there it is everyone.
It’s very common, mostly because we don’t tend to eat enough before hand, or don’t eat soon enough after a workout (if you’re at the gym, by the time you shower, change, head home and start making dinner, it’s likely you’ll be STARVING. Having a snack AT the gym can help you tons).
Change up your eating schedule to help yourself out & include a mix of carbs & proteins before your workout: carbs for energy & protein for satiety. If you’re going too long without a meal/snack before your workout, chances are you’ll be even hungrier after you’re done. Make sure you’re eating 1-2 hours before you get sweaty, and make sure it’s enough to last you past your workout (if you’re eating every 3-4 hours). I always have a snack within 15-20 minutes of my workout, which tides me over until my next meal (even if it’s only another hour or so). Otherwise, I’m famished.
We’re ALL different, but if you’re starving after a workout… it means your body needs food. You can help prevent it by eating enough beforehand, and having a little something right after your workout.
Hope this helps!
I LOVED Ab Ripper X - The first time I got through it with no breaks, I was so proud of myself. But it did get boring eventually (I could do it by memory now), so I understand why you’d like something new.
There are thousands upon thousands of ab workouts out there: tons for free & tons on DVD. I’ve tried a bunch, and very few have come close to that initial ‘burn’ from P90X (I do love the core workouts on my NTC App & X2 Core was just okay).
Body Rock TV has been adding bonus short ab-routines to their daily workouts - you can check some of them out on the site for free. But in terms of follow along, intense ab routines, you can give some of these free routines a try (they’re intense, trust me).
Pop Pilates - Intense Abs (10 minutes)
POP Pilates: Abominable Abdominals (16 minutes)
Mike Chang (a.k.a my FAVORITE shirtless wonder) also has a fabulous total body channel ‘Six Pack Shortcuts’. Fab tips & full workouts there as well.
(I’m not ashamed to say, I LOVE that man).
If you do go back to Ab Ripper, add some weights/instability to the movements (holding light dumbbells for the Crunchy Frog, adding resistance bands to your bicycles or ‘heels to heaven’, using a weight for your russian twists, using a stability ball etc). You’d be amazed how intense it can get by tweaking the moves and adding difficulty.
Hope this helps!
First, congratulations. It’s so, so hard to come through to the other side in one piece. Eating disorders often start young and it’s a constant struggle, even for those in recovery. You’re healthy and you made it: BIG win. I hope you’re proud of yourself: it took a lot of strength to get through it.
While I don’t share your experience, I do know what it’s like to be scared of becoming obsessed again: I’m not a calorie counter and don’t own a scale for those reasons. I remember what it was like counting every calorie and weighing myself daily: it controlled me. I broke out of it, I focused purely on fitness & health, and I’ve never loved my body more. I worked hard for it & I refuse to go back to a place where a number got to decide how awesome I felt.
That said, there are two issues you need to pay attention to.
1. As a person in recovery, you’re always going to feel a little nervous around food. Remind yourself that you’re in charge and pay attention to behaviors that might signal that ‘bad’ place. You have a significant advantage being on this side of things & have more control than you did before. You’ve already been through it and you can monitor your behavior/emotions from a different perspective.
2. Diets suck. They are NOT something I’d recommend to you, and I’d like you to start thinking about healthy eating differently.
The word ‘diet’ has all kinds of connotations with it. I don’t diet, and I don’t recommend ‘dieting’ to anyone. When it comes to healthy eating, however, that’s more about lifestyle and the quality of the food you put into your body: it’s not about calorie counting, rules or eating only specific foods. Healthy eating simply means including MORE healthy choices, and limiting the bad/chemical stuff.
Instead of thinking about taking things OUT of your diet, focus instead on putting things IN. Try to eat more veggies than you currently do. Think about pasta as more of a side dish. Make your portions smaller, but eat more often. Experiment (and get excited!) about trying new recipes. Limit the processed junk (a good rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, and there’s more than 10? Chances are it’s NOT the best choice). Drink more water, etc.
Just make HEALTHIER choices: don’t think of it as a diet. A good way to start is to try to make breakfast as healthy as possible, and have a massive salad at least once a day. When you start out on the right foot, it’s more motivating to stay there. Plus, you get to press ‘reset’ each morning, so it’s one day at a time. Having one big salad a day also helps boost your veggie intake - just be lean/light when it comes to dressings & certain toppings (my tip is to include all the veggies you want plus one lean protein, then go light on everything else: nuts, seeds, cheeses etc.) I love crumbling feta cheese on my salads: a little goes a long way if you spread it out in crumbles.
That ‘fear’ you mentioned is all in your head: you’ve been down this road already and you’re not going back (you’ve decided not to). Try not to think about the weight, and focus on eating healthier & moving more. As you go, you can make tweaks & changes, but even the smallest modifications to what you put in your body can make a HUGE difference.
It’s also important that you work on creating a healthy body image for yourself & focus on loving the body you’re in. You need to decide to be ‘okay’ at any size & love your body no matter what it looks like. Many people confuse having a better self-image with having the body they want: it doesn’t work that way. Many, MANY people attain their goal weights and continue to hate and berate their bodies anyways. Healthy behavior is always in style, and your body will respond to eating cleanly & getting some exercise. But body love? That starts in your head.
If you feel triggered at any point, breathe and relax. If you need to, there are tons of recovery resources for people in your exact position who can help guide you through it. In order to take care of your body, you always need to start with your head.
Hope this helps! Congrats on your recovery & wishing you continued success!
If you’re brain’s working against you, stop thinking and just MOVE. When I used to have trouble getting going, I would invite friends over to do a new DVD for extra motivation. There are more free workout options than you can even imagine out there: and many are follow along style. Try new things, get moving and don’t worry about the weather!
You don’t need much room to get moving at home: if you can lie down and do a snow angel (fan your arms & legs out) you have enough room to workout. No equipment necessary, just a drive to get moving! Commit to just 5-10 minutes and see how you feel!
Everyone’s goals are different and yours will change over time. My philosophy is to always add intensity first and time second: you’ll get more out of a shorter, but more intense workout than you will out of a longer, more moderate workout. To get faster/better/more effective results on a spinner, your best bet is to train for speed: improving your time for a specific distance.
For example, if you can do a 5K in (hypothetically) 20 minutes, your goal should be to try and beat your time. You can also flip it around and try to improve your distance for a specific time (let’s say you’re able to cover 15K in 30 minutes. You goal could be to hit 20K in the same amount of time).
From now on, be sure to keep track of what you did (distance AND time) and use that as your benchmark for each workout. Not only will it give you a goal to work towards, but it’s WAY more motivating to SEE how far you’ve come. Some workouts you’ll want to focus on speed, and every now and then you can focus on endurance too: it’s up to you. Adding short, quick high intensity intervals is another way to make your sessions more fruitful, even if you keep a moderate pace the rest of the time.
Of course, no program is complete without some strength training (and flexibility too). Make sure you’re hitting the weights or adding resistance at LEAST a few times a week: you’ll see better & faster results with a combination of the two. Invest in dumbbells, resistance bands or stability balls to add to the program. Yoga is a great option for flexibility, but even extended stretch sessions after each workout will improve your flexibility. Stretching is best done warm. :)
Hope this helps! Don’t forget to try something new every now and then!
Oh, that stubborn lower back. I feel ya.:)
Some machines will help take the pressure off, but the body works as a unit; almost all exercises will involve your back & core in some way. If you’re experiencing SORENESS, you can opt for a workout like yoga, or one that focuses purely on body weight exercises like pushups or core work. The yoga can really help open up and stretch your low back, while toning other muscles.
If you’re experiencing PAIN, you should take time off to heal. If you’d like, you can do light strength exercises while seated: the sitting can take some of the pressure off. But even that may be too much: simply head out for a walk. No pain, no gain does NOT apply to injuries. A week off now can prevent even more damage & time off later!
There are some really great, free yoga workouts online that you can do at home. Here are just a few (all 20-30 minutes).
In terms of prevention, try tightening/bracing your core during cardio exercise and take a look at the shoes you’re wearing. Often what we wear on our feet ends up being very important when it comes to lower back, hip & knee pain. See a shoe specialist for tips on support. Also, make sure you’re stretching your back after any exercise: it gets more work than you think!
Hope these tips help! Your FIRST priority is to your body and it’s healing process. Don’t push yourself through the pain.
When it comes to medical issues (especially involving the heart), it’s always best to talk to several doctors about it. As a trainer, it’s important for me to make sure that I’m not giving you advice that can potentially harm or aggravate an issue, and I simply can’t assess your specific situation from where I am. :(
In terms of weight lifting & heart problems, your heart rate is most important: if you’re wearing a monitor and watching yourself, you should be able to gradually boost the amount your lifting safely. However, I will recommend that you stay light if that’s what your doctor has suggested, or speak with a physiotherapist about options that are safe for your situation. There are plenty of body weight exercises that I could suggest, but they may add even more resistance than free weights alone. (Pushups, squats, leg lifts etc).
One option that MAY be your best bet? Yoga. Yoga is a SICK total body toner. It can significantly boost your strength, condition your muscles, help your flexibility and improve your balance in ways that other workouts simply can’t. Not all yoga is created equal, so stick to the basics until you can handle more. Hot yoga (Bikram) is out of the question: heart patients should stay away from it.
Many doctors prescribe yoga for their heart patients, and I personally think it’s one of the best workouts you can include in your routine. Pilates is another option that focuses a bit more heavily on strength building & core work without boosting your heart rate too high.
Before you start ANY program, make sure you’ve got the all clear from your doctor! If you’re joining a class, make sure to tell the instructor about your specific issue in case of emergency. Many instructors can also provide you with modifications that are safer for you, and tailored to your body.
Hope this helps! G’luck!
Great question! (I get this one a lot).
I’ve done both, prescribed both and seen people do both. Verdict? 100% entirely up to you.
When it comes to fitness, many trainers & experts often ignore individual personality. While strength before cardio might have a slight edge for overall burn, there’s a LOT more that goes into it. At the end of the day, what you put into your training will always count for more and you should always pay attention to how YOU react & respond to different methods.
Strength Before Cardio
- You tend to burn slightly more calories during the cardio part.
- You might find yourself less fatigued during your strength training, and therefore can do more (i.e. lift heavier, do more reps, push yourself harder etc.)
- You GET to your strength training (sometimes we’re too tired post cardio and skip it).
- The cardio section might feel more like a ‘break’ than ‘work’: not a bad way to end the day at the gym.
- You MAY feel too tired to get to the cardio after.
- Depending on the machines/equipment you’re using, you may spend a longer time waiting. (An easy thing to fix planning wise, but still. If you lose momentum, you may not feel like sticking around).
- You lose out on the cardio ‘warm-up’ beforehand. Nothing like that adrenaline!
Cardio Before Strength
- Regardless of what you get done in the weight room, you still feel like you’ve got a good workout.
- You benefit from warming up and getting the ‘motor’ running before you hit the weights.
- There tends to be less thinking involved in cardio, specifically on the treadmill/bike/elliptical etc. Sometimes, it takes time for your mind muscle to warm up too.
- You have the time to plan out what you’re going to do in the weight room.
- Cardio beforehand can reduce your stress and improve your mood before you hit the weights - ideal for those who still ‘dread’ strength training.
- You might run out of gas before you even get to the weights (very common to feel like you just want to get out of there).
- If you feel like you’ve already gotten your workout in, you might not do nearly as much in the weight room as you could have.
- Depending on your intensity, cardio may deplete your glycogen stores, and you won’t have much left for the strength part (I suggest a mid workout snack or juice before you start the strength part if that happens).
Ultimately, you should pay attention to what you TEND to do and how you feel: if you notice you’re always skipping out on your strength training after cardio, it may be beneficial to get it out of the way first. If you notice it takes you longer to mentally & physically warm up at the gym (i.e. the second part of your workout is better than the first), cardio first might be your best bet. You can also stay flexible: if the cardio machines are all filled when you get there, do your strength training first. If you’re energy is low, you may want to start out with some easy strength stuff to get your energy up: sometimes even 5-10 minutes of squats, pushups and crunches is enough to spark our workout lust.
I certainly encourage you to switch it up from time to time & experiment! You never know what will work until you give it a fair shot. Many people also alternate their strength & cardio days (no need to do them both on the same day), or put a heavier focus on one or the other (75% cardio, 25% strength or vice versa). H.I.I.T training is a fabulous way to shorten your cardio while still burning tons of calories. Supersets & compound exercises (training alternating 2 moves with no rest in between or training more than one muscle group at a time) are a great way to shorten & get more out of your strength training without adding time to your workout. I prefer to switch it up from workout to workout or from week to week to keep my body guessing. :)
Play around! What works for one person, might not work for another.
No need to worry! It happens. :)
When we change up our routine (or go on vacation) small amounts of weight gain are normal. Most of the time, simply going back to your normal routine will take care of it: it’s not something you need to freak out about.
It’s unlikely it’s all fat: could be poop, water anything. Either way, keep doing what you’re doing! I know when I go on vacation, I always try to boost my workouts the week before and plan on an extra workout or two the week after. I make clean choices when I can on vacation, but it’s much more important for me to have a good time and enjoy it. If that means a few extra pounds when I get back, so be it. I know how to take care of that. :)
No need to stress: eat a little cleaner & move a little more for a week or two (no need to go overboard), and you’ll be fine. :)
Ha! I’ll try my best! I’ll use a non-fitness example to try to help it make sense.
Let’s say you’re learning an instrument…
The first time you pick it up, you probably won’t know what you’re doing. Your brain & body start to try to ‘learn’ the notes, which strings or keys to hit, and when to hit them. It requires a ton of brain power & all your attention. Your body gets some work too: most people will notice calluses or soreness in their joints after their first few lessons: if your fingers aren’t used to moving a certain way, it’s easy to stress them.
So, the first few lessons are difficult and you can barely play a few notes. But then it starts to get easier: your brain & body start to ‘remember’ on their own. You don’t need to concentrate as hard, because much of it has become automatic. You start breezing through the easy stuff, and can practically play the Jeopardy song in your sleep.
If you were to look at the difference between how hard your brain was working in those first few lessons, and how hard it’s working AFTER, the change is drastic. Your brain simply doesn’t need to work as hard to keep up: the notes have been committed to memory. But if you were presented with a brand new song to learn, a much harder song, your brain would start having to work just as hard again, until it commits that song to memory too. Each and every song you learn becomes a new challenge, and the process starts all over again. Brain works hard. Brain gets better. Brain commits it to memory. Brain stops working so hard.
The body works the same way as your brain when presented with new challenges. At first, it works hard to adapt to the new stress & the new movement: working hard in body terms means conditioning the muscles and burning tons of calories as it does. You’ll be challenging the muscles in a way & for a duration that they’re simply not used to - hence why beginners seem to lose see faster results when presented with new challenges.
Overtime, the body becomes efficient at the exercise: it ‘remembers’ and doesn’t need to work NEARLY as hard to do the same thing. All that ‘hard work' becomes 'I got this’, and the muscles stop feeling so challenged. Less of a challenge means slower growth, less change and slower (or stalled) results.
Using the elliptical as an example, the muscles your body uses on the machine get used to it over time. You can still get your heart rate up and burn calories, but in terms of muscle growth, muscle challenge & body change, you won’t see much of a difference doing the same thing over and over. You’ve also only getting work on one plane of motion (moving forward) so you’re only using the muscles you need for THAT particular movement. Because we move in several different ways (backwards, side to side, up and down etc), you’re missing out on training your muscles in other planes of motion.
To keep getting better/fitter, we need to present the body with new challenges. The fitter you get, the faster you adapt, and the more often you should pay attention to changing things up. It doesn’t always mean changing the exercise (though I strongly recommend it), but changing SOMETHING about it. You may want to try moving backwards on the elliptical to work your muscles differently, or changing the incline/speed out of your comfort zone. With strength training, it may mean new exercises, added instability, heavier weights, or different types of training (high reps, supersets, lifting ‘negative’ style, adding plyometrics etc.). There are lots of ways to change things up without making MUCH of a jump exercise wise.
What you may want to do is try hopping on a bike instead of the elliptical, or try a high incline brisk walk on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes. You can also break up your elliptical time & turn it into a circuit with sets of squats, core work, upper body work etc. Start slow & low (especially if you notice joint problems) and increase the intensity as you go. Your joints get stronger too, and a family history of bad joints does not necessarily mean you have them. Yoga is great for joint strengthening (when you’re not injured) and is a challenge you might like. Feel free to step out of the box! (Bonus? Trying new things helps keep boredom at bay!:)
Hope this helps clear things up!
We all collect fat differently: don’t compare to other girls! Deep ends & shallow ends change from woman to woman; where you collect your fat most won’t be where they collect there’s and vice versa. (The grass is always greener: there are people who would kill for your curves I’m sure). At the end of the day, you have to love & live with the body you’re in, and the challenges/obstacles it brings.
If your pelvis & pooch are your ‘deep’ ends, it means that those areas are the last place where you’ll notice fat loss. We lose fat at the same rate everywhere and can’t spot reduce. But you can make changes to your diet & training that boost fat loss. The more muscle you have - remember it takes up MUCH less room - the more fat you burn everywhere. Fat loss comes down to a mix or cardio & strength training, clean eating, and keeping yourself stress free & rested.
I had a client who didn’t lose her pooch until we started training her back, legs & chest - the extra muscle along with a clean diet helped her hit that area for the first time in years (she’d already hit her weight/body goal, but that pooch never changed). Changing your diet around to include more lean proteins, veggies & less sugar/processed foods can also help overall fat loss. It’s a lot of tweaking, and a gradual process, but it’s do-able.
Aside from diet/fitness advice, the most important thing I want you to take away is NOT TO LET IT AFFECT YOUR SELF-ESTEEM. There are many, MANY different types of bodies out there, and when we start comparing ourselves to body types that are NOT ours, it’s easy (and silly) to feel demotivated. Your body is unique, and it’s needs are unique. There are things you’ve got working for you that you’re probably not paying attention to. You are beautiful the way you are, and millions of women share your body type. If you’d like to target/change/improve the things you don’t like, you need to start doing things differently. But loving yourself along the way makes the process a whole lot easier.
Remember that change takes time & effort, but you should try to enjoy it! Find new classes you like, try new recipes, get a goal that’s not ‘looks’ related (like training for a 5K, or mastering pushups etc). The more effort you put in (and the SMARTER you work - not harder, but smarter), the more changes you will see. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Be honest with yourself, keep your expectations realistic, do your best and pat yourself on the back for every small victory along the way.
Hope this helps a little, but body lovin’ is a process that does take time & a decision to make loving yourself a priority! You’re in charge of what you let affect your self-esteem and what you don’t. Remind yourself that you’re worthy, beautiful and doing your best on a daily basis. Then go out there, and kill it. :)
Boobies and weight loss! I’m glad you asked this question, because there are MANY, many women who wonder (and worry) about the same thing!
It’s a little more complicated than ‘will you’ or ‘won’t you’, but it’s true that many women will lose some breast size when they lose weight. For some women it’s an exciting notion, or not a concern at all. But still, many women are worried their girls are going to run away with the weight, never to return. Some even use it as a reason why they are scared to hit the gym. I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to be worried or concerned, and that YOU are NOT your boobies.
Fat Loss & Boobs
Breasts are filled with fatty tissue and they differ from woman to woman (in case you haven’t noticed, lol). We all collect fat differently but lose it the same way. Whether or not you will notice a dramatic change in your breast size is determined by how much you lose & how many fat cells are in your breasts to begin with.
Our bodies have a pre-determined amount of fat cells, which collect and store fat. Ideally, that fat is then used as energy by the body. When we lose or gain fat, these cells either get bigger or smaller, depending on what your body needs.
When we’re eating too much and moving too little, there’s a surplus of energy in the body: our fat cells store that energy for later and thus get bigger. If a woman has a lot of fat cells in her breasts, she may see a dramatic increase in breast size if she gains a lot of weight.
When we’re eating less and moving more, there can be a deficit of energy in the body: our fat cells receive a hormonal signal to give it up and they get smaller. If a woman has a smaller amount of fat cells in her breasts, she may see a dramatic decrease in breast size if she loses a lot of weight.
In women, the distribution of our fat cells varies from lady to lady: some women have more fat cells in some places (like your arms, thighs or ankles) and less in others (like your breasts). The places where you have less fat cells will appear to slim down faster than the places you have more, even though the individual cells get bigger or smaller at the same rate everywhere. I call them ‘deep ends’ and ‘shallow ends’, just like a pool. If you drain a pool, the rate at which the water comes out stays constant, but the shallow end will drain faster than the deep end.
A woman who is losing fat will notice a difference everywhere, BUT will visibly see more change in her shallow ends first. For some women (we’re all different), this might mean seeing a massive change in your legs at first, but only a small one in your belly. Or vice versa. Someone with less fat cells in her breasts is likely to see a more drastic change than someone with more fat cells to start with… REGARDLESS of the initial size of their breasts. Since our breasts are filled with fatty tissue, most women will notice a change in breast size when they lose weight, but how much of a change is determined by how many fat cells you have to begin with. Some women hardly notice a change at all, while others find themselves throwing out their old bras.
Many women look forward to having smaller boobs when they lose weight, but it seems to truly terrify some women. I can’t speak for everyone, but here’s my story with boob loss:
I ‘lost’ my boobies when I lost weight, and it WAS a hard thing to adjust to (I’d put a lot of my sensuality ‘stock’ into them, and suddenly felt insecure). Within a year or so, I went from a full C-cup, to a much smaller A. I had plenty to be proud of, but the loss of my boobs was personally devastating at first.
But then, something changed: I discovered that I was MORE than my boobs! I was doing things with my body I never thought I could do before. I was strong. I was fierce. I felt confident. And with my boobs out of the way, my booty FINALLY got to take center stage after years of watching my breasts get all the attention. It became my new favorite body part, and it made me feel sexier than my boobs ever had (mostly, because I’d worked for it). My arms felt strong & powerful, and I fell in love with my new abs. I realized that I felt sexier as a whole, and that I’d relied FAR too heavily on my breasts as a measurement my own sensuality. For years, I had ignored many other bits of me, and now they were rocking out all over the place. In time, I even started to love my new boobies again.
I lost 2 cup sizes, and gained a WHOLE lot in return. Totally worth it. And although I’d be thrilled to suddenly wake up to my old boobies (they were lovely ladies), I wouldn’t trade what I have now for them.
So in the end, you may lose your boobies or you may not. But the things you gain from living healthy, getting strong and becoming confident are MORE than worth it. I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved my boobies then, but I love my BODY now, in ways that far exceed mere aesthetics.
Hope this helps/explains things!
(P.S - hormones play a role as well, but we’ll save that for another day. :)
I DO. Absolutely, I do!
There are a few reasons for this…
Most of Jillian’s DVD’s provide total body workouts (more bang for your buck), so you can swap them with other total body workouts easily (I have a few circuits I use and love). The Nike Training App provides similar workouts, as do several sites & blogs. Honestly, it’s up to you, but the more challenge you present to your body, the better for your results!
Feel it out & try to do something different at least 1-2 times a week, whether it be a dance DVD, a class or a circuit at the gym. Even changing up your equipment can dramatically change your results (boosting your weights by a pound or two, trying the harder modifications, using a stability ball etc). You will also get faster results by making your current workouts harder/more intense than by adding workouts to the mix (7 days is a LOT - it may indicate that you’re not working hard enough to NEED the recovery time. Our bodies change during recovery not the workouts). Make sure you’re leaving yourself enough time to recover, and make sure you’re giving yourself something to recover from.
The rest is up to you! If you like Jillian, you can try other DVD’s in her collection, or give some of Bob Harper’s a go. Look Better Naked is another DVD I love (everyone I lend it to LOVES it), and the Jessica Smith 10 Pounds Down series is also fairly solid. If you REALLY want to step out of your comfort zone, Body Rock TV offers almost daily quick workouts for free.
Hope this helps love!
UPDATE: I don’t necessarily mean adding more workout TIME, but rather swapping some workouts for different ones. A double workout day is fine every now and then, but no need to double up every day, or start working out MORE often until you’ve boosted the intensity of what you’re currently doing! :)
I don’t qualify foods as good or bad for certain hours: we’re all different, and as long as your body is getting what it needs from you, when it needs it, you’re fine! There are foods that I’d put in the bad column overall, but oatmeal (not the sugar filled kind, but good old fashioned oatmeal) is not one of them.
(I often have ‘breakfast’ for dinner, and leftovers from dinner for breakfast. A veggie omelet makes for great post-workout protein & I’m not averse to a wrap or a smidge of couscous in the morning. To each their own!).
Add a little fresh fruit if you can, and a protein’s not a bad idea. But in terms of ‘bad’ or ‘good’, it’s your call!
Don’t buy the calorie hype, especially when it comes to workout claims (on infomercials, you’ll often see claims of ‘up to ____ calories per hour. This is usually the highest numbers in the test group.)
Everyone is different and we all burn calories according to OUR bodies. Taller & bigger bodies burn more calories than shorter & smaller bodies. People with more muscle burn more calories than people with less. Intensity plays a huge role in calorie burn and is determined by the individual during the exercise, NOT by the workout itself. Most of the time, the numbers you see are averages (which doesn’t tell you a lot) or the highest range possible for the test group (which also doesn’t tell you a lot).
Basic rule of thumb: the more muscles you use, the more intense/quick the movement, and the longer you go: the more calories burned. But that number depends on too many factors for anyone to ‘guess’ what you’d burn: two people can burn drastically different amounts doing the exact same workout. How much YOU burn will also change over time as your fitness level increases.
A better way to gauge is to boost YOUR intensity and invest in a calorie tracker, like a Body Bugg. It tends to be more accurate than anything else out there. Do NOT use machines to judge your burn.
Keep in mind: strength workouts & cardio intervals like H.I.I.T training increase your burn LONG after your workout’s done (up to 48 hours). Measuring only what you burn when you’re sweating won’t give you the whole story. A short H.I.I.T workout one day can burn as many or MORE calories than a longer, less intense workout when you factor in the after burn.
Personally, I use trial and error & adjust as I go: if I’m gaining or should be losing, I take a look at what I’m currently doing and tighten things up a bit in the following weeks. For my workouts, this might mean adding an extra workout to the mix or boosting the intensity of my regular routines until I’m back on track. For my diet, it might mean making healthier choices for a week or two. I’m not big on calorie counting, so I make up for it by paying attention to what’s working and what’s not, and making adjustments as I go.
YOU are the best monitor you can invest in! Simply do your best, pay attention and make adjustments if what you’re doing isn’t working. If you’d like a more accurate reading, most measurements are off by about 25-30%: it’s better to underestimate your burn than to overestimate it. A Body Bugg is a sound investment if you’d like a more accurate reading.