My former exercise routine was just enough to keep me from gaining weight. However, I ended up gaining fat. I had to find out the truth about my exercise and make changes to get in the shape I wanted to be in.
People hate to exercise because of the image that exercising portrays. Some people see exercise is jumping up and down to the same video five days a week for a year. Another exercise image is spending countless money to join a gym, which can take hours from the day considering the drive, changing clothes, working out, showering, and driving back home. Yet one more exercise routine is purchasing expensive equipment that you use for a few months that turns into shelf space or something to hang your laundry from.
If none of these exercise images are fun, it’s no wonder why people hate doing it. But the truth is that exercise, in the simplest form, is pushing your heart rate up 20 percent for 30 minutes straight, several times a week.
When I was a military member, I spent most of my days pushing around heavy equipment in full uniform under various weather conditions. I was also much younger and could eat almost anything without getting fat. In fact, I gained 30 pounds of muscle in three years without going to the gym simply because I had a physical job and a high metabolism.
Now I sit at a desk most hours of the day. I am 15 years older than I was when I first joined. My metabolism has slowed down. If I didn’t reduce my caloric intake significantly, I would be very fat. Instead, I slowly gained 15 pounds in three years of fat. Even though I was eating right, a desk job reduced my natural exercise.
Since I have a desk job, I have to purposely exercise to burn off the fat in order to combat my naturally slowing metabolism and lack of continuous physical activity. Just like I mentioned earlier, my image of exercise was not a positive one. I even hated doing military exercise when I was in service because it was boring. I hated running and I hated calisthenics.
But since I was no longer in the military, I could do what I wanted for exercise. I prefer exercise routines that are built in with fun, like dancing, basketball, or ultimate Frisbee. I don’t even mind an occasional static cycling class or Zumba workout. Since my joints are a little worn from military service, I enjoy low-impact cardio like elliptical machines.
I also enjoy using dumbbells and weight machines twice a week for exercise. Lean muscle is the biggest fat burner your body can have. When you lift weights, you are tearing the muscle fibers down in hopes to build bigger ones. However, my wellness instructor cautioned me that you must also eat properly to repair those muscles. Eat lean protein 30 minutes before or after lifting weights for maximum results.
There are also no exercises that target specific fat deposits on your body. It takes a sustained elevated heart rate or building lots of lean muscle to burn excess fat, whereever it may be. If all you do is 20 sit ups a day with no cardio exercise, you won't lose any belly fat. You would just end up with stronger abdominal muscles. Your fat burns wherever it burns. At best, the muscles you exercise to burn that fat become leaner and add better shape to your body.
For a year I only did minimal cardio exercise and lifted weights with medium resistance three times a week. Weightlifting doesn’t push my heart rate very high for a sustained amount of time. I was getting bigger muscles but I was also carrying the fat with it. By adding at least 30 minutes of cardio a day five days a week, I actually look less bulky but much stronger. I've learned my lesson and I like the results. No longer will a desk job keep me from staying fit.