Tag Archive for #betterisbetter

3 Tools to Ensure Your Exercise Is Actually Helping You Lose Fat

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I’m so excited to share today’s blog post from my business coach and fellow fitness pro, Jill Coleman.

 

I first came across Jill’s work back in 2013, and was immediately impressed by her down-to-earth, reasonable, get results approach to fitness and nutrition.

After being exposed for years to the all-or-nothing approach to eating and exercising–you know, the EAT CLEAN (or else!) and exercise like a figure contest competitor as the best/only way to get ‘fit’–it was a relief to find someone who ‘lived in the middle’ but still got amazing results.

Plus, she openly admitted she enjoys having wine–and not just once a month. It was the first time I’d heard a fitness pro in social media say that!

Not only is Jill a fantastic mindset and business coach, she’s also a hell of an athlete who’s been a varsity sports star, rowed crew in college, taught group fitness classes, competed in figure competitions and has done some fitness modeling as well.

Bottom line: the woman knows how to get results–ones that both increase athleticism and sculpt some sweet-looking muscles (that’s what having a sports AND physique background will do!), while honoring our hormonal balances and metabolism.

Enjoy the read and her fantastic advice.

 

3 Tools to Ensure Your Exercise Is Actually Helping You Lose Fat

 

Thank you, Kate, for letting me take over your blog today! I love getting to talk about how to incorporate exercise that actually gets results (!!!), especially for women that have zero time, so this will be fun 😉

 

Many years ago, when I was in my early 20s working at my local Golds gym, over a 2-year time span, I saw something really interesting happen. At the time, I didn’t understand it, by now I do:

 

There was this woman who’d just started exercising when I joined, and her name was Sheryl.

 

Sheryl was pretty overweight when she began, but was showing up every day. And I remember being super impressed with her dedication and consistency.

 

She’d come in, get on the elliptical, sweat it out for an hour, then do some weight machines for about 20 minutes and then leave, red-faced, having worked her tail off. Man, I remember thinking, “She’s crushing it! It’s so impressive!”

 

It was at this same time that I was starting out in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, and teaching more fitness classes, getting into the gym early to get my own workout in before training clients and spending more and more time there as a professional.

 

So Sheryl and I would cross paths daily and I couldn’t help but notice she was losing weight like a champ. What she was doing was working!

 

I’d compliment her on her progress, tell her how impressed I was and try to offer a little encouragement to keep going (not that she needed it!).

 

Fast forward a year later and Sheryl had lost over 60 lbs. Amazing. She was still showing up every day, doing an hour of cardio or more and leaving a pool of sweat behind her.

 

But over the following 6 months, I couldn’t help but notice something happening …

 

Sheryl started increasing her cardio time. Sixty minutes turned into 90. And then occasionally I’d see her at the gym at night too, taking fitness classes. Same day, two sessions.

 

Huh.

 

And then, within another 6 months after that, I noticed that she’d started gaining weight again.

The weight was creeping back on. She was exercising morning and night every day. Cardio in the morning, plus weights. A group fitness class or two at night. And yet the weight was coming back on.

 

I felt really sad for Sheryl, because of all the hard work and time she was dedicating to something that was seemingly no longer working.

 

I remember feeling so confused by this.

 

Though I never personal trained Sheryl, we got close during my fitness classes, and I asked her about her nutrition. She admitted that she is hungry all the time. She said she’d even come to the gym at night for hours to just stay out of the house that much longer to avoid eating. She described what Jade, at Metabolic Effect, calls “Continuous Meal,” when you eat from the second you get home all the way until bed time. She’d try to be good during the week, but the weekend turned into a free-for-all.

 

Sheryl was stuck in a cardio cycle: eating more, and then feeling the need to do even more cardio to burn off calories, and then because of so much exercise, she’d end up eating more and more. Aaaaaand repeat.

 

Her metabolism was no longer in the way it did in the beginning.

 

Marathon workouts led to excessive compensatory calorie intake, which then gave way to even more exercise as a way to make up for it. And so on.

 

This is a huge trap that not only doesn’t work, but can be extremely damaging to the metabolism over the long haul.

 

More exercise doesn’t equal linearly better results ad infinitum.

 

Just because you are burning calories doesn’t mean you are losing fat every second.

 

Why? Because your body is not a math equation. Things like hormones affect how your body looks and how it functions, how hungry you are, how intense your craving are for sugary, fatty, salty foods, the quality of your sleep, how you deal with stress, how tired you feel, and more.

 

The things all impact results.

 

You can think of your metabolism like tires on a car. The more miles you put on it—from stressors like long-duration, moderate-intensity cardio, cutting calories, going for long periods without eating, and the sheer mental stress of being obsessed with your food and exercise every second—the more the tires wear down. There’s not as much traction. There’s not as much responsiveness.

 

Your metabolism doesn’t just run at 100% all the time regardless of inputs.

 

And doing more and more exercise to try to outwork it is not a sustainable input.

 

Think about Sheryl spending literally 3+ hours a day at the gym, only to continue getting zero results, and even backsliding.

 

This is tough, because often when we are at a place where we are doing a lot of exercise, it has happened gradually (like with Sheryl, adding a little more over months and months) so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when we became mentally dependent on it and physically less responsive to it.

 

The key is getting the body responsive again, so that exercise is working for you, and not against.

 

How? Three tools:

 

  • Less minutes and more intensity.

 

Intensity is the driver of results. Not duration.

 

Why intensity? Because of hormones. When we exercise, the body releases both catabolic hormones that break down fat and muscle (like cortisol and adrenaline). And also, if the intensity of the workout reaches a specific threshold, we release anabolic hormones, too (like growth hormone and testosterone).

 

The latter are potent metabolic drivers that help us burn even more fat after the workout is over. And yes, testosterone is even important for women! It’s the thing that helps us hang on to our muscle—which is the body’s tissue that burns the most calories at rest. We need it, especially as we get older, or it’ll be even harder to not gain weight.

 

For optimal intensity (and resultant fat loss and body change), the research shows that 40 minutes of exercise MAX is the place where the body creates that hormonal sweet spot, that optimal hormonal soup.

 

The shorter the workout, the more intensely you can exercise. Which is why I love the new #treadLIFT program that I just released. All 30 minutes or less.

 

  • Take more rest during your workout.

 

Rest and recovery, both within the workout and between workouts is the #1 thing that predicts how intense the workout will be.

 

Think about it: if you are giving yourself rest (like in the case of interval training or weight training, where you take time between exercises), you’re more likely to push harder. If I asked you to sprint a mile, you would automatically pace. But to sprint for 30 seconds, you’d probably go all out.

 

The most effective workouts for fat loss and body change include many 30 second (for example) repeated bouts of high intensity following by rest. Not just one single, long, steady-state cardio bout. That’s a pacing workout and if we are talking about changing your body, it’s both ineffective and unsustainable.

 

Give yourself rest within your workout (by using a technique like Rest-based Training that we employ in #treadLIFT, for example) to ensure that you can push harder: push, rest, push, rest, etc.

 

  • Realize that exercise impacts hunger and cravings.

 

This, again, is a hormonal issue.

 

Excessive and chronically high cortisol, as a result of doing long-duration moderate-intensity cardio like Sheryl was, will increase appetite and cravings. And especially for highly palatable foods high in sugar and dietary fat—the exact things that will negate all that calorie-burning in an instant.

 

Adding more and more cardio to your routine is not benign.

 

And while you might be burning more calories in the workout, your metabolism starts to lag and down-regulate. It doesn’t just keep responding the same way.

 

And compensatory responses in the form of not only hunger and cravings, but adrenal burnout, fatigue, overtraining, lack of motivation, decreased libido, and depression can also occur.

 

Life is too short to spend hours a day on an elliptical, especially when the results you’re after can be had in a quarter of the time with rest + intensity + management of hunger and cravings.

 

Keep things short and intense for best results.

 

If you don’t believe that you can get great results in only 30 minutes, you haven’t been doing the right modes of exercise! In #treadLIFT, I combine intense cardio with effective weight training, all packaged in 30 minutes.

 

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#treadLIFT workouts are designed for fat burning, muscle building or cardiovascular performance, but all 36 workouts have one thing in common: they elicit the best results in the shortest amount of time. Guaranteed.

 

Get #treadLIFT this week only and join the hundreds of women who are already doing the workouts! Registration closes on Friday May 6th at midnight. Grab your copy HERE and start getting way more effective with your time in the gym.

 

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>>> GET TREADLIFT HERE http://bit.ly/rlfbykate_treadLIFT.

 

 

#treadLIFT

 

 

Should I even do cardio???

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Should I even do cardio?

What kind of cardio is the best?

How much should I be doing? 

 

These are questions that are coming up more frequently these days!

 

Maybe it’s the welcome changes in weather, warmer temps, more daylight hours in each day, or the promise of shorts and summer clothing being right around the corner…whatever the motivating factor is, questions—and opinions–about cardio are popping up everywhere.

 

So what kind of cardio should people do? And how much of it?

 

 

 

My answer is: it depends. (Surprise!!)

 

The kind of cardio you (choose to) do, and how much of that cardio you choose to do depends on:

  • How much time you have
  • What your body’s unique needs are
  • What your personal fitness or physique goals are
  • What you ENJOY doing

 

 

 

Now I’ve been working out for over 20 YEARS, but only working out effectively for the past 9.

 

 

In that time, I’ve tried lots of different classes, training programs, used a ton of cardio machines, and planned and taught boot camps, circuit training classes, and HIIT classes.

 

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So I’ve been able to experience personally and witness, first-hand, the effects of different approaches to ‘doing cardio.’

 

 

The past year, in particular, has been super enlightening and really changed the way I work out AND the results I’ve gotten (which translates to better workouts and results for my clients, too!).

 

 

Here’s what happened…by way of a quick story.

 

At the beginning of April, I participated in the Big Windy 25 Memorial Run, held in honor of the Chinook crew and service members who perished in a crash in Afghanistan in April 2005. The run raises funds to support T.A.P.S.: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors—an organization that supports the family members of fallen military service members. http://www.taps.org

 

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I’m telling you this because it was the first actual 5k I’d done in over 3 months, and I’m not sure I would have opted to run a 5k anytime soon if it hadn’t been for such a good cause.

 

 

 

Which is pretty funny, because I’ve been a long-time runner!

 

 

 

So what happened? Life happened, lol.

 

 

 

Actually, I phased out running last year after joining a CrossFit gym so I could participate in their kettlebell training program.

 

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For the first 4 months, I tried balancing 2-3 runs a week with 3 days of hard training, but it didn’t’ allow my body enough recovery time and I always felt achy, tired and sluggish.

 

 

 

My hormones didn’t respond favorably, either, and I wasn’t seeing the physique results one would expect from working out so much!

 

 

So I made the decision to stop running last summer and give my full attention and commitment to a 5-day kettlebell training program. And it was definitely the right decision!

 

 

I recovered better and faster, and I began to see dramatic improvements in my strength and endurance during my kettlebell, barbell and conditioning sessions.

 

 

The absolute icing on the cake??  My physique tightened up after resting more and working out less.

 

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Don’t’ get me wrong—there’s still been running involved in those workouts, but it’s been either an easy 400 meter warm up/cool down OR 100 to 200 meter sprints. And by sprints, I mean SPRINTS—all out efforts.

 

 

I’ll be honest—I was a little nervous about the prospect of running three miles—straight—with my husband, in a group of soldiers, since I hadn’t been running in a while. I was afraid I’d lost my running endurance and that I might embarrass myself.

 

 

But I was pleasantly surprised that my conditioning was more than adequate to run a strong 3 miles, and I was able to revisit that ‘meditative’ quality that running always offers me.

 

 

See, when I first started running, I ran to burn calories/lose weight.

 

 

Then, after I had kids, it was one of the most convenient ways to get some exercise (next to at-home dumbbell and bodyweight circuit training).

 

 

Plus, running truly saved my sanity and helped me calm strong fears and emotions for many years in a row, particularly during my husband’s deployments to Afghanistan.

 

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Those longer runs taught me endurance, to tolerate discomfort longer than I wanted. They helped me train my brain and gave me the chance to be alone with my thoughts. And that repetitive rhythm really is like meditation in motion!

 

 

Now sprinting makes my body happier than lots of longer runs each week.

 

 

Sprinting has caused me fewer repetitive use injuries, and I credit sprinting for reshaping my physique dramatically—my legs and glutes are shapelier, and my body has become much leaner all over.

 

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And, as I was reminded during that 5k, sprint workouts are just SO much more time-efficient!

 

 

 

That said, I’m going to find a way to work in a gentle run or two each week when it feels right, because yesterday’s run also reminded me how much I like the feeling of being in continuous motion—not because I need to burn more calories, lol.

 

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So once again, the kind of cardio you (choose to) do, and how much of that cardio you choose to do depends on:

  • How much time you have
  • What your body’s unique needs are
  • What your personal fitness or physique goals are
  • What you ENJOY doing

 

 

 

While the physique and performance effects of sprint workouts are both dramatic and pleasing to me, I wouldn’t continue to do them if I didn’t enjoy them.

 

 

The same goes for running: if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it.

 

 

My Bottom Line: I don’t ‘do cardio’ just for the sake of ‘doing cardio.’

 

And my recommendation to you:

Engage in workouts that are satisfying to you, constructive for your body, that work for your schedule, and supportive of your performance and physique goals.

 

If you’re not sure about what the right kind or amount of cardio is for you, then it might be helpful to answer a few questions:

What are your goals?

Do you have any injuries or inhibiting physical factors?

How much time do you have each day/week for workouts?

Do you like to exercise indoors or outdoors?

Do you enjoy cardio machines, or do you prefer classes?

Are you getting RESULTS from what you’re currently doing?

AND, most importantly, what do YOU like to do?

 

The way in which you answer these questions will help guide your choices about what kind of cardio to do (if any), how much, how long and how often.

 

And in case you’re looking for some new workout ideas, I send out time-saving workouts every Wednesday to my inner circle peeps, including some fun cardio training options.

 

If you’re not already on my email list, sign up here (and get a little bonus, too):  http://bit.ly/RLFWeeklyFitTips

 

 

Talk to you soon,

Kate