Expert Secrets to Fitness & Exercise

Understanding how fitness and exercise work is very important to understanding how to use both in a successful weight loss regime. Losing weight requires your body to have a calorie deficit on a daily and weekly basis, this allows it to use body fat as fuel and therefore you lose weight and slim down. A successful weight loss regime is a combination of cutting down on your calorie (food) intake and doing more exercise to increase the number of calories you burn up. Doing exercise helps increase your fitness which helps increase the number of calories you burn. Remember 1 lb of fat is approximately 3,500 calories, so to lose 1 lb in weight you need to get to a calorie deficit of 3,500, i.e. to achieve 1 lb weight loss means you have to burn off or take in 3,500 calories less than your body needs over a period of time (1 lb equates to just under half a kilogram).

The Five Components of Fitness

Physical fitness is the ability of your body to perform successfully during your normal day, complete your usual activities and still have the energy left over to handle any additional worries or crises that may happen.

Your Physical Fitness is made up of:

  • Cardiorespiratory (CR) endurance – the ability of your body to effectively deliver oxygen and nutrients to its muscles when exercising them and its effectiveness in transporting waste products away from the cells as they are produced.
  • Muscular strength – the most amount of force a muscle can exert in a single strenuous effort, this is measured during muscle contraction.
  • Muscular endurance – the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to move or exercise repeatedly over time and against resistance, i.e. running, swimming, or repeating an exercise like push-ups or resistance training with weights.
  • Flexibility – the ability to move joints through a complete, normal range of motion.
  • Body composition – the percentages of body fat, bone, water and muscle a person has in comparison to his or her total body mass. Mostly we look at the percentage of body fat.
  • Improving Cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength and endurance will have a improve body composition and will lead to a reduction in the percentage of fat. Too much body fat takes away from the other fitness components, leads to poor performance, does not look good, and is bad for your health.

Other elements such as speed, agility, muscle power, hand-eye and foot-eye coordination make up the components of “motor” fitness, these affect your athletic ability. The right training can improve these abilities with time. A practical weight loss and fitness plan aim’s to improve or maintain all the key elements of physical and motor fitness through progressive and focused physical training.

Principles of Exercise

When developing an effective weight loss or fitness program, it is important to adhere to the basic principles of exercise. These principles apply to everybody regardless of their level of physical fitness or their training regime, from the professional athlete to the weekend jogger. These basic principles must be followed.

  1. Regular Exercise – To be effective in improving fitness levels, exercise must happen regularly and often, at least three times per week. Infrequent exercise can be more harmful than good. Keep in mind that regular sleep and rest and a sensible regular diet are just as important.
  2. Progress – It is important to gradually increase the intensity (how hard) or the duration (length), or both of exercise to improve the level of fitness.
  3. Balance – An effective program of exercise that aims to improve fitness must include exercises that address all the fitness components as focusing too much on any one of them may negatively impact the others.
  4. Variety – The importance of variety in your exercise regime cannot be overstated as it alleviates tedium and improves motivation making it easier to progress and ultimately succeed in your goals.
  5. Goal Oriented – A good training program is built around clearly defined goals, for example, swimming is great exercise, but, it does not improve running time as much as a specific running program.
  6. Recovery – A good training program will alternate exercise focus or exercise intensity to allow a given fitness component time to recover (rest) from a hard workout. For example, the program should mandate a rest day or an easier day of training after a hard day of training for a fitness component like cardiovascular or a muscle group.
  7. Overload – For effective training, it is important that the intensity or workload of an exercise session is greater than the normal demands placed on the body.

To put all this in perspective – fitness is important to your health and well being, being fit also promotes fat loss by helping your body to burn more calories over time for any exercise as you tend to continue to burn more calories the fitter you are after you finish an exercise. Exercising is how you become more fit, and to become more fit you have to exercise properly by following the 7 principles set out here.

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