The Best Exercise Routine for Fat Loss AND Why Your CURRENT Exercise Routine Isn't Helping You Lose Weight
by Amanda Jane Snyder
You've been exercising for a while now with no changes to your body composition and you're wondering what's going on.
There's a few reasons why your exercise routine might not be assisting in weight loss. Let's break it down.
1. You're not actually consistent
One of the biggest mistakes I see with weight loss tied to exercise is the lack of consistency. Often times if we have a goal solely to lose weight, it can remain hard to keep consistent. Especially if the exercise you're gearing towards is high intensity or boot camp style workouts. Those workouts seem to be appealing for people losing weight because of how intense and challenging they are. But if you're new to exercise, these boot camp classes will probably leave you feeling so sore the next day that you won't be able to walk let alone exercise. It's hard to remain consistent if the workout is so hard that it leaves you so sore that you can barely walk for a week.
OR, what I also see happening often is exercise as a motivation for weight loss only lasts until the weight is lost, and then the exercise routine drops off, causing people to gain the weight back. If you're working out only for the result then you won't be able to maintain it.
Instead, create a fitness routine that is achievable 3-5 days a week. It should be something that becomes a part of your daily routine, and something that evolves over the course of your life. Find something that you can keep doing forever and weight loss will happen and more importantly, you'll be able to maintain it.
2. You're eating back your calories
The simple answer to losing weight is reducing your calorie intake from food and increasing your calorie expenditure through exercise. In this day and age we have so many calorie and fitness trackers that report data to help us get an idea of our daily activity. The problem with these devices is that they vastly over report on calorie burn. Reports are also showing that people tend to under report their calories. Usually calorie logging is between 10-35% off, even for health professionals and dietitians. It's impossible to be 100% accurate with our food logging or to know how many calories we're burning throughout the day.
One of the biggest mistakes I see with weight loss is clients eating back the calories they burned through exercise. Even if we're burning a great deal of energy through exercise, the best way to lose weight is by decreasing our calorie intake by 200-500 calories regardless of exercise. Because our tracking is most likely already off, sticking to your calorie intake regardless of calorie burn is important.
I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "you can't out train a bad diet". This is a simple, but accurate rule. We're exercising hard and so we should refuel our body with nutrient dense whole foods. Take care of your body by replenishing your body well.
3. You're focusing so much on weight loss rather than building muscle and getting strong
Did you know that the more muscle you have the better you are at burning fat?
If you have more muscle, your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate, put simply, your metabolism, is higher. If two people were laying side by side, not moving, simply just breathing, the person with greater muscle mass will burn more calories while laying down and doing nothing than the person with less muscle and more fat. Your muscles work for you while at rest.
I've seen it time and time again, a lot of people will start a workout routine and immediately resort to excessive cardio. Cardio is fantastic exercise for our heart health, and our mental health to name a few, but it is NOT the optimal exercise routine to implement if you're looking to lose weight. In fact, too much cardio can put you at risk of losing muscle especially if not fueling properly.
Focusing on building strength and gaining muscle is a much better goal to lose FAT rather than just overall weight. Which actually, might not reflect as weight loss on the scale even if your body composition is changing.
There are plenty of ways that exercise, outside of weight loss, can greatly improve your life.
My client Isabel said, "I think the mobility work has been the glue -that was what was missing from my practice all together and it has helped me tremendously in building flexibility from an activated place."
Exercise increases energy levels.
Exercise increases a sense of accomplishment.
Exercise improves sleep.
Exercise helps regulate your hunger hormones.
Exercise reduces stress and anxiety.
Exercise reduces the risk of injury and chronic pain.
Exercise improves your heart function.
Exercise improves your body's sensitivity to insulin.
Exercise improves self-esteem.
Exercise improves body image.
Exercise improves mental focus.
Exercise improves strength.
Exercise improves digestion.
Exercise improves menstrual cramps and symptoms.
Exercise improves coordination.
Exercise improves mobility, range of motion, and flexibility.
Exercise can create a sense of community.
There are so many reasons to exercise outside of weight loss. When we focus on those exercise actually becomes more sustainable. When we focus on the impacts outside of weight loss, we can maybe even start to enjoy it. And overtime, with consistency and effort, the weight just might start to melt away without us even knowing it.
Explore exercise that works for you. Make it a habit. Make it a part of your life. Make it a part of your routine.
Amanda Jane Snyder is a Certified Nutrition Coach, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and Mindset Coach living in Brooklyn, NY. She has been vegan since 2016. She specializes in Strength and Conditioning for Actors, Singers, and Dancers.
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