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Nutrition and dietetics research: Reaching your exercise goals

By: Brendan Koplin

Do you remember shake weights? Have you ever heard of cycling karaoke? How about mermaid classes? As crazy as it seems, these activities all exist and people are trying them to get in shape. In the modern day and age, trends regularly come and go. Often times people aren’t satisfied with their physique and want to get in shape using the easiest or most efficient methods possible. Because of this common mindset, certain exercise trends tend to become popular. They all have one thing in common: lofty goals often promising unhealthy, expensive, and inconsistent in results, in a short period of time.

When you first decide you want to make a change regarding exercise in your life, you must first assess your physical state . One effective way of doing this is by using a body fat percentage test. These tests can be done by most local gym owners. After you’ve done this, it’s important to set a goal. Without a goal in mind it’s way easier to give up. Set your goal based on where you are at and where you want to be. For example, if you weigh 220 pounds and you want to be at 180 pounds than you can make a goal to lose 5 pounds a month for 8 months until you’ve lost 40 pounds and reached your goal. By picking a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. You can track your results and monitor your progress much easier. After you finally assess yourself, choose a goal, and commit to it, it’s time to act.

There are many different exercises and routines that can be effective depending on what your goal is. For increased cardiovascular endurance, some common exercises are running, elliptical, cycling, interval training, and swimming. From my personal experience I prefer interval training as my primary cardio training. Interval training is alternating between a fast pace and a slow pace while running. As a soccer player I need to be able to have endurance in both sprinting and jogging due to the nature of the game. Cardio training is also important for those who are trying to lose weight and fat while maintaining muscle mass. While performing these exercises the body burns more calories  to help lose weight. For someone trying to gain weight and put on muscle, weightlifting is the most common method. Weight lifting helps to increase strength and muscular endurance

Almost equally important as the workouts is eating healthy. You can lift five times a week for an hour each time, but if you aren’t eating properly you won’t see optimal results. After each workout it’s essential to eat as much protein as possible. Instead of eating twinkies and pizza rolls after a workout, try to eat some chicken or a protein bar instead. Although eating healthy directly after a workout is most important, your daily diet is a large determinant of whether or not you gain or lose weight. When trying to gain weight, its recommended to consume 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight ( Along with doing this one method is to consume 5-6 smaller meals a day instead of 3 big ones ( By doing this you can intake more overall calories. Believe it or not, you can eat the same amount of meals when trying to lose weight. The biggest difference is the number of calories per meal. For weight gain the calorie count will be much higher in each meal.

Always remember that the best way to reach your goals is to create a plan, commit to it, and stick with it. Although many crazy exercise trends are fun and can keep you entertained, the best way to reach a goal is to commit to a long term plan. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle, get faster, or get stronger, goal setting will help you get there.

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