The final part of the equation that we will look in managing your bodyweight is the most discussed outside of nutrition….exercise.
I'm not going to go into great detail in this area as most people understand that exercising more helps burn more calories and therefore is a key player in the management of one's bodyweight.
A lot of people get fixated on how hard they work out or how long they work out because they perceive that it is better for them than a workout that isn't as hard or isn't as long. However, I would offer you that this is a flawed way of looking at physical activity in the majority of cases.
The reason being that if your goal is to maintain or lose weight, as you have learned from the previous 3 parts of this bodyweight management series, it's not just about working out. In fact, working out can contribute to ~5% of your TDEE. This percentage can be manipulated based on the type of workout that you do, but nonetheless you're probably best served to focus on more intently on nutrition, sleep, and effectively managing your daily stressors than trying to focus on working out for 2.5 hours vs 1 hours or pushing yourself to pure exhaustion every time that you work out in order to burn a few extra calories.
There's individual variables that come into play when we're discussing management of one's weight and body composition; gender, age, hormones, and sleep quality. These are just a few examples that make this discussion much more complex than just looking at weight management as a matter of "calories in vs calories out" or "eat less, move more".
The final two things that we will touch on in regard to exercise are frequency of training and sustainability and adherence.
For the former, I'd argue that being physical more frequently will get you the results that you desire than picking a few days per week to workout hard. With increased frequency, comes sustainability and adherence. This is where having variety in your physical activities becomes extremely important and why you should try a variety of modalities for physical activity so that you can figure out what you like and increase the chances of engaging in physical activity being a regular, chronic behavior.
Using myself as an example, pre-stay-at-home order I would:
-lift weights 4x per week
-play basketball 2x per week
-perform some sort of non-sport specific cardio 1x per week
The one thing that you will want to make the cornerstone of your physical routine, even if you hate it, is resistance training. Resistance training is hands down the best form of physical exercise that you can engage in regularly to help with bodyweight maintenance. If you hate it, then find someone who can help you figure out how to enjoy it (i.e. a trainer). Often times, we've had clients come in who don't like resistance training at all, and have come to love it over time once they see the results and we were able to figure out how to coach them into scenarios where they were successful with resistance training as opposed to previous experiences where they didn't have success or felt like failures.
In the next (and final) part of this series, we will cover how you can take this information and apply it to your own life!