Starting a weight-loss journey?  Skip the jog!

If you watch any sports brand commercial today you’d be convinced that jogging is the solution to all our weight-loss worries.  Sure, it’s possible to burn through calories by beating the pavements but the truth is that the return of weight-loss to effort is pretty minimal.  In my observations over the years, beginner joggers also have a high risk of injury.   I’d like to suggest some alternatives to help you burn the unwanted lard. 

Firstly, we must be aware that excessive body fat to the normal person is a health issue and not one of fitness.  Being overweight or even obese raises the chances of preventable diseases such cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes.  This is particularly relevant to the corporate who carries subcutaneous and visceral fat around their belt line.  It’s the result of a flawed lifestyle and jogging is not going to quick fix this one.  A few reasons for excessive fat levels could include a lack of sunlight (amount you need depends on your skin tone), sleep hygiene and quantity plus an overload of un-nourishing fake foods.  The added stress of jogging on top of this lifestyle is only going to dig an early grave.

 Possible solutions:

 Step 1:  Fat, take a hike..

Rushing into a high impact fitness program is asking for an ankle, knee, hip or back injury.  Don’t paint your car red and pretend it’s a Ferrari.  Running requires a high level of skill that unfortunately is lost in most of us through stagnant teenage years.  Walking is not sexy and you won’t see the next Nike advert promoting it.  It’s low impact, low risk and almost everyone can do it.  Since moving to Hong Kong, I’ve consistently been hitting over 15 000 steps each day. I feel leaner than ever and that’s without doing anything else.  Walking is a pillar of lifelong health, it’s a great excuse for a social and if done outside, will bring your Vitamin D levels up to speed.

 Step 2:  Take 1 hour to learn 7 new recipes. 

The dieting ‘experts’ would have you believe that the world of food is confusing but it isn’t rocket science.  High carb, low carb, paleo, vegan, blah blah blah.  We are fools for being sucked into the latest fad.  Unfortunately, there are some warped ideas out there but most of us understand that sugar, refined foods and alcohol should be consumed in minimal amounts at the most.  It’s fair to say that we have become a little detached from our food.  We don’t know how to hunt or gather.  We don’t know where our food comes from exactly.  Most of us certainly don’t know how to prepare our own food.  A little nutritional common sense goes a long way but I would argue that the priority is to learn how make one’s own food.  Practical food prep skills enable us to get passionate about food again.  Enjoying the slow process of food prep enables us to jump off the high speed rush of life.  Diet deliveries simply do not work because there is no appreciation for the contents or preparation .  We are not cattle that has food dumped into our feed lot.  Be a chef, not a cow!

 Step 3: Earn the right to sleep well.

Quality and quantity of sleep are two big factors in the victory over fat loss.  We all know it’s important to get into bed early now.  Growth hormone, which is released in our sleeping bodies enables us to burn through the lard while we rest.  Most of us however, do not appreciate the preparation that goes into sleeping well.  Insomnia, RLS, snoring and sleep pill popping are all on the increase.  We need to give sleep the respect it deserves.  Tick off the following to ensure you are ready for bed each night:

       Clean and tidy room.  No clutter, dust or rubbish.

       Tech free zone.  Take out wifi, mobiles, computers, TV.  The bedroom is a place to escape!

       Suitable temperature.  Find a compromise between Antartica and Death Valley!

       Lights down 1 hour before bed.  Removing artificial light will enable the right hormones to do their job and set you off to sleep.

 Jogging may be the ‘in-thing’ at the moment.  It’s cool to hit the streets with music, electro spandex, sweat band, water bottle, GPS tracker, snacks and new kicks (are we in the 70s?) but don’t fooled.  Running, is a highly technical movement that probably causes more injuries then any other physical activity.  My advice is to get the basics dialed in well before adding the jog.

Craig Heslop