You know you have to get rid of that weight you have put on during Dashain holidays and so you are all geared up to burn some serious calories. But how do you know you are getting the maximum benefit from your exercise routine? How can you ensure weight loss? Manoj Katwal, fitness trainer at Next Step Fitness Gym Centre in Lazimpat, Kathmandu, says that there are many things people do or don’t do that hinder their weight loss process.
“People often wonder why they aren’t losing weight despite continuous workout but they don’t realize that there are certain things they are doing wrong that prevent them from burning calories properly,” he says. Here Katwal enlightens us on things we should and shouldn’t do before, during, and after a workout routine.
Never begin an exercise regime without a proper plan
There is no exercise that fits all and picking any random routine or choosing a workout that worked for your friend might not work for you. “A lot of people tend to start working out whenever they want to and exercise whenever it suits them. That will never reap good results,” says Katwal. He says you should have a clear goal in mind and set a plan according to it and only then begin a workout routine. “Consult an experienced trainer and design a workout that suits your needs and timetable and then stick to it,” he says.
Always warm up and stretch before you start exercising
A proper warm up session with a fair bit of stretching will lower chances of injuries during your exercise session. It gradually increases the body temperature and prepares your muscles to face all the upcoming difficult moves. Katwal highly recommends three to five minutes of warm up and stretching session before starting a rigorous workout routine. “You can do simple exercises like jump squats, jumping jacks, running, seated back twist and standing side stretch to warm up,” he says.
Listen to your body and know your limit
Katwal says that there are two ways in which people exercise: Some push themselves beyond their limits and exercise in excess while others simply spend hours at the gym without exercising in all seriousness. Both the ways are wrong and won’t reap any results. You have to consult with a trainer and find out how much exercise you need and then exercise accordingly. “Doing two sessions of cardio on a certain day or lifting the heaviest weight on the first day and then spending the next two days in bed is no good,” says Katwal adding that you can also exercise in spurts of 10 minutes if that works for you instead of lingering at the gym for hours.
Don’t include only protein in your diet
“There is a trend doing the rounds of including only protein in one’s diet if they are going to the gym,” says Katwal. “But this is completely wrong. One must balance the amount of protein and carbohydrate in one’s diet and also add fiber in the form of fruits and vegetables,” he explains. A balanced diet is absolutely essential if you want to lose weight. You might end up losing muscle mass instead of fat if your diet isn’t good. “But choose your food wisely. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates but don’t exclude carbohydrates from your diet altogether,” he says.
Don’t be careless with weights
On your first day at the gym, trying to imitate other members is a strict no-no, says Katwal. “I have seen people head directly towards the heavy weights section just to prove they have good stamina and strength on their very first day,” he says adding that some people even avoid trainers at the gym and try to do everything on their own. “This can result in injury and you might also end up doing the exercises in a wrong manner,” he says adding that regardless of how healthy and strong you are, you must always begin with light weights in the beginning. “Also take full advantage of the available equipment and trainers at the gym,” he says.
Stretch at the end of your workout session
Stretching or cooling down after heavy exercises is very important. This brings the heart rate down further preventing dizziness and promoting good feeling. Neck stretch, body massage, a simple walk or yoga poses are some things you can do to cool down when you finish a workout routine. You can also do the exercises that you did to warm up at the beginning of your workout.
Maintain proper hygiene
Whether you are at home or the gym, clean the area after you are done exercising. Tripping over a weight can lead to nasty consequences. Make sure you take a shower and put on some fresh clothes. “This will help in avoiding infections and allergies,” explains Katwal adding that if you are at the gym, it might be best to not share towels, shoes, or gloves with other members.
And lastly, remain active throughout the day
Just because you added an hour of workout to your daily routine does not mean you can laze around for the rest of the day. “Many people are guilty of doing just that,” says Katwal. Make some changes in your habits as well. Take the stairs instead of the lift, get up from your desk and move around at work, grab a glass of water every 30 minutes and avoid sleeping during the day. “These non-exercise activities will boost weight loss too,” he concludes.