Logging extra miles in hopes of losing fat doesn’t always work. I know. It happened to me when I trained for and ran a marathon many years ago. I thought for sure with all of the extra running I was doing that it would be impossible for me NOT to lose weight. Boy, was I wrong! In fact, I think I got softer because I had to cut back on my strength training and ate the wrong foods at the wrong time.
Here are some things you can do that will help you stay on track and see great results when you start increasing your activity level.
1. Refuel within 30 minutes of intense workout (or a workout the is 90 minutes or longer). You probably don’t feel hungry right after a brutal workout, but this is when the magic happens! Shoot for 150-200 calories of a protein and carbohydrate. Keep the fat and fiber out of this meal because that will slow digestion (that is why fat and fiber is good in your other meals). Liquid is absorbed more quickly than solid food, but if you’re not a “drink my meals” kind of girl than eat something – just get it in! Not only will you recover faster, you will maintain muscle and eating now will prevent you from inhaling everything on the lunch menu. Prep this meal ahead of time so you don’t get side-tracked.
2. Upgrade quality of food, not quantity. It’s easy to fall into the “reward” trap. You worked really hard and sweat bullets so you think the extra French fries were earned. Nope. Put them down if you really want to see the effects of your hard work. Have organic berries instead of your usual banana for a snack.
3. Drink water. Yes, I know you know, but are you really drinking enough water? Besides feeling like you’re on the verge of a headache, you will feel hungry and your body can’t burn fat when you are dehydrated. Also, being dehydrated is stressful for your body so your belly fat-storing hormone, cortisol, will be elevated. Drink ½ your body in ounces of water.
4. Increase the amount of protein you eat. This is the number one recommendation I make across the board: Eat more lean protein. Most exercising women are not getting enough protein to support their new exercise habit. Shoot for .8-1 gram per pound of body weight. Egg whites, turkey and fish are some leaner choices of protein. Every meal and snack should contain protein.
5. Stop grazing. Plan your meals and eat only those meals. No more bits and bites here and there. It messes with your hormone levels, like insulin, and adds more calories than you really need.
6. Get enough sleep during the magic hours. Just two nights of poor sleep raises your hunger hormone, ghrelin, and lowers your leptin levels, the hormone that makes you feel full. Make sure you’re in bed and snoozing by 10:00 p.m. This ensures your recovery and rebuild hormones are elevated for as long as possible and your “break-down” hormones are suppressed when they should be.
7. Do intervals. It’s tempting to just get on the elliptical for 45 minutes and say “I’ve done my part”, but study after study has shown that interval workouts are superior for fat burning than steady-state cardio. People who do intervals burn nine times more fat than those who do steady state. If you are a beginner, start with a 1:3 ratio of hard work to recovery. In other words, sprint for 20 seconds and recover for 60 seconds. Your hard effort should be about 80-90 percent of your maximum ability.
If what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked, then you need to do something different. Call me to set up your Success Session so you get a plan in place with the support you need. Call 908-963-5257 today!