Fed up with fads? Weight loss tips that work

Nutrition is the most important element in any weight-loss agenda.

by Adam Berkovits — 

We have all seen the ads. Lose 30 pounds in 30 days by drinking a weight-loss shake or lose inches off of your waist by using an ab device that looks more like a beach chair. But, do any of these methods actually live up to their claims? Can the answer to the weight loss epidemic really be found on late-night infomercials in the form of a new pill or exercise device?

The simple fact is 65 percent of Americans are obese, and that number is growing at an alarming rate. We have reached a point in history where the American waistline continues to expand almost as quickly as the weight loss industry pumps out new “solutions” to the problem. In order to truly resolve this paradox, we need to go back to the basics. It is time to forget about the gimmicks and return to the tried-and-true method of proper exercise and diet.

The first component of a complete exercise routine is cardiovascular work. Any form of exercise that is continuous and elevates your heart rate for at least 20 minutes will fulfill this requirement. This increases your endurance and is a great way to burn extra calories.

It is important for any novice to incorporate some form of cardio, 30 minutes at a stretch, three times a week, with a goal of progressively increasing this amount. Many calculation methods attempt to dictate how high your heart rate should be, but here is a rule that will make it simpler. Work just hard enough that you are still able to carry on a conversation, but would rather not.

The second component, often overlooked and rarely overemphasized, is resistance or strength training. Strength training will help you build new muscle, which in turn increases your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories, even at rest.

A properly structured strength training regimen will allow the participant to stress every major muscle group beyond the extent to which it is accustomed. The joints should move through a full range of motion in a controlled fashion, promoting flexibility and muscle development, without compromising the individual’s safety.

Nutrition is the most important element in any weight-loss agenda. Although we are all designed differently and respond to diets based on our unique biochemistry, certain truths in nutrition remain universal. Particularly this: in order to lose weight, it is absolutely essential to consume fewer calories than you burn.

This means that you must eat less to lose weight, regardless of the source of your nutrition. However, if you want the results to last, you must choose healthy, nutrient-dense foods.

To enhance your results with a personally tailored exercise and diet routine, hire a nationally certified personal trainer. The guidance of an experienced professional will be an investment in your weight loss goals that will pay healthy dividends for years to come.


Adam Berkovits is a personal trainer and nutritionist in Scottsdale, Ariz., and surrouncng areas. An accomplished former body builder and speaker, he specializes in the integration of weight loss and holistic health. 858-353-2207 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 2, April/May 2006.

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