Hello lovely people!
What is the biggest mistake you are making when training for fat loss? For a moment, let’s forget about your nutrition and talk specifically about your workouts. Are you being consistent, following a plan and still not seeing results?
This is the reason why: It’s been scientifically proven, on a number of occasions. We’ve been reading this literature for years and I’ve tried and tested both theories on myself, and my clients.
The culprit is steady state cardio and aerobics. I love it but I hate it. I love going out for a nice steady run, enjoying the park, the sunshine and getting a dose of inspiration. It’s by no means easy. You get sweaty. Hot. All the fun stuff that comes with a workout. I’m tired but not exhausted. Just happy.
So what’s the problem with this workout and WHY am I not losing body fat? Here is the dark side of steady state cardio and aerobics. I hate it because it seems like it would be the best way to lose fat. You spend 30-40 minutes with your heart rate elevated, but it’s far from your capacity. You’re putting in an effort, but in a way you are disconnected. At least it’s good for your heart.
So can’t you just go out for a run to lose fat and get fit? Simple answer is no.
The reality of the fat loss cardio myth really hit home for me after I ran a marathon. The part that really got me was the training time vs training effect. I would run for 2-3 hours most weekends training for a marathon, averaging 30-45 miles a week. Sure I was in fantastic cardiovascular shape and I was losing weight. But not body fat!!
My muscles were disappearing, my arms and stomach were soft – kind of like marshmallow – even though I was doing resistance training! Most long run workouts would burn 1300-2000 calories. That’s a LOT. I did a number crunch after the last NY marathon just because I love stats. I burnt 49,289 calories in 3 months of endurance running training which in theory, equals 14 pounds of fat! So that didn’t happen.. And I was amazed at how little body fat I lost. However, this was the final nail in the aerobics coffin.
In fact, you have to be extra careful not to overeat calories when training for an endurance event. Many people think it’s an opportunity to enjoy an open buffet of carbs at every meal. You see, it will make you hungry and doing high volume steady state exercise can potentially backfire on you. I remember when I started endurance training, I would wake up in the middle of the night absolutely starving. By 4am I was so hungry I could eat 1000 bagels. OK maybe not that many, but I was really hungry. If you’re not careful, you can very easily overeat. So if anything, I think steady state exercise makes fat loss MORE difficult. You really need to watch your calorie intake.
How Can This Be Happening?
That’s exactly what I thought. Unfortunately, your body is against you in the quest to lose fat. You see, it wants to be efficient as possible. This means it will adapt to whatever exercise you are doing, in order to reach equilibrium and maintain efficiency. So how does this relate to you — when you start working out or change your program, you will see changes in your body within the first 1-2 months. Remember results vary and everyone is different. But, if you continue to do the same workouts, same intensity (like steady state cardio) along comes the dreaded plateau. You will no longer see results and your body becomes an efficient fat-storing machine.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE running (I’m actually addicted) and I have nothing against aerobics. But — I only do long steady state workouts if I’m training for an endurance event, like a half or full marathon. I know I probably won’t lose body fat and that’s fine because it’s not the goal. To fuel this amount of endurance training you need carbs, carbs, carbs. And trust me, if you decide to cut back and short change yourself – it’s no fun hitting the wall at mile 20.
So think about your goal. To complete an endurance event (a race longer than 60 minutes), you need to do steady state aerobics. But, if your goal is to lose body fat and get in great shape, the best workouts are… coming to your inbox on Monday!
Find out how I managed to get my muscles back and fat-burning machine switched on post marathon.
I’ll be back with the BEST workout solution for fat loss on Monday. Get excited!!
Have an awesome weekend!