Why the wrong type of training increased my body fat.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results and yet, the crazy thing is, we STILL continue to do it, don’t we? Ahhhh, the madness.

Okay, maybe we convince ourselves (because we all do it) that THIS time our way of running the show will finally work.  Just one more time.

If you’re stubborn and hard-headed like me (I do believe this is partly due to the Taurus in me) I will absolutely drive myself to insanity believing that my way is finally going to win.  Forget the naysayers!  I can prove them wrong!

But, what about when we look at the science behind why our way probably isn’t the most effective approach to achieving our goals?

Let’s take exercise for example because this is the first subject that popped up in my head that I was hell bent to prove otherwise.  Okay, obviously I’m not suggesting not to do a workout, that’s not it at all, but what I am saying is it’s all in HOW you do it that matters and here’s why.

If you’ve been following me for a while now, you know I was a total cardio junkie and was OB-sessed with doing more and more (enter insanity) expecting better results.  The excess exercise was my bread and butter, my livelihood and my identity.  Who was I without the shredded body, jacked arms, 10% body fat and missed periods?  Of course, now I can go at this with 100% conviction, we can work out all we want, train until our hearts are content but it comes down to this:

MORE ISN’T BETTER.  BETTER IS BETTER.  

Here’s where I’m going with this: while I was doing insane amounts of cardio, taking a “more is much better” approach, winging my strength sessions and constantly running on empty I was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.  Not to mention the copious amounts of ingested caffeine (prob should have just had an IV drip), little to no calories and lack of sleep, I was a recipe for disaster.  And yet, I couldn’t wrap my head around why:

I was gaining weight.  

Most importantly, I felt like total crap all the time, exhausted, run down, burned out and extra crispy on both ends.

I’ll never forget when I went to get my body fat levels tested a handful of years ago when I was in the depths of over-exercise, the man looked at me and said, “well, your weight is down but your BF levels are elevated.  What’s your training like?”
It wasn’t until I made that decision to create a total overhaul to my nutrition and training that my body finally started to change, and most importantly, I began to feel better.
The mistakes that I made are not at all uncommon. As a matter of fact, I believe the internet and social media has left things fuzzier than ever for women, as they are inundated with more bad information than ever. “Exercise MORE!  Eat LESS!”  
Here’s some all too common mistakes I see on a daily basis with my clients and other women:

  1.  They’re doing WAY too much cardio and conditioning, both in frequency and duration.  
    Listen, I’m not bashing cardio at all.  I love it and I think it’s amazing for our mood and heart, but sometimes I think we tend to take it a weeeiiii bit too far.  Especially when we start to see results, we think, “Oh….I just need a little more of that.”  Then, before we know it, we’re stuck knee deep in an obsession because we’ve conditioned our body that we have to do more to see any change.  Think about this:

Let’s say we start with just 20 minutes of cardio a few times a week along with strength training 3-4 times a week.  We might begin to see changes pretty quickly right?  But, what happens when we start to add more and more cardio?  We start to lose our precious muscle mass, our hormones start to get wonky and we constantly need to raise the bar to see any physique changes, yes?

Why tap out with excessive exercise when we can do the minimum and still get results, if not better ones?

Once we tap out at a high level of excessive cardio, think how much we have to continue to do to build off what we are already doing?  HOURS right?

  1.  Not doing any strength training because we don’t know where to start.  

We’d rather just hop on the cardio machines because we’re embarrassed others might view us as incompetent if we pick up those dumbbells on the weight room floor.  Just start small, I promise you will get there!  This is one of the exact reasons why I created all my online programs like ShapeHER Coaching, because we need to feel confident and comfortable rather than lost and clueless.  I cannot tell you how many women are afraid of the weights so they just avoid them at all costs.  I do think it’s important to get aa few wins under our belts before we leap in with the big dogs, especially if we’re just starting out.  All we really need to start is a set of dumbbells and a mat.  Boom, good to go.

  1.  We undereat. 
    We think in order to lose the weight we have to completely restrict the calories that we need to fuel our body.  (Think 1200 or less) While I do find it important to be in a slight calorie deficit for fat loss, it doesn’t need to be in excess.  We’re not meant to be starving all the time, constantly shoving gym and coffee in our mouths to cut food cravings.  Obviously, we need to eat, not starve ourselves and it’s just a matter of how much.  As I’ve discussed in other blogs of mine, here’s a quick calorie tip to consider…

For Fat Loss:  Take your current weight and X that by 10-12.
For maintenance: Take your current weight and X that by 15-16

If you want more info on fat loss tips, check out my blog HERE.

Just to recap, more isn’t better, better is always better.  First, take a look at your training routine. Are you on the cardio machines more than needed or are you also incorporating those important strength training sessions into your exercise routine?  If you feel clueless about where to start, I highly suggest checking out my inner circle, ShapeHER Coaching.  Every single workout can be done from home so I can promise your confidence factor with weight training will increase after a few workouts!  Finally, check your calories, are you eating too little?  If so, it’s time to adjust and I can promise you won’t gain weight.  You can view the simple calorie chart above to get an estimated guess.

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