Exercising But Not Losing Weight
There seems to be a common complaint amongst individuals participating in weight loss strategies. Many individuals raise the concern that they are exercising regularly and eating properly but are still not losing the weight.
The truth is that eating properly and exercising is often a very relative and general statement. If we are going to be perfectly honest with ourselves, I am absolutely certain that we could all admit that we are capable of putting in a much greater effort in regards to our diet and the intensity of our regular exercise routine.
Complete body health and mental wellness is a lifestyle. The weight loss only occurs when you stop looking at the scales and find an activity or exercise regime that you enjoy, and the intake of food is viewed as a fuel source and not something to feed emotions or occupy time.
If you are concerned that you are not losing the weight, the first stage to investigate will be your diet. Many individuals focus so much of their energy on burning off the calories, that they do not take the time to consider what they are actually using to fuel their bodies. A properly loaded diet is at least eighty percent of the battle. Whilst the exact food sources you should be consuming will depend heavily on your body type and metabolism, a good rule of thumb is to stick to all natural and raw produce.
Consume the bulk of your starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, brown rice, and grains on days when you perform strength training or high intensity training. On the rest days or when you are performing light cardio training, try to consume just protein and vegetables. Be strict in avoiding bread, sugar, and all other processed food types. If you are eating from a can or packet, pay careful attention to the label, look at foods containing the least ingredients. If you cannot pronounce it, then it is probably not something you should be putting in your body.
If you have already addressed these dietary concerns and strongly believe that you are eating clean, but you are still not losing the weight, it may be the case that you are simply consuming too much. In order to encourage successful weight loss, the body requires a calorie deficit, simply meaning that you need to burn more than you consume. Seriously try to resist the between meal snacking, if you must snack then keep on hand some ‘healthy cheats’ such as whole food snack bars containing nothing artificial or better still some fruit. The moment you feel as though you are depriving yourself is the moment you may get the urge to binge.
There is no doubt that cardio exercises are a necessary component to your workout regime, it boosts your metabolism, strengthens the entire cardiovascular system, and provides you with a good sweat (sweating is the bodies indicator that fat is burning). As beneficial as cardio training is for weight loss, many individuals focus too much on only performing cardio exercises, or doing them for too long. Extended periods of performing cardio exercises such as regular twenty kilometer runs can actually deteriorate the lean muscle mass which is necessary for increasing metabolism to burn calories. These extended cardio sessions cause the body to become more endurance focused, therefore storing energy as fat to ensure there is sufficient reserve fuel to provide the body for all those kilometers. Not to mention it significantly increases the appetite making the individual more susceptible to unnecessary snacking or overeating.
It is certainly not my intention to discourage cardio training, but to point out that cardio training by itself can be detrimental to your weight loss goals. The recommended method to building more lean muscle is to perform strength training exercises in addition to your cardio training routine. If you really enjoy bike riding or running for reasons other than losing weight, then by all means do not stop, but if your primary goal is weight loss, then there must be more variety in your training routine. The more muscle tone, or lean muscle mass your body acquires, the more fat you will burn. Brief intervals of high intensity are very effective for creating a hormonal response that forces the body to burn calories for hours after you have stopped working, it is often referred to as excess post exercise oxygen consumption, or after-burn, and is ideal for those looking at reducing body fat percentage.
In the interest of breaking out of the endurance type training method, try adding some interval training by performing high intensity short bursts of all out effort into your regular session. If you can read a magazine while using the treadmill, then you are in endurance mode, you should be including high intensity interval training. High intensity interval training means working at 95 percent of your maximum for between 20 and 40 seconds on the treadmill, bike or rower, then back to regular pace for 60 - 120 seconds. You would only need to perform this activity twenty times and your cardio training is done. Now it is time to add resistance training to your routine. Weight resistance like push ups, squats, and lunges are ideal for preparing your body to lift actual weights.
Realistically there is no exact equation to working out and eating healthy, it is basically a matter of trial and error for each individual to find out exactly what works best for their body. The more time spent exercising does not equate to a fit and healthy individual. Your workout routines should be focused more on intensity and correct form rather than duration. It is imperative to capitalize on your time spent training, in the gym, or fitness class so you can achieve that desirable after-burn condition which keeps your metabolism peaking for up to 48 hours.
When achieving the desired after-burn condition and you are really feeling the effects from your workout the next day, then these are the days to concentrate on working different muscle groups. Or, if in the case that you prefer to work out your whole body during each of your workout sessions, it is time to establish a workout routine where you work your entire body one day and then take the next day to recuperate by only doing light cardio, stretching, or complete rest. Recovery days are just as important as workout days when looking to achieve weight loss. If the after-burn effect is achieved then it is during these recovery periods that your body does most of the actual fat burning. So always allow yourself time to recuperate so you are ready to work hard again the following day.
Physical activity for the purpose of achieving weight loss of body tone is certainly a stressor to the body. When you encounter a healthy balance of exercise related stress and recovery time, your body is able to function efficiently by repairing, growing stronger, and expelling toxins such as excess fat. Not giving your body adequate time to recover can produce detrimental side effects such as the excessive production of the stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone is both normal and essential when exercising or working out to give the muscles the energy required to continue moving. However, when the body is exposed to elevated levels of cortisol for extended periods of time, it begins to cause harmful effects like weight gain, diminished immune function, and chronic disease risk.
Physical exercise isn’t the only stressor that can produce elevated levels of cortisol, a stressful personal or professional life can also cause the body to produce too much of this hormone. When you cease your exercise routine, your body stops producing cortisol, however, it may not be quite as easy to turn off the mental stressors going on elsewhere in your lifestyle. Try to also address your mental and emotional health in addition to your physical health. We should all be striving for total body health and wellness.