Exercise Critical to Maintenance Phase of Atkins Diet

The final phase of the Atkins diet may be the most difficult of the four.  Otherwise known as â??Maintenanceâ?, the final phase of the Atkins diet concentrates on keeping the pounds off.  It is quite common for people losing 30 or more pounds to gain a lot of the weight back a year after reaching their target weight.  Studies have consistently shown that the Atkins diet outperforms low-fat diets where losing more pounds are concernedâ??in the first six months.  Unfortunately, many Atkins dieters will lose a lot of their lead over the low-fat dieters after 12 monthsâ??their weight loss numbers are similar.  The key to any successful diet, including Atkins, is to include enough aerobic and anaerobic exercise in your weekly schedule.

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The body needs circulationâ??plain and simple.  Without it, cells do not regenerate as quickly, metabolism slows down, and even your skin begins to age prematurely because not enough lipids are being produced (lipids are oils that help retain moisture so the skin remains smooth and moist)â??even your digestive system slows down and constipation becomes more common.  Not only does Maintenance involve constantly monitoring your carb intake and weight so that adjustments can be made if the pounds start reappearingâ??but it also means making sure to get enough exercise to keep the body healthy.

Anaerobic exercises are designed to build muscle.  What makes muscles so important to maintaining your weight loss goals is their relationship to your metabolism.  Muscles burn calories while the body is at restâ??obviously, fat calories do not.  The more muscles you have, the more calories are burned while sleeping and at rest. 

Now you may be asking yourself why this should be important to you if staying true to the Atkins diet and getting plenty of aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, hiking, swimming).  The simple truth is that as we age many of the regenerative processes of the body begin to slow down.  Therefore, the amount of grams derived from carbs in your diet will necessarily decrease for you to keep weight off.  Once ketosis has stopped, there is no natural fat-burning process taking place. 

Perhaps the single most difficult, yet critical, part of the Atkins diet is determining the proper carb level for Maintenance.  The purpose of Pre-Maintenance was to determine your Critical carb level and slowly, gently, bring your body out of ketosis.  Many dieters do not adjust for this loss of ketosis.  Even when they do, maintaining weight loss will be far easier if you concentrate on building muscle and getting 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 times a week. 

Diet and exercise are intertwined where you health is concerned.  By being smarter about the exercises you choose and being sure to concentrate on anaerobic and aerobic exercises, you will be far more successful in Maintenance and the pounds will stay off with less effort! 

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