Sweating your Ass Off: A Beginner’s Guide to Exercise

So, yesterday I told you guys about how people will often ask me what I do to lose weight. Part of the answer is, of course, exercising. They ask what the best ways are to burn fat, how to lose weight in their stomachs, how to build muscle, etc. There is one truth in my health and fitness career that I have found to be inescapable: you cannot lose weight in just one spot. You can lose weight all over and eventually that trouble spot will improve, but there is really no one exercise that is going to magically zap all of the pudge from my lower belly. It just doesn’t work that way. I do, however, hear that some body builders are skilled enough that they can lift and improve single muscles at a time. I’ve never seen it done, but I’ve heard about it. Now, if you’re reading all those magazines at the grocery store check-out line (you know, the ones always telling you that you’re not skinny, pretty, or sexy enough) they’ll be advertising many things.

“Be an animal in the sack and please your guy!”

“Eat this superfood to lose 100lbs!”

“Do this one exercise to lose belly fat!”

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While Julianne Hough is a beautiful woman, we know she didn’t get those abs in 3 minutes. She got them from her active dancing lifestyle. Let’s talk about how to work out and improve the health, endurance,stamina, and appearance of your entire body. Here are some of my favorite programs and people for just that purpose: 

1.) Jillian Michaels:

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I have tried 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30. This woman is a superstar of the weight loss world, and her videos are really great for people who have very little time but want a big burn and big results in a practical way. She always has a hard and easy version on the screen with two assistants behind her, and she knows how to direct you for proper form. If you don’t like the yapping, turn the video on mute and plug into Pandora. Jillian is a go-to gal for me. 

2.) FitnessBlender (Daniel and Kelli): 

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This married couple creates workouts, records themselves actually performing these workouts, and puts them on YouTube (FREE) for everyone to use! I seriously hit FitnessBlender’s page at least 3 times a week. They have everything you can every think of in any video length from 10 minutes to an hour and a half. They teach proper form, and you can see that they’re real people struggling right along with you. I have seen great results with them. In fact, from their YouTube channel, you can follow a link to their website where you can buy fitness/meal plans pretty cheaply that will most definitely achieve results if you stick to it. 

The New Rules of Lifting: 

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The New Rules of Lifting is a book, or series of books, which describes how to lower body fat, build muscle, and promote general healthy by lifting weights. I bought the copy pictured above, The New Rules of Lifting for Women. Inside are honest reflections from personal trainers, workout plans, and information on how much to eat, as well as what kind of foods to eat. WARNING: you can gain weight with this program and its tools because you are building muscle. Understand that you can lose fat, lose inches, and gain weight or remain the same weight. The best thing about following this book is that it made me feel strong! 

For those who can afford it, or for those whose gyms supply this service, I wholeheartedly recommend using a trainer. Not only will using a trainer keep you from getting bored or not knowing what kind of exercise to do, a trainer will keep you accountable and will push you to your limits. I know it’s not a possibility for everyone. 

There is one group of programs that I recommend, but not to everyone and not to beginners. 

INSANITY (BeachBody workouts in general): 

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Everyone has heard of INSANITY or P90X, along with many other BeachBody workouts. With INSANITY, I offer a small disclaimer. Please see a doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to do INSANITY. I first tried INSANITY at 216 lbs, and I was in such bad shape for these workouts that I had to take breaks quite often. I got grumpy, fatigued, and just plan worn out on this program. In order to complete INSANITY, you really should have a fitness base to build upon. This is not really for beginners. In order to see this plan work successfully, you must eat enough, eat right, and drink a TON of water. I also recommend first getting a heart rate monitor before beginning this program so that you can keep your heart rate in the correct zone or simply keep yourself from dropping onto the floor in cardiac arrest. For already fit people, this will really take you to the next level if you do it right. 

I will never, EVER tell anyone that there is a one size fits all exercise to make you into a supermodel. Every person is different. We all begin at different levels of fitness with various bad habits and bad attitudes. We all have pre-existing injuries that prevent us from doing certain types of exercises. We all have hangups. 

Do what works for you, and do something you can stand to do. No one is going to hand you a DVD that will solve all your life problems. 

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Get out there, and get sweaty! 

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