This question comes from one of my class participants in Aqua Power last night. I'm sure everyone at some point has yelled this at their scale. You've been working out for weeks and you've hit this "weight wall".
Well what you've done is gotten over that initial weight/water loss that comes from that first 2 weeks of working out. Now that your body is getting into the workout groove...it feels like the weight loss has stopped which it hasn't really.
There are many reasons why your body isn't losing weight. For the sake of this post I'm talking about the beginner that's in about week 3 or more of working out. This isn't the advanced exerciser that may be experiencing a plateau.
The main reason is probably because your body is building muscle and muscle weighs more then that fat you were carrying around. You'll see a point that the scale doesn't seem to be cooperating with you...but actually as you gain muscle and lose that fat, your scale will show a slow down or increase and that's due to the increase in muscle.
Another main reason. When you exercise, you are creating inflammation in the body as the muscles are worked and healing themselves constantly after every workout. If your workouts include a lot of strength training, you'll experience a bit more aches due to the muscles breaking down and then repairing themselves. This process will cause a little inflammation in the body which increases the fluid/water retention in the body as a whole. This retention of fluids will show up on the scale.
Another main reason that some people see no obvious weight loss on the scale is due to an injury that the body is trying to heal. If you have allergies...or head cold or a simple scratch on your leg. The body will use all of it's "energy" to healing and not in weight loss. This idea goes hand in hand with the previous process of muscle gain. The process of building muscle strength is also a "healing" process. The body views this as a healing process and will concentrate on healing the muscle before expelling fat cells.
So just be patient and keep going with your program. The best investment is a scale that measures weight, fat % and water %. You then have a measurement to go by each week and know that an increase in your water % is a good thing.
Also...don't rely on that weight number. How are your clothes fitting? Last night the person with this question then said her arms are more toned. So I explained all of this and then said that visual weight and how you fit in your clothes is the real bonus. It's not what the scale says you number is...it's how you feel and how you fit into your clothes. That' the real scale!
Leave a comment on how you handle the scale not "moving"
It's a common problem that both men & women have, and it's basically the roll of fat around the midsection that spills over the top of pants or maybe keeps you from wearing that tiny bikini.
No Such Thing as Spot Reducing
First of all remember that you can't just lose the fat in one spot. Fat accumulates throughout the body and in some places more then others. The "trick" is to reduce your body's fat stores and build muscle at the same time. Note: The first place you gain the fat..will be last place your body will reduce.
HIIT Me! With the Correct Cardio
The correct cardio will burn fat...lazy cardio will just waste your time. Huh? If you are not being challenged by your cardio workout...then you will never lose fat, progress to the next level of a 6-pack or change your body shape.
The best cardio is something that you will do 3-5 times a week..enjoy...and will feel challenged every time. For example, a leisurely stroll is a challenge to some..but for most people you would have to walk for hours to get some benefit.
The best cardio is that which involves intervals of exertion like HIIT. First of all...HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The concept is that you work out at 110% intensity for 35 seconds, and then take a 40 second break.
Example of HIIT workouts are in the TurboFire program.
Do this for about five or ten minutes, you will have kicked off the 'Afterburn' effect. That's where your body continues to burn fat for up to 24 hours after your workout, burning more than NINE times the fat you would burn doing traditional workouts.
You can incorporate some HIIT intervals into your strength training...or add HIIT to other cardio workouts. Also remember that women tap into fat stores for energy much more slowly than men, usually after 40 minutes of exercising, so aim for at least this, but ideally building up to an hour, three times a week.
Give Me Some Strength
It's not just about cardio for overall fat loss. Make sure your workout plan includes about 2-3 strength sessions per week. During strength training, your muscles "break down" and need to recover/repair. This action sequence forces your body's metabolism to kick it up due to the repair process.
Work it All Over!
Most people workout the main body parts and call it done. That roll of fat is all around the body...not just the sides or the front. Think of adding lateral movements like skaters, or back kicks..side kicks and core moves. Kickboxing is an excellent workout because you are twisting, cross punching, kicking front-side-back and working all the muscle from all sides. Not into kickboxing? Well then convert those moves to the pool. Same thing...do intervals of laps with some cross punches, scissor kicks and leg pendulums for ab/core work.
Not Just About the Gym
Ok so here's the deal. Toxins are anything that is "foreign" to the body. In today's world this includes: processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, too many animal products or acidic foods, pollution, sugar and smoking to name a few. As a survival technique, our bodies try to protect us and keep toxins away from our vital organs by wrapping water, fat and cholesterol around them. This is then stored, particularly around our middle and hips.
Avoid those toxins but also eat a diet that includes colorful fruits and vegetables, avoid all processed sugars and foods, eat good essential fats, and make sure to take in enough protein to help the body repair and recover from activities.
Removing those toxins from the body is done with water..and sweat. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of pure water per day. More or less depending on how you feel and your energy level. This does not include sugar added-vitamin waters..or energy drinks or anything else that has sugar in it. Read your labels. So for a 150lb active woman, she would try to drink about 75oz of water per day.
This is a big culprit for women. Cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress, encourages the body to release blood sugar or glucose into the bloodstream to give us energy for the 'fight or flight' response. If we use this energy to get away from a physical danger, there is little chance for this sugar to be stored as fat, but if it is released repeatedly through stress, the increased blood sugar will be ultimately stored as fat.
The female hormone estrogen causes fat to be stored around the pelvic region anyway, so getting stressed makes matters worse. Try to stay calm
STAND UP STRAIGHT!
Having and promoting a strong core will make your middle look better and ultimately be better toned. Yoga and Pilates will help, but basic correct posture is even more important. This means sitting or standing tall, and pulling inwards and upwards by tensing your core muscles (stomach, lower back and hips) throughout the day. Over time, using these 'core muscles' regularly will work wonders.
SPA-AWAY THE FAT:
This goes back to the toxins in the body. By stimulating the cells, toxins (aka: FAT) can be released. This is done as we've said already by drinking water and through sweating. But if you want to further shed those fat cells think in terms of massage, spa baths & exfoliation.
Massage and exfoliation work the same. The idea is to stimulate circulation throughout the body and expel cellular toxins. At home you can exfoliate using a dry brush or body scrub and start in a circular pattern on the extremities and moving toward the heart. Then finish with a great Salt Bath using Epsom Salts which reduce muscle fatigue, and also rid the body of excess fluids including fat!
Teri Lang Patterson
Certified Fitness Instructor & Coach specializing in Aqua Power Training, Kickboxing, Weight Training & Yoga.
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