Hello beautiful people! A big CONGRATS to all of you who completed the Summer Shape Up Series 4-Week Workout Challenge! If you are one of those ladies, I would love to hear your feedback about your results, what you liked about the challenge, and what you struggled with. If you don’t feel comfortable commenting below, you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the Private Facebook Group :).
As a personal trainer, I hear it a lot, “I’m doing everything I should be doing but I just can’t seem to lose weight.” My trainer/fittie/health guru/fitness friend alarms go off when I hear this. This is a huge turning point where someone decides to make a change or to give up. My heart breaks when I see someone choose the latter. For one, weight loss should never be the only goal you have for working out and eating right. Hello! We should all want to live a long, healthy, and mobile life too, am I right?! I get it though. If you want to lose weight, build muscle, and change your physique, who wants to put in all this time and effort planning meals, fitting in workouts, and busting your butt in the gym when you don’t see results?
If this is you, there are a couple of details I want you to take a closer look at.
1. Your Diet
Now, I don’t mean “diet” in the same way as “fad diet.” Your diet is defined as, literally, what you eat. Sometimes we think we are eating healthy but we may be eating too much, too little, or the incorrect ratio of macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fats). Take 3 to 5 days to write out what you’re eating. I love using MyFitnessPal. It’s an App on your phone where you can plug in the food you ate that day and the app does the rest of the work for you! It’ll show you your total calories, carbs, proteins, and fats. If you’re unsure how much of anything you should be getting, you can use an online macro calculator. Just remember, these calculators will give you a baseline assessment, but only time, tweaking, and testing will tell what macronutrient ratio will work for your unique, beautiful body!
If you need extra assistance, I offer online Nutritional Coaching! Just email me at email@example.com for more information. 🙂
2. Your Workout
Have you been doing the same workout routine for over 6-weeks? Your body is a smart little thing. When she senses stress, she’ll do whatever it takes to adapt. When you start a new workout program, your body will deliberately use less and less energy (aka calories burned) to complete the routine.
This is why it’s so important to mix it up and use a combination of cardio (both steady state and interval training) and weight training. Both of them must be progressed as well by changing at least one of the following variables every 4 to 6 weeks – intensity, time/duration, weight, exercise type (the actual exercises themselves), rest (how much time spent resting during your workout), reps, or sets! If you’ve been doing solely cardio, or the same cardio routine forever, your body will stop burning as much fat. If you’re strength training with same number of reps, sets, and weight eventually you will stop building muscle and utilizing as much energy. Keep it fresh to keep seeing results!
3. Your Stress
This is a biggy that everyone likes to try and ignore. We all have stress in our lives, it’s just a matter of how we cope with it. Stress management can be even more daunting than working out. We like to throw it under the rug and just figure it’s a part of life we can’t control. Oh do we have it wrong!!
My dad said something to me in high school that stuck with me (and stuck to the wall of my high school college counsellor’s classroom). He said, “Emily, stress is optional.” At the time I ignored him. I mean, I was under stress and the last thing I wanted to hear was that I was inflicting this on myself. It only took a couple of days though for the phrase to stick. It’s so true! The hardships, deadlines, relational issues, etc. we deal with on a daily basis will always be there. And they aren’t always in our control. What is in our control is the way we react, including our emotional reaction, or stress!
So why is stress so important for your fitness goals? Well, lady, stress creates a hormone we all love to hate, cortisol. Cortisol is the triple threat against weight loss. This hormone increases our appetite, our cravings for food, and holds on to belly fat. Ummm, no thank you!
So how do we decrease stress? Two simple things you can start doing TODAY to decrease cortisol are – get enough sleep (7-8 hours a night) and practice breathing techniques. One of my favorite breathing techniques is to inhale for 3 to 4 counts and then exhale for twice as long, 6 to 8 counts. Do this five to ten times. Make sure you find a quiet place to do this, sit up tall with good posture or even lay down on your back, legs long, hands by your side, and palms facing up.
If you want to know more stress management tips let me know in the comment box below and I can write a full blog post on it! 🙂
Health and happiness,