You may be asking yourself, what about exercise? What should I be doing?
There are many, many fitness fads and types of workouts in the fitness world. I always tell my clients, the best type of exercise is the one that you will actually do. But, for weight loss, there are a couple of forms of exercise that are more suited to our purpose.
The first is cardiovascular exercise. I am not a fan of what is called “steady state cardio”, or exercises like long-distance running, or swimming, for a few reasons. First off, these forms of exercise can be damaging to the joints and the spine. Running in particular is rather harmful to the spine and the knees and feet. Historically speaking, running for a distance was never something humans did. We ran to hunt, evade predators, and for playful purposes. In fact, running for sport or exercise has a very high incidence of injury. Swimming is also very hard on the shoulder joints and is one of the leading forms of exercise that leads to rotator cuff injuries.
I prefer High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT training on a bike or stationary bike. It is easy on the spine and lower extremity joints, and easy to toggle the intensity. To perform HIIT training, simply perform a low-intensity warm-up of 5 minutes, then ramp up the intensity to near maximal effort for 30 seconds, then back down to a very easy intensity for 2 minutes, and repeat. Doing 5 cycles of this is an excellent workout, and has been shown to be very effective and efficient at increasing cardiovascular performance. It also only takes about 20 minutes!
Lifting weights is also a great form of exercise. This is actually an underutilized exercise for weight loss. Lifting weights builds muscle, and having more muscle, means you burn more calories. A V8 engine burns more gas than a V6. Aim to be the V8! That does not mean you need to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, just that lifting weights is important to our goals! Research has even shown that lifting weights in a circuit-style workout can produce similar cardiovascular benefits to HIIT training, with additional research showing it can even boost the immune system!
Working out in what is called “Kinetic Chains” is a great way to boost the metabolism, and exercise in a functional manner. Kinetic Chains are groups of muscles that work together to accomplish a certain motion, such as pulling/pushing, or keeping us upright. The main 2 kinetic chains in the body are our Anterior Chain (our pushing muscles) and our Posterior Chain (our pulling muscles). When we exercise in these chains, we are working large muscle groups, with our smaller muscle groups, which burn more calories, has a more positively effective hormonal response, and can garner greater results. An example of a couple of weight-lifting workouts in this fashion is as follows:
Anterior Chain Day:
- Chest Press/Push Ups
- Quadriceps Extensions
- Triceps Extensions
- Calf Raises
- Front Deltoid Raises
Posterior Chain Day:
- Hamstring Curls
- Lat Pull Downs
- Biceps Curls
- Lateral Deltoid Raises
Doing a couple of days of lifting, and a couple of days of HIIT training a week covers your bases for your exercise. We do not need to do 2-a-day workouts, or work out 6-7 days a week to see results!
If you have any questions on exercise, or if you have limitations that need to be worked around, be sure to bring these questions up during your weekly check-ins, so we can find a solution! Dr. Nick has an extensive background in Exercise Science, and can personally design a workout plan for your needs.