Bob Harper is the trainer and fitness expert best known for his butt-kicking, fat-burning workouts on The Biggest Loser. He just launched his new book, Jumpstart to Skinny, a 21-day diet and exercise program designed to help you drop pounds quick. Always up for a healthy challenge, BBL staffers have been test-driving Harper’s rules all month long. Here’s Lisa’s take on Rule #6. —BBL Editor
Let’s get one thing out of the way: In Jumpstart to Skinny, Bob Harper means business. As we’ve discussed, Harper emphasizes that Jumpstart is a three-week, short-term plan for quick weight loss. That being said, he wants you to follow the rules.
Being an avid exerciser, I was curious to see what Harper had in store for an exercise plan. As I went through the plan, I paused on Rule #6: Do 45 Minutes a Day of Low-Intensity Cardio, Preferably Before Breakfast. This rule gave me pause for two reasons: 1) my preferred method of exercise has always been running, and 2) I’m an evening exerciser through and through; let’s just say mornings aren’t my strong suit.
So why does Harper encourage us to exercise in the morning? And what’s with the low-intensity cardio? In Jumpstart to Skinny, Harper explains that those who exercise first thing in the morning, before breakfast, tend to stay on the plan and lose more weight. Low-intensity cardio gives your muscles a stretch, boosts your metabolism and gets your energy flowing. (The second part of his fitness plan involves 15- to 20-minutes of higher intensity metabolic conditioning moves, five days a week.) You want to refrain from high-intensity workouts (running, cycling) during this plan because you don’t want to drain your resources. Harper wants you to keep your energy levels up while at the same time losing weight and building healthy muscle mass.
Here are some tips to help you incorporate low-intensity cardio into your morning routine:
1. Walk. It’s the simplest form of exercise; yet incredibly effective at burning fat. Plus, you can walk anywhere!
2. Coffee. Harper is 100% down with you getting your caffeine fix in the morning, as long as you don’t add milk or artificial sweetener. (Espresso is Harper’s favorite.)
3. Hydrate. Make sure you stay hydrated. If you’re like me and you’re not used to working out first thing in the morning, make sure you bring water and take it slowly.
4. Smile. This is sometimes a hard one first thing in the morning, but trust me, it works! Look at yourself in the mirror, smile and be proud of yourself for building healthy habits.
I found that by incorporating the tips above, I was able to maintain a positive attitude and commit to a morning workout routine. And remember, this plan is only for three weeks. You can always go back to your evening workouts after the three weeks is up. So go ahead and try Rule #6! And don’t forget to drink your daily espresso with a smile.