How To Make Workout Videos More Effective For Weight Loss

How To Make Workout Videos More Effective For Weight Loss

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.

Part 1

Part 2

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 MichaelsKelly Coffey-MeyerJackie WarnerCathe FriedrichChalene 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:

Lift heavier

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.

Take Notes

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.

Press Pause

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?

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Intuitive Eating for Weight Loss?

Intuitive Eating for Weight Loss?

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.

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Intuitive Eating: What is it, and How Can It Help You?

Intuitive Eating: What is it, and How Can It Help You?

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.

If you want more info on how health and weight loss are not always one and the same, check out my youtube video Why Dieting Doesn't Work | The Truth About Healthy Eating

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.

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Red Flags In Dieting

Red Flags In Dieting

There are some warning signs that your diet plan may not be working. Find out what these red flags look like so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to start a new (or keep following your current) diet plan.

Red Flags In Dieting

If you're looking online, scrolling social media, or browsing diet books in the store, make sure that you always look for these red flags.

Is it Restricting?

The key to permanent weight loss is a sustainable and long-term style of eating. If a diet removes your favorite foods, it will be challenging to keep up the behaviors. Remember, weight management and keeping the weight off is more important than losing it.  Whatever you do to lose fat, needs to be something you can stick to going forward. So make sure that diet that you're considering allows you to eat foods that you love. If it's doesn't, you will not be able to be consistent with it. This means that even if you do lose the weight, you will not be able to keep it off because once you start adding back in the good stuff, the weight will pile right back on.

So if the diet you're considering removes everything that you ever loved in life, that's red flag #1.  Right off the bat you know that that is not going to be a sustainable weight loss plan for you. Weight loss is not the issue. Weight management is. Keeping the weight off is the goal.

If it's not something that you can stick with long-term, keep looking.

Is it Flexible?

Does it allow you to be flexible? So maybe even if it does cut back on certain things or it's reducing things that perhaps you do genuinely want to reduce, or help you to eat less of certain things. Is there a flexibility aspect to it?

If you go off track, is it over?

It should not be all or nothing. If it does not allow you to be flexible (read: it doesn't let you eat cake at your son's birthday or have that glass of wine when you're out with your husband or eat something for a special occasion) – that is a huge red flag.  If you go “off plan” and experience feelings such as, “Oh well, I blew my diet!,” that is Diet Mentality and whatever you're doing is probably not sustainable.

Along those same lines, if you have to have cheat days or days where you're allowed to go off the rails, then you may need to rethink it. If Monday through Friday your diet is “perfect,” but on Saturday and Sunday, you're binging enough that it ultimately outweighs what you did Monday through Friday, then it was pointless.

We're often dieting, and we don't realize that that's what's creating the binges. You end up in this nasty restriction cycle because you feel so bad that you binged that you start your diet Monday again, and you're super strict again, and you can only hold out for so long, which goes right back to number one – if you're not eating the foods you love, then it's not sustainable. If it's not flexible, then it's not sustainable.

Is it Realistic?

If it promises a certain amount of weight loss, like “10 pounds in 10 days” or “lose 30 pounds in X amount of time” to anyone who does the diet – those are not individual results. This means that it probably not realistic for you.  When you fall into the trap of assuming you can get these types of results, you'll end up discouraged or trying to force something that may be unnatural to occur within a certain amount of time.

No one can guarantee you any amount of weight loss in a certain amount of time. Your dieting results will always need to have some individualism.  If you're a new dieter, you may lose all the weight quickly, but if you're someone who has dieted over and over, then you likely have a much slower metabolism – which means it may take you a long time before you reach your goal.

You need to know that the diet that allows you to be consistent is always the diet that wins, period. The perfect diet that can't stick to is never going to outweigh the imperfect diet that you can adhere to consistently. So you want to find something that you can do consistently, even if it just means that you're just taking baby steps and saying, “Okay, I'm going to add in a few more servings of vegetables until it is a habit.” Once you have it, then you add on the next thing. Find some way to make it more flexible, including the things you love, and ensure that you're not on-again or off-again.

Conclusion

Whatever it is, make sure that the lifestyle that you're choosing when you're flipping through the books, when you're looking through the internet, when somebody's telling you to try the newest thing. Bring up those three red flags.

The whole point is don't focus so much on weight loss. Focus on maintaining the weight loss because there are 105 things you can do to get the weight off. You can chop off a limb and lose weight, but that does not mean that it is healthy for you. Losing weight is not the issue. The point is that you need to be able to keep it off. So, you have to find something that you can do consistently. It has to be flexible. It has to include the foods that you love.

Maybe you're thinking; “that's too easy”  or “that will take too long!”  We believe we need to punish ourselves for losing fat. You don't have to give up the foods you love; stay flexible and don't fall for anything telling you that you're going to lose a set amount of weight at a set amount of time. The time will pass anyway, so why not use it to take steps toward permanent (rather than fleeting) results. Just take baby steps, build those habits and watch your body slowly transform in a way that lasts.

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How Stress Affects Your Metabolism

How Stress Affects Your Metabolism

Learn how stress affects your metabolism and why it can cause weight gain. Plus some tips on how to manage it.

How Stress Affects Your Metabolism

 

Stress is an inevitable part of life. It can be caused by both good and bad events, and it can affect our emotions, thoughts, and physical health. When you're feeling stressed out, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. This hormone can lead to weight gain, especially around your midsection. So if you're trying to lose weight, it's important to learn how to manage it. Take some time each day to relax, and you'll see a big difference in your weight loss progress!

Practical ways to relieve stress in your life are:

  • Go for a walk
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Do something creative
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Have some “you” time
  • Learn to say no
  • Hang out with friends
  • Hang out with your pet
  • Laugh and smile more
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Exercise
  • Clean your house
  • Breathe

 

Be sure to watch our video above for a more in-depth look into this issue and learn how to deal with the extra pounds caused by stress. Have you tried any of the techniques mentioned in the video? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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How to Diet Without Killing Your Metabolism

How to Diet Without Killing Your Metabolism

You want to lose weight, but not at the expense of metabolic damage.  Such a simple request that, unfortunately, most weight loss methods just can’t seem to deliver on.

Here are three main things to focus on when attempting to lose weight that will help maintain a healthy metabolism:

#1 Make sure you’re eating enough!

Under eating is the number one reason for metabolic slowdown from dieting.  Eating too little leads to your body adapting to the lower calorie intake (read: the “deficit” becomes “maintenance”) and ultimately slowing down your metabolism. This is counterproductive when it comes to weight loss.

The key is to keep your metabolic rate as high as possible by eating enough food, with a sufficient macronutrient intake for your goals.

Key Takeaway – Be sure to eat enough calories (consisting of high amounts of protein and fiber) to allow for fat loss but also maintenance of muscle mass.

#2 Lift Weights.

Muscle mass is a critical part of your metabolism, so you’ll wanna preserve every ounce of it.  Resistance training will help you to maintain as much muscle mass as possible while losing weight. When you focus your exercise efforts on building (or at least maintaining) muscle, your metabolic rate will remain high, and your body will know exactly what to do with the calories you consume.

It’s important to note that just because your training involves a dumbbell, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re building muscle. Group classes or training with super high reps is often cardio-based and not conducive to muscle building.

Key TakeawayLift, but do so with the intent to build or maintain muscle. Stick with weights that you can do 8-12 reps of in any particular exercise, but that fatigue you by the end of each set.  Muscle = metabolism! 

#3 Give Yourself Enough Time.

Don’t tackle weight loss with a tight timeframe! You will likely end up putting your body in a position where you may end up damaging your metabolism. Plan for diet breaks every 4 or 8 weeks to take time off from eating less and go back to consuming maintenance level calories.

Key Takeaway – If your fat loss is happening too fast and seems too good to be true, it probably is. Weight loss of one pound per week (for women) and two pounds per week (for men) is a good gauge to use. 

The best kind of fat loss is permanent fat loss! By using the guidance above, you will be on your way to losing as little muscle mass as possible, all while keeping your metabolism burning and healthy and losing fat as well!

STOP Spinning your wheels and Get OFF the Rollercoaster!

 

 

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