As many of you read in your Meet PointsPlus 2012 books, one of the changes Weight Watchers has made to the new system is that they are encouraging members to work towards reaching an Activity PointsPlus Goal each week. The base goal is at 14 PointsPlus which is 2 PointsPlus of activity a day.
Almost everyone, deep down inside, wants to be more active. Sometimes getting started can prove to be challenging. One of the biggest mistakes that is made is to set your goal too high. Let’s face it. If it’s been 3 months since you’ve done any activity, but yet your goal is to get up every morning at 4:30 am and do an hour workout at the gym…the chances of you being successful is probably less than 1%! Be realistic. Like your daily PointsPlus goal, your activity goal is flexible.
Now having said that if you are already earning 14 PointsPlus in a week than instead of saying “woohoo I’m done”, challenge yourself to do more. Bodies adapt. Beginners may continue to improve their fitness level for up to 12 weeks using the same routine. However, seasoned exercisers may need to make changes as often as every four weeks. Changing routines can challenge your muscles and make further improvement more likely.
Now to help get your mind in the right place for activity here are a few exercise myths that have been busted:
Myth 1: Performing sit-ups gets rid of fat around the stomach
Spot reduction doesn't work. Exercising specific muscle groups in particular parts of the body doesn't burn fat primarily from that area. Think about it...if spot reduction worked, all chronic gum chewers would have thin faces.
Fat is lost gradually from all over the body. Although sit-ups won't melt fat specifically from your tummy, they will help strengthen and tighten the muscle under the fat, which makes it worthwhile.
Myth 2: Muscle turns to fat when you stop exercising
Muscle and fat are completely different tissues that are not interchangeable. Instead, there are two key reasons why people perceive that muscle turns to fat when they stop exercising.
· Muscle goes from firm to floppy when it's not used. It also decreases in size, hence the saying, use it or lose it.
· Many people stop exercising but don't adjust how much food they eat. The reality is, when you exercise less, you have to eat less.
Myth 3: You have to exercise for 20 minutes in order to burn fat
Wrong! Each one of us has a different point where our bodies start burning fat. This is partly determined by genetics but mostly by fitness level, time and intensity of the workout. What matters at the end of the day is that exercising allows you to burn calories and if you burn more calories than you take in you will lose weight. Any physical activity has an impact on burning calories so every time you move, it's worth it.
Myth 4: Resistance (weight) training impedes weight loss
Weight training is a great add-on to cardiovascular exercise because it helps maintain or even increase muscle mass, boost metabolism and reduce fat. After age 45, the average person loses about 10% of their muscle mass each decade. This is primarily due to people becoming more sedentary with age and therefore using their muscles less leading to loss of muscle mass.
In addition, we lose both fat and muscle during weight loss, particularly when relying solely on dieting. So relying on an eating plan without upping exercise levels will mean greater muscle loss. Weight training can help you keep the muscle while you lose the fat, particularly on the upper body, which isn't loaded much by walking, jogging or cycling. Weight training can also help you achieve your fitness goals. If gyms aren't your thing, keep in mind that as far as your muscles are concerned, lifting garden gnomes, bricks or even bags of laundry can have the same benefits as lifting weights.
Myth 5: If you exercise before breakfast you burn more fat
There is a little evidence to support this theory. According to the updated physical activity guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), healthy adults under age 65 need 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days a week or 20 minutes of vigorous intensity activity three days a week to stay healthy and reduce risk of chronic disease, regardless of the time of day that you exercise. From a practical perspective, mornings can be a great time because it's done first thing and your activity PointsPlus® values are in the bank.
Myth 6: Exercising after meals is better than before
There isn't a right or wrong answer here. Exercising before or after meals is OK; the main thing to consider is that you do not skip meals and that you leave enough time for digestion before your workout. For a large meal this could mean about 3-4 hours, and for a small meal about 2-3 hours. However, some people can snack right before a workout as well, so it really depends on the individual.
Myth 7: People who are very overweight should avoid exercise
Wrong! Just start out easy. First, concentrate on increasing daily activity. Rearrange your house or office environment so that it makes movement mandatory. Check out more everyday ways to get moving.
Use a pedometer to measure your average daily step count and increase from there. Record the daily steps you take for seven consecutive days then calculate the average. Use the average as a baseline and gradually increase your daily step goals of around 5 to 10 percent per week.
For example, if 3,000 steps is your current daily step average, the goal for next week will be 3,300 steps per day, and 3,630 per day the following week.
If you are a monthly pass subscriber go online to your etools account and take the activity assessment to see what weight watchers recommends for your personal weekly activity pointsplus target. Remember any activity you can do is going to help boost your weight loss. 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there can really add up. Very few of us will actually have 30 min to set aside at a time. So, do the best you can with what you’re given.
This week especially really focus on getting in some activity. Remember the average American will consumed 4000 calories on Christmas day! Any activity pointsplus you can earn will really pay off!