21 December 2009

Beginning Your Fitness Routine

cartoon of a prisoner tunneling under a jail and into a septic tankI haven't written anything about weight loss or fitness lately and seeing as the theme of this site happens to revolve around that, I figure that it's time I jump back on that horse. I know that the last thing anyone wants to think about during this time of year is fitness, but seeing as the New Year is just around the corner and along with it, all those pesky resolutions, I'm going to start at the beginning. Yup, let's take some measurements...

Before you start a weight loss regime, you may want to take a few moments and do a few things. The first and most obvious is to step on the scale and weigh yourself, although that’s probably how you ended-up here in the first place. Next, take a tape measure and measure your legs, hips, waist, (this is the area just above your belly button), chest, arms, and your neck. Why do I need to measure my legs and neck? Well, when you begin to lose fat, the first places where you will see a decrease in size will be the extremities (your legs and arms). Contrary to popular belief, and wishful thinking, the abdominal area is the last place where you will lose the inches.

Now that we have the baseline measurements, I need to talk to you about the frequency of your re-measures. I would suggest NOT weighing yourself everyday. Do all your measurements on a weekly basis. This way you can escape the worst of your normal body fluctuations and not become a prisoner of your scale. To give you an example, when I first started my program, I would weight myself every single day. One day I would have lost a pound or two and I would be ecstatic. The next day I would gain a pound and be depressed. This was especially true after finishing an especially difficult workout; I would even contemplate giving up. Please don’t fall into this trap. Your weight will naturally vary throughout the day, depending on water gain or loss, food intake, etc.

As you progress, you should notice a fairly steady loss of weight for the first 6-8 weeks (in my case it was a total 10 pounds). After this period of time, the amount of your weight loss will become less, usually around 1-2 pounds per week. As you progress in your exercise program and begin to lose weight, your body will have less mass to move, thus it will require fewer calories to burn in order to complete your workout. So, in order to continue to burn the same amount of calories, you will have to work harder (I know, bad news). Also, your body will become adapted to your exercise routine, so you will also have to vary your routine (to see more tips on this, please read my article on Overcoming a Weight Loss Plateau).

To lose weight in a healthy manner is a gradual process. You didn’t gain it overnight, although it certainly seems like it, so don’t expect to lose it overnight. Make your exercise routine a part of your new lifestyle, not a supplement to a diet.

Good luck to you and if I can help in any way, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Here's a handy chart for your measurements... exercise.about.com


  1. Do I have to think of this now? Well, yes, I guess I do. Actually, we've been thinking of a way to get back into an exercise routine which isn't easy once the winter rains make it hard to go outside. So, thanks for a reminder of ways to measure progress and the motivation too!

  2. eww exercise!! Seriously though I need to start. I'm getting too lazy. I always had a problem with the scale thing. I get obsessive about checking my weight.

  3. BeadedTail: I know what you mean. If it wasn't for my two machines, I wouldn't be getting any exercise. You know, it's weird, but I really miss not working on the berm.

    Ann: LOL! I do too, but I force myself not to weigh myself...it's just too depressing :)


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