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Suggestions for a Better Exercise Routine

About 2.5 years ago, I went from absolutely 0 regular exercise to about 5 hours a week of moderate cardio activity. I am a healthy enough weight but there are parts of my body that I don't love so much, so I have tried to increase exercise/ eat less/ do strength training/ etc and have seen no change whatsoever in my body, which is disappointing, but that's actually not what my question is-- just background.

I have been abroad for about three and a half months and will return home in January. I decided that a four month break from my exercise routine would not have long term effects, and chose to enjoy every moment possible of my limited time abroad rather than spending time working out. I'm realizing now that this has been amazing-- I have miles more energy every day, I can function better on less sleep than I was getting before, and I'm not starving all the time like I once was (being hungry all the time was just a fact of my life, I was in fact eating a healthy amount).

I still plan to go back to the gym when I get home, but the thought of it just makes me so sad. Why is it that so many people say that exercising gives them more energy and suppresses their appetite, and why do I experience only negative effects from exercise? Is there something I can change about my routine when I get home that will make it better this time around?
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Avatar universal
I'm guessing you're sad because for 4 months you have been on a vacation away from home and your regular routine! I suggest doing strength training 3 days per week  (every other day).
I suggest doing Interval training 2-3 times per week! it will quickly raise your heart rate 8 times for very short bursts, with a cooling down period in between. you’ll be sprinting or cycling full speed for 30 seconds with a 90 second cool down in between each outburst.
This is the fastest way to lose fat and build muscle in the body. It stimulates the growth hormone in the body.
What you eat after the training does matter!
Do not eat sugar or carbohydrate for 2 hours after the exercise because these foods can impact the release of the growth hormone in the body.  
Figure your heart rate by this formula

The Karvonen Formula is a mathematical formula that helps you determine your target heart rate zone. The formula involves using your maximum heart rate (MHR) minus your age to come up with a target heart rate range (which is a percentage of your MHR). Staying within this range will help you work most effectively during your cardio workouts.

an example of the Karvonen formula for a 23 year old person with a resting heart rate of 65 beats per minute (*to get your resting heart rate, take your pulse for one full minute when you first wake up in the morning or after you've resting for a while). This formula also includes an updated calculation of maximum heart rate (the previous formula was 220 - age, which has now been shown to be inaccurate):

206.9 - (0.67 x 23 (age)) = 191
191 - 65 (resting heart rate) = 126
126 * 65% (low end of heart rate zone) OR 85% (high end) = 82 OR 107
82 + 65 (resting heart rate) = 147
107 + 65 (rhr) = 172
The target heart rate zone for this person would be 147 to 172

First thing in the morning before you get out of bed have a clock with a second hand and check your resting heart rate then figure your rate by the
Karvonen Formula above. You burn 30 percent more fat from doing cardio after a weights session as opposed to cardio on its own.
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