Fitness and weight loss is a science. Personal trainers, coaches, doctors and others in the health field know this, because we’ve studied it at length and have devoted our lives to it.
Unfortunately, most of what the general public knows about weight loss is what they hear on TV, read in magazines or glean from late night infomercials. The problem with that? Everyone is trying to sell you something. They don’t have your best interests at heart. Their goal is to confuse you into thinking they have the one, true answer, when, in fact, everyone knows the answer to weight loss: a healthy diet and consistent exercise.
There are a few insider tid bits that don’t make it to the general public very often, because it doesn’t help anyone sell machines or diet pills or meal plans. Sorry if any of these shatter your weight loss world as you know it, but knowledge is power, folks.
Weight loss is about 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Calories in and calories out is a great and simple way to explain weight loss but it can turn your efforts to shed inches into a big cycle of indulgence and overcompensation, which will show up on the scale and on your stress levels. You can kill yourself in the gym for an hour and burn around 300-400 calories, but you can eat those calories back, and then some, in less than 10 minutes. Using exercise as a way to erase your food indulgences is just not worth the time and stress. Focus on eating a healthy, well balanced diet, and get a little exercise in for some extra burn and to reshape your body. Pitting the two against eachother will only lead to you resenting both. Along the same lines…
Abs are made in the kitchen. I constantly hear, “I’m doing crunches every day but can’t get any definition in my stomach.” You are definitely gaining definition, but if there is a layer of belly fat over your 6 pack, no one is going to see your hard work. Belly fat is a diet issue- more specifically a high fat diet issue. Clean up your diet and your abs will come through, with a lot less effort in the gym.
Don’t blame muscle for the scale not moving. There is nothing more frustrating than an overweight adult blaming muscle gain for a lack of weight loss. First off, it’s hard to gain muscle. Those of us who have that as goal know exactly how much calculated work it takes to put on pounds of muscle. Secondly, if you are overweight, and you are working out hard enough to gain muscle, you are blasting crazy amounts of calories, which will no doubt lead to weight loss. Be honest with yourself and accountable for your actions.
Traditional cardio is crap. Hopping on the treadmill and walking for an hour will burn a few hundred calories, but it is the absolute least effective way to do so. You can get the same calorie burn in less time with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or circuited strength training, which will help you gain muscle and burn calories at the same time. Intensity is a bigger priority than duration, so get in, work hard and get out.
Weight loss will never be achieved by trying to get the most results with the least amount of effort. Work hard, and you will see the results. No weight loss gimmick can give you the pride you feel when you achieve your goal through nothing but your own hard work and dedication.
January 25th, 2011