Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I workout ALL THE TIME. Why Can't I get Results?

Fat Loss Troubleshooter

"I've been a so-called "athlete" for 10 years. I have participated in tons of road races, hikes, climbs, you-name-it.

Even though I continue to add new workouts and routines to lose the excess pounds I've gained over the last 3 years, the fat will NOT budge.

I thought lifting weights, running, and hiking every day would help me lose weight, but I've only gained more weight.

I am starting to realize that maybe my body can't lose weight if I never take a day off. The problem is, I never FEEL like I need a day off. My body is so used to my routine that I feel incredibly lethargic and out-of-sorts if I don't get 2-3 hours of exercise a day.

You're probably wondering when I have the time to get that kind of exercise...let's just say that I cram it in any way I can---especially in the early morning hours, before my baby is awake. But then I take my boy everywhere, too...he even goes hiking with me. I carry him in my baby-pack thing. Is that insane? Probably. But I live in a country where I walk EVERYWHERE, so I am used to this kind of active lifestyle.

I am scared silly that if I stop running every day that I will just get fatter. And yet I know in the back of my mind that my current body is NOT what it could be, and more exercise is NOT working.

My eating habits are usually pretty good. I can't seem to stop gaining fat, though!

What is wrong with me?
Could it really be all the exercise?
But then why are most competitive athletes so lean?" ~ Rachel, 31, Mom of one

"Hi Rachel,

Good for you for stepping forward and looking for an answer.
You are at the point in your life where what you have been trying is no longer working, you are not alone.

As you begin to search for a solution, know that it is not fair to compare yourself to athletes.
Many are genetically gifted, many take steroids or tons of supplements. Plus, "athletes" - is such a broad term for they are all so different. Their methods of training are for very different goals and are not relevant to you and what is best for your body.

When it comes to your ability to see results, there could be several factors at play.

I am just going to through a few ideas out there and hopefully one or more will help you see a solution that you can take and use to make a difference.

When it comes to results- consistency is key.

It is more than just trying a new workout here or there and all about sticking to one plan that becomes progressively challenging. When you follow through with consistency you will be in a better position to measure your progress and make adjustments that help you move towards your goals.

Doing more exercise each and every day is not going to get you to your results faster. This is a common misconception that many moms fall prey to.

More is not better.
Choosing a more effective workout plan is.

You are seeing first hand that working out for 2-3 hours a day is actually taking you further away from your goals. Reorganize your time to instead focus on an intense and challenging workout that is completed in a reasonable time - about 30 minutes- that focuses on a total body approach.

You also want to be sure when you include resistance training, to allow days in between for recovery. Your body must have a chance to repair itself in order to respond in a positive way - shed fat and increase lean muscle. Working out for 2-3 hours everyday will only lead to over training, burnout and put you at risk for an injury.

Living an active lifestyle is not a bad thing and no fitness plan you choose to follow should ask you to give this up.

In fact, it is highly encouraged that you ARE active every day. The difference is, simply being active is not to the same intensity level as your regular workout routine.

Please note, being active on a daily basis is not what will cause you to gain fat.

Being active will only help you to lose fat if you are in a caloric deficit.....and the only way we find ourselves NOT in a caloric deficit is when we are taking in more calories that we are burning.

For the activity level you have described above, you would most likely be in a caloric deficit IF your nutrition plan is on track.

The next step is to keep a detailed food log.
You cannot change what you do not know exists.

There are 2 possible scenarios here -

1. It may be that you are not eating enough, when your body is starved, it goes into survival mode, will slow your metabolism disrupting your caloric deficit and causing you to store more fat.

2. It may be that you are eating plenty, or too much. Sometimes we take eating healthy for granted. Just because a food is "good for you" doesn't mean we should neglect the amount of food we eat. If you were eating the right amount and the right types of food, with the activity level that you share you engage in every day, you would be losing, not gaining.

As you can see, there could be several reasons why you are not seeing results. In the process of troubleshooting, you will come to find that it is never just "one thing" - rather a combination of habits that we must adjust in order to see the results we are after.

So please take some time to honestly evaluate the other factors that come into play in order to make adjustments and finally see the results you have been working so very hard to achieve.

As a final note....and I know you are making an effort to try something different.....think about the 2-3 hours you spend each day, getting nowhere, and how a lot of this time could be spent on things that do give you a return, that do enhance your life." ~ Holly Rigsby

Where Moms turn for support and guidance
as they strive to reclaim their pre-baby body.

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