Are you training hard and eating healthy but still can’t see results??
Trust me I have been there too and I know how frustrating it can be to feel like you are doing everything right, but no matter what you do there is no shift in your weight or body composition. Its ok take a deep breath and refrain from throwing in the towel just yet. If you are not seeing results, then chances are you are missing something somewhere along the line. Fat loss can be a complex thing. It doesn’t always happen as easily as we would like it too. But that is because there are so many factors that play a role in helping your body lose fat. You are not smarter than your body, believe it or not, your body knows exactly what is going on. The last thing it wants to do is lose fat because it wants to stay in its “happy place” in balance with plenty of food and minimal exercise. But there are a few things you can do ensure you keep your progress in check.
Here are some tips to help you ensure you get some great results!
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. Sounds exhausting just saying it out loud I know! But it can shake up your results ten-fold. If you are the usual cardio bunny who does steady state cardio often for prolonged periods of time then I have news for you. This may work initially but your body is very good at adapting. After some time, it will adapt to the steady state cardio which in the ling run means you will need to keep doing that cardio just to “maintain” where you are at (unless you “wean” off it of course). So by adding a few HIIT sessions in instead where you sprint, rest, sprint, rest, you will not only cut your cardio time in half but you will add more “afterburn” where you body burns more fat at rest for up to 24 hours after your session. Read more about HIIT training HERE.
Something we all get caught up in is that notion of “ok I want to lose fat, I am just going to do cardio”. But is that really what is going to be most effective for your fat loss goals? I would say probably not. Although cardio is a great tool to use to help you burn a little extra fat, you should still prioritise resistance training in your program. Resistance training will actually make your burn for fat in a 36-hour period after your session as opposed to a steady cardio session that only burns calories as you work out. Plus if you do not use your muscles and stimulate them through resistance training then can “waste away” if they are not being used. This will result in a slowed metabolic rate and actually make you store more fat in the long run.
Now that I know you are going to make resistance training a priority, you need to make the most out of those workouts. In order to burn more calories, you need to use your biggest muscle groups, and as many muscle groups as possible. Incorporating compound movements (exercises that utilise more than one muscle group per movement) such as squats and deadlifts will help you the lift more weight and burn more overall calories.
Hydration is a very important factor when it comes to fat loss. Water is the basis for every single chemical reaction that takes lace in your body. This includes fat loss. Your body is comprised of 65%-75% water, and without it, your body can not survive for more than a few days, that shows you how important water really is. So without water your body can not do its job of transporting nutrients, flushing out toxins and burning excess body fat. Aim for 3-4 Liters of water per day, more if you are very active or in a hot environment.
Sleep is one of the most important things you need for optimal health and of curse fat loss. But sleep is widely underestimated because we all seem to prioritise your food and make our training sessions, so why is it that when it comes to sleeping, we find a million other things to do instead of heading to bed for some much-needed rest. When you train you are tearing down your muscle fibers, and sleep and days off is when our bodies have a chance to repair. Getting 8 hours of sleep per night is particularly important as this is when your growth hormone releases which help repair and grow your lean muscle as well as ensuring all of your other hormones remain at an optimal level.
So you have been eating “healthy” food and you don’t know what else to do. Well, I have a news flash for you, no matter how healthy you think your food choices are, you can still overeat on “healthy” foods and gain weight. Mind blowing isn’t it, calories actually do matter. If you didn’t know that, that’s absolutely OK, you do now. So it’s important to track your food intake, even just for a few weeks. You can do this on any food diary app like “My Fitness Pal” which can be a little tedious at first but still it out because it will help educate you on the nutritional content of food. This will help you understand portion sizes as well as overall caloric content.
Stress can be a progress killer. Even though you may not feel stressed as such, does not mean you body is not under stress in one form or another. Stress can come from many different aspects of our life and it can really wreck havoc on how our hormones function, which you guessed it, affects our body’s ability to lose fat. So try to have some down time where you incorporate yoga, meditation, massage, a walk, deep breathing, watching a movie, taking a bath, anything that helps you switch off and relax. It will do you wonders.
We are all guilty of starting a fat loss plan, being super good for a week, then falling off the wagon for a few days, then restarting again and so on. But to see results you need to stop the yo-yo cycle. One thing I see a lot of is people throwing in the towel because they made a small mistake on their plan. Instead of eating 100g of something they eat 200g by accident then adopt the “fuck it” mentality and just eat everything in sight instead. Don’t be that person, you don’t need to be so hard on yourself, perfection does not exist and life happens. So what matters the most in the long run is how consistent you can be with your food and training. If you mess up one day don’t sweat it, simply move on and do your best to nail it the next. Just keep going!
Tracking your progress is important because it allows you to see how your body is responding to what you are currently doing. There are many complex ways to track your progress such as skin folds, however, the simplest way to do it at home is by using the scales and a waist measurement. I always use 2 measures to help ensure I rule out any errors or fluctuations that can occur from one. For example, if you weight has gone up but your waist measurement has gone down then your body composition is changing which is great progress. By tracking these measurements weekly you can adjust your nutrition and/or training slightly in order to help you break through any plateaus that may be happening.
One thing we have all had drilled into us over time is in order to lose fat we need to drop the carbs. But really in order to lose fat we need to focus more on overall calorie consumption. Studies have actually shown that individuals who incorporate moderate to high carbs in their diet lose more fat than those who follow a low carb diet. Crazy I know but you can’t argue with science! Carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel source, they are needed to fuel your body before a workout and also utilized in repair after a workout, combined with an adequate protein content each time of course. So don’t be afraid to incorporate carbohydrates into your diet, they are not the enemy.