Do you eat well, exercise often, and still feel like you’re not losing that stubborn weight? Truth is, there's no exact equation to working out and eating healthy, you just have to find what works best for you. Before you throw your health and fitness plan out the window and declare yourself unable to lose fat, here are our top 3 possible reasons why you could not be shedding the pounds, and some top tips to help get you back on track:
Diet has a massive impact on weight loss. Some people focus all their energy on burning off calories that they don’t take the time to consider how they are refuelling. In order to shed pounds your body needs to run a calorie deficit, meaning you need to burn more than you consume. That being said, you shouldn’t have to deprive yourself either. Life is about balance. Don’t become consumed with counting calories or weighing yourself every day.
TIPS: While the exact foods you should be eating depend heavily on your body type, metabolism, and other factors, a good rule of thumb is to stick to all natural, whole foods. Eat whenever you’re hungry and eat slowly enough so you can stop just before you get full. Adding fat burning supplements to your diet will fire up your metabolism by enhancing thermogenesis and transporting fatty acids into your cells to produce energy. Leaving you with a leaner physique and lots of energy.
Cardio keeps your heart healthy, boosts your metabolism, and gives you a good sweat. However, only doing cardio, or doing too much, can actually add to the problem. Longer cardio sessions can eat away at your lean muscle mass, which is essential for increasing your metabolism to burn more calories. It causes the body to become more endurance-focused, storing energy as fat to ensure it has plenty of reserve fuel to keep you going for longer. Not to mention it dramatically increases your appetite, making you more susceptible to unnecessary snacking or overeating. The best way to lose weight and build lean muscle is by doing some form of strength training in addition to cardio. The more muscle tone your body has, the more fat you'll burn.
TIPS: Your workouts should be intensity-dependent, not time dependent. Keep this fact in mind: the harder you work, the shorter your workout time may need to be. That’s why it's so important to maximize your time spent in the gym or fitness class so you can achieve that coveted ‘afterburn’ effect which keeps your metabolism revved afterwards. Adding pre-workouts to your diet can help enhance your workouts by increasing blood flow and target your muscle issue, so you can have that killer workout, push yourself for that extra rep and see the results.
Recovery and rest are often more important than the workout itself. It’s during those periods that your body does most of the actual fat burning. Exercise is a stressor on your body. When you have a healthy balance of exercise-related stress and recovery time, your body is healthy and can lose its excess fat. However, not giving your body enough time to recover can also be a negative as you'll start to produce an excessive amount of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol is both normal and important when working out, it’s involved in processes that give your muscles the energy needed to get moving. However, when your body is exposed to cortisol for longer periods of time, it starts to cause negative effects, like stubborn fat in areas you don’t want.
TIPS: Give yourself that time to fully recover so you’re ready to work hard the following day. Most importantly, listen to your body. Push yourself, but also give it some love, too.