You’re spending loads of time in the gym or running but you do not seem to lose any weight. Don’t worry – there is nothing wrong neither with you nor with your body. Actually, this is completly normal.
Unfortunately, losing fat doesn’t equal the effort you put into the rokout. It is not about how long you exercise (run) but about how you do it. We introduce 5 tips how to improve your workout to lose both weight and fat.
Change your workout routine. If you run you probably try to keep doing it as long as you can with moderate pace. And you lose fat – initially. But after a week or two it stops. Why? Because our bodies are amazing machines designed for efficiency. It means that after just few days our bodies get used to the workout and they don’t need to use as much energy as they did at the beginning.
How to deal:
Introduce new exercises into your workout. If you run it can be sprinting, if you go to the gym it may be weight lifting. The difference is that while you’re doing more intensive exercises you not only burn calories during the workout but also even for two days after you finished. This is because you impact your metabolism which needs more energy to recover itself.
Work on your intensity. Journal of the American Medical Association studied 34 thousand women and their exercise habits. The scientist concluded that it was enough to walk an hour a day with moderate speed (3 mph) to maintain weight. Now look at it differently – seven hours of workout weekly only to maintain, not lose, weight. With this amount of time you could do much more.
How to deal:
If you try to lose weight it doesn’t mean that you need to walk for two hours a day – on the contrary, you won’t get much results with this. The answer is to increase the level of difficulty. If walking with 3 mph pace is a “four” on 1 to 10 scale, then try to walk with difficulty of “eight” or “nine” for a shorter period of time.
You can see advantages of intense workout by looking at the University of Western Ontario study. One group of people was told to run with moderate pace for 30 – 60 minutes while the other group did four to six 30-second sprints. The results were amazing – people who only exercised for few minutes lost more than twice as much body fat than those who worked for an hour.
How is that even possible? After intensive training your body needs to replenish its energy, turn lactic acid into glucose and restore blood levels. It all costs energy – more fat burning.
Don’t focus on burning calories. People often believe that the majority of calories they burn is during the workout. That is misleading – while sleeping, moving, working and reading this article you burn loads of calories. All the processes that our bodies do over and over again cost us a lot of energy.
How to deal:
Well, it doesn’t mean you should avoid the gym. Doing exercises is not only healthy but also helps you to build muscle. And you need more energy (which means calories burn) during the whole day to function with them.
Try other forms of workout than running. Now running is in fashion and everyone do it, it may seem the best kind of training. It is easy, you don’t need to spend money on expensive fitness clubs and you can do it at any time you want. Nevertheless, it may not be wise to run all the time.
How to deal:
After some time of running you can see that you are able to run longer distances without feeling so tired. But there is some bad news. Slow and long workouts only work on endurance and not on strength and muscle grow. This is OK if you are preparing for a marathon but if your goal is to fit in smaller sized clothes you may want to switch to the cycling. High-intensity cycling is way better idea to gain muscles and lose fat quickly.
Stop doing too much. Exercises are good for us, period. But exercising for long hours may cause us not only stop losing but even gaining fat. This happens because exercises put a stress on our bodies. When it happens we release a hormone called cortisol. It is not always bad for us but if its level increases too high it creates insulin and it can start to store fat. High level of cortisol may also affect your immune system and make it harder to grow muscle.
Imagine that your body doesn’t know that people build civilizations. For the body we still leave in a jungle and have to work hard to find food and stay alive. It doesn’t understand that the biggest danger is unhealthy food. Now, while you are running for health, the body thinks you are running away from some dangers, e.g. predators. What is worse, you don’t have enough food (you’re on a diet and eat less than you used to) so it wants to help you survive by storing all the fat it can.
So, if you exercise a lot and don’t see fat lose reduce the time you exercise or replace part of it with resistance training. You may see very interesting results right after few days.