You’re not losing fat – 10 reasons you may be doing it wrong

by Coach Amelia

1706629You’re not alone. Nearly 65% of people who successfully complete a fad diet will end up gaining all of their weight back that they initially lost. Does that sound like you? Maybe you didn’t try out the new ‘all fruit cleanse’, ‘super duper shake month’, or any other specific diet method. BUT, for some reason you just couldn’t, can’t or won’t lose that body fat. Whether it’s the last five pounds or the first, just a few pounds or over 100, there are some common reasons why your plan isn’t working. Sure, we know a balanced attack through nutrition and fitness are integral in reaching your goals. But, are some seemingly blaring issues holding you back from losing fat? Let’s take a look.

1. Too much exercise: Exercise, by the very nature of what it is, adds stress to your body. The primary goal is to add stress to your muscles so they recover and grow. This includes the healthy capacity of the most important muscle, your heart. But, too much stress can result in adverse affects not only for fat loss, but for overall health.

Quick Tip: Are you feeling cranky, lethargic or just ‘off’ even though you seem to be doing everything ‘right’? You may be over-exercising. Take a step back and evaluate your training. In fact, take a step back and a few days off. 

2. Overdoing the cardio: Fat loss is more than a math problem, those days are long gone. We used to do simple equations, burn more than we consume, right? Well, not so fast, it’s not that easy. Our bodies are way to smart to allow such a simple thing to happen. There are countless variables to take into consideration when thinking about fat loss. Calories in, calories out, quality of those calories in (nutrition), quality of that caloric output (long and slow or quick and intense) hormones, metabolism, genetics and more. But we’re not scientists, we’re normal folks that acquire information to make the best decisions and build the best plan that we can. Extreme amounts of cardiovascular exercise can put the body into a ‘save’ mode, unless we’re fueling our bodies correctly. Big picture, folks.

Quick Tip: Unless you’re prepping for an endurance race, ditch the long cardio sessions. Focus on shorter, higher intensity sessions. Grab your favorite machine or find your biggest hill and knock out some intervals (60 sec run, 30 sec sprint OR 60 sec hill sprint, 60 sec recovery, etc.).

3. Eating too little: Similarly, if we don’t fuel our bodies adequately, it may decide it needs to hang onto anything it’s got (fat stores) to function correctly. Don’t forget, we have a bunch of other important functions that our body must regulate before it even THINKS about allowing fat loss. You know; breathing, heart beating, maintaining mental capacities, circulation, and hundreds more. Fat loss is low on the meter of importance here. So, if we under eat, our bodies know it and save for later. This translates directly to keeping, and sometimes adding… fat.

Quick Tip: Track your nutrition for THREE days; two weekdays and a weekend day, then evaluate. You should be eating at LEAST your BMR (find it —–> here) in calories, and more when you factor in exercise.

4. Not getting enough sleep/rest/recovery: We mentioned ‘too much exercise’ as a very important, but common roadblock to fat loss. It’s close cousin? Not enough sleep/rest/recovery. It makes sense that our bodies change when we’re working hard; in our training, the way we move, how much we move. But, actually the progress is in our recovery. Sleep, lengthening, massage, down time and even meditation are huge players in the recovery process. Of these, sleep is king. Adjust your day to allow for 8 hours/night of sleep and reap the rewards of energy, health and that stubborn fat wasting away.

Quick Tip: Do a quick ‘time audit’. Jot down a rough schedule of your day and when you find ‘holes’, identify what you’re doing with those bits of time. Cruising Facebook? Insta-Snapping? That time adds up. Cut back to open up more time for restful sleep. 

Overweight Man Resting on Exercise Ball5. Intensity is too low: Wait, wait wait.. you just told us we may be working out TOO much. Now, not hard enough? Well, if the shoe fits. Take a step back and look at the quality of your workouts. Do you knock out 15-20 sets or…. 15-20 Snaps (@snapchat)? Are you admiring everyone else, or yourself for that matter, in those floor to ceiling mirrors? It’s not the number of workouts/week, it’s the intensity of those workouts. Are you dialed in, smashing your plan, with pace and focus? Then…

Quick Tip: Here we go with our ‘planning’ advice again. Walking in the gym without a plan sets you up for failure. Create a program, or have us create an awesome one for you (check out our online coaching) and stick to it. You’ll see the intensity in the gym naturally climb into the fat torching zone!

6. Not focused: Our world is FULL of distractions, far too many to list. But, there’s a good chance that you immediately think of a handful that could be derailing the quality of your workout. Unplug. If you need music, great, do it to it. But, this is ‘you’ time. Focus on your training program, your workout, your walk, your time.

Quick Tip: Let people know that you’re unavailable when you’re working out. If you don’t need music, don’t even carry along your phone. Eliminate the opportunities for distraction, so you can stay focused on your goals.

7. Not consistent: It doesn’t matter what training program (or lack of one) you’re on, if you aren’t consistent with that training. Here’s the BIG secret to fat loss; you simply must remain consistent. Mind blowing, huh? Really though; you WILL be successful if you remain consistent with your program, your coach, your plan. Through your fitness plan AND healthy nutrition, if you show up 80% of the time, your body has no choice but to show you some results.

Quick Tip: Follow. A. Program. Noticing a trend here? Your ideal program tells you what days you will be working out, complete the sessions. Check ’em off and don’t look back. We have coaches for this very problem. 

8. Program is not designed specifically for you: We are well aware of how many programs, challenges, methods and more are available on the internet. That’s wonderful. But, chances are that the one you’ve been following was not built specifically for you. There’s a reason why personal trainers exist. It’s to build specifically unique training programs for their clients. Every single person out there has a unique health/injury background, compensation(s), lifestyle constraints, training space, fat loss/muscle building goals. Cookie cutter programs are fine, but often not what’s going to do the trick for your next fitness goal. Do you want to be ‘fine’? Or, do you want to be your best? Chances are you’ll hit your training program head on, with much more intensity if it’s designed specifically for you.

Quick Tip: Seek out a qualified trainer and ask for a program. It doesn’t even have to be us (wink, wink). In all seriousness, if your gym does not offer program prescription, online coaching is a great new way to have a program written just for you. And, at a lower cost than your gym’s personal training solutions. And hey, I’m happy to help —–> email me at amelia@livingfitly.com!

9. TechniquePeople lifting barbells in crossfit gym is terrible: Chances are, if your technique could use some shaping up, so could you. Those exercises you’re knockin’ out each workout are the building blocks of your program, so treat them the right way. Grab a trainer or do some YouTube searching to be sure your form is correct, that you’re getting full range of motion (ROM) and the weight you’ve chosen isn’t too heavy (or too light, for that matter).

Quick Tip: If a LIVFIT coach isn’t there to help, YouTube is certainly a fine tool to double check your technique. A little caution though, be sure to search and view credible trainers when doing so.

10. Irresponsible cheat day: ‘Cheat days’ are just as commonly discussed as proper nutrition lately, and they could be a big reason why you’re not making the progress you deserve. If you’re on a fairly specific nutrition plan, or eat very well, your body actually can respond well to a day with higher calories and perhaps more carbohydrates. It snaps the body out of it’s normal, lower calorie, state and keeps it fueling the fire for fat loss. But, cheat days can turn into a disaster if approached incorrectly. In one fell swoop, you could derail your steadily healthy week by throwin’ down all you can eat buffet brunch, bottomless brews, a couple pieces of Mom’s best pie, a pizza and for good measure… a pint of that new Ben and Jerry’s flavor.

Quick Tip: Plan your cheat day ahead of time. Brunch is fine, please go at it, but mentally prepare yourself for what and how much you’ll eat. Pie is fine, but one piece is delicious enough. Same goes for a few brews or pieces of pizza. You can eat what you want! Always! BUT, do so responsibly on that cheat day.

Does anything here sound familiar? I’m sure a few raised an eyebrow. There are certainly some common themes though. For the best success in your fat loss process, plan plan plan. A program will help you stay on track, hold you accountable, help you stay focused and be designed specifically for your needs. Just a few little shifts in your process can be just what you need to start burning the fats!

Questions? Email me! Coach Amelia

5 Fitness Myths Your Friends Keep Bringing Up… and we Still Hate

by Coach Amelia

There is a LOT of misinformation out there in the fitness industry. Of course, we all know this. But, what's confusing is that the myths keep coming and they often look like the truth! The media, websites, blogs, and even trainers (yes, trainers) are out there perpetuating the problems. Why? Well, sometimes ignorance sells. It's great to place blame in places that 'should' make sense. Of COURSE you gained 3 pounds because you after after 8:16pm last night. Oh, you DEFINITELY need that new blueberry super fab fitness shake for $29.99 to 'tone up'. And, who knows why you're the only one that hasn't lost any weight on your 3 hour daily walks. Sound silly? It is! Here are 5 fitness myths that your friends, family and even the internet keeps bringing up. They're full of it. Let's keep FIT simple.

1. Doing abdominal exercises will cause you to LOSE belly fat.

We can't blame you here, this sounds AWESOME. Knock out 200 crunches a day and you're golden, right? Unfortunately, wrong. We don't get to decide where our body fat decreases first, this is mostly decided by genetics. But, that's not altogether bad news! Weight training is a part of the answer here; it's key for boosting metabolism, gaining lean muscle mass and torching body fat. Solid, consistent nutrition is the bigger part of the answer. Feed your body fitly, not fatly. And stop doing crunches. Yes, really. There are much better core-centric exercises you should be knockin' out to cut the fats and up your fitness level!

2. Women will get bulky if they lift heavy, they should be 'toning'.

Ok, did you know 'toning' is a word from the 80's? Can you think of any other ridiculous terms from that decade that we laugh at now? Everyone was also eating low-fat everything then too, look where that got us (don't know? stay tuned, more on that soon). There is no such thing as toning. Women will not get bulky if they lift heavy. You will not get bulky if you lift heavy. If you add a well written weight training program (we know exactly how to help here) to your fitness plan, along with solid nutrition, you will torch the fat that currently hangs out on top of your strong muscles. Even better, that muscle will grow and look LONG and LEAN. Not big and bulky.

3. Fat turns into muscle. I'm not exactly sure why this is still 'a thing', but to this day I see it in dozens of Facebook groups (find a GOOD source of info on our FB Page). People still believe (from one 'trusted' magazine article to another) that this process is as simple as fat to muscle and muscle to fat. You're lucky it's not, that sounds terrible. So what DOES happen? There are two distinct processes when shaping up. One, we create a caloric deficit through our activity to LOSE fat. Two, we eat at or over our caloric to gain muscle. 'So wait, are you saying BOTH don't happen at once?' Well, not always. BUT, usually. If your goal is to lose body fat, then we create a program through training and nutrition that will allow you to lose fat which will SHOW that hard earned MUSCLE!

4. Don't eat fat if you want to lose fat. Did you see the mention about those 'low-fat' foods of the 80's. Well, that info is extremely dated. Welcome to 2016. You need to consume certain types of fats to LOSE fat. Ditch the low fat foods, there's a good chance they're doing more harm than good. Fats are important in that they regulate hormones (this is GOOD) and make use of necessary vitamins. Hey, fats also help regulate your appetite, this is clutch! Look for healthy fats in nuts, avocado, and EVOO. We'll talk more about this soon, but for now let's keep it simple. Eat fat to lose fat. Check the portion size of your favorite healthy fatty foods before you dip into that sugary peanut butter jar.

5. Don't eat after 8pm if you want to lose weight. This is another myth that seems to just stick around year after year. Your body does not know what time it is. Trust me. Let's step back a moment and think. What types of foods do folks usually eat after 8pm? Mhmm. Now you see where we're going with this. Late night menus usually consist of ice cream, candy, chips, dip, 1... maybe 2 bottles of wine, extra large burritos and worse. It doesn't matter WHAT time you consume those things, they'll usually put you into a large calorie overload for the day not to mention sending your body into a downward spiral of internal health. Prepare some healthy snacks if you get late night munchies (ahead of time). Eat properly throughout the day (starving yourself won't get you anywhere) so you're not reaching for whatever is in a 2 foot radius come 9pm.

We could go on for pages about the horrible, terrible, no good 'fitness information' you're being inundated with on a daily (almost hourly, thanks to social media) basis. Unfortunately, this is an industry of 'everyone is an expert'. Including friends, friends of friends and your 93 year old grandmother. We'll bring you more and more real information to keep you on the right side of your fitness. Stick around!

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Want to contact Coach Amelia? Shoot her an email at amelia@livingfitly.com

Why are we running to be fit, when we need to be fit to run?

by: Coach Katie

Summer is officially in full swing, which means we're smack dab in running season. With the great weather, everyone gets out and starts really racking up their mileage, working to prepare for that road race or Tough Mudder they most likely regret signing up for. The road race atmosphere can be fun and usually the registration money is going to a good cause, so I understand why people are encouraged to sign up and participate. However, I don’t understand why people think that running is the best form of exercise to “get fit.”

Getting “Fit” can have a different meaning to everyone. Most people associate getting fit with losing weight and obtaining that beach body, but as we get older our purpose begins to shift. We start to focus more on feeling better, moving more efficiently and improving our overall quality of life. Although long distance running is known to improve cardiovascular health, the excessive impact it has on the joints can cause pain, especially when running with improper movement patterns. The positive health benefits of running are soon masked by the discomfort and pain, and then we stop running because the goal of feeling better and moving more efficiently had not been achieved.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not telling you that running is bad, but it is not what we need if we are trying to look better, feel better and move more efficiently. To improve our overall fitness and quality of life, we need to start training functionally and learn proper progression of training to prevent injury or pain. Here are four important tips to consider when exercising that will help you improve your strength and decrease your risk of injury, so when you do decide to run those long distances your body is ready and you are fit enough to run.

1. Pick Total Body Exercises

Pick total body exercises to incorporate into your training routine. Squat, deadlifts, Pulls and Lunge movements incorporate more muscle group and larger muscles allowing you to burn more calories and challenge the body as a whole.

2. Create a program

Once you pick the exercises, create a program. Develop an appropriate number of sets and repetitions that will challenge you. Here are a few examples of programming that can be beneficial when incorporating strength training exercises.

3x10         4x8         3x12         4x6         2x15         2x20

3. Consistency

Once you have developed your program, follow it. Being consistent with your program will allow you to achieve your overall fitness goals. Incorporate the training program into the schedule and get it done. The more consistent you are the more results you will see!

4. Challenge Yourself

The body is constantly adapting to your training program. Once you become comfortable with form and technique and the exercises feel easy, add some resistance. Adding weight to an exercise can be a great way to make an exercise more challenging.

Getting fit looks differently for everyone and running is a fantastic tool to find YOUR fit. Just remember, as with any fitness program, it's important to plan and structure your training to progress not regress. Hit that pavement with confidence and a plan!

Still unsure how to get started? Not sure if you trust your plan? Hey, that's what we're here for. We dig creating custom training programs for you, your specific needs, events and challenges.

Contact Coach Katie