I noticed a wonderful summary in a comment by Michael O’Neill who writes on the Ketopia site, who was responding to someone with a question about how much exercise is optimal for weight loss:
“…the long and short of it is that you use diet to lose weight and look good at the office. Use exercise to look good in the bedroom.”
– Michael O’Neill
Do I Need To Exercise To Lose Weight?
I get that question all the time, and I’m happy that the understanding of exercise and weight loss has been improving. Exercise is important to good health, but not in excess, and not to “burn calories”. Exercising purely to lose weight doesn’t work, and you don’t have to exercise at all to lose weight. However, exercise can help with weight loss in some specific cases.
For example, if you have metabolic syndrome, exercise is a big help in resetting your insulin levels and improving your cholesterol.
Exercise improves blood flow, which strengthens your cardiovascular system.
I believe exercise can also be important for those who have done a lot of fad or yo yo dieting, as muscle built during exercise makes it easier to keep from regaining the weight that’s been lost.
Of course, the habit of becoming more active is a significant positive lifestyle change!
Exercise Keeps Weight Off
While you won’t necessarily lose more weight if you combine exercise and diet, over diet alone, research indicates that you will keep more weight off in the long term. Since maintaining weight loss is a real challenge for some people, that’s reason enough to find a form of exercise that works for you. Remember, you don’t have to choose heavy exercise.
In fact, too much exercise can be counterproductive, since it can stimulate hunger. The key is integrating more activity into your regular lifestyle. Walking is fine, or other gentler exercises like yoga, a martial art, or tai chi. Check with your doctor, particularly before undertaking more strenuous exercise.
Interval Training Is Most Effective
The best type of exercise (in the absence of medical reasons to avoid it) is probably interval training, which involves several varied exercises.
If it suits your personality, discovering high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a real life changer. That’s because it’s so different from what you may have been taught about exercise in the past.
HIIT takes very little time, can be done with no gym or equipment, and brings fast results. All you need is your own body weight, so HIIT works if you are stuck indoors by bad weather, or traveling. With HIIT you do exercise hard, but not long.
HIIT is perfect for those who say they have no time to exercise, since it can be done effectively in three 10-minute sessions weekly. Only 30 minutes total per week. You’ll sometimes see HIIT referred to as high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIE).
Medically, compared to steady-paced training, HIIT will typically give you greater improvements in:
- blood sugar control
- insulin response
- overall “good” cholesterol
- resting metabolic rate
- decreased blood pressure (if you were high to start)
How To Do A HIIT Workout
There’s no hard and fast rule about the 10 minute session length. You can find HIIT workouts as short as four minutes or as long as an hour, but many believe that ten minutes gives you an excellent workout, without undue stress on the body.
Expect a HIIT workout to be intense – that’s the point. HIIT exercise includes short, intense periods done at about 90% of your maximum heart rate, alternating with brief rest periods.
You may need to start with a modified version, or work your way up to it with other less-strenuous exercise. You can find dozens of workouts by searching YouTube for hiit workout 10 minutes. Don’t feel you need to choose one and stick with it. Exercise is more effective if you vary it, and there are so many options to try.
HIIT workouts offer very intense activity alternating with a brief rest period, over and over. Some use 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise, and 10 seconds rest (usually referred to as Tabata.) Others will offer 40 seconds of intense exercise alternating with 20 seconds of rest, like this example, which also offers a nice stretch/cooldown at the end.
This workout offers variations for beginners, and focuses on sculpting the abdominals.
You can find targeted HIIT workouts for other body areas as well. Here’s one focused on the upper body. This one uses no equipment, but there are some that use dumbbells if you want to combine strength training with your 10 minute HIIT workout.
Strength Training Helps Too
A little resistance training to build muscle is also helpful, and has been proven to reduce the symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome. It definitely helps with that goal to look good in the bedroom, particularly once you get close to your targeted weight in your weight loss journey. If you’ve been working out regularly, you may find some attractive muscle tucked underneath as the fat melts away.
Here’s another way to think about exercise: building muscle isn’t terribly effective at directly helping you lose weight, but it will help you boost your metabolism so that it’s easier to keep excess weight off. It will also help you lose inches more quickly, which helps with motivation. Even if the scale isn’t going down as quickly as you’d like, it’s great to notice that your clothes are fitting better, or that you’ve dropped a pants size.
And Yes, You’ll Look (and Feel) Better In the Bedroom
Getting the exercise habit as part of your lifestyle, even at only 30 minutes a week of HIIT, will not only help you discover how to look good in the bedroom. You’ll reduce your chances of developing Type II diabetes by improving an entire group of metabolic risk factors, and you’ll feel better overall – including your confidence. Oh, and you’ll sleep better too, a very important bedroom activity.