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