Spinning your wheels and going nowhere – especially if every turn of that wheel is costing you time, effort, and a wasted opportunity to relax instead – can be one of the most frustrating experiences you can go through. One of the most popular complaints that women have who are exercising to lose weight is that, even though they are exercising every week, they just aren’t seeing any weight loss results.
Why would anyone want to keep doing something that isn’t working the way you want it to? If your current exercise routine isn’t giving you the weight loss results you’re after, it’s time to do something about it: you have to SuCk It uP!
C hange it.
I nvestigate where the problem lies.
P rogress forward with a new approach.
In order for exercise to be worthwhile, it has to be effective at getting you what you’re after: weight loss that has you looking better, feeling better, moving better and that improves your health. Without being able to see results from your hard work, it’s virtually impossible to stay motivated and positive.
Use these tips to ensure that all the time and effort you’re putting into your exercise is leading you to a better life, rather than just leading you down another road of wasted time, wasted effort, and more dead-end weight loss disappointment.
Your Guide to Exercise that Actually Burns Fat
1. Create Strategies to Keep Yourself Committed to Your Own Weight Loss Success
Whether you are exercising with a trainer, going to a weekly workout class, or are going at it alone, an important factor comes into play: the only one who really has the power to push you is YOU. Many women find that it’s difficult to keep themselves committed to a regular workout schedule, to stay motivated, or to push themselves to the next challenge level in order to avoid plateaus and sliding backwards. So it’s extremely important to come up with some strategies that will ensure that you’ll keep at it, that you won’t give up and that you’ll keep moving forward.
Come up with strategies that create a sense of responsibility to get the job done, and make you answerable to yourself when you don’t. Here are some ideas:
- Set workout reminders and alarms in your smart phone or computer that tell you it’s time to stop what you’re doing and go workout. Right. NOW.
- Put up a workout log sheet on your fridge or in another place that you see regularly, where you write in the day, time, and exercises performed for each workout.
- Make a star chart for yourself (they’re not just for kids!), and give yourself a star for every week that you’ve completed every workout. Give yourself a monthly reward for every time you’ve earned yourself an entire month of stars.
2. Is What You’re Doing Really WORKING for You?
Your time and hard work are valuable. If the time and work you’re putting into exercising to lose weight isn’t producing results, than it means you’re wasting your valuable time and effort. This is why it’s crucial to know if what you’re doing is actually working, and to not be complacent about changing directions and trying a different approach if you see that it’s not.
This is where tracking your progress comes in.
Many women like to measure their results from week to week. However, measuring every two weeks may be more helpful, as lifestyle and body fluctuations can make weekly results a bit jagged, causing needless confusion about whether or not you’re actually losing weight.
There are also several different methods of tracking progress. However, whichever one you prefer, the key is to stay consistent, both with the method, the day of the week you measure on, the time of day, and the clothing you wear each time.
Using a bathroom scale is the most common approach to tracking weight loss, but the truth is that the bathroom scale is often the most misleading and frustrating part of the weight loss experience. This is because regular bathroom scales don’t only register weight from body fat alone; they also register weight from your organs, water weight and muscle tissue. Water weight changes from day to day, from hour to hour, and these fluctuations on the bathroom scale can lead you to believe that you’ve either lost body fat or gained body fat, when you’ve actually done neither. Further, an increase on your bathroom scale could be a bad thing or a good thing – but you have no way of knowing which is what. Your “weight gain” could mean that you’ve gained body fat, or it could mean that you’ve gained more muscle tissue – a gain in body fat means what you’re doing is backfiring, whereas a gain in muscle tissue means your body is burning more fat and that you’re succeeding. Without knowing what your results actually mean, you have no idea whether you’re heading closer or further from your dream body, and whether you should stick to your routine or change what you’re doing.
- Measuring how many inches you’ve lost in key body areas (neck, upper arms, forearms, bust, chest, waist, hips, and thighs).
- Measuring percentages of body fat and lean muscle. Body fat percentages allow you to see specifically how much fat tissue you are losing and how much fat-burning muscle tissue you are gaining. You can measure body fat percentage by purchasing calipers, a handheld bioelectric impedance (BIA) meter, a BIA scale, or by having a personal trainer or fitness center do the measurements for you.
- Selecting one or two pieces of clothing and trying them on once every two weeks. Watch how they fit differently from week to week. This is a more subjective way of judging progress, but it can be equally satisfying, especially when it’s a beautiful dress or pair of jeans that you’ve been dreaming about fitting in to for a long time.
Whichever method you choose to track your progress, be sure to place the measurements in an organized chart that allows you to easily see if you are improving, and that you stay consistent with how and when you take measurements. Give yourself three to four weeks to assess whether your weekly, consistent exercise routine is winning you fat loss or whether it’s not making enough of a difference. If, after three to four weeks, your weight loss results aren’t changing, than it’s time that your exercise routine does.
3. Know When It’s Time to Move On
It’s time you were let in on an important secret about weight loss. It may be hard to swallow at first, but it could change your entire outlook on exercise and women’s weight loss.
Unfortunate fat fact: Your body doesn’t want you to succeed at weight loss. Your body is naturally programmed to gain – not lose – fat. Your body wants to hold on to fat as a mode of survival. A weight loss plan will only be effective if it re-programs your body to burn fat for survival instead of storing it. Doing the right kind of exercise is your chance to do just that. The right exercise forces your body to burn up your body fat as a source of fuel, and to use the food you feed it to build up a powerful internal fat-burning machine – muscle – that prevents future fat from being stored.
How do you do this if your body would much rather hang on to fat instead? You have to prove to your body that you need muscle more than fat. You do this through challenging your body to do things it can’t do without a better, stronger system of muscles than what it’s already got. The key word here is challenging. If the exercise you’re doing isn’t truly challenging – if you don’t feel your heart rate quicken, if you can get through the entire set of exercise without huffing for breath or struggling to lift that weight through the final reps – than investing food calories into muscles instead of fat just isn’t worth it for your body. In other words, you haven’t succeeded in convincing your body to let go of its fat after all. And so it won’t. And you won’t lose weight.
This means that knowing when to raise the bar for yourself and make your workouts more challenging – by increasing how much weight you are using, doing more repetitions, doing a more difficult version of an exercise, trying a different and higher impact form of the exercise, etc. – is extremely important if you want to see continued weight loss success. Doing the same thing week in and week out is tempting, but it’ll eventually bring your weight loss to a disappointing halt.
The cliché is true: no pain, no gain. If you can get through your workout without a real struggle, than it’s time to increase the challenge level.
4. Let Go of the Spot Reduction Myth – Exercise Every Major Body Part to Get Real Weight Loss Results.
It’s natural – and logical – to want to focus your exercise only on the body parts you’re unhappy with, like your tummy, back side or thighs. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t work that way; it won’t reduce fat in the spots you want it to first. Body fat gets burned off from the inside out – your body burns off the deepest layers of fat first, and then works its way out towards the layers of fat and cellulite just below your skin. To get this process going, you have to do activities that will get your heart rate up and that will gain you as much muscle all over your body as you can encourage. This means you have to train all of your major muscle groups – your core abdominal muscles, your back, your arms, your chest and your leg muscles – to get the fastest and most efficient fat-blasting results. Not only does a total-body training approach help you lose more fat, but it also helps to create a more attractive and balanced looking body shape.
Create a weekly workout schedule that targets different body part exercises on different days. Perform cardio exercises every day or every second day. For strength training and muscle development, focus on different body parts on different days of the week. For example, perform core exercises (stomach and back exercises) on day 1 of your exercise schedule, perform upper body exercises (chest, arms and shoulders) on day 3, and perform lower body exercises (thighs, buns and back of the legs, and calves) on day 5. Give each body part at least 48 hours of rest before you work it again, so that it has a chance to rest, re-strengthen, and to give your metabolism a boost before you work it again.
Exercise is energizing, satisfying and invigorating – but let’s face it: it’s also a lot of hard work, involving a major investment of your time and effort. To stay motivated and keep forging ahead with your weight loss and body goals, it’s important to make each exercise session count for something, so that you can reap the rewards from this investment in the end. Using a systematic approach like this one for your exercise ensures that you are actually moving forward, day by day, step by step, towards the better life that you are working so admirably to create for yourself.