular habits. You get distracted. Real life gets in the way. And those diet and weight loss plans for 2021 are just a dream from another time.

And as the year unfolds, you don’t make nearly as much progress as you’d hoped. 

So how do you get over this cycle of starting and stopping? How can you stick to your weight loss goals this time around?

Let’s get into how to make resolutions you can actually stick to. Plus, some mindset tips to help you get through the inevitable tough times you’ll face achieving your goals.

What makes a good weight loss resolution?

While the heart and desire you put into your resolution at the start are admirable, not all New Year’s resolutions are created equal. 

Some resolutions are so grand and unwieldy that there’s no way it can be accomplished in a year.

Others just aren’t specific enough. And it makes it hard for you to focus on taking all the steps to get where you want. 

So what do you need to make your New Year’s weight loss resolution a tangible goal that you can actually achieve in time?

A big goal with small steps

Losing weight is a big goal. It’s challenging, requires determination, consistency, and often saying “no” to things you enjoy.

This is why a plan to take you from where you are now to where you want to be is essential. It’s the piece that can’t be overlooked as you think about losing weight in the new year.

When you decide you want to lose weight, you need to break that goal down into steps or chunks of time. 

The reason is that just saying you want to lose weight is too big and unwieldy of a goal. The bigger a goal is, the more difficult it is to accomplish it. It also means it’ll take more time to get where you want to be. And it’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t lose weight as fast as you expect.

To avoid that frustration, you want to break down the steps that will take you from where you start to where you want to end

Start by creating a plan you can follow for 2–3 weeks at a time, with a goal to lose a certain amount of weight. Within each week’s plans, you’ll break down your diet and exercise plan. There should be at least one goal you know for certain you can accomplish in that amount of time. So that way you always have something to celebrate and keep your motivation up.

Once you’ve reached the end of the 2–3 weeks, then you observe where you are, celebrate the progress you made, and tweak your plan for the next 2–3 weeks to reach your next target.

The point of all these smaller chunks of time is to hit important progress points on your way to reaching your ultimate goal. That means celebrating the 2.5 pounds you lose every two weeks in addition to the 10 pounds you lose after two months. Even if you can’t see the progress, it’s still worth celebrating.

Strategies to help you stick to your resolutions

So now that you have a plan in place you’re ready to go. But that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing from here.

You will to face challenges achieving your weight loss goals. You always have in the past, and you very likely will in the future.

So how can you make facing challenges easier this time?

Set yourself up for success by building in reminders and rewards to keep you on track.

Embrace slow and steady progress

Lifestyle changes take time to stick. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel off-center when you change aspects of your life as ingrained as your diet. And when the results don’t show up overnight, you’re more likely to revert to the old habits that feel more convenient and comfortable to you.

Remember that the weight you want to lose didn’t just show up overnight. It took time. That means it will take time for you to lose that weight too.

So when you haven’t lost all the weight you imagined after one month of diet and exercise, but you have seen some progress remember to trust the process! You will hit your goal, it just takes time.

Reward

Everyone loves a reward. 

And if you’re tackling the challenge of weight loss, then you deserve rewards. So build in a time each week you know you’ll reward yourself for sticking to your plan.

This might be a cheat meal on Saturday night. A time where you get one hour to have your favorite meal. Or maybe you enjoy a glass or two of your favorite wine. And once that hour is done, no more eating or drinking outside of your meal plan for the next week. 

Another ideal time to reward yourself is when you hit an important milestone. Like when you lose the 10, 15, and 20 pounds that you worked so hard to lose.

But the truth is, the reward is just something extra to boost your motivation at the beginning

As you keep going in your weight loss plan, you see how amazing you feel with a good diet and regular exercise. And that alone will be enough motivation to keep going!

Gratitude

Remember that bullying yourself into losing weight isn’t how you change your life.

Feeling shame about your body won’t help you lose weight.

Embracing a healthy and fit lifestyle is far easier when you enjoy the process. 

So remember to be grateful for everything your body does for you already. And feel the gratitude as you get through each day of eating healthy and exercise. Be grateful that you are capable of change, and trust that if you keep making progress that 

Feeling grateful and hopeful about your ability to lose weight will help you see your goals through to the end.

Daily reminder

Write down exactly what you want to achieve. And look at it every single day. Some days you won’t need it. But on the days your motivation is weak, you’ll be grateful that reminder is there.

And when you feel the temptation for unhealthy snacks, remind yourself how wretched you felt when you lived on unhealthy foods. It won’t take long into a healthy diet for you to notice how much better healthy food makes you feel.

Get assistance from professionals who are ready to help you make your weight loss resolution a reality

It’s far easier to lose weight when you aren’t trying to do it alone.

At Valley Medical Weight loss we have professionals to help you create a weight loss plan that actually works. And we offer ongoing check-ins with experts when you need someone to hold you accountable to stick with your plan.

Start 2021 off right by investing in your health, yourself, and your future. We’ll help you create a weight loss plan that works and lets you enjoy the process of losing weight.

Reach out to one of our locations to set up a time to meet with one of our experts. 

weight loss

Don’t Believe These Common Weight Loss Myths

Breaking down 5 of the most common and unhelpful weight loss myths. Plus what you should do instead.

There’s a lot of misinformation about there about health. We see it all the time, but especially when it comes to losing weight. There are weight loss myths of all kinds that get spread like wildfire. 

The reason is that people know how hard it is to lose weight. They know it’s one of the toughest things to do and there are millions of Americans who are somewhere along their weight loss journey, just looking to make it easier.

So naturally, myths about how to do it best are everywhere. And it’s easy to get caught up in some of these myths, especially if you feel like you’ve been trying and failing over and over again.

So let’s get into some of those most common weight loss myths and what actually works instead based on the best research around right now.

Myth 1: You must have an intense exercise plan to lose weight

You’ll find any number of trainers and health gurus suggesting the most extreme measures when it comes to exercise.

But the truth is, you can lose weight through diet alone, but not through exercise alone. If you exercise and just keep up with the same eating habits, or even add food because now you’re hungrier after adding intense exercise, you’re actually undermining your weight loss efforts.

For most people, losing weight depends on eating fewer calories than you burn each day. But how you go about doing that will depend on your unique circumstances. And it isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are tough physical and psychological challenges that come along with changing lifestyle habits to lose weight. Weight loss is hard. No matter how anyone tries to boil it down to a simple equation of calories in vs calories out.

With all that being said, it’s still important to do exercise. There are countless other benefits from exercising regularly, from preventing cancers, improving heart health and blood pressure, to reducing stress, and improving sleep, energy, and mood. And the kind of exercise you do has an impact on your physique as you lose weight through dieting efforts. Your physique outcomes will be different if you spend most of your time exercising by lifting weights instead of running.

But the important thing to know about exercise and weight loss is that you don’t have to do a crazy intense workout program. The minimum recommended amount of exercise for optimal health benefits is 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. 

How to exercise for weight loss:

The important thing to know about exercise and weight loss is that you don’t have to do a crazy intense workout program. The minimum recommended amount of exercise for optimal health benefits is 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. 

What’s most important is to find the kind of exercise you like most and pair it with a healthy diet and ideal calorie intake for your weight loss goals. You also want to make sure your program is something sustainable—something you can actually stick with for long enough to see results. 

You also want to train in progressions. Start with 30-minute sessions and build to 60-minute sessions if you have the time for that. It’s ideal to get a mix of training styles. Two days of cardio and three days with strength training, all for 30 minutes, is a great place to start. 

Myth 2: Healthier foods are more expensive

We hear this one all the time, don’t we? We hear about how all the healthy food is just so out of reach for many Americans.

But the opposite is actually true.

Let’s think first about what we mean by “healthy”.

Healthy doesn’t mean organic. By healthy foods, we mean whole foods—fruits, vegetables, legumes, complex grains, and depending on your dietary restrictions, certain dairy (like yogurt and low-fat cheese) and lean meat as well.

So how expensive is it to eat healthy whole foods compared to lower quality foods and fast-food? Well it depends on how you calculate the price of food. According to USDA, we often hear that unhealthy foods are cheaper than healthy foods because the conversation centers on one way of calculating cost: price per calorie. It’s true that unhealthy foods are cheaper than healthy foods when talking about calorie density. But it’s a misleading way of talking about food cost alone.

Calories aren’t the only way to think about food. You can also think about the overall nutritional value. And how filling the food is. The same report from the USDA found that when calculating the cost of food by edible weight or by average amount eaten, the healthy foods are cheaper than unhealthy foods. 

The one caveat is that you do end up spending more time preparing meals when you opt to buy the fresh whole and healthy foods over other options. And that time can seem like a huge downside. 

But in the long run, for your health, that time spent is worth it. And cooking, once you get used to doing it and learn some tricks, can be not only fun, but relaxing. 

Myth 3: Losing weight is impossible if you have snacks

Okay, there’s a lot of hate for snacking out there. But there’s nothing inherently evil about snacks. It’s all about moderation and smart choices in your diet plan.

How to snack smart

First off, make sure any snacks you add don’t put your over your daily calorie amount. Then you want to make sure your snacks are still nutritionally balanced. If all of your snacks are a serving of chips, sweets, and other high calorie foods, then your snacks aren’t serving you well.

The point of a snack is to have something to tide you over until you get to your next meal if you need it. Or for an energy boost in the afternoon when you start feeling sluggish.

So to make it impactful, you want to have a snack that is filling and full of essential vitamins and nutrients.

Good options would be a high-protein, low-fat yogurt. Greek yogurt or skyr are great choices. An apple with 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, depending on your calorie allotments. Both of these are tasty snacks that are filling enough to get you through to your next meal. Plus you get important nutritional requirements from them.

Myth 4: Losing weight is all about willpower

This is very likely the most harmful weight loss myth on this list. And one of the most damaging of all the myths around weight loss.

Now I won’t deny that losing weight takes a certain amount of discipline. But it’s about so much more than that.

There are ingrained patterns to overcome. There are eating habits that you’ve been living by for years and it will take time to undo and recover from that damage. A lot of times, these are habits or thoughts about food you don’t even realize you have. This is true of everyone. 

How to think about your weight loss journey instead?

Will power isn’t something you can rely on forever. The key is to find a weight loss plan that works for you and that you’re happy to do.

And equally as important is to be patient with your progress and trust it will come. And in the meantime practice gratitude.

Be grateful for what your body does for you and be patient while waiting for the outcomes that you want. 

Take it all one day at a time. Don’t judge yourself for what you did last year, last week, or even yesterday. Know what you need to do each day and give it your best effort to reach it. And if you fail one day, it doesn’t mean you’ll fail the next. With continued effort, changes will come about over time.

Work with us

As experts, we know that losing weight is a complex process. And while there are general rules everyone can follow to lose weight, what works best for you depends on your unique circumstances.

It’s our goal to help you create a plan with the best information and resources available to help you get to your ideal weight as soon as possible in a healthy and safe way.

Contact one of our offices today to get more information about what we offer and how you can work with one of our experts.

Sources:

  1. Carlson, Posted by Andrea, et al. “Healthy Foods Not Necessarily More Expensive Than Less Healthy Ones.” USDA, 21 Feb. 2017, www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/05/16/healthy-foods-not-necessarily-more-expensive-less-healthy-ones
easily get 30 minutes of activity

How to Easily Get 30 Minutes of Activity Every Day

5 tips to easily get 30 minutes of activity every day so you lose weight faster and feel better

When you hear someone tell you to exercise more, it’s easy to feel a bit frustrated. 

You know you’re supposed to exercise. But the people who say that seem to just have more time on their hands and an easier time of it.

It seems impossible to gather up the willpower, summon enough energy, or even find something you enjoy enough to make a regular part of your routine.

And then there’s the time factor. Who has time to set aside an hour or more every day for exercise? 

But the good thing is that you don’t need that much time for a good workout. It only takes 30 minutes of activity each day to get you on the right path to a more active lifestyle, a healthier weight, and a happier life.

The recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. Or 75 minutes of intense activity each week.

And when you break those numbers down it’s really not that much activity being recommended at all. 150 minutes, when broken down into more a more manageable chunk, can come to five 30-minute workout sessions per week.

It might sound too good to be true, that 30 minutes of activity is enough to get meaningful results from exercise. So let’s first dig into why it is.

Can 30 minutes of activity really be enough?

It might sound too good to be true, that 30 minutes is enough to get meaningful results from exercise. But you can do more in 30 minutes than you think. And get plenty out of it. Here are just some of the benefits of getting 30 minutes of activity every day:

  • Mood boost

The post-exercise endorphin rush is a real thing. And it’s why you can feel so fabulous after a run or a great lift.

  • Reduce stress

Norepinephrine is a chemical that moderates and improves our response to stressful situations. Exercise increases the amount of norepinephrine produced in our bodies–giving you the ability to better manage stress.

  • Improve energy levels

You might assume that exercise just makes you tired. But making exercise a habit actually improves your energy levels every day. Exercise delivers more oxygen to your brain, circulates nutrients to your muscle tissue, and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. This especially helps your body maintain high energy levels with less effort.

  • Improve self-confidence

Fitting a bit of movement into your day is one of the best ways to feel stronger and more capable on those days you feel a bit off. It’s easy to want to just zone out in front of the TV when you hit a snag you want to ignore. But going for a walk, a jog, or breaking out the yoga mat can get you back on track and feeling great about yourself.

5 tips to easily get 30 minutes of activity each day

So how can you make sure to get 30 minutes each day? If you’re busy or any exercise at all seems daunting to you–that’s okay. The key is to start slow and celebrate every win you have along the way.

You’ll have to try a few things before you discover what works best for you. So here are 5 common solutions that help others find time for exercise and be excited about it.

1. Break it up

Don’t have 30 minutes straight on some days? That’s okay.

While 30 minutes is a pretty short workout, with busy schedules even that amount of time can feel impossible. 

So instead, make time for 15 minutes of movement in the morning and another 15 in the evening. Even shorter time chunks like that are even easier to squeeze in.

Making time to move your muscles and get your heart pumping at all is better than not doing it.

You can also take a few minutes at your work desk. Do stretches in 5-minute chunks. That does wonders for your back and neck muscles that grow tense as we hunch over computer screens all day. It also helps you get the blood flowing to your legs and activates your muscles.

So on those super busy days, you can still find a few minutes here and there to get activity in. And over the course of the day, it’ll all add up.

2. Mix it up and tailor your workouts to your busy schedule

There are plenty of reasons to mix up your training routine. Some of those reasons have to do with building your well-rounded and overall health and fitness. But it’s also helpful so you can adapt to the busiest days of your week.

Some days are busier and you’ll feel more motivated to do yoga than you would be for a run. There might be days of the week that a workout class is open, while it isn’t on other days.

When you adjust your workouts to your routine and build in variety, you’re more likely to commit to the exercise you have planned.

3. Make it part of your commute

If you can ride your bike to work, that covers your exercise requirement and takes care of the practical necessity of getting to work.

4. Set up active outings with friends and family and partners

Making exercise a group activity is one of the best ways to make exercise enjoyable and to hold yourself accountable. 

It’s easy to do a lot of activities with others–any team sport, tennis, swimming, hiking, or dancing. Doing exercise with people you enjoy makes it more fun and gives you the added joy of making time to spend with the people who are important to you.

5. Do activities you like

Doing exercise that you truly enjoy is the most important piece of advice on this list.

Forget anyone telling you that you must do a specific exercise if you want to lose weight. Or that there are good and bad workouts depending on how hard you exercise, how fast you can move, or how heavy you can lift.

The important thing is doing something you love. Whatever brings you the most joy and gets you moving–do that the most.

Are there benefits to doing a mix of cardio and strength training? Yes. That’s why any personal trainer will recommend you do a mix of both.

But any movement is more important than doing the most specialized exercise out there.

If you aren’t sure what you enjoy yet, take some time to find what you enjoy. It could be swimming, hiking, walking, jogging, yoga, or playing basketball, tennis, or soccer. You might find that you love weight lifting. 

Just get out there and try a few things and when you find something you love, keep doing it.

Not Sure Where to Begin?

Any amount of exercise is easier when you have a support system.

And if you need that support network and expert guidance about how to pair exercise with a diet to get the best weight loss results, we’re here to help.

Reach out to our experts to learn more about your weight loss options and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Sources:

  1. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf

The Best Exercise for Weight Loss

Get the most weight loss benefits out of your time spent exercising

If you’re going to start exercising with the goal of losing weight, then you want to choose the most effective exercise for weight loss.

That’s not to say you should do a type of exercise you hate. It’s important to find something you love so you feel happy to have exercise as part of your routine.

But if you’re newer to exercise, or just haven’t in a while, then you may be wondering what’s the best exercise for weight loss.

Well, you’re in luck, because there’s not just one best exercise to lose weight. There are plenty of options to choose from.

So if you’re looking for something to try for your new weight loss plan, give these calorie-burning exercises a try first to figure out what exercise you enjoy most.

Exercises to burn the most calories:

When your goal is to lose weight, you want to find exercises that burn the most calories.

Or in other words, make you to use the most energy to get through the exercise and recover from it.

The key is to get your heart rate up and keep it elevated for as long as is safely possible.

For that reason, cardio workouts are the best for losing more calories in one training session.

So it should come as no surprise then that many of the exercises we list here for weight loss are cardio-based.

Below are some of the best workouts to burn the most calories:

Running:

It’s likely that the first type of exercise that comes to mind when you think of cardio and losing weight is running.

Even looking at pictures of runners, you can assume that running must be great for keeping weight off–most of them are so thin!

So it’s true that running is great for your heart health and for burning calories.

Depending on your pace you can expect to burn between 648–960 calories in one hour of running.

That’s a ton of calories.

Swimming: 

Swimming is fabulous because it’s great exercise but doesn’t always feel like it. The water lets you feel weightless and able to move freely. Plus, if you love the water there’s something soothing about it too.

So it’s exciting that something so fun can also be such a great exercise for weight loss.

You can burn anywhere from 369–588 calories in one hour of swimming.

Cycling:

Whether you sign up for a spin class or take out your bike for street riding, this is a great exercise for weight loss.

There are plenty of people who swear by their cycling classes, not just for the calories burned, but also for the energy and enthusiasm infused in every session.

Depending on your rate it’s possible to burn 420-622 calories in a one-hour session.

HIIT:

HIIT workouts are one of the best options if burning the most calories is your goal.

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. And the way it works is you do shorter workouts ranging from 20-40 minutes. During these workouts, you alternate between high bursts of energy and longer rest periods.

So for example, you do might 30 sections of high-intensity exercise followed by 45 seconds of rest before you start the next 30-second round. This is the usual pattern of a HIIT workout.

How many calories can this type of exercise burn for you? Around 450 calories in 30 minutes.

That’s right—almost as much as running burns in an hour. 

It’s honestly staggering how great HIIT is for burning calories. And it’s a big part of the reason why it’s become so popular all over the country.

And another great thing about HIIT is that it’s possible to combine cardio and some strength training in one workout. So you get the best of both worlds.

Because there are major benefits of strength training and building muscle to help you lose weight. 

Want to burn more calories at rest?

Exercising at all will help boost your metabolism. So your body will start burning more energy even when you aren’t active.

But there’s one type of exercise that improves your metabolism above all others: strength training. 

When you lift weights (or use bodyweight) to build muscle you make it possible for your body to burn more calories at rest.

How?

Because muscle uses more energy than fat.

The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories your body uses—even at rest.

So if you want an exercise that does more for you throughout the day and not just when you’re exercising, then make sure you include strength training in your routine.

But you don’t need to lift weights every single day to see these effects.

Even two or three times per week is enough to see improvement over time. 

Need your exercise to be low impact?

But you may be thinking that some of the activities are too intense for where you’re starting out. And that’s okay—we all come from different starting points and have different needs.

That doesn’t mean exercise is impossible for you.

You can start by simply walking.

Walking is the best place to start if exercise feels unattainable for you.

Will you burn quite as many calories in an hour as other forms of exercise? Of course not. But you can burn around 186-276 calories when walking at a moderate pace for one hour. It’s definitely possible to burn even more than that depending on your pace and how far you choose to walk every day. 

And you will be amazed by what’s possible when you start walking and stick with it over time.

It works when you’re consistent and patient with yourself and your body. But the results do come. 

Making Exercise Consistent Is Key

While you now have an idea of the best exercise for weight loss, that doesn’t mean you should force yourself to do activities you don’t enjoy.

If you hate running, or any other type of exercise listed here, it’s not going to be the best way to lose weight for you.

The most important thing when it comes to exercise is to find a type of exercise that you enjoy most.

It could be dancing, tennis, golf, basketball, hiking, or any number of other activities. The key is to find the right exercise for you. And the weight loss will follow in time.

When you work with us at Valley Medical Weight Loss we help you get a plan for exercise that works for you and your goals. We pair your exercise plan with a diet plan and check-in to make sure you get the best results possible. 

Learn more about working with a weight loss doctor who can help you make your weight loss goals a reality.

Sources:

  1. “12 Exercises That Burn the Most Calories.” Healthline, 2019, www.healthline.com/health/what-exercise-burns-the-most-calories#at-home.
  2. Glantz, Jen. “5 Women Explain How Walking Helped Them Finally Lose the Weight.” Women’s Health, Women’s Health, 22 Oct. 2019, www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/g19917712/lose-weight-by-walking/. 

Overcome Common Weight Loss Obstacles

If you hit a wall in your weight loss journey, don’t stress, and don’t give up! We have some tips to help you.

When you start your weight loss journey it’s easy to feel motivated and excited for the changes you imagine in your life. The last thing on your mind is all the weight loss obstacles that could get in your way.

But the changes you want take time. And over time the excitement starts to fade. You realize just how difficult it is to lose weight. And it’s not uncommon for all your goals to suddenly feel impossible.

But you can do it. Just like the thousands of others who have found success before you.

But we know it’s not easy. It’s never as simple as just do more exercise. Or just stick to your diet.

If it were as simple as just following those suggestions, then no one would be overweight.

The truth is…no matter how much weight you want to lose, there will be ups and downs. You will encounter roadblocks.

The key to success isn’t pretending that won’t happen. 

It’s in being prepared.

So here are some insights about how to overcome six of the most common weight loss obstacles. 

That way you can make a gameplan from the start. And when something inevitably tries to get in your way, you will overcome it and succeed in your weight loss journey.

1.Diet Struggles

Constantly feeling hungry

Hunger is one of the most difficult feelings to ignore. And if you’re constantly feeling hungry, then you most likely won’t be able to maintain your weight loss plan for very long.

But there are ways of getting around that. Like by choosing foods that are high satiety, but low calorie. High satiety means foods that make you feel full after eating them.

Foods like oatmeal, fish, greek yogurt or Icelandic skyr, popcorn, soup, fruits, vegetables, and potatoes (not in french fry form—sorry, I know they’re delicious).

These foods are filling and low calorie. Many of them highly nutritious too. 

And they’re a good place to start for another problem people face around food and weight loss:

Not knowing what to eat

There’s a lot of conflicting information about what the best diet is. 

But it really doesn’t have to be so complicated. Your goal is to eat for health and weight loss.

Based on your personal conditions, you may eat a different variety of foods from another person, but there are a few general rules to stick to:

You want to eat more foods that have high nutritional value. Foods that get you a mix of the right essential nutrients your body needs to be healthy. And you want to keep your caloric intake low enough to lose weight.

But when you don’t have time to put in the research to learn about all there is to know about diet, it’s easy to feel stuck.

This is why having a meal plan created for you can be so helpful. It takes all the thinking out of the equation on your end. You get an expertly created meal plan and the results will follow when you stick to it.

You don’t have time to cook

When you decide to cook your own meals because it’s healthier than going out to eat or relying on microwavable meals, you realize how time-consuming cooking can be!

Plus you’re tired after work every day. The last thing you want to do is cook every night.

The best way to get around this weight loss obstacle is to meal prep.

Every Sunday making all of your meals and putting them into portions that you can easily grab and heat up throughout the rest of the week.

It removes the temptation to go out to avoid cooking. It saves you the time of cooking a new meal every single day.

And it’s the best way to set yourself up for success.

2. Exercise Obstacles

Find exercise boring

If you can’t find the motivation to exercise it’s possible that you find exercise boring.

The thought of going for a run sounds like mind-numbing torture. And walking on the treadmill for an hour? Total snoozer.

Not everyone would choose to spend hours of their week doing rigorous activity. You might have other passions and interests you want to invest your time in.

But there’s no denying the importance of exercise for your health. You avoid doing it at your own peril.

The reality is that there are so many types of exercise out there. And while you see fitness influences all over social media, or professional athletes on TV, don’t assume that you must go all or nothing into exercise as they have.

Find an activity you enjoy—yoga, swimming, walking, jogging, team sports, lifting, or dancing.

It can be anything. But you have to do it regularly.

At least three days a week of moderate to intense activity is recommended. But what’s even better is getting into the habit of doing 30 minutes of fun physical activity every day.

Just remember that if you start to get bored you can always switch things up.

Don’t have time

I get it—we live in a culture where being busy is the default.

So this makes creating time for longer workouts difficult for many people. It’s hard to show up for classes that run for an hour or longer when you barely have time for everything else.

But there are ways of saving time in your workouts.

One simple way is by choosing to workout at home instead of the gym. This cuts down on commute time you inevitably have to factor into your day.

And don’t feel like you have to follow any program that will take you longer than 30 minutes to complete in a day.

30 minutes is enough time to get in a solid workout. And it’s a reasonable chunk of time to set aside each day.

It’s going to be difficult to do at first. Especially if you haven’t established a routine. Or if your daily schedule really does feel like mayhem.

But the 30 minutes you invest now will improve the quality of your life now and for your future.

Pain 

Pain is one of the hardest weight loss obstacles to overcome.

But it can be done.

Work with a trainer. Speak with a physical therapist. These are people who are specially trained to work with you through your pain.

And with so many different types of exercise to choose from, you can find something that won’t cause you pain. 

3. Embarrassment 

It’s easy to feel embarrassed when there’s a lot of social stigma around weight.

Maybe you’re embarrassed that all your past attempts at losing weight failed. And you believe no one will take you seriously when you say you want to try again.

Maybe you don’t want to step foot in the gym where you see plenty of fit and thin people.

That kind of embarrassment and fear is paralyzing.

So how do you overcome it?

One way is to remember that you aren’t alone and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy. And everything you’re doing deserves compassion and celebration.

Know that you belong anywhere. If fear of the gym is stopping you from getting the exercise you need to burn calories and lose fat, let’s consider a few things:

  • No one in the gym actually cares about what you’re doing or even notices. And if they do, they’re the problem, not you.
  • The gym exists for everyone who wants to get healthier–that includes you!
  • Give yourself time to learn. You won’t feel like a pro in the gym at first. Embrace those feelings of uncertainty and channel them into learning so you can feel more at home there.

And finally, find people who support you. Anyone who cares about seeing you feel healthy and happy won’t shame you for trying. Even if you tried and failed before. 

Having the support of others normalizes what you want to do. Support helps you overcome any weight loss obstacles and helps you feel less embarrassed.

4. Motivation Fluctuates 

Our motivation to do everything comes and goes in waves. Truly, for everything.

Professional athletes, musicians, writers, and people from all walks of life will have plenty of days where they just don’t want to do it.

It might be one day. It might stretch to two weeks.

Because what happens with everything is we often reach a plateau. Or we find ourselves stuck in a rut. 

But progress is still happening. Even if we can’t see it or hear it, it’s happening. And you’re not far away from another burst of motivation and improvement if you just. keep. going.

So you will face low points in your weight loss journey. You’ll feel like it’s no use or that you aren’t making the progress you want.

This is truly one of the most insidious weight loss obstacles because it’s so easy to convince yourself nothing you do matters during times of low motivation.

It’s overcoming those low points that are the ultimate challenge. But there are some ways to regain that spark and stay on track.

Read motivational books, listen to motivational podcasts, watch inspirational documentaries. Find people who are willing to listen to you and motivate you.

Surround yourself with all the positive reminders of why you want to lose weight. 

And most importantly: don’t beat yourself up if you slip.

Did you have an extra cheat meal this week? Did you eat more in the last two days because of some social events that came up?

Do not worry.

A lot of times, when we break a pattern or a streak we feel like we’ve completely ruined everything.

And when we feel this way, it’s easy to just say you’re a failure, and give up altogether.

Instead, try to recognize the truth of the situation: you enjoyed the first treat in a month because you were happy and wanted to enjoy yourself.

Accept it, embrace that moment, let it happen, and then move on.

To shame yourself will only ever keep your motivation in a downward spiral. It will turn harmless incidents into catastrophic events even when it wasn’t close to being one to begin with.

5. Stress 

Stress is one of the most overlooked but hugely important barriers to weight loss.

Our metabolism actually slows down under stress.

And when we are stressed it’s easier to feel demotivated and run into more weight loss obstacles than when we feel at ease.

So if weight loss is your goal, it’s important to consider how stressed you are. And what you can do to reduce your stress.

Some common ways are to meditate, spend time outside, read a good novel, watch a fun series, take a bubble bath, or exercise. All of these activities can help you take your mind off what’s causing you to worry. And instead, let you focus on the present.

And if stress is really interfering in your life in many ways, it’s worth talking to a professional about your stress. 

The outcome would be a better state of mind and improved physical health.

6. Schedule Changes 

Have you ever gone on vacation and realized that it’s nearly impossible to stick to your usual weight loss plan?

Here’s the reality about vacations: they’re fun but they wreak havoc on your weight-loss plan. 

It’s harder to exercise. You don’t know what kind of gym your lodgings will have—if any. And you don’t know how much of your usual training routine you’ll be able to stick to.

There’s also the matter of food.

Chances are you’ll eat out regularly. This means you won’t be sticking to the meal plan that’s best for your weight loss and overall health.

Whether it’s a vacation, a new work schedule, or a life change that’s going to upend your normal routines for the foreseeable future, you can overcome these.

First off, it’s important not to stress out about these changes. Whether they’re temporary or long-term, the key to overcoming this obstacle is to create a new plan to keep losing weight.

People have achieved their weight loss goals under so many different circumstances. Some are undoubtedly easier than others. But your goals are always possible.

What’s the easiest way to overcome all of these weight loss obstacles?

With support.

It’s proven that those who have support in their weight loss goals are more successful and happier while doing it.

Why?

Because the changes you’re making are huge! They’re life-altering. And there’s no doubt that making lifestyle changes and creating new habits is one of the hardest things for us to do.

But when we feel supported and like our goals have a purpose outside of ourselves, they become more attainable. They become more enjoyable. 

Find out how to get life-changing weight-loss support at Valley Medical Weight Loss to make your weight loss goals a reality.

Sources:

1.“7 Filling Foods to Prevent Hunger Backed by Science.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324078.

2. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K, et al. “Daily Stressors, Past Depression, and Metabolic Responses to High-Fat Meals: a Novel Path to Obesity.” Biological Psychiatry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Apr. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289126/.

sitting

Sitting Too Much? How to Counteract Negative Effects with Exercise

With a stay-at-home advisory in Arizona (and all over the world), a lot of us are spending significantly more time at home—and much more time sitting too much.

We’ve touched on this issue before and discussed how reports are describing too much sitting as the new smoking. Well, with the gyms closed and so many people stuck at home, the issue has come up again recently.

review that was published in the scientific journal The Lancet looked at how much exercising you should be doing each day based on how often you’re sitting. Instead of giving a blanket recommendation of 30 minutes per day for at least 5 days a week, these researchers went a step further. Here’s what they found.

Study Basics

Researchers from this review analyzed data from 16 separate research studies. These studies included data from over one million adults over the age of 45 from the United States, Western Europe, and Australia. The researchers compared time spent sitting versus time spent exercising and mortality rates and developed a formula that may be able to counteract the effects of sitting and lead to a healthier life.

The Findings

Based on this data, the researchers concluded that if you spend around 8 hours sitting each day, you should be exercising (and that’s moderate to intense exercise) for at least one hour every day. If you sit for 6 hours, you should be exercising for at least 30 minutes each day.

The numbers may seem daunting, but here’s the good news. An hour of exercise takes up only 4 percent of your whole day. The other good news is that research also shows that this exercise doesn’t have to take place all at once.

If you can’t commit to an hour at a time, you can split your exercise into two half hour sessions or 6 bursts of 10 minutes each. The major goal is to sit less, so anything you can do to get your body moving is a step in the right direction.

As you’re spending more time at home, find ways to keep yourself moving, like cleaning the house, walking your dog, or even turning on some music and dancing in the kitchen while you cook dinner.

exercise

Morning Versus Evening: What’s the Best Time to Exercise?

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who exercise at the crack of dawn before starting their day, and people who wouldn’t even dream of tying on those gym shoes until evening. Okay, so maybe there are some variations of this, like people who work out on their lunch break or people who don’t work out at all, but we’re going to keep it simple and discuss working out in the morning versus the evening and whether there’s a greater benefit to exercising at a specific time of the day.

The Bottom Line

We’re going to get right to the point here: there is no good evidence to suggest that working out at a certain time of day is more beneficial for everyone. Morning workouts have specific advantages, while exercising in the evening also has its perks; but if there’s one thing the experts agree on it’s this: the most important thing about working out is consistency. It doesn’t matter what time of day you do it, as long as you do it regularly.

That being said, we’re still going to break down the benefits of morning exercise versus evening exercise to help you decide which choice is best for you.

Benefits of Exercising in the Morning

  • As a general rule, research has shown that exercising in the morning leads to greater consistency. When you get your workout in right away, there is less of a chance that a stressful day, fatigue, or other plans will derail you from your routine.
  • Research has also shown that exercising in the morning can create a domino effect of healthy choices throughout the day. When you start your day with a workout, you’re more likely to eat a healthier breakfast, drink more water, and make the choices that keep you on track to reaching your goals.
  • If you’re hitting the gym to exercise, you may prefer the morning for your workout. Statistics shows that gyms are usually the busiest between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. Getting there in the morning means that you’ll have easier access to the gym equipment you need, and just a quieter scene, if that’s what you prefer.
  • People who work out in the morning tend to get more sleep than people who work out in the evening because the anticipation of an early wake-up call prompts them to go to bed sooner.

Benefits of Exercising in the Evening

  • Even if you’re a morning person, finding the strength to exercise first thing can be difficult. Research shows that people who work out in the evening tend to exercise at a greater intensity than people who work out in the morning. Evening exercisers also tend to be more alert, making accidents and injuries less likely.
  • Let’s face it, long days can be stressful and working out is a great tool to relieve that stress. Working out in the evening gives you time to release that stress in a healthy way, instead of hitting happy hour or turning to comfort foods.
  • According to research, workouts tend to be more effective when your body temperature is higher; whereas cold body temperatures leave muscles stiff and more susceptible to injury. Because body temperature naturally increases throughout the day, muscle strength and endurance tend to be better in the afternoon and evening.

Exercise Recommendations

Regardless of when you decide to exercise, you have to do it enough to reap the benefits. Of course, depending on your specific goals, you may have to work out harder or longer, or target specific muscle areas, but the American Heart Association set basic guidelines for everyone as a baseline: at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise; or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise.

Ultimately, the choice on whether you exercise best in the morning or in the evening is yours. The most important thing is consistency, so choose whatever time allows you to stick to your routine. You can even change it up from day to day, as long as you get it done!

What is HIIT? And Should I Be Doing It?

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is nothing new, but with the help of the #HIIT community on social media, the concept has been gaining lots of traction in the fitness world lately. Although HIIT can be done anywhere at any time, lots of gyms are popping up with HIIT classes due to the increasing popularity. So what exactly is HIIT? And how can you make it work for you? We’re here to let you know!

What is HIIT?

The most basic definition of HIIT is a workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and periods of less intense activity, or complete rest; but here’s the catch: in order to qualify as HIIT, you need to push yourself to your max for all of the intense bursts of activity. This means that you need to go as hard as you can go (at least a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10) for the full time, and then you can slow it down during the rest periods. Because HIIT requires you to perform at full intensity, the periods of work are short, usually ranging anywhere from 20 to 90 seconds.

A basic example of a HIIT workout is sprinting for one full minute then walking for two minutes, and repeating this set for a period of up 45 minutes.

Benefits of HIIT

The beauty of HIIT is in the intensity. Research shows that when you work harder, your body requires more oxygen, which leads to greater calorie burn. This also translates to burning more calories before and after your workout, or what is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. High-intensity cardiovascular exercise — the kind that leaves you out of breath — raises your metabolic rate to the point where you could burn as much as six to fifteen percent more calories even after your workout ends.

  • Increased fat burning
  • Greater cardiovascular (heart) benefits
  • Improves insulin sensitivity and cholesterol profiles
  • Builds muscle while also burning fat
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Improves endurance
  • Takes less time
  • You can do it anywhere
  • No equipment necessary

Importance of Rest

The high-intensity exercise portion of HIIT is not the only piece of the puzzle though. The rest is just as important. Requiring your body to alternate between two very different states (intense cardio and rest) is excellent cardiovascular conditioning and allows you perform better during the intense activity, which translates to more fat burn. So just like you shouldn’t skimp on intensity, make sure you’re also getting the full period of rest.

Getting Started

There is no one size fits all approach to HIIT; but if you’re new to the fitness trend, there are some basic guidelines you can follow to develop a program that works for you. A good place to start is with a 1:2 ratio of work to rest. That means you’ll be doing an intense exercise, such as running stairs, sprinting, burpees, or spinning, for half as long as you’re resting. So if you’re working for one full intense minute, you’ll rest for two minutes. Repeat this cycle for around 20 to 45 minutes, or until you just can’t handle any more. As you get used to HIIT training, transition your work to rest ratio to 1:1 — one minute working and one minute resting.

exercise

Fasted Exercise: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Although it’s getting a lot of attention in the fitness world in recent months, fasted exercise – or working out on an empty stomach – is not a new idea. Some people have been swearing by fasted exercise since the very beginning, while others just swear that it’s a waste of time. Like always, we wanted to get down to the science to figure out if you should be working out after you eat or before, but here’s what we found: it depends. We know that’s not really the answer you want, but the best way for you to workout depends on you as an individual. That being said, we’ve scoured through the science to share with you the reasons people swear by fasted exercise and how it may be able to help you.

Hormone Balance

One of the major ways fasted exercise can optimize by your health is by improving insulin sensitivity – or the way the body responds to insulin, the hormone that takes sugar out of the blood and moves it into your cells for energy. When you eat too much, your body is exposed to a constant barrage of insulin and eventually, it causes an overload. By working out before eating, you’re not only giving your body a break from releasing insulin into the blood, but you’re also burning up any excess insulin that’s there. When your body responds to insulin in a healthy way it makes it easier to lose fat and improves blood flow to muscles, making them easier to build. (Note: if you have Type 1 Diabetes, please speak with your doctor. Fasted exercise may not be right for you.)

Fasted exercise also has an impact on the production of growth hormone (or GH), which not only helps burn fat and increase muscle tissue, but also improves bone health. One of the best ways to increase the body’s production of GH is through fasting. Combine that fasting with exercise and you get all the effects mentioned above, plus the added benefit of growth hormone circulating through your system.

Fat Burn

Research also shows that fasted exercise ensures that carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are being used up properly by the body, rather than simply being stored as fat. Because of this, fasted exercise has been shown to be particularly effective at increasing the rate at which you burn and lose fat.

Note: While fasted exercise does have implications for speeding up fat burning and weight loss, your workout is really only as good as your effort. If you try fasted exercise and you have no energy to get through your workout, that can actually work against you. Listen to your body, and adjust your meal plan accordingly.