Are you looking to lose weight, but don't have time to hit the gym? Are workout videos your go-to solution? Though they may seem like an easy way to get in a workout, not all videos are created equal. In fact, many of them can actually be quite ineffective when it comes to weight loss. But don't worry – we're here to help! Read on for our tips on how to make your workout videos more effective for weight loss.
The Truth About Workout Videos: How To Make Them More Effective For Weight Loss
Once upon a time, working out at home was reserved for the Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, leotard, thong, leg warmers, aerobics, aerobics, and more aerobics era. But with the explosion of Beachbody and other late-night infomercials (are there other infomercials?), most of us have grown to accept a visual of more muscular-looking individuals using dumbbells on our home workout screens.
This new era of workout videos provides instant access to some of the top trainers of the industry today: Jillian Michaels, Kelly Coffey-Meyer, Jackie Warner, Cathe Friedrich, Chalene Johnson, and so many more. The convenience of working out at home can be a fantastic thing for the motivated individual or the person who enjoys the “feel” of being in a class setting (minus worrying that one might be judged by classmates – gasp!! “can you believe she's wearing those pink pajama pants?!”).
With the (over)abundance of workout vids, we might assume that ripped, superfit types (as seen on the videos) are also in plentiful supply. If you are one of the growing numbers of at-home exercisers (like me), you may be wondering when your ripped-ness will arrive. Or, perhaps you glumly think that you're the only person who works your butt off with these annoyingly-ripped-freaks-of-nature yet still look like you gave birth last week. Grrrr…How is it possible to work your buns off yet still not be able to fit said buns into those skinny jeans? To collect bucket-loads of sweat from doing 30-Day Shred (for 120 days!), yet have no semblance of becoming “shredded” any time soon?
This is typically because, as consumers, we tend to equate sweating with results. Moving nonstop during your workout, doing endless reps, or cardio moves between lifts will surely provide the sweat. Unfortunately, the amount of sweat you leave behind has little to do with the reshaping of your body. As great as it feels, your body will eventually adapt to ANY workout you repeatedly do, and you'll stop seeing results. So should you toss your hopes of getting fit at home and run to the nearest gym? Not necessarily. It's always great to work with what you've got (and I, for one, am not willing to shew my pink PJs just yet).
Here are five ways to make any DVD worthwhile:
Make any DVD work harder by simply picking up a heavier weight. Even if you only have one or two DVDs to work with, increasing the weight you're lifting is a quick plateau prevention/fix. Just because the people on the screen are using five-eight pounds doesn't mean you need to. Pick a weight that challenges you (i.e., you can't do MORE than two reps beyond the amount you're supposed to be doing) and will bring you the results you're after. You're all good, even if you come up a few reps shorter than “the crew.”
Most home workout DVDs have far too many reps for the desired results. For strength gains, lift as heavy as you can for up to seven reps. For muscle building and definition, lift for eight to 12 reps, and for endurance (cardio), perform 12+ reps (or as directed by the DVD). For best results, alternate all three rep ranges using weight appropriate for each range.
To have tremendous success with the previous tip, be sure to take a moment to bring a pen and pad with you to the workout area. Jot down the exercises done in the vid and how much weight you used. Whenever you discover that you could've kept going, put an asterisk or other symbol (like an up arrow) to let you know to go up in weight next time. ALWAYS lift heavier if you can safely do so.
You're not doing yourself any favors by using the exact weight amounts for months at a time, no matter how much sweating is going down. Also, keep track of how many reps you did so that you can adjust the next time around. If you could do 12 pounds for 15 reps, you know that you'll need to go heavier if aiming for eight to ten reps next time around. Keeping a journal of your workouts (exercises, reps, sets, and rests) is key to successful training, whether at home or the gym.
Pressing pause is perfectly acceptable if the DVD moves too fast (this will become incredibly relevant when increasing lift poundage). It becomes tough to lift heavy enough weights when doing circuit-type workout vids (a weight move followed by a cardio move – or weighted moves with no rest between sets). This may tempt us to believe that we can't go heavier, but this is far from the truth.
While I would typically recommend doing a workout via a professional, as written, the first few times around, this becomes significantly less relevant the 88th time the video is done. It's OK to stray from the pro at this point and pause the dang thing so that you can get some severe muscle involvement happening. Using the rep ranges discussed above, base your “rest” periods on the amount of weight and reps that you're doing — just as you would in the gym.
The goal of endurance needs very little rest (30 seconds or less) between exercises, muscle building requires slightly longer (30-60 seconds), and strength requires the longest (60-90 seconds). If the crew is doing 15 reps and you've chosen to do only six, consider the “extra” time they are pumping out reps as part of your rest period.
Re-Purpose “Strength” DVDs
Most DVDs suggest dumbbells that are far too light have too many reps and not enough rest to be considered a proper “strength” workout. No problem. Why not change how you view your vids and accept the faster-paced workouts for what they genuinely are…cardio! Most so-called strength videos on the market are just glorified HIIT workouts. So why not treat them as such.
Metabolic cardio and HIIT are all the rage these days anyway, so using your old circuit workouts for cardio helps you cash in on this trend. This also works well as an alternative for those who can only make it to the gym a couple of times per week. Plan your lifting days for when you have access to heavier equipment at the gym and your cardio (via video) on the days that you can't make it.
Swap Out Moves (or Equipment)
Let's face it. Doing the same moves day in and day out for three years isn't gonna “shape and tone” anything no matter how many times your DVD coach has told you so. Just as we get comfortable when we know what move is coming next on the DVD (or what words for that matter!) so do our bodies. And let's just say that changes don't happen when you're comfortable…well, not good changes anyway.
Now that you've been taking notes on your workouts (ahem?) you can use that same notebook to plot out ways to shake things up. Again, I don't typically recommend taking a program written by someone who creates them for a living, and adding your own perceived “improvements.” However, if you know at exactly which pitch of the background song that a particular exercise will start…you stopped seeing results from that move many moons ago. There are safe swaps that can be done to most moves so that you are keeping with the general theme of the program's intent. For example, you can sub the move for a variation of that same move: plie' squat for regular, step-ups or rear/side lunges in lieu of front lunges, hammer curls instead of traditional, etc…
Work With What You Have
You could also swap out equipment used in the vid, for equipment that you own but rarely use. I can't count the number of messages I've received from women asking if it's “OK” to use hubby's Bowflex, Nautilus, Smith machine, etc down in the basement…umm, YES! Don't be scared to put someone else's dust-collecting equipment to use – I did and it changed my life! The Gold's Gym setup that I currently use in “Kiki's Cave” is also formerly-known-as “Father's Day Gift/clothes dryer” lol.
Work with what you have. Does your teen son have an iron gym? Does hubby have an old bench and rack? Score! Have some crazy as-seen-on-TV gadget that you just couldn't pass up? Use. it. Variety is the spice of life, and just may help you get excited about working out to your old DVDs again. Sub out the old-is-new-again equipment for similar body-part movements. Bench press during pushups. Use a rowing apparatus (lat pull-down, rowing machine?) for bent-over rows…or better yet, do pull-ups! Grab a Frisbee or gliding disc and do sliding lunges in place of regular. Use your Kettlebell in place of dumbbells, or sub Kettlebell swings (or sandbag cleans – see vid below) for another cardio move for circuit vids.
Take inventory of items you'd love to use, but never do, and allow your mind to wander. The possibilities are endless.
Not everyone can afford the time or finances that a full-time gym commitment requires. Workout videos provide a convenient alternative for busy moms, housewives, or students that simply can't make it to the gym regularly (or at all). With new formats popping up daily — whether via DVDs, downloads, or free sources like YouTube and Fitness Blender — you can make this growing trend work in your favor (and keep getting results!) with a few simple tweaks.
Do you work out with videos? What are your tricks for keeping the results flowing?
In our last post, we talked about intuitive eating, what it is and how it can benefit you. In this post, we'll discuss intuitive eating for weight loss. When it comes to weight loss, there are a lot of different methods people try. Some popular approaches include counting calories, eating low-carb or keto, and intermittent fasting. But what about intuitive eating? This approach eschews tracking or limiting food intake in favor of tuning into your body's natural cues for hunger and fullness. Is intuitive eating a good option for those looking to lose weight? Let's take a closer look.
Intuitive Eating for Weight Loss? Here's What You Need to Know
Intuitive eating is not a weight loss method.
Many people ask the question, “will intuitive eating work for me?”,
If by “work,” you mean weight loss? If by “work,” you mean, “will I lose weight from eating more intuitively?” the answer is no. Sadly, if you think you will be able to eat whatever you want, when you want, and look like a fitness model in a magazine. It just doesn't work that way. I would not do intuitive eating with a weight loss intent because that is not the purpose of intuitive eating.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Intuitive Eating: What is it, and How Can It Help You?… Intuitive eating is a method to heal people who struggle with a diet mentality and/or are recovering from over dieting. This helps reset the mind and body from things like binge eating, restriction, and the thought process of every food item being either “good” or “bad.”
We must first remember that everything has a mindset component associated with it. Whenever you get to the point where you are consumed with losing weight and start to have your identity wrapped around it, you usually start to run into issues thinking that weight loss will solve all your problems and make you happy is not the right path. In fact, it usually ends up having an adverse effect.
When we finally step away from looking for the all-in-one solution is when we can actually start finding the answers instead of compartmentalizing our lives. When it comes to seeing each individual thing for what it is, what it can be, and the purpose that it serves for you, you can lean wholly into that purpose.
Watch the video above as we dig more into this topic of intuitive eating and why it is not the best method for fat loss.
If you're struggling with your weight or have a history of yo-yo dieting, then intuitive eating may be able to help. Find out what it is and how it can help you reach your goals!
Intuitive Eating: What is it, and How Can It Help You?
I'm just going to put it out there. If you want to lose fat, you have to be in a caloric deficit. How do you know if you're in a deficit eating intuitively? Is intuitive eating good for weight loss? Will intuitive eating make me fat? Can intuitive eating work? There's so much confusion around intuitive eating and its purpose. We tend to see many questions and misinterpretations about intuitive eating and when to use it in our journey. We often see this happen when someone says, “will intuitive eating work for me?”; usually, there's something behind that word “work .”
First and foremost, if you want to know if intuitive eating will work for you, you want to ask yourself that question. What do I mean by work? Are you using it for binge episodes, to lose weight, or go on a journey of self-love? There are so many different reasons why people head down the path of intuitive eating that it's crucial to understand what intuitive eating is and what it isn't.
I have found that when asked, “Is intuitive eating going to work for me?”, usually they are referring to a weight loss technique. With Eat More 2 Weigh Less, when I'm referring to intuitive eating, it's typically for someone in the “Chill Phase” or the metabolism reset phase. Those are the main two times that I would recommend that somebody venture into intuitive eating. The reason for that is that although there are five phases of EM2WL, typically three of those, you're keeping a tight rein on what you are eating. When you're tracking your food and keeping a tighter rein on what you're eating, it's a little bit harder to eat intuitively because you may want to eat something that will not fit in your calories or macros.
Who Can Benefit From Intuitive Eating?
If you … Are Healing From A Diet Mentality.
The best time to use intuitive eating is when you are trying to heal from a diet mentality. Diet Mentality is when someone is constantly thinking that getting smaller and being thinner will solve all of their problems – a thought process that has infiltrated and cultivated our society, even now. If you're of that mindset, then that's when intuitive eating could be a path you should set out on, to become okay with the fact that getting smaller is not the absolute solution to all problems. Diet mentality tells us that there's this quick and easy solution to something that has been plaguing us for our entire lives. “Try this 2 week, 30-day, 90-day diet and lose X amount of pounds!” When you start constantly chasing after all of these fad diets and thinking that you can solve weight loss issues overnight, that leads to this constant feeling of shame and failure when you don't succeed in a diet when in actuality, most diets are failing you.
If you … Struggle with Binge Eating.
Another instance where intuitive eating would be an amazing route to go on is if you struggle with binge eating. This typically carries over from dieting because we often don't realize that restriction typically begets binging. You see people constantly trying to like stick to this perfect way of eating, constantly restricting calories, removing things from your diet that you actually like and enjoy, or just eating too little food. It's going to work until it doesn't, and then when it doesn't. So when you're constantly struggling with these binges, whether it's a binge-purge cycle in the traditional sense of actually purging the food manually or a purge where you eat a lot of food and then you're trying to burn it all off with exercise. There's also restricting yourself so much that it leads to an all-out binge. So if you're stuck in that cycle, that's when intuitive eating can help because one of the biggest benefits is learning how to honor your hunger cues.
If you … Categorize Your Food In Extremes.
The third reason why intuitive eating would work for someone is to help them understand that every food serves a purpose. One of the things that we don't tend to realize when it comes to dieting, is that we start to slowly categorize food. We're trying to fit things into a very tight window of opportunity or a tight amount of calories, points, or whatever the case may be. You start looking at something with a lot of points versus a few points, high calorie versus low calorie, high carbs, and low carbs, constantly swinging in these extremes of high and low. So we start to develop this good and bad philosophy about food. Anything with a high amount of calories, fats, carbs, points, or whatever the demon ingredient is of the year is, we label as bad. Lower amounts we look at as good. When we start to live in this good and bad food mindset it puts us in this good/bad position regarding our behaviors. We begin to think that we are good when we undereat and bad when we overeat, eat foods that we love, or things considered “unhealthy”.
Intuitive eating can work wonders for you as you begin to cultivate this mindset around the fact that something can be healthy and high calorie/fat and can be good for you but be on the “bad list,” simply because it's good for you mentally. Some foods' entire purpose is to light up your taste pallet and make you happy. Sometimes the purpose is just happiness for that moment or taking a bite and truly savoring how something feels versus bypassing taste to hit some data point. This also means accepting that health and weight loss are not always synonymous.
The fitness industry often tells us that losing weight is the epitome of health but that isn't always true. There are health benefits to losing weight, but there are also health repercussions to getting too lean as well. We look at women in the media and magazines who are doing fitness competitions, then doing photo shoots right after those fitness competitions that appear in our Instagram feed or magazines. And because they're gracing the cover of a “Health Magazine,” we cannot mentally detach those images from what's happening and understand that person was most likely at their leanest they've been all year. That physique may have been something that they've been working towards for three, six, nine months. and at the peak of that leanness, they were the unhealthiest that they had been all that year. They are now seeing negative repercussions of it, like not having their period anymore and losing essential body fat that their body needs. Most know this and plan to put back on their essential fat after the competition and go off and live happily ever after. However, we will continue striving for that image of them that we see in the magazine.
Having that intuitive eating period helps you see things for what they are. Learning to step away from the diet mentality, honor your hunger cues, get away from the good versus bad mentality, and learn to love yourself, right where you are. Loving yourself is crucial. It doesn't matter if you're a size 2 or 22, you can hate yourself and hate your body, just the same. When we step away from the thinking that size will magically make us accept ourselves, then true healing can begin. Even if all the commercials are saying the opposite and telling us that once we get to XYZ size, we love ourselves again. That is never going to happen. So if you don't love yourself as you are, it will not magically happen when you get to be another size.
It's one thing to have a goal for the sake of having a goal and achieving things that you thought you couldn't. However, thinking that the goal of losing weight is going to solve a bigger, deeper problem is that is when we need to take a step back and do more of the inner work to find out what we're seeking.
With that being said, if any of the reasons above are you then I highly recommended going down a path of intuitive eating or taking a chill phase, as we call it. Let that phase do what it is intended to do.
A food tracker can be a powerful weight loss tool. When used correctly, it can give you a ton of data about your eating patterns and caloric intakes. For many, tracking food can mean the difference between eating enough calories and eating the right kinds of calories. However, the ultimate goal for the majority of #crushers is to be able to live and eat without the aid of a food tracker.
Intuitive eating vs. Food tracker
The goal to stop tracking comes with an important caveat. You have to actually track your food for a period of time in order to stop tracking later. So for many, this means understanding that if your goal is to stop using a food tracker, then you must be able to perfect intuitive eating, by knowing how your food choices line up each day.
By tracking, this allows you to see each day where your calorie intake actually hits, and where your macros fall in. This allows you to make notes of what you need to eat daily, and how your choices affect your macros for each meal. Paying attention to your daily food habits will set you up for success when the time comes to stop tracking. Your understanding of how to hit that protein goal becomes apparent after you track consistently.
Another good reason for using a food tracker is seeing if there are patterns in your moods and hunger cues. By tracking your moods daily using the notes section of your diary, you will be able to see if there are patterns to certain issues. Things like skipping breakfast causes you to binge eat later in the day. Or a pattern in eating a certain food brings on the bloat or gives you headaches/migraines. These cues can tell you a lot about your eating habits and how to troubleshoot them long after you stop tracking.
Finally, tracking your food allows you to be self aware. It keeps you accountable to your daily required calories, and hitting those macros. Both are necessary for fat loss. It also gives you the stepping stones to make these changes in your food a habit. Habits which need to be solid before you begin intuitive eating.
The goal for everyone is to eventually stop tracking food. But take the steps now to track so your foundation is solid in the future.
In order to plan for success in the fall, dieters need to focus on preparing for changes than happen after summer. Fall is usually a time when school is back in session and colder weather emerges. Holiday seasons also begin to race into high gear. There are two reasons why you tend to fail in the fall: You don't have a plan, or your plan is not realistic. Regardless, planning is even more vital in the colder months than it ever was during the warmer ones.
Seasonal habits need changing
During the summer months, many dieters believe that it is easier to plan to stick to your eating habits and workout routines. Hot weather can drive gym goers inside for air conditioning, and swimming and water sports become more prominent. We also tend to wear less clothing in the heat, which motivates us to look and feel our best. Fresh produce is in abundance, making it very easy to find healthy options to eat. So with the heat, we tend to eat better and are more physically active than any other season.
Somehow, the minute the colder weather starts to set in, our habits also seem to freeze and a stale mate begins with our routines. Generally, routines should be easy to keep. But many underestimate just how busy they tend to be come September and there is no consideration for the mental space that takes up.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
It is important that you have plans in place for when the weather changes. School begins and kids tend to take up all our time, with extra curriculars and events. If there is no plan in place for how to deal with the change in schedule, then failure is inevitable. We know these things come every fall, so plan ahead of time for how you will fit in your workouts and gym time. Colder weather tends to make us want to hide indoors and not go out. So a plan needs to be in place for how you will handle poor weather conditions. This might mean having some gym equipment at home for the days you don't want to travel. If you are a home gym user, then proper scheduling of your time needs to be considered.
Fall often brings a change in food options and eating habits. Fall and Winter are “Sweets and Junk” season. Football and Hockey season brings out all of the tailgate type foods, that are high fat and high sugar. This makes way for holiday season, which – for many – is a general “free for all” in eating options. There are less fresh produce options in the colder weather, which can make it difficult to have healthier options.
This is not something to beat yourself up over, attempt to “white knuckle” through, or throw your hands up in defeat (until the New Year) – instead, think ahead and arm yourself with a plan!
Planning ahead for the colder weather with a decent food plan can make or break your fall season. Utilize tools like a crock pot or instant pot to help make meals ahead of time. Plan out a few meals in advance and freeze them so you always have a good food option ready to go rather than grabbing take out. It is also important to allow yourself the ability and freedom to still eat some of the less healthier options. Framing your goals during the colder months can help keep you on track, and upbeat about your progress.
Know what your natural patterns are in the fall season. Know that you will tend to want to move less and eat more. Have a general plan in place for how you will combat the colder weather. Have both a workout plan and an eating plan in place. These things will allow you to continue to make progress in the colder months, and your next spring and summer to go as planned.
Do you alternate between “perfect” eating and stuffing your face? Not sure how you can ever accomplish your goals, when you don't wanna give up your fave foods? Always feeling like it's all or nothing (chicken breast and broccoli OR chicken fingers and cheesecake?)
With the explosion of social media, and being able to (supposedly) see what everyone else is doing, thinking, and eating and drinking – it can sometimes cause conflicting thoughts. The virtual celebrity or fitness model you follow/admire seems to subsist on tilapia and asparagus, but those IRL (in-real-life) peeps at home are hollering for nachos and wings. You live in the real world, and sometimes life takes over and you find yourself falling headfirst into a box of Krispy Kreme. Part of you wishes you had the willpower of that fitness model, but the other half secretly screams “why can't I just eat junk and lose weight?!”
We don't feel that you should be forced to waste your tastebuds on (what you perceive as) mediocre-tasting foods, just for the sake of fat loss. But, be sure to call it both ways. There are just as many bad tasting junk foods as there are bland-tasting health foods. There are also total yum versions of both. If you really want to eat what you love, then DO it. An eating style that doesn't includes foods you love is doomed to fail. BUT…make sure that you aren't including your “default” foods (easiest, habitual, most convenient) in the list of things you don't wanna give up. Especially if they aren't even good TO you. Get back into the habit of actually tasting your food, and use your tastebuds as the measuring stick for what you “can't do without.” There are plenty of more, nutrient dense, foods that can make better use of the cals your “so-so” foods are taking up. It's perfectly legit to stop ordering the fries at your fave burger joint if the fries just don't knock your socks off like the burger does. Eating fast food isn't the end of the world, but step away from the combo meal mentality to see if you even WANT everything that you typically default to eating together.
My motto: “If I'm gonna eat, it's gonna taste good. If I'm gonna ‘waste' cals on ‘so-so,' best believe it's gonna be a macro powerhouse ‘so-so' “
This way of thinking takes some being honest with ourselves, though. It's so much easier to just claim not changing on “oh I just can't…I like food too much…” or “I don't wanna eat food that doesn't taste good” – not realizing that often the stuff we are eating out of convenience isn't all that great-tasting either. If it's TRULY yum, eat it. If it's not, why waste your taste buds on mediocre AND nutrition-less? Keep things you LOVE in your diet, and slowly work to swap out “meh” items for just-as-convenient, equal-or-better-tasting foods with higher protein and fiber. Even better, keep these items on hand for mindless munching moments, or to hold you over until you get to the meals/foods that make your heart melt. Matters of taste can't always be changed, but matters of convenience…can. Sometimes we are just fighting the wrong battle.
While you may not be able to only eat junk and lose weight, you should be able to find a happy medium that includes a hefty amount of whatever floats your boat. Though it seems new-agey to say “be present” when you eat, it's the first and biggest step to having more yum in your life. This video talks more about default eating and learning how to dissect your meals so that you can hit your goals while still eating the YUM foods you love.
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