Category Archives: Weight Loss
If you’ve made it this far of going to the gym every day, give yourself a pat on the back. However, if the scale doesn’t seem to be showing any results, it might mean you’re unintentionally sabotaging your own progress.
We asked two local personal trainers what common mistakes they see gym-goers falling prey to during their weight loss journeys. From over-exercising (yes, it’s possible) to falling into a workout rut, here’s why you’re not losing weight.
1) You’re being an overachiever
We’re all a little gung-ho the first time we make it to the gym after a long hiatus. But Grant Hill of My Bootcamp cautions, “Exercising too much ends up being counterproductive.” The more you work out, the more cortisol your body produces. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced when the body experiences high-stress conditions—it causes the body to retain water, and thus, weight.
Hill recommends spending just 30 to 45 minutes at the gym, three days a week.
2) You’re overeating
Being overall healthy and maintaining the ideal weight involves just 20 percent exercise and 80 percent nutrition. But “you can never out-exercise poor nutrition,” says Lance Breger, head trainer at Mint DC. Adds Hill, “Calories in and calories out is oversimplistic.” Just because you’re working out a lot doesn’t mean you can binge on pizza and burgers afterward.
3) Your workout is boring
Spending an hour on the elliptical every single workout is not very engaging, and it can get old pretty quickly. “You want to shake up your workouts,” Hill says. Do something you actually enjoy, like trying that Zumba class you keep meaning to sign up for.
4) You’re not lifting
Low-intensity training like lifting weights is just as important as high-intensity exercise. And contrary to popular belief, strength training actually does burn fat, Hill says. Of his own clients, Breger says individuals who spent more time strength-training than logging miles and miles on cardio equipment saw more positive body changes.
5) You’re dehydrated
We should be drinking half of our body weight in ounces, but most of us are walking around in a state of chronic dehydration, Breger says. Just 2 percent of water loss in our bodies can decrease our athletic performance, so you’re less likely to get the most of your workout the less you drink.
6) You’re not sleeping
“Sleep is absolutely the most critical part of losing weight, building muscle, and getting rid of injuries,” Breger says. Our bodies repair physically between 10 PM and 2 AM. So if you’re going to bed at midnight, you’re missing 50 percent of ideal body repair. If your body can’t fully recover from your workouts, it’s more difficult to develop muscle mass and burn fat quickly.
7) The glass is half empty
This should go without saying, but if there are no positive thoughts in your mind, there will be no positive results. Self-deprecating thoughts (“My muffin top is awful! I’m awful!”) are what Breger calls “stinking thinking.” Before taking on a weight loss journey, it’s important to get your mind in the right place.
People are slowly developing an understanding of how their level of stress can impact their progress toward their weight loss goals. Numerous studies have identified the link between the type of the consumed calories and the success of a weight gain or loss objective. But relatively little has been done to associate body chemistry with weight loss.
Our bodies have evolved very little from the body that our cave dwelling ancestors had.
Sure, we have computers, cell phones, commercial flight and many other advances that our ancestors couldn’t even dream about but we still have pretty much the same body we had in the cave dwelling days.
Imagine a time where you were the hunter and the hunted. You constantly had your senses up and aware of any danger as you walked about in search of food. If you wanted to eat, you had to first find something edible, hunt it down and then prepare it for consuming.
Your body was in a state of stress because it was trying to save the food stores (i.e. “body fat”) it had while trying to supply your muscles with enough energy to support the hunt. This was a tricky balance in that letting go of too much body fat could lead to starvation whereas not releasing enough would lead to becoming fatigued which would lead to a failed hunt which would also lead to starvation.
Now consider our current lifestyle.
We no longer walk for miles to get our next meal. We can just drive to a local fast food joint or grocery store and try to decide from the plethora of options being offered. The result is that we do not engage in the exercise of our ancestors to obtain our next meal and so we do not dig into our food energy stores (i.e. body fat) to support the hunt.
Burning fewer calories means less body fat lost.
Our current stress is caused by our jerk boss and trying to pay the bills and our bodies treat these stressors in the same fashion as our ancestors. Our body’s response to this stress is to get back on the tightrope to balance between parceling out the calories and holding on to them.
Since we don’t walk for miles to pay our bills, we no longer have the physical exertion to burn off the calories and so our bodies are able to hold on to more of the body fat stores.
When we reduce our caloric intakes, the little caveman inside our bodies perceives this as a return to the fields of scarcity. This causes it to hold on to all the body fat it can to survive. If we stress our body with less food or jerk bosses then we are telling our bodies to KEEP the fat instead of losing it.
Reducing your stress levels as you exercise will allow the caveman within to work with you instead of against you.
For more information about balanced weight loss, click here!