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How to Lose Weight Watching TV

How to Lose Weight Watching TV

We are fast becoming a society of statues. A curious species who seem to have our collective asses permanently attached to a chair. Or preferably, a couch. We discovered that within a few years many of us will have identical movement patterns and daily activity levels to that of the oak tree. Yep, it appears that many of us have become fat (seated) spectators in the game of life. Heavy sigh.

Fat sigh.

Moving towards a Solution

    So as I’m an Exercise Scientist and Personal Development Bloke, I thought it might be timely and appropriate for me to throw out one simple suggestion which might be a practical and realistic strategy to offset a little of that collective inactivity. A simple way to burn a bunch more calories, lose some weight and fat, improve our health, increase our fitness and get us in a better place emotionally and psychologically without even having to leave our lounge room (although we could do it anywhere). No use talking about problems unless we’re serious about finding a solution. Otherwise we’re just complaining.

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    Keeping it Simple

    Note that what I am about to outline is not a global answer to obesity (of course) or a one-program-fits-all solution for the fat asses of the world. No, it’s my way of showing how simple and effective exercising for weight-loss can be when we find a way, rather than find an excuse. While the moaning masses might be problem-focused, you and I are gonna be solution-focused. So there.

    The following example is exactly that; an example of how practical and uncomplicated we can make the process of increasing our daily energy expenditure.

    Some Interesting Facts:

    1. The average person watches about three hours of television per day – mostly in the evening. These figures are similar in the U.K. (according to the research I have).

    2. Every hour of commercial prime-time television is programmed with about fifteen minutes of advertisements. Forty five minutes of show, fifteen minutes of ads – with the ads typically being broken up into five three(ish) minutes blocks.

    3.
    An individual who regularly watches TV from 7.30pm – 10.30pm (for example) will be subjected to approximately forty five minutes of mind-numbing, ass-expanding ads every night.

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    The Suggestion

    Use those three minute blocks to change your body and life.

    A Question

      What would happen over the course of a year if our average TV watcher got off the couch and did some simple, easy-to-do step-ups (stepping up and down on a box, step, platform) every time the ads were on? The answer is quite staggering.

      Some Hypotheticals

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      The following hypothetical scenarios are based on the assumption that the only change in the subject’s lifestyle (diet, incidental and occupational activity) is the inclusion of the fifteen three-minute bouts of stepping. The step height would be either eight or twelve inches (20 or 30cm). The estimated annual weight loss was calculated by dividing the total calories expended for the year (via stepping) by 3,500. See my recent article for clarification on the significance of the 3,500 figure.

      Example 1.

      Weight of subject: 150 lbs (68 kgs)

      Daily stepping commitment: 15 x 3 mins
      Additional energy expended per day (8 inch box): 460 cals
      Additional energy expended per day (12 inch box): 552 cals
      Additional energy expended per year (8 inch box): 167,900 cals
      Additional energy expended per year (12 inch box): 201,480 cals

      Potential weight loss for the year (8 inch box):
      48 lbs (21.8 kgs)
      Potential weight loss for the year (12 inch box): 57.6 lbs (26.1 kgs)

      Example 2.

      Weight of subject: 200 lbs (90.7 kgs)

      Daily stepping commitment: 15 x 3 mins
      Additional energy expended per day (8 inch box): 614 cals
      Additional energy expended per day (12 inch box): 737 cals
      Additional energy expended per year (8 inch box): 224,110 cals
      Additional energy expended per year (12 inch box): 269,005 cals

      Potential weight loss for the year (8 inch box):
      64 lbs (29 kgs)
      Potential weight loss for the year (12 inch box):
      76.9 lbs (34.9 kgs)

      Example 3.

      Weight of subject: 250 lbs (113.4 kgs)

      Daily stepping commitment: 15 x 3 mins
      Additional energy expended per day (8 inch box): 767 cals
      Additional energy expended per day (12 inch box): 921 cals
      Additional energy expended per year (8 inch box): 279,995 cals
      Additional energy expended per year (12 inch box): 336,165 cals

      Potential weight loss for the year (8 inch box):
      80 lbs (36.3 kgs)
      Potential weight loss for the year (12 inch box):
      96 lbs (43.5 kgs)

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      Wow!

      Freaky huh? Now, of course I’m not suggesting that we would, should or could (well, I guess we could if we really wanted to) step for forty five minutes every day for the next year, but what I am suggesting is that when we remove the emotion and the bullshit excuses, increasing our daily energy expenditure (thereby losing weight and fat) really ain’t that complex. Unless of course we find a way to make it so. And no, what I’ve written above is not (in any way) intended to be a personal exercise prescription for any individual.

      Who said disclaimer?

      Some Final Thoughts

        Naturally the heavier you are the more energy you will expend (cals you will burn) per unit of time, so simply adjust the numbers up or down by using the above weights and figures as a guide. Of course you could replace the step-ups with a number of alternatives and use your three minute intervals any way you choose. Activities such as stair walking, skipping, treadmill and stationary bike could all be viable options. There are a few other variables which will have some impact on precisely on how much energy you expend over your three minutes (like technique and intensity) but overall, the above figures will give you a good idea of what’s possible.
        I chose the old-fashioned step-up because it’s cost effective, practical, convenient, requires no equipment (okay a box), no skill and is suitable for most fitness levels. It’s also pretty handy at targeting the ass, hips and legs – per chance you should know somebody whose lower body is in need of some attention!

        More by this author

        Craig Harper

        Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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        Last Updated on September 18, 2020

        7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

        7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

        Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

        Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

        1. Exercise Daily

        It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

        If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

        Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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        If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

        2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

        Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

        One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

        This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

        3. Acknowledge Your Limits

        Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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        Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

        Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

        4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

        Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

        The basic nutritional advice includes:

        • Eat unprocessed foods
        • Eat more veggies
        • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
        • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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        Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

          5. Watch Out for Travel

          Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

          This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

          If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

          6. Start Slow

          Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

          If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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          7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

          Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

          My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

          If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

          I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

          Final Thoughts

          Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

          Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

          More Tips on Getting in Shape

          Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

          Reference

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