Every person has that special pudge spot they want to pummel into oblivion. We sometimes give the spot a name:
Back boobs, love handles, muffin top, belly pudge, thunder thighs…any others?
We ask questions like “what exercise can I do to get rid of this?” and then we get pissed and frustrated when hours of gym and dieting leave us just as discontent and insecure about our physiques as when we started...a year or two or three ago.
What are your fitness goals?
Whether it's losing the first 20 pounds, or going after that last little bit o' pudge, what's been keeping your from reaching your goal? Everybody has a really decent reason. The women I work with give all sorts of responses, all decent, reasonable and common. The dreaded hours of cardio are too hard, committing to running 5 - 6 days a week is not sustainable, I can't stick to my diet, I have bad genetics because nothing ever seems to work for me.
As our laundry list of reasons grow, so does our spite, frustration, and skepticism about whether or not it’s even possible to have that body we always wanted and deserve.
This article is all about telling you why you may be stuck, and give you something different to try that has been successful and life changing for many of the women I have trained with.
The majority of weight problems can be narrowed down to just 3 or 4 daily habits, that when corrected can produce astounding results. We have the obvious ones, like eating crappy and not exercising, but I assume you already know those. Here are 4 not so obvious reasons you may be stuck in your fitness goals.
5 Habits for Highly Effective Fat Storage
- Strictly limiting your caloric intake
- Doing only cardio and low intensity cross training
- Skipping breakfast
- Not eating enough of the right kind of carbohydrates
- Not eating during and immediately after your workout
If you diet, avoid carbohydrates, sometimes skip breakfast and only do cardio as your source of exercise, then you will never get a lean toned figure. The problem with aerobic exercise is that while it can be effective in burning calories, it cannot shape your body. So if you start an exercise plan looking like a pear, 3 or 4 months later you will just look like a smaller version of that pear.
Secondly, your body literally adapts to every little thing you do to it, including the cardio workouts you do every week. This means you get more efficient at walking, and running and lifting those 3 pound dumbbells 50 times. In short, you burn fewer and fewer calories for the same amount of effort.
Thirdly, your muscles consume glucose as their main source of energy. After you exercise, your body's glycolytic system makes glucose available to the muscles, either in the form of dietary carbohydrate during digestion or from the breakdown of muscle and liver glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrates). In short, this means that if you run and diet and avoid carbs your body will not burn fat, it will eat your muscle.
Fat is definitely a source of exercise fuel, but it is a second-string source of energy. Harsh dieting involving a drastic reduction in calories, usually to less than 1000 - 1200 calories or fewer a day, results in these drastic consequences:
Muscle and fluid loss. – "Lose 20 pounds in 20 days”, the famous fitness magazine headline. Well, the first 6 – 10 pounds will be fluid and the rest will be muscle, lastly followed by fat.
Loss of aerobic power. Your body’s ability to process oxygen, or your VO2-max, will decline significantly. Unlike carbohydrates, fat needs oxygen to be converted into energy. As a result, less oxygen will be available to help muscle cells work and for your body to consume fat.
Metabolic shut-down. Harsh dieting will slow your metabolic rate. When food enters the body there are more variables at work than the simple number of calories that are given off by a pound of fat. The human body is a living organism and the drive to survive allows these rules to change. We have all seen this diet equation before:
Calories IN – Calories OUT = WEIGHT LOSS if we have a negative expenditure
The problem is that the second term here, calories OUT, is a rather sensitive function of the number of calories IN. You can control calories IN, but your body can control calories OUT.
There was a dietary study performed at Georgia University by Dr. Dan Benardot on two groups of female athletes. One group ate a diet of 500 fewer calories than they needed to maintain their weight each day, while another ate a diet of 300 fewer calories. Surprisingly, the group that ate 300 fewer calories had a lower percentage of body fat than the group that actually ate less food.
The conclusion? Your body can slow down your metabolic rate in response to harsh dieting. In return, you suffer from cravings, sluggishness, loss of muscle, and increased body fat percentage. It’s a bit counterintuitive, huh?
So you have 3 choices – you can do nothing, you can starve harder and run farther, or you can make a few changes in your exercise and eating habits and see amazing results.
If you are serious about increasing your metabolism, losing fat, AND reshaping your body, you need to maintain and build muscle through some type of resistance training. Aerobic exercise can help you lose a little weight, but it won’t help you change your body shape and get a lean fit look. Fat can take up to five times as much space as muscle. Muscle also requires more energy to maintain, while fat just sits there.
Most women are nervous when it comes to building muscle. They are afraid they will get bulky or masculine looking. This is a huge myth. Women have 1/10 to 1/50 the amount of testosterone that men do. Without anabolic steroids it’s truly impossible to get bulky. Replacing fat with muscle can help transform how you look without feeling weak and unhealthy, and it can boost your metabolism so you can burn even more fat.
Women should be concerned about having enough muscle, rather than too much.
What you can do to start losing fat and keeping your muscle:
Start eating more complex carbohydrates to fuel existing muscle. Select whole-food carbohydrates – natural, complex carbohydrate sources as close to the natural state as possible. One important reason is these sources are typically high in fiber content, which research has shown helps keep weight down. Good sources of carbohydrates include whole vegetables, fruits, berries, potatoes, and beans. This will ensure you are getting enough glucose to fuel your muscles during physical activity.
Add a source or protein to every meal. Glucose fuels, but protein builds and maintains your muscle. Make sure you give your body what it needs to fuel muscle growth and repair. This can be a cup of Greek yogurt, a small piece of chicken, or a piece of fish.
Strength train 3 days a week. It doesn't have to be long: 45 - 50 minutes 3 days a week will do great. Does that sound too long? That come to less than 2% of a week, and in return you get increased strength, more fat loss, a sexier look, more compliments from your friends, and more confidence in your body. It's a no-brainer investment. Learn how to get started right HERE.
Eat something after you exercise. Your body's insulin sensitivity is greatly elevated for about an hour after you workout. Insulin is basically a molecule that shuttles glucose into your muscle for energy. This means you can help your body heal faster and shuttle more glycogen into the muscle by eating some carbohydrates and protein immediately after you exercise.
If you want to get started now, you can get my complete workout and nutrition guide below. I developed this just for women, and it works!!