We all see the “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days”, “ripped abs in five minutes” and “eat your favorite foods and still lose weight” promises that target people trying to lose body fat. Fitness magazines, social media, weight loss programs and supplement companies all feed off the women who are trying to get the perfect body that society has created. These fads give misleading and confusing information that will only stop women from their weight loss and fitness goals. Women, you DO NOT need to go through EXTREMES to get results you want and keep them. Here are three straightforward tips that that will assist in fat loss, increased muscle and help you look and feel better than ever. And did I mention that these do not require any magic pills or crash diets?! This approach will keep your body healthy while achieving your goals.
TIP #1: LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS
Now, before we start, let me go over two things: 1.) Females will not get “big” and “bulky” from lifting heavy. We do not have the hormones to get big as guys, nor are we eating a crazy surplus of calories to gain weight, so get the image of Arnold Schwarzenegger out of your head. 2.) What is heavy for you, may not be heavy for someone else. We all are at different places in our fitness journey so do not compare yourself to someone else. As long as you are working hard and the weight is challenging, then you are golden.
Okay, now back to lifting heavy. If you want to burn more fat, you have to do PROPER STRENGTH TRAINING. Every day I see women only doing pilates or these very high rep circuit classes that do not work. Don’t get me wrong, they are fun and can be a great extra workout during the week, but they will not strengthen or sculpt your muscle the way you want. Strength training with challenging weight will ensure that you build and maintain your muscle. As soon as you start losing muscle, your metabolism slows down and you start losing that toned and defined look and instead get “skinny fat”. If you do not strength train while you diet and you see the number on the scale go down, you need ask yourself what kind of weight are you really losing? I will tell you right now that it is not all fat, but also muscle. This is one of the reasons why so many women struggle to get in the shape they want. They follow crazy crash diets, do lots of cardio, do no strength training and slow down their metabolisms, which turns into an ongoing cycle.
TIP #2: STOP DOING SO MUCH CARDIO
To all the cardio queens out there, I have great news…STOP! It is a waste of time doing one hour of cardio burning 400-500 calories every day. Did you think you were burning 1000 calories? Well, your spin instructor was wrong.
What cardio does for women is very different than men. Men can go and burn more extra calories without it changing their appetite that much. Women have a very sensitive metabolism and losing weight is typically harder than males. When we burn those extra calories, our bodies just get hungrier and tell us to eat, eat, eat! So girls go spend countless minutes doing cardio to burn a few hundred more calories, but end up eating it all back! Furthermore, many times when when girls stick with these crazy strict diets and do cardio everyday, they get caught in the dangerous cycle of binging. I’ve been through it and those who also have know how hard it is to get out of it. Every day, we give ourselves a “fresh start” and will be 100% perfect with our diet and exercise, until the intense cravings come at night and cause a binge. We then try to correct the binge the next day by doing even more cardio, which only causes even more hunger and another binge. It is not your fault that this binge cycle continues, along with the constant feelings of helplessness, guilt and lack of control. The reality is that we only have so much willpower when our bodies are put in a quick and hard deficit.
One way to break and prevent the binge cycle is to decrease your long cardio sessions. Use the energy you are saving from the long steady state cardio sessions towards proper strength training. For cardio, start incorporating H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training) instead of L.I.S.S. (Low Intensity Steady State). H.I.T.T. supports fat loss, preserves muscle, cuts your cardio time in half and won’t leave your body hungry.
TIP #3: EAT CARBS
It’s no secret that your body has to be in a caloric deficit to strip fat. So why is it that every time someone wants to get lean and fit, they are told to cut the carbs? Going back to Tip #1, we need to strength train in order to build muscle and burn fat. Well, in order to successfully and effectively get through your workouts, you need carbs. Carbs support training!
Keeping carbs in your diet, however, does not give you permission to eat pizza, chips and ice cream. Food choices are the most underrated aspects of fat loss. It is important to fuel and nourish your body with clean and non-processed foods. I always see people who want to look and feel better, but do not want to eat healthy. Our bodies were not created to consume processed foods that contain chemicals and artificial ingredients! If you are CONSISTENT with eating clean 80% of the week and feeding your body with nutrient dense foods, you will get results. So remember: 1.) No carb diets are not sustainable, nor healthy as it recks female’s hormonal balances and metabolism; and 2.) As long as you are in a caloric deficit, you can still lose fat while consuming healthy quality carbs.