Is working out twice a week enough to lose weight?


Is working out twice a week enough to lose weight

So, you’re a beginner who is looking to lose some weight, huh?!

Maybe you’re just starting, or maybe you’ve been working out for some time and you’re starting to wonder if what you’re doing is enough.

We’ve all been there before, uncertain as to why the results aren’t happening as fast as you’d expect, unsure of where to turn or what you’re missing…

In this article, we’re going to be discussing all things weight-loss and what you can start to implement so that you can begin to experience the results you’ve been “weighting” for (shameless PUN!).

Read on for greater success!

Is Twice Per Week Enough to Lose Weight?

Unfortunately the answer to this question isn’t so cut-and-dry as you may have hoped. Understanding how often you should be exercising in order to lose weight depends highly on many factors:

  • How fast do you want to lose the weight?
  • What is your weight & height (are you statistically overweight or obese?)
  • Are you a male or female? How old are you?
  • What is your experience and ability level when it comes to fitness?
  • Do you have any injuries?
  • What are your health markers?

While you can certainly lose weight at differing rates, the healthy recommendation according to the CDC is losing weight at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week.

You may be wondering how you’re supposed to measure this…

Losing weight isn’t just about the amount of exercise that you do. It’s multifaceted and involves the proper combination of exercise, diet/nutrition, and sleep. According to a study “While exercise programs can result in an average weight loss of 2 to 3 kg in the short-term…outcome improves significantly when physical activity is combined with dietary intervention…”.

Measuring things like exercise duration, calories burned, macronutrient intake, and sleep duration/quality will better equip you to understand and execute a successful weight loss plan.

Exercise

Generally, your goal should be to reach 4-6 times per week of exercise. However, if you’re a beginner, this wouldn’t be the smartest place to start.

As I always emphasize, fitness (and weight loss for that matter) is a game of longevity. By taking short-cuts and rushing into it, you run the risk of injury, health consequences, and unsuccessful weight-loss results. We’ve all been through that vicious cycle before. Let’s make this time around a successful one!

Begin at whatever is comfortable – maybe twice per week. Once you’re ready, begin to test yourself and ease your way up to 4-6 times per week. Durations can vary, however, it’s important to focus on effort and intensity while staying safe and executing proper form at all times.

Don’t be afraid to hire a professional (personal trainer) if you’re uncertain where to turn. Although it can be intimidating, they’re there to welcome you, help you, and build you up – NOT tear you down.

Nutrition

Without getting to scientific, in order to lose weight you need to take in less calories than what you’re burning.

In addition, it’s not just about the rudimentary methodology of  “calories in, calories out” – 2000 calories of beer and sugar isn’t valued the same as a 2000 calorie day of a whole foods, plant-based diet. It’s about the quality of the calories that you’re consuming, as well…

Once you’ve established the proper foods to be consuming, your next step is to:

  1. identify your “maintenance calories” (how many calories you need to consume daily to stay at your current weight)
  2. target a daily calorie deficit (i.e. reduce your intake by 300-500 calories)
  3. begin to track your macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates)

Tracking your calories and counting your macros can be a difficult endeavour to embark on alone. If possible, I recommend seeking some professional help on this. Once you learn it, you’ll be able to do it in your sleep, however, it can be confusing initially.

Sleep

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, it is recommended to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. While this is a generalized recommendation for health and longevity purposes, the same holds true for optimizing weight-loss.

Being short on sleep can effect your weight loss results greatly. This is in large part due to the symptoms and decision making abilities (or lack there of) of fatigue. You’re more likely to reach for the cookies, grab the extra beer on a Friday night, and postpone your earlier decision of “not having a midnight snack”.

Again, without getting too scientific, sleep has a large impact not only on your decision making, but on your metabolism. The solution? Just aim for a good nights sleep every night! Although many don’t see the correlation, sleep should be considered a part of your diet.

How Long Should Each Workout Last?

If anybody tells you that you need to spend 60-120 minutes in the gym everyday, don’t listen to them. Those that follow this protocol are typically wanna-be experts who have something to prove.

The duration of your workout is less meaningful compared to the intention and effort involved in said workout. I would choose quick and intense workouts over prolonged and mono-structural workouts every day of the week! Find what works for you and stick to it.

An efficient and effective protocol to follow is HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. This is great for everyone from beginner to elite athlete. Use just your bodyweight; incorporate some resistance bands or weights to the exercise; Incorporate strength movements with cardio movements, the options are endless!

An effective workout can last anywhere from as short as 4-minutes to 20 minutes, and sometimes up to 45-60 minutes. The idea here is variation!

Sure, we can make it complex and prescribe a protocol that aligns better with your weight-loss regimen and focus heavily on calories burned…

However, unless you’re a professional bodybuilder in prep for a show, or you’re seriously obese and have severe medical conditions that need to be addressed immediately, simply being consistent in your workout regimen and enjoying it along the way is, in my mind, the best way to approach your weight-loss journey.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Month?

Weight-loss, much like any other results-driven fitness goal, is highly dependent upon the individual. Without reiterating the factors that are involved in losing weight, it’s impossible to give one straight answer.

The honest answer? It varies.

As mentioned earlier, if we follow the CDC recommendation of 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week, some simple math would tell us that, on average, an individual can lose 4-8 pounds per month. However, this obviously isn’t the upper limit…

We all know those case studies of individuals losing 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 30, 40, even 50+ pounds in ONE MONTH!

While this is absolutely impressive, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy.

So, the question you should be asking yourself isn’t “how much weight can I lose in a month?”, it should be “what habits can I implement today that will make me a healthier, happier person and will assist in my weight loss journey?”

By focusing on answering that very question and making your efforts geared towards a healthier lifestyle rather than a regurgitation of weight-loss goals, you will have set yourself on a fast-track to not only weight-loss, but a more fulfilled life.

Best Snacks for Weight-Loss

As mentioned earlier, as long as your diet consists of healthy whole foods and you’re eating in a calorie deficit in tandem with a consistent exercise regimen, you’ll lose weight. If snacks fit within these parameters, by all means have your snacks! Just try to choose the healthy alternatives instead.

In this section, we’re going to offer you some healthy snack options to munch on throughout your weight-loss journey:

  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Greek Yoghurt
  • Fruit
  • Veggies & guacamole dip
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Hummus dip
  • Chia seed homemade pudding
  • Grass-fed protein shake

Above are just SOME of the endless options you have at your finger tips. The idea here is to choose whole foods over processed foods, avoid the sugar (unless it’s from fruit), and eat only when you begin to crave. Utilize the snacks strategically as an appetite suppressant, not as a distraction from boredom.

Another option is to have some black coffee or tea. These are fantastic options to suppress your appetite and get you to the next meal!

Conclusion

In order to achieve your weight loss goals, you need to be prepared to make lifestyle changes, not short-cuts.

It’s more worthwhile to focus on a healthy lifestyle habit rather than a fast-tracked tip that you found in a magazine that reads “lose 10 pounds in 10 days, AND without any extra effort !!!”.

These headlines usually involve ineffective supplements, borderline pharmaceuticals, and a lot of false hope…Heck, even if it does produce results, it’s more often than not the wrong way to go about it, ultimately causing more harm than good…

Let’s be healthy. Let’s aim for longevity. And let’s enjoy the process along the way!

Sources

CDC: Losing Weight

NSCA: Training Volume

webmd: diet, sleep & weight loss

Healthline: Snacks for weightloss

ncbi: weight loss maintenance

Healthline: Nutrition

Heath Barrow

Heath is a certified personal trainer, an ordained minister, and most importantly, a father. He loves reading and learning new things...and enjoys it when he's able to pass that along to others!  ~"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25, NIV)

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