Work Out Tip – The Easy 400 Calorie Workout

Ah, the new year. A time when everyone resolves to “get back to the gym” and to lose the weight they gained during the holidays.

Many people who get started at the gym push themselves too hard, and feel sore and tired and then give up before they see real results, which take time.

In today’s post, I have ONE simple suggestion to help you burn calories but not kill yourself at the gym.

Many people who do cardio to lose weight believe they have to kill themselves by running fast on the treadmill to rack up a lot of calories burned. And while running will burn a lot of calories, there are many reasons why you may not want to run. It puts a lot of stress on your joints, particularly your ankles and knees. Also, unless you are already in great shape, you are not going to be able to sustain a run at a fast pace for any length of time. For some people, this might be a discouragement from exercising at all.

So, instead of getting on the treadmill and running, use the incline setting on the treadmill to increase the amount of calories burned, while walking at a brisk pace. Many treadmills have settings that go from 1 to 15, and at the upper range it’s like walking up a steep hill. You’ll have to hang onto the treadmill handles, but you can still walk, not run and burn loads of calories.

In the title to my post, I’ve used 400 calories as a target goal for the workout. I regularly exceed 400 calorie workouts on the treadmill, and I don’t run.

The key to achieving the calorie goal is extending the amount of time you spend on the treadmill as well. So, to burn 400 calories, you should plan to spend one hour on the treadmill so you can walk at a brisk pace but not feel exhausted when you’re done.

Use the incline setting and make sure you don’t go below 6, and alternate between 6, 8 and 10 on the treadmill as you are walking. Alternate speeds between 3.5 through 4.0, and as the incline is higher (let’s say 10) use the lower speed to get through that lap.

If you are just getting back to the gym, give yourself a more modest goal… perhaps a 200 calorie workout to start. Then, when you’ve easily achieved that goal, after a week or so of 200 calorie workouts, increase to 300 and then 400 calories.

Since I’m a “seasoned pro” at the gym – at this point I go to the gym at least five times a week, for a minimum of an hour each session – I’m able to achieve high calorie burns. Today I spent one hour on the treadmill and burned 600 calories. After I was done, I felt so good I hopped on the stair master and did another 100 calories in 15 minutes. I’m not going at blazing fast speeds, but that’s fine, I’m willing to put in the time.

When you consider that one pound is about 35o0 calories, losing one pound through effort at the gym comes into a whole new perspective.

I hope this treadmill tip is helpful for anyone getting back into a new workout routine. You CAN do it. Remember, it takes time to build up your endurance, but with a bit of effort you can burn off hundreds of calories.

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The Tyranny of Protein – or – Vegan No More

This decision has been weighing on my mind for months.

I’ve struggled with my vegan dietary habits mightily, and after about 8+ months of eating mostly vegan, I have decided that I can no longer sustain this level of dietary restriction.

However, I have particular reasons and I have a set of ideas about what I will do next, moving forward.

For those of you that have been following along with me on this journey, please keep reading.

1) I originally thought going vegan was going to help me lower my cholesterol to the point where I could get off my cholesterol medications. This was a patently false assumption on my part, and was unfortunately validated through blood tests with my doctor. After eating vegan with a rare exceptional egg in the diet, my bad cholesterol and triglycerides were higher than my previous readings … because I’d slacked off on my cholesterol medication. According to my doctor my form of cholesterol is (probably) genetic. There will be no miracle dietary intake to get me off my meds.

2) Now that I am entering week five of my daily gym routine, and I am one week into eating eggs again, and because I have not successfully kicked my daily hopping on the scale habit, I have noticed something radical.

I AM LOSING WEIGHT.

And I’m losing weight now at a more steady pace, since I have re-introduced animal protein into my diet.

Other than the dietary change, I am not exercising more, so I ascribe the weight loss to the dietary change.

I have to say, this is not a shock to me. As someone who has been eating vegan for 8+ months, I know that in order to consume my vegan protein it comes with a LOT of carbs. Black beans, lentils, and quinoa are all terrific sources of vegetable protein.

However, please consider:

  • 15 oz can of black beans = 315 calories / 24.5 grams protein / 66.5 grams carbs
  • 1 cup of lentils, cooked = 622 calories / 48.4 grams protein / 108 grams carbs
  • I cup quinoa, cooked =    635 calories / 22.3 grams protein / 117 grams carbs

VERSUS

  • 3 fried eggs                   = 260 calories / 18.6 grams protein / ZERO CARBS

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I’m not making complex carbohydrates my enemy, however in my struggles to lose weight at a steady pace, the levels of carbohydrate intake in a vegan diet are not working with me, they’re working against me. I have to work much harder to lose weight with the levels of carbs I’m taking in.

In the subject line of this post, I’ve put it out there – I am vegan no more because I am eating eggs again.

Theoretically, I’m now a vegetarian… except, I’m still not eating dairy. I see no need to reintroduce dairy into my diet at this time and I’m comfortable sticking to that.

But given where I am in my journey, I am going to reconsider the possibility of consuming two other foods, in addition to eggs, that are animal based: chicken and tuna fish.

Both chicken and tuna fish are lean sources of protein, and are generally healthier than most other forms of animal protein (like red meat, pork, bacon, etc.)

Also, like eggs, they are extremely high in protein, relatively low in calories and cholesterol and have zero carbs. These factors make these particular food sources attractive options if I decide I’m okay to go back to eating animal protein again.

Since I have proven to myself that I can live with many different kinds of dietary restrictions and stick with them, I’m comfortable with the idea of eating chicken or tuna every once in a while. I suspect my body will “tell me” if it wants animal protein.

In fact, higher levels of protein … between my brown rice protein shakes, which I still use daily for a decent boost of 24 grams of protein, along with other sources, has made my workout recoveries more bearable. I can tell I need higher levels of protein than the “normal” 46 grams of daily protein recommended for an adult woman to see the results I want.

And speaking of results, it’s been a while since I posted a progress photo of how I am doing.

Here’s how I look now… and the journey continues………

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Progress photo - 7-25-14

Progress photo – 7-25-14