Tom, the personal trainer who founded Waite Training in Leeds has many tips to help you get started on working for your fitness goals.
Working at developing a love of exercise is essential as the benefits of regularly working out go far beyond losing weight. Even though weight loss is often one of the main reasons we start an exercise regime in the first place, it's a pretty inefficient fat loss tool. However, it can be useful for helping us to keep weight off once we've lost it.
Training as a means of fat loss is mostly about keeping the strength and muscle that you've already got, and making the lean muscle mass more visible through dieting. There are many reasons to exercise beyond losing weight that will also assist with your fat loss goals.
Benefit #1. Reduced Inflammation
Inflammation is a particular concern as it can be indicative of underlying health issues as well as jeopardise fat loss. Exercise reduces the number of inflammatory markers such as c-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), which are linked to a number of diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.
Research by Suzi Hong, Associate Professor in the School of Health Sciences in UC San Diego, shows that 20 minutes of moderate exercise has a measurable effect on the immune system. The best thing about this effect is that the effort is relative to your fitness level. You don't need to exercise at high intensities to see health improvements because the intensity required is subjective. That means even if you're new to exercise, you start to see the benefits immediately!
Previous research by Suzi Hong has shown that a one-off episode of exercising isn't enough. Physical activity is linked to the secretion of stress hormones. So the effect of moderate exercise is felt in the short term. After exercising, hormone levels return to baseline. Therefore, to maximise the benefit of training, it should be done regularly.
Benefit #2. Cardiovascular Fitness
Heart health is improved by regular exercise, so the risk of strokes and high blood pressure is reduced for people that regularly exercise. The research seems to be conflicted about how much is just enough. Some research suggesting any small amount of exercise will help, other research being more specific and proposing a 30 minutes a day is an optimal level. Too much training has been seen to harm heart health in some studies. NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate cardio and 2x strength training activity each week.
Benefit #3. Slows Down Ageing
Perhaps one of the most notable benefits of exercise is that it lengthens the caps on the ends of telomeres. When we age, our telomeres get shorter. The longer they are, the younger we stay. There's some evidence to suggest shortening telomeres is why we age, so if exercise can slow this down, it effectively makes us younger!
Benefit #4. Prevent Illnesses
Aerobic exercise triggers the growth of new neurons in a process called neurogenesis. This may be why people who regularly exercise are less at risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's or dementia. It also may have a role to play in the treatment of depression.
Benefit #5. Bone and Muscular Strength
The benefits of training aren't limited to cardio. Strength training plays an integral role in increasing bone density, joint flexibility and increased muscle mass. All vital to developing a lean, strong physique. Strength training can assist your metabolism, helping you burn more calories while at rest. It can even help to improve insulin sensitivity, a vital hormone involved in weight loss.
It's worth noting that when in a calorie deficit, by definition, you aren't getting the energy your body requires. That might mean that the amount of energy you're able to put into your training will be limited.
Benefit #6. Mental Health
The benefits aren't merely physical though, with improvements to mood, and improvements to the stability of your mood over time both noted by people who exercise regularly. Regular exercise can decrease negative emotions, like anxiety. It can also increase positive emotions, such as relaxation and self-esteem.
Exercising outdoors can have even more positive effects, with exposure to vitamin D through sunlight and fresh air. Exercising outdoors can improve the quality of your sleep too so you might recover from your session more thoroughly than you would if you exercised indoors in a gym.
Benefit #7. Fat Loss
Losing stubborn fat can become a "side-effect" of incorporating a well-designed exercise routine into your lifestyle. Together with proper nutrition and recovery habits you sustain consistently for long-term, you will be able to achieve any physique goals as well as feel better in your skin and become healthy and strong.
In a nutshell, training alone won't help you lose stubborn body fat and sculpt the body of your dreams but will play an important role at that together with all the other healthy habits you employ in your new fitness lifestyle. Besides, you will enjoy all the other benefits of training I've listed in this article.
If you need directions on where to start your fat loss journey or how to get yourself unstuck if you've been at a plateau for a while, feel free to get in touch for a commitment-free chat!