Five Levels of Exercise to Drop 20 Pounds

Answering “how much exercise is enough to lose weight?” is like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” It depends on a variety of factors. There are several levels of exercise, and they all do their jobs to a degree.

Level One: Couch Potato

First, I engage in my favorite Level One. It’s the “get up to go the fridge and bathroom” level. As the name implies, it’s the most sedentary of all the exercise levels, and one that will help you lose weight if you’re not eating at all. But if you’re going to the refrigerator, you’re probably not getting bottled water. You’re getting that leftover pizza or another slice of the key lime pie you made yourself. Far too often, we default to this level in varying degrees. It’s not a helpful form of exercise but it’s a real life scenario.

Level Two: Let’s Walk and Talk

Level Two is the “3-4 times per week walk around the neighborhood” level. It’s mildly effective because you’re not sitting in front of a computer screen or in front of your monitor, but it’s not overly strenuous. If you walk for 30 minutes you’re probably breaking a sweat, which is always a great thing in my book. But if you have sore joints or muscles, you can cut the walk to a minimum and rest a day or two. The older you get, the longer that recovery time will be, but in general a day of resting is essential for the body to repair itself. This is a level you can actually increase or decrease depending on your schedule. You can conquer a larger block and have that as the new norm. I have found that once you tackle something larger, it’s much easier to do it the next day. It becomes the new norm. And then it’s much easier to go further after a few days.

Level Three: Show and Tell at the Gym

Very close to Level Two is the “occasional trip to the workout gym” or Level Three level. We all know these people. They’ll run to the gym when it’s convenient to them, which is about once a week or if something comes up that they don’t want to do. In that case they’ll feign like they’re going to the gym, but in reality they’ll head over the nearest ice cream or coffee shop. They may even make a guest appearance at the gym once a month just to justify the additional monthly expense, but it’s doubtful they’ll every lose weight.

Level Four: Better Approach to Lose Weight

When discussing Level Four, it’s important to throw in a disclaimer because this and Level Five is where the actual workouts take place. Seek professional medical advice if you are thinking of pursuing actual physical exercise. Only your doctor would know how much activity your body can take. Level Four is the “religiously go to the gym at least three times a week” level. Now you’re starting to get serious about your health. Or perhaps you’re getting serious about impressing the twenty-something blonde in the ultra-tight one-piece who exercises next to you on the treadmill. When you get to this level you are watching your diet and are careful about the amount of sugars and fast food that goes into your body. You’re serious about losing some weight and staying trim. There’s only one place to go, Level Five.

Level Five: Not in Our League

Level Four was important because it meant you were getting serious about losing weight or the blonde in the one-piece. This time, Level Five, is all about you.

You are beyond the twenty-something phase. Instead, you are losing weight because you think you’ve got the body that’s worth adoring. If you get the blonde, that’s fine, but you want more; you want adoration and worship from the blonde. No one in their right minds would live with you. You’re insufferable. You want everyone to know about your six-pack abs and the amount of weight you shed in record time. You’re at the gym at least five times a week, and often for double the amount of time. You may have even hired two or three trainers to keep up with your successes. At this point in life, you are all about you.

My non-professional advice? Stay between Levels Three and Four. You’re much more manageable that way. The world needs neither a couch potato or an egotistical boor.

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