You would think athletes are the hardest population to train: planning workouts around the season, making them faster and more explosive, gaining more mass, etc. Basically, athletes need the whole package, but then we began training adults. When training this population, we have to compete with their arch nemesis: THE SCALE. Yes, we tell them to ignore the scale, that it doesn’t mean anything, and we take approaches to educate them on why; however, they still sneak on the scale and come running in the gym the next session all frazzled. We want you to lose fat.
Client: I haven’t lost any weight!
Me: How do you feel?
Client: Good, but the scale hasn’t moved.
Me: Are your clothes fitting differently?
Client: Yes, and my co-workers said I look really good like I lost weight.
Me: How does your body feel? Any aches and pains?
Client: My body feels great. I don’t have any more low back pain, and I’m able to walk down the stairs with no knee pain.
Me: OK, so you feel good, your clothes fit better, others are noticing you look good, and you have no more pain. You may not have lost weight, but you obviously lost FAT.
Client (Big smile on their face): I get it.
This is just one of many encounters we have working with the adult population. I know it is important for you to lose weight, but we are more concerned with you losing fat. I’m going to give 8 reason why you might not be losing fat and how you can change those things so you can lose fat.
- You’re Eating Too Much.
This is pretty obvious, but many think if they cut out a particular nutrient, i.e. carbohydrates, then they can eat as much as they want. This is not true.
You need to make sure you are eating the right amount of healthy food. If you can stay around 2,200-2,500 Calories of good, healthy food, you will see a big difference.
- You’re Not Eating Enough.
Again, most people immediately go into Calorie restriction mode. You can’t eat 1,000 Calories a day and lose weight. This will not cause you to lose fat. Restricting Calories will cause the metabolism to shut down, along with your thyroid. This causes body temperature to drop instead of metabolizing. You will not lose weight restricting Calories.
Eating 1,000 Calories a day is not sustainable, and this is why most diets fail miserably after the first couple of weeks. Remember, try to stay around that 2,200-2,500 Calorie mark.
- There Are No Quick-Fix Diets.
There are no quick-fixes when trying to lose fats. There is no latest and greatest diet that is going to get you to your goals, and most importantly, keep you there. Sure, you can do a cleanse, and crap out 10 pounds, but guess what, it’s coming back and with a vengeance. These things are not sustainable.
Always think lifestyle. There’s a reason why these trend diets are just that.
- You’re Eating Too Much Fat.
I think the first thing many people do when they want to lose weight, is go on a high protein, low carb diet. They’ve been told if they don’t eat carbohydrates, they can now eat whatever amounts of protein and fat they want and they’ll lose weight.
The problem with this method is many just gorge on fat. They eat things like a pound of bacon, a jar of peanut butter, etc. You may lose some weight from this, but 1) you won’t lose fat because you are consuming so much fat, and 2) it is not a sustainable lifestyle. Your blood pressure will raise from all of the fats and sodium, and it is just not healthy.
Remember, fat contains a lot more Calories than carbohydrates, more than double: 9 Calories/fat gram compared to 4 Calories/carbohydrate gram. Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap over the years. As long as you are eating wholesome carbs, and not refined sugars, you will see a big difference in your fat loss without eating a pound of bacon and salami all day.
- Not Enough Resistance Training.
Strength training when done properly will help develop lean mass. You either have lean mass or not lean mass (fat). Resistance training, in fact, develops and maintains your body’s lean mass composition.
If you don’t use resistance training you need to make sure you add it not only to help with fat loss, but also because of the other numerous benefits it offers.
Use a smart approach when it comes to strength training and you will see major progress in achieving your goals.
- You’re Doing Your Cardio Wrong.
The first thing people do when they want to lose fat is hop on the treadmill train. You can go the gym pretty much any time of the day and see the Treadmill Mafia walking and jogging for thousands of miles. I’m not against cardio, but there are much better and more effective ways to lose fat.
Instead of running on a machine, go for a long walk outside. You’ll get some natural Vitamin D which will help reduce stress, and in turn will have a positive effect on reducing fat.
If you want to truly be effective with your cardio you should be doing two (2) very important things:
- Sprint Work: This can be done by doing regular sprints, hill sprints, or can even be bike sprints. Sprint work is one of the most effective ways to lose fat. Don’t just start sprinting right away though, if this is not something you have done recently. Make sure you build up to this or you could end up injured. We like to start with using the bike in the beginning due to less impact on the body.
- Sled work: This is another very effective way help lose body fat. If you have access to a sled, start pushing it.
- You Are Too Stressed.
If stress is a factor in your life you will struggle tremendously to lose fat. Stress produces the hormone cortisol and this will increase body fat if is not dealt with correctly. It is easy to become stressed in today’s world, but you must find ways to reduce it. Not managing stress could be the biggest reason why you are not able to manage your body fat.
Exercise is a great way to reduce your stress levels.
Another method which I feel has changed my life from a stress management perspective is meditation. Meditating has a profound impact on reducing stress and increasing mindfulness.
Try taking walks outside as another method.
- Your Sleep Sucks.
Being sleep deprived can actually cause you to gain fat. Again, it goes back to the production of cortisol levels due to lack of sleep, which we already know is a stress response and leads to difficulty of losing fat. If you fix your sleep, you will see a huge difference if your fat loss, not to mention your life.
To get better at sleeping:
- Reduce caffeine intake.
- Avoid computer and phone screens 1-2 hours before your bedtime.
- Take electronics out of the bedroom.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool.
We all know we should get 8-10 hours of sleep a night; however, don’t focus on the amount, focus on the quality. If you get 6-7 hours a night of good quality sleep, it will be better than getting 10 hours of mediocre sleep.
If you improve your sleep, you will improve your life. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get good sleep.
None of this works unless you have 3 very important things in place:
- Support System
You need a system of people to hold you accountable for your goals and also to support you along the way. It is not easy, and there will be some bumps in the road, but with the right people in the right environment, a lot of great things will happen.
The right environment will also keep you motivated. When you train by yourself, it is easy to quit, not do things, or do things that you want to do instead of what you have to do.
If you want a great environment that will hold you accountable, motivate and support you every step of the way, come checkout MADE Strength.
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