Raise your hand if this is YOU...
You make a conscious effort to go to the gym and exercise at least a few times a week. You leave work early, and you keep to a weekly regimen for months.
But the weight just doesn't budge!
I have to tell you -- you're not alone. I can't tell you how many times members have told me this exact same cardio story. It's the same thing every time: run, run, run, like a gerbil on a wheel, going nowhere and still not seeing the weight loss results they were hoping for. They have cut their food intake drastically and upped their time spent on a cardio machine for weeks and still, no results.
I have to tell you that you will never see your desired results with this exercise regime. It just won't happen! Want to know why? It's simple: The only thing that burns fat in the body is muscle. You need to create larger muscle mass to burn that extra, unnecessary fat.
All that cardio is making your body more efficient. This may sound good, but in fact, it's counterproductive to those who are looking to lose weight. Your body gets used to working at a certain level and compensates for that so it doesn't have to use any more energy than necessary.
By cutting your food intake, you're making your body believe that it is being starved and when a body starts believing that, it will hold on to every calorie you ingest and store it away to stave off the effects of starvation.
I explain this to my clients and they seem totally dumbfounded by what I am saying. Do less cardio and still lose weight? What?! No way!
Yes, it is totally true and I am going to give you the three keys to weight loss success that will get you off the cardio wheel and on to seeing results.
Key 1: Interval Training
Interval training is a series of high intensity activity followed by low intensity activity in various time intervals. Think back to your high school physical education classes and you will have a good idea of what I am talking about. These intervals of high and low make your body, especially your heart, work harder than if you had simply kept the same pace for a set period of time. So let's say that you want to keep your treadmill workouts, that's fine, but let's change it up a bit. Instead of 45 minutes or more of continuous jogging or running, try this instead:
- 5 minute warm-up
- 3 minutes moderate fast-walking at a 5% incline
- 3 minutes jogging at 8% incline
- 3 minutes fast walking at 3% incline
- 3 minutes jogging at 8% incline
- 3 minutes fast walking
- 5 minute cool-down
This is a much more effective workout routine and you will be keeping your heart and muscles on their toes, making them much more apt to handle whatever you throw at them workout wise.
Key 2: Weight Resistance
Most men have no problem adding this requirement into their workouts because lifting weights equates bigger muscles, but women often balk when I suggest they add resistance to their workouts. We don't want to be bulky or manly looking, but we do need to build muscle in order to burn fat. Remember what I said before: the best way to burn fat is to build muscle. This is because muscles burn more calories, even while they are at rest.
Weight resistance exercises will get your heart pumping like you wouldn't believe and you don't have to work out as long as you would when doing cardio. Try doing a combination of resistance training exercises that end up working your entire body, that way you get every muscle in your body in on the fat burning party and your desired results will be attained much quicker.
So whether you add resistance exercises through bands, your own body weight, a balance ball, free weights, or a combination of the latter, just make sure that you incorporate them into your workout routine several times a week.
Key 3: Eat Lots and Eat Well
I know, it seems counterintuitive to eat (and to eat a lot) while trying to lose weight, but hear me out. As I said before, when you cut your calories drastically, your body goes into starvation mode - it believes that it needs to horde every calorie consumed to stave of hunger and potential harm, BUT, I am a proponent of eating, as long as you eat the right foods. There is absolutely no need to deprive yourself of nutritious and delicious foods while trying to lose weight.
These are the foods that I recommend to all of my clients:
- Organic produce
- Raw dairy - in small portions
- Raw nuts
- Whole grains - preferably sprouted grains
- Water, water, water
- Healthy oils
- Organic butter
- Organic protein
- Fish - salmon, tuna, whole sardines
- Grass-fed beef
- Organic, hormone free chicken
- Whole, organic eggs
That's it. No prepackaged foods, no processed foods. Just good, naturally grown, hormone-free and pesticide-free foods that we were meant to consume in the first place. You can eat these foods all day long - as much as you want and I promise that you will still lose weight.