I often have a “no sugarcoat” mentality and attitude when it comes to my personal training and when I teach. I don’t tell people what they want to hear, but rather I say the truth.
Now here are my top 3 real reasons why you’re probably not losing any weight. These come from experience and are of course not the end all be all reasons.
1. YOU’RE LAZY
Most people are inherently lazy, not just with fitness, but just in general. This laziness means you’re missing workouts and inconsistent with tracking your food.
Sometimes people think they eat less than they actually do, or have inaccurate “eyeball” measurements when they eat, thus making them eat more than they need.
You need to build positive habits, and that only comes with repetition. Never forget the reason why you’re doing this in the first place! THAT is your motivator.
Lots of people think all they need to do to lose weight is start exercising. And while yes, that is a huge part of it, the person will then think they can eat whatever they want since they work out.
You can always out eat your workout, no matter how many calories you burn!
Diet is the tougher part of losing weight. Think of it like this: If you worked out every single day for an hour, that’s only 7 hours for the entire week. What are you doing the rest of the time?
Sleeping, at home, at work…pretty much everything else. Temptation is all around you to eat poorly. The majority of your time is spent in these situations, not working out.
3. YOU LACK PATIENCE
The simple fact is this: LOSING WEIGHT TAKES TIME!
Chances are the extra weight you’re carrying did NOT accumulate overnight. You cannot expect it to come off overnight either.
Consistency is everything. If you quit what you’re doing….what do you think will happen?! Of course you’re going to gain weight again, duhh!
A good rule of thumb is to expect weight loss of around 1-2 lbs per week if you follow your program correctly. But again, this is a rough estimate and varies based on lots of factors such as how much weight you have to lose to begin with.
We live in an age of instantaneous gratification, if we want something, we can usually get it asap (assuming money wasn’t an issue).
But fitness unfortunately doesn’t work like that. You need to believe that what you’re doing is working, and stick with it! Nothing works if you quit a month into it (or less)!
Working out but not losing weight? You may be doing too much cardio.
You’re determined to lose weight. You want your body and your health back. So you’re running on the treadmill three days a week and taking a spin class two days a week, but you’ve stopped seeing the results you want. Rather than seeing the scale go down, it’s staying put or even going up. What is the hold up? Are you doing something wrong?
Unfortunately, many people have this frustrating experience. They know they’ve got to burn calories and they hear high intensity exercise will get the job done so they hit the gym. Learn the possible set backs of too much cardio and the most effective way to shed those extra pounds.
An Urban Legend
If you’ve been busting your buns trying to lose weight and the scale’s barely budging, you may want to listen up. A common exercise myth is the more cardio you do, the more weight you’ll lose; that the longer and harder you run, cycle, or swim, the faster you’ll lose. Many people believe this urban legend, and when their weight loss expectations aren’t met, they often give up.
Yes, you need cardio. As you think, it’s an important part of any exercise routine and will help burn calories, improve your health, and get you in shape. But it may not work like you expect.
When you push your body to perform high-intensity cardio exercise for long periods of time (45 minutes or more), there are negative effects. You will burn calories, but your body may turn to the energy stores in your muscles to make it through such a long workout. This means instead of burning that bulging fat, you’ll wind up burning muscle. Since you need your muscle to keep your metabolism working at its best, getting rid of any amount of muscle is not a good idea.
Stressful on Your Body
Long, strenuous workouts are stressful to your body. This stress may lead to increased production of the stress hormone cortisol. Granted, your body needs some level of cortisol for proper metabolism, blood pressure regulation, and a healthy immune system. Small bursts of the hormone give you energy, improve your memory, and decrease your sensitivity to pain. However, prolonged exposure to cortisol leads to negative health effects, including high blood pressure, decreased muscle mass, lowered immune response, and increased fat around your waist. Excess cardio places stress on your body and will lead to fatigue. What do many people turn to when they’re stressed or tired? Food. Especially carbohydrates.
Increase in Appetite
Keep in mind, when you add exercise to your lifestyle you’ll be hungrier than usual. Your body needs to replenish the energy it used while working out. On the mornings you exercise, expect to be hungrier than normal when lunch rolls around. This can be dangerous. It’s easy to overestimate how many calories you burn as well as underestimate how many calories you’re eating. Watch what you eat to make sure you’re still creating a calorie deficit.
Regardless of how much water you typically drink, you’ll want to increase the amount of water you drink on the days you exercise. When your body becomes dehydrated, it may start to retain water to hoard it for later. The weight you thought you should have lost may actually be water weight. Get rid of water weight by drinking more water before, during, and after exercise.
Create a Balance
Cardio exercise is a good thing, but you can have too much of it. An effective weight loss routine should include a balance of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Aim to do 20 or 30 minutes three days a week of interval training to get your cardio. Then do 20–30 minutes of strength trainings two days a week with flexibility exercises added in.
Wondering how to create a nutrition and exercise plan that is just what you need to meet your weight loss or muscle gain goals? Ask your personal trainer. After all, that’s what he or she is there for!
The pros and cons of caffeine.
Let’s face it: You’re addicted to caffeine! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Millions around the globe are in the same boat. Without that cup (or cups) of coffee to get you going in the morning, that energy drink to get you through a night of studying, or that soda to give the boost you need in the afternoon, you’re practically worthless.
Caffeine seems to be a harmless drug, as far as drugs go. And you can probably think of a long list of benefits that come with that cup of coffee. But are there any downsides to consuming too much caffeine?
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a bitter-tasting substance naturally found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and kola nuts, which is added to soda, energy drinks, some weight loss supplements, and certain medications. It is a stimulant drug that affects your metabolism and stimulates your central nervous system, increasing your alertness and energy level.
Most people who consume some form of caffeine on a regular basis could forgo it and be fine. Others, however, seem to be addicted. They are dependent on caffeine to function well, and if they don’t have those cups of coffee, they have withdrawal symptoms (headache, anxiety, fatigue, or depression for a few days). Addiction to caffeine is not nearly as serious as addiction to other drugs. It won’t put you in danger, damage relationships, or break your bank like other addictive drugs, but it may have its downsides.
If you drink coffee in the morning, you know the benefits that come with caffeine. Perhaps you notice that your memory is improved; you feel awake, alert and energized; you’re more social; or you’re able to focus and get more accomplished.
Besides these well-known benefits of caffeine, there are other possible health benefits to moderate consumption. Your morning Joe may be doing more than waking you up. Research has shown that caffeine consumption may help reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, colorectal cancer, liver disease, or liver cancer. Caffeine can also help to relieve headaches and asthma symptoms.
A few cups of coffee a day won’t hurt you. However, there are dangers to consuming too much caffeine, and caffeine abuse is a growing problem—especially among teens and young adults. Compacting the problem is that more and more products are being marketed for high levels of caffeine. Sodas are now super-sized, energy drinks are chock full of the drug, and caffeine-infused diet pills are gaining in popularity.
While not as dangerous as other drugs, caffeine abuse can lead to insomnia, restlessness, irritability, nausea, vomiting, headaches, tremors, heart palpitations, and chest pains. Additionally, caffeine raises your blood pressure temporarily. Normally this isn’t reason for concern, but repeated high doses of caffeine may lead to heart problems. If you’ve already got high blood pressure, are young or elderly, the affect on your blood pressure may be dangerous.
How Much Is Too Much?
In general, you’re in the safe zone if you drink less than three or four cups of coffee a day or consume less than 400 mg of caffeine a day. However, some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others. One cup of coffee could energize you until lunch, while it takes four cups for someone else. Know your body and learn to recognize negative symptoms of too much caffeine. If you start noticing that you feel jittery or anxious after that third cup, it’s time to cut back. Pregnant or nursing mothers should also limit their caffeine consumption.
So go ahead and enjoy that cup of coffee each morning. Just beware of the dangers of abusing caffeine in its many delicious forms.
What you should know about plastic.
Everywhere you look, you see something made of plastic. But it wasn’t long ago that plastic began to get a bad rap. Drinking out of plastic containers, eating food packaged in plastic, microwaving food in plastic dishes, or heating plastic baby bottles all became another cause for concern. Maybe you were one of those who threw away all your plastic Tupperware, plates, cups, and utensils altogether for fear you were poisoning yourself and your family.
However, a new type of plastic is available that advertises itself as a safe alternative and is deemed BPA (bisphenol A) free. But is this really a safe type of plastic? What about the many other types of plastic that package or touch our food? If you’re one of the millions concerned about the safety of plastic, here’s what you should know.
The Plastic Leak
Teeny tiny amounts of plastic get into your body from the food you eat. When plastic touches your food through preparation, packaging, or contact with dishes or utensils, it leaks out trace amounts. When plastic is heated or comes in contact with salty, fatty, or acidic foods, it releases even more chemicals.
Unfortunately, the health dangers of this leached plastic haven’t been adequately studied. Scientists can’t tell for certain how safe plastic is because it hasn’t been proven completely unsafe. They have determined, however, that two types of plastics known as BPA and phthalates are possibly dangerous. Most food or drink products made with these chemicals should be taken off the market.
Found in water bottles, baby bottles, and the lining of canned goods, BPA seeps into drinks, formula, and canned foods, and then into your body, and finally into your blood. Along with other plastic chemicals, BPA is harmful to your hormone levels—especially estrogen. Under investigation, this chemical may increase your risk for reproductive problems, heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems.
Limit your exposure to BPA by eating less canned goods and eating more fresh or frozen foods. Also, don’t feed your baby formula packaged cans or from a bottle containing BPA, and don’t drink out of plastic bottles made from polycarbonate. (They’ll be marked with a PC or a 7.) Instead, look for bottles labeled as BPA-free.
Phthalates Aren’t Preferred
Countless consumer products are made of phthalates and many foods are packaged in this type of chemical. (It is often used to cling-wrap deli meats, cheeses, and other foods.) Banned in Europe and nine other nations, phthalates are so common in the U.S. that particles are found in the air we breathe and trickle into the food we eat.
Similar to BPA, phthalates mess with your hormones, but phthalates affect testosterone. High levels of the chemical block testosterone from doing its job, lower sperm count, and cause genital abnormalities. Although officials say levels are too low to cause concern, you can make up your own mind.
The prevalence of phthalates makes it difficult to avoid, but you can limit your exposure by not buying products made of polyvinyl chloride that should be labeled PVC (think of the pipes in your house) or with a 3.
The same harmful chemicals used in certain plastics are also used in nonstick cookware. When these pots and pans are under high heat, they can release toxic chemicals into your food. They can also kill a pet bird.
Keep the following tips in mind to avoid these poisonous chemicals:
- Avoid preheating an empty nonstick pan on high heat. Cook your food at as low a temperature as possible.
- Keep your exhaust fan on over the stove while cooking.
- Use cast iron pots and pans if possible.
- Avoid eating fast food or microwave popcorn.
- Don’t put plastic wrap or plastic containers in the microwave.
- Buy a dishwasher with a stainless steel interior.
- Avoid plastics labeled with the numbers 3 or 7.
- Store food in glass containers.>
- Throw away any scratched plastic containers.
- Wash plastic dishes and utensils by hand.
Many plastics are declared by experts to be safe for your family, but until recently, so were BPA and phthalates.