THE WHAT AND THE WHY OF EXERCISE
Exercise does so much for you that I would be writing a novel if I were to go into it all. The cream-of-the-crop of those benefits are:
- Raises Metabolism
- Lowers Cortisol Levels
- Increases Relaxation
- Releases Endorphins – Your Happy Chemical
- Decreases Stress
- Increases Serotonin
- Boosts Brain Power & Sharpens Memory
- Helps You Sleep Better
- Increases Fat Loss
- Prevents Cognitive Decline
- Accelerates weight loss
- Makes You Happier
- Prevents Heart Disease & Diabetes
For those in the time of change, past exercise that worked wonders to reform our body just doesn’t work anymore.
Your Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone levels begin to fluctuate and eventually plummet. Estrogen helps keep your cortisol levels in check, so when you lose estrogen cortisol level go up, keeping your body in a greater state of stress, which increases fat retention.
When you do high intensity exercise for an extended period or for several days a week, you put your body into more stress, raising those cortisol levels even more, thus holding on to more fat.
At the top of the list is focusing on fat loss. There is more than one destination for a calorie, and the type of activity you do determines what form those calories will take.
Many of you may be hard-core exercisers while others feel queasy just driving past a gym. Since your goal is to lower your stress levels and reset your metabolism, we will focus on exercises that meet those requirements. Wherever you are is absolutely perfect.
Ideally, you will be doing 2 days of high intensity interval training (HIIT) for 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes of low-moderate level cardio, plus 60 minutes of low-moderate level cardio 3-4 days per week. HII has the greatest impact on fat loss.
Whoa, hold on. You may be thinking, “that’s it?” or “you’ve got to be kidding?”
This may actually be more difficult for those of you hitting the gym hard for an hour 7 days per week. It will be a complete mind-shift for you, but if what you are doing isn’t working then maybe it’s time to consider a change.
The best way to get your exercise in is to plan it in advance then have a back-up plan if your original plan gets derailed – because from time to time it will get derailed. Put your exercise in your calendar for a week, just like you plan your meals, and alarm it. Put your back-up exercise in your calendar also so you don’t need to think about it. Put these on “repeat every week.” If something comes up you can always change them, but it forces you to think about it.
If you are not an exerciser, we have a plan for you too.
Don’t exercise too intensely or too often. Limit the hardcore exercise to 2 times per week and focus on low-level cardio the other 3-4 days per week. Spend one day on stretching, restorative yoga, tai chi or other relaxing activities instead.
How to Safely Increase Your Physical Activity Level
You do not currently engage in regular physical activity…
|…you should begin by incorporating a few minutes of physical activity into each day, gradually building up to 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activities.|
You are active, but at less than the recommended levels…
|…you should strive to adopt more consistent activity: (1) moderate-intensity physical activity for 30 minutes or more on 5 or more days of the week, or (2) vigorous-intensity physical activity for 20 minutes or more 2-3 days of the week.|
You engage in moderate-intensity activities for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of the week…
|…you should combine both (1) vigorous-intensity physical activity 2 days per week and (2) low-moderate intensity cardio 30 minutes 3-4 days per week.|
You regularly engage in vigorous-intensity activities 20 minutes or more on 3 or more days of the week…
|…you should combine both (1) vigorous-intensity physical activity 2 days per week for 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes of low-moderate intensity cardio and (2) low-moderate intensity cardio 60 minutes 3-4 days per week|
One day per week is your “restorative” day. You can stretch, do yoga, or any activity that restores balance.
The high-intensity training is very powerful in turning weight loss into fat loss. It is the only form of activity that pushes extra calories toward lean tissue growth.
The low-moderate cardio also burns fat without raising cortisol levels. This will vary from person to person. Your determining factor will be your rate of perceived exertion (RPE). If you cannot hold a conversation while performing your cardio, then your level is too high. It may be a slow walk for some or a slow jog for others. It should be about 4 on an RPE scale of 1-10.
The restorative day rejuvenates your soul. This lowers cortisol and elevates feel-good brain hormones, so you are less likely to have nighttime cravings.