Move It to Lose It

Know someone who's getting amazing results from an insanely low-calorie diet? It may be tempting to severely restrict your calories in hopes of a drastic weight loss, but don't even think about it! Truth is, very few people can maintain one of those crazy kinds of diets for more than a couple of weeks. And to make things worse, most people on near-starvation diets gain back all the weight (and more) just a few months later.

In weight-loss terms, fat is energy and the best way to lose it is to use it. You have to do it with diet and exercise. If you diet without exercise, the majority of your weight loss will be from muscle. The minute you stray from your diet, the weight will come right back on.

The only way to lose it for good is to get moving! Exercise not only helps you burn calories, it also helps build, strengthen, and maintain lean muscle. Exercise has another benefit called afterburn. A great cardio routine keeps burning fat not just during your workout but for hours afterward. Not bad, eh?

The rule of the game is increasing your intensity. The exercise afterburn is also referred to as "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption." It represents the calories used up to return the body back to its pre-exercise state, or resting level, which can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours, depending on the intensity and duration of the workout. What's more, if you do my resistance-training workout from my Web site in the morning and your cardio at night, you will reap the benefits of a twice-a-day afterburn without overtraining your muscles.

Doing any type of physical activity is healthier than sitting on the couch downing a bag of chips. And activities like bowling and golf do burn calories — but not enough. To see dramatic weight loss, you must do heart-pumping cardio. Cardio is any activity that is rhythmic, continuous, requires the movement of large muscles, and raises your heart rate. While bowling and golf get you moving, the action is stop-and-go. There's no reason to give up those activities, just be aware that you must still put in time on the treadmill (or doing some other cardio activity) as well.

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