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Back to the Basics

Over the years I’ve covered many topics related to fitness, healthy eating, workout trends and even how to work out while pregnant. I feel the need to get back to the basics: how to get healthy and stay healthy. Let’s cover the two most basic questions: How many times a week should I work out to lose weight? How many calories should I eat to lose weight?

How many times a week should I work out to lose weight?

To lose weight, you’ve got to work out at least five times a week for more than 30 minutes. (Not exactly what you wanted to hear, I know.) Here is what you need to do to get healthy and shed those pesky pounds, whether you’ve got 50 pounds to lose or just ten.

• Exercise five times a week for AT LEAST 45 minutes; 60 minutes is ideal.

• Start slow with two workouts a week and add an additional workout every two weeks.

• During the workout, push yourself to get uncomfortable and stay there briefly, then take a short break and jump back in.

• Soreness is good! Don’t lie on the couch the next day; get moving again and the soreness will disappear! 

• Be proud of yourself for trying something new. Your body was created to MOVE. It will reward you with renewed energy, focus, a great mood and a slimmer waistline. 

One important thing to point out is that all workouts are not equal. I’ve gotten slack for saying this in the past but it is a hard truth you’ll have to accept if you are finally ready to lose weight. 45 minutes of walking is very different than 45 minutes of a HIIT workout. High Intensity Interval Training or “HIIT” is the new name for a basic workout like a bootcamp or intervals class. You’ll alternate between cardio and strength training, which is the best use of your time to burn fat and keep/build muscle. I highly recommend finding a class or online program that specializes in these HIIT workouts if your goal is to lose weight.

Stick to the basics: keep moving and watch your body change!

How many calories should I eat to lose weight?

After years of running weight loss challenges, I’ve found that the ideal calorie intake for weight loss in females is to multiply your goal weight times 11 (never EVER go below 1,500 calories). For men, multiply your goal weight times ten.

Your metabolism is a furnace—keep feeding the fire!

• Each meal should be around 250-400 calories.

• Eat four to five of these small meals throughout the day. 

• Aim for “five-a-day” fruits and vegetables.

• Always eat breakfast to jumpstart your daily metabolism. 

• Your last meal of the day should be two hours before bedtime.

This system will keep you on track for losing about a pound a week. Slow and steady wins the race. This is a lifestyle you’re creating, not a crash diet where you’ll gain all the weight (plus more) back as soon as you quit. 

Stick to the basics. Eat healthy and watch your body change!

Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Don’t compare yourself to a past version of yourself, whether it was a year ago or ten years ago. Healthy looks different on everyone! ν

Basic HIIT Workout

Start with 50 reps, go through the entire set, then do 40, 30, 20, 10.