You've made it through the Self and Science sections – now it's time to get up off a that thing and sweat! Along with the internal work and the right diet, exercise is the third key to getting and staying healthy. Obviously, it will help you lose weight – we will get to that in just a minute – but exercise offers a ton of other invaluable benefits as well. Research has clearly linked coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer to lifestyle. Apart from aiding in weight loss, physical activity offers a positive, healthy way to release anxieties and alleviate tensions, which can help reduce your risk of many lifestyle-related diseases.
Exercise also supports mental well-being: increasing physical activity actually changes your brain chemistry, which directly influences your mood and frame of mind for the better. Among other things, physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, which act on the brain as natural tranquilizers. In addition, exercise will boost your confidence. As you start working out and getting stronger, your sense of strength in other aspects of your life will naturally flourish as well. Bottom line: the more physically fit you are, the longer you will live and the better your quality of life will be.
I know what you're saying: “That all sounds great. Now tell me how to lose my behind or my gut.” In weight-loss terms, fat is energy. Those of you with a high body fat percentage have a lot of stored energy; the best way to lose it is to use it, and the best way to do that is not just to decrease your energy intake through diet but also to increase your energy expenditure through exercise. If you diet without exercise, the majority of your weight loss will be from loss of muscle; this is not just unhealthy, it's also temporary, since as soon as you abandon or even stray from your diet, the weight will come right back. The only way to lose weight and keep it off long term is to get moving. Exercise not only helps you burn through calories, it also helps you build, strengthen, and maintain lean muscle, which keeps your body burning fat not just during your workout, but for hours afterward – this is known as “after-burn.”
Okay, up until now none of this might sound so new, but here's where I take it one step further. I train all different kinds of people, but whether they're movie stars or people I train on TV, they have one thing in common across the board: they, like you, want real results fast. The program outlined in the chapters that follow has been developed during years of combining the best of different exercise methods and watching my clients achieve even the most extreme weight-loss goals. When it comes to exercise, I've seen it all and I know what works. If you stick with it, my program guarantees you the same results I helped my Biggest Loser team achieve.
So are you ready to break a sweat and start feeling great in your body? Then let's get going: the first step in your exercise education is to learn a bit about your muscles and anatomy.