"The essential elements of health and wellness can be summed up in four parts: nutrition, resistance training, sleep & stress, and cardiovascular exercise."
When tasking yourself with a weight loss mission, it is important to establish some fixed goals you would like to achieve before you get started. Whether it be losing a certain amount of weight or body fat, or simply wanting to become a healthier individual. Creating these goals will help to motivate you and stay consistent during the process.
The other key part of changing your body is to produce a complete regime that includes a healthy eating plan and an efficient exercise routine. However, many people do not properly understand the essential elements that are needed for consistent weight/fat loss. Here is what you need to know.
The essential elements of health and wellness can be summed up in four parts: nutrition, resistance training, sleep & stress, and cardiovascular exercise. Making sure you include a balance between these elements will provide you with a certain level of dietary stability. But understanding each element and its various complexities is absolutely critical to achieve success.
Nutrition is the single most important factor in regards to fat loss. While cardiovascular exercise and weight training aids in the process of losing fat (not necessarily losing weight). Following a workout with a large amount of unhealthy food throughout the day can heavily negate the positive affects you might achieve from that workout.
Subsequently, counting your calories is a very helpful tool, and while it may become less necessary over time to do so, maintaining a good understanding of the amount of calories in certain foods is a critical component to consistent health and well-being. The sooner you start establishing a way to achieve a reliable and constant caloric deficit, the quicker the results will come.
Resistance training is likely the most under-utilized form of changing your body, as most people believe that weight loss is solely tied to your nutritional intake and cardiovascular routines. While there is a certain element of truth to this, resistance training will provide visual results more so than the other two – in other words if your aim is to look leaner, resistance training will certainly expedite the process.
Of course, a balance of all four elements is the key, however resistance training is usually pushed to the end of the queue in terms of priority. Exercises such as squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, and bench press (along with the many variations) are brilliant ways to ensure you are shedding exclusively body fat and not muscle mass.
An equally important part of resistance training is to make sure your muscles are being fed properly, which requires you to take in a certain amount of protein each day, and not just on days when you participate in resistance training and weight lifting.
Sleep & Stress
Sleep & stress are rarely even considered when talking about improving your health and losing weight. However, a lack of sleep or a sudden influx of stress can greatly affect your mind and body, often manifesting in negative physical symptoms. If you are in the middle of a new exercise/nutritional regime, it is incredibly important to make sure your body is getting all the rest it requires.
“Stress eating” is a common phrase used by those who experience stress quite often, and this can result in a complete deviation from your dietary plan.
A lack of sleep or increase in stress can also affect your motivation, which is probably the most essential component of consistency. If you find yourself overly stressed or lacking in sleep, things like meditation or calming mental exercises can quell that stress, and aid in developing consistent healthy sleep patterns.
Cardiovascular exercise is usually the first thing people lean towards when embarking on a fat loss journey, however it is arguably the least important of the four variables. While it is still a great way to accelerate fat loss and increase your body’s stamina, it is in fact not a fundamental part of the fat loss process.
But rather it should be considered a supplemental activity that increases the rate at which we lose fat. Doing too much cardio can actually result in a sudden increase in appetite, and so the amount of cardio you should be doing is often dependant on your body type and personal exercise preference.
The best way to lose weight is to come up with a well balanced schedule that includes ALL of these elements, but it is important to understand what the purpose of each element is, and how it affects you personally. The better you understand, the less you will have to measure and record the process, as you will naturally become more aware of how each affects your body.