In this post I am going to list some of the most common questions I get in regards to health and fitness. These are not stupid questions, and I remember asking the same things when I first started out. I know how confusing it can be with all the misinformation out there, so hopefully this helps.
1. What is the best exercise to help me lose weight/body fat?
There is no one specific exercise that will help you to lose weight. As long as you are in a caloric deficit and are burning calories through exercise, then you will lose weight. This leads me on to another important point. Losing weight and losing body fat are not the same thing.
Weight loss refers to the number on the scale. Body fat refers to the amount of fat on your body which is measured by body fat calipers. So many people use these terms interchangeably, when they shouldn’t. Losing weight does not mean you are losing body fat and losing body fat does not mean that your weight will change on the scale.
When you are losing weight on the scale quickly or dieting while doing only cardio then you will be losing muscle along with fat. Yes you may weigh less on the scale, but you will still have excess body fat and decreased muscle mass which will only hurt your metabolism in the long run. If you want to lose body fat (which is measured as a %), the best way to do it is strength training combined with a macro controlled diet and low-moderate amounts of cardio. Weight loss is usually achieved slowly and your calorie deficit does not exceed 500 calories per day (3500 per week). This allows you to maintain your muscle (which in turn keeps your metabolism high) while losing body fat (and scale weight slowly). Sometimes you may not lose scale weight, but you may be smaller than you were before you started due to losing body fat and maintaining muscle.
If you need help calculating calories check out my page here.
2. What is the best exercise that will get rid of fat on my [insert body part here]?
I have said it once and I will say it again you cannot spot reduce. Where your body loses fat from comes down to genetics. Some people may lose weight in their thighs first and arms last, making their arms their trouble spot or vice versa. Unfortunately performing exercises to target your trouble spot will not make that area smaller. Your body will lose fat from where it is genetically programed to. Again, in order for this to happen, you need a macro controlled caloric deficit along with strength training and cardio.
3. How much cardio should I do?
This all comes down to a) preference and b) how your body responds to cardio. I’m not going to tell you how much cardio you should or should not be doing, all I can do is give you the facts on which type and how much cardio is recommended. Before deciding how much cardio you should do there are two things you should be aware of.
a) The more cardio you perform (especially if over 45 minutes) the more muscle you will be burning for fuel instead of fat.
b) HIIT (high intensity interval training) is the best way to burn excess body fat (and it takes a maximum of 20 minutes to perform).
I usually advise people to perform their cardio after their weight training, You can read the benefits of that here.
What do I do? I like to mix it up. I usually do two HIIT sessions a week (usually fasted as that is when I prefer to do it), one 45 minute fasted walk and two 20 minute cardio sessions following my weight training.
4. I have been eating 1200 calories and am not losing weight, help!
1200 calories is the absolute least amount of calories a woman should be eating, and that is without exercise. Unless you weigh very little, 1200 calories is starvation. The average female should be eating at least 1500 calories, especially if they are active. If you have been eating 1200 calories for an extended period of time and have hit a plateau, it is highly likely that your metabolism is damaged and you may want to look at reverse dieting.
5. I am a beginner to exercise, should I lift weights or just stick to cardio?
This is a great question! If you are new to working out, I do recommend you lift weights as well and doing cardio, but I would recommend starting with light weight and high reps (12-24 reps per exercise with 2 sets, 2-3 days per week), increasing the weight and decreasing the reps as you build up your strength. I know it is tempting to go crazy with cardio to lose the weight quickly, but I beg you not to do this, it can cause more problems in the long run and do more harm than good. Slow and steady wins the race.
6. I have been exercising, eating healthy and doing everything right and I am still not losing weight, why?
This is a question I get asked a lot. I highly recommend looking at your current nutrition and workout plan and breaking it down to see where you might be going wrong.
1) Look at your calorie and macro intake – are you eating the right amount of calories, carbs, fats and proteins for your body? Are you eating too much or too little?
2) What types of foods are you eating?
3) What does your workout plan look like? Are you doing enough strength training? Too much cardio? Not enough cardio?
4) Do you have any other underlying health conditions that could be interfering with your weight loss efforts?
5) are you mindlessly snacking and not tracking the extra calories?
Once you can identify where you may be going wrong, you can take the appropriate steps to fix it. If you are having trouble, feel free to contact me, I am more than happy to help.
If you have questions you would like answered, please comment below or send me a message on facebook.