Different Types of Diet and Exercise to Stay in Shape

woman exercising outdoorsGetting in shape can be confusing. There are so many diet and exercise options out there that it can make your head spin. Knowing which ones to choose when many of them offer conflicting advice leaves many of us not knowing where to begin. In this article,we cut through the confusion to provide you with a common sense overview of the most effective, scientifically attested diet and exercise options to get in shape fast. 

Diets to Get in Shape

Every week it seems that a new celebrity endorsed diet appears on the market. Most of them don’t last. That’s because they offer a short-term fix and are not backed by science. Obviously these types of diets should be avoided. The best type of diet is one that can be incorporated into your lifestyle. The three best diets that provide you with healthy, long-term weight loss are the following:

  • Mediterranean diet
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Ketogenic diet

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is more than the short-term restricted caloric intake that you normally associate with a diet. It is in fact a whole way of eating. It is based on the eating habits of the people who live around the Mediterranean coast. A number of studies have shown the Mediterranean way of eating to be amongst the healthiest in the world.

The Mediterranean diet involves eating the following foods

  • vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and whole grains every day
  • fish, poultry, eggs and beans every week
  • dairy foods to be eaten moderately
  • red meats to be eaten sparingly

Unlike the traditional Western diet, the Mediterranean diet is a plant based diet rather than a meat-based one. That means that the meals are built around vegetables, whole grains and beans rather than these being a compliment to a meat-based protein food.

Healthy fats are also very important on this diet. The main healthy fat used is olive oil. Fatty fish is also a rich source of healthy fats.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting involves dividing your day between fasting and non-fasting periods. Rather than focusing on what foods you eat, the emphasis is on when you eat those foods. There are a number of different intermittent fasting methods, with one of the most popular being the 16/8 diet. This involves not eating for 16 hours out of each 24-hour period. You then have an eight hour eating window.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to bring about hormonal adjustments that exhilarate fat loss and increase your ability to build muscle. Your levels of human growth hormone (hGH) will increase, while your insulin release will decrease. At the same time, the fat burning hormone norepinephrine will increase its production. This will increase your metabolism and help you burn fat faster.

Intermittent fasting will also result in a person eating fewer calories over the course of the day.

Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate diet that is designed to force your body to switch its energy production system. Our default energy system is based on glucose, which is the digestive form of carbohydrates. When the body does not have the glucose that it requires, it will switch to a fat based energy system. It will now use stored body fat to provide the energy that you need to function.

When the body breaks down fats in the liver, it produces ketones. This is called being in a state of ketosis and it is the goal of the ketogenic diet.

To make the switch from a glucose based to a fat based energy system, you need to have a very low intake of carbohydrates.  Most people will need to take in less than 25 g of net carbohydrates per day. That will involve cutting out all sugars, grains, fruits and tuber vegetables. On the keto diet you are able to eat green leafy vegetables and others that are grown above ground such as cauliflower and broccoli. The diet is also high in dairy and meat proteins.

Exercise to Stay in Shape

If you’ve read enough physical wellness articles, then you probably know some of the basics about staying in shape. You need to be doing exercises that work both your aerobic and your anaerobic systems. That means that your workouts should be divided between cardio and resistance training. Cardio workouts will strengthen your heart and lungs and burn off calories. Resistance training will strengthen and shape the muscles of your body as well as strengthening your bones.

When it comes to your choice of cardio exercise, the most important consideration is to choose something that you enjoy and will therefore stick to. It should also be low-impact and involve the whole of your body. Some great choices are swimming, running, rowing, skipping and exercising on an elliptical machine.

If you are new to resistance training, begin by doing bodyweight exercises. These should include push-ups, pullups, crunches and bodyweight squats. After six weeks you can then begin using weights as your form of resistance. Make use of a full body program that involves the following compound exercises:

  • Squats
  • Chest press
  • Deadlift
  • Pull downs

Make it your goal to work out four times per week. Begin with your resistance training and then finish with cardio.

Health and Wellness Articles

This article has provided you with a brief overview of the best diet and exercise options to get you started on your way to a healthier lifestyle. To learn more, it is a good idea to read scientifically tested health and wellness related articles. These will provide you with the most reliable and up-to-date knowledge to ensure that your efforts are well directed. Keep checking back here for the latest and best physical wellness articles.

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