3 Things Women MUST Do For Simple Fat Loss.
Do you want the real secret about long-term fat loss and becoming your best self?
It can’t be sold by a company, nor does it have a brand name or come in a bottle and it doesn’t involve any wagon to fall off of.
It means simply leaving all of the “diet” days behind. It means drowning out all the noise of being told you have to constantly fight against your body for it to look a certain way and instead, taking care of and honoring yourself.
It’s not hardcore, flashy or even very climatic, but the pay-off of being able to maintain your weight with ease and live a fuller, healthier life is worth it. And you are worth more than another diet, detox or fad.
Unfortunately, most women tend to overlook these 3 integral things they need to be doing to sustainably look and feel better because of how simple they sound and end up consequently shortchanging themselves on powerful results.
“I think many of us think this way: If it’s free or simple or easy to understand, it can’t be as good as something that’s expensive, complicated and difficult to figure out on your own”. ~Dan John
- Strength train correctly.
Strength training is training with the specific intent of gaining strength. I know that sounds a bit silly to have to say, but this is actually quite often overlooked. The market is flooded with various poorly programmed bootcamps, DVDs and other “insanity” that incorporate weights into the workout, but don’t actually focus on proper strength training.
Not only is pure strength training the most efficient way to promote fat loss, but it is crucial to prioritize on your fat loss journey because it will help build and/or maintain muscle mass, keeping your metabolism cranking and helping you build that lean, “toned” look that most women desire. If you aren’t strength training, when you lose fat you will most likely end up a smaller, “softer” version of yourself with a less than efficient metabolism.
A proper, structured strength training program focuses on steadily applying an increasing demand to your muscles and central nervous system, resulting in an adaptation that leaves you stronger and increases your movement efficiency. This adaptation means you always have to be progressing and challenging yourself via increasing load, sets, reps, etc.
The biggest bang-for-your-buck exercises to do this with are variations of squats, deadlifts, single leg movements, pushing exercises (push ups, bench press variations), pulling exercises (chin ups, row variations) and loaded carries (farmers walks). If you follow a full body training program built around lifting heavy in those categories, you’ll be amazed at how well your body responds. When planning your weekly workouts, prioritize strength work first, then cardio or conditioning based on the time you have available.
- Apply sound nutrition principles.
There is so much conflicting information out there, that it’s no wonder most women become paralyzed and have no idea what to eat, how much to eat and when. Unfortunately, most women believe that if they aren’t restricting themselves or on a miserable diet, then they can’t make progress. When we diet, yo-yo our weight and constantly deprive ourselves, we usually gain back all the weight we lose plus more and as a result, causing our metabolism to not work as well as it once did.
The good news is that nutrition is not nearly as complicated as you have been made to believe it is.
- Comprise 90% of your diet of real food. If it doesn’t spoil within 7-10 days or your grandparents didn’t have access to it, it should probably be avoided the majority of the time.Real food includes fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish and eggs, nuts, oils, beans and some whole grains. This does not include products like meal replacement shakes, granola bars, sugar/fat free products, crackers and cookies or Weight Watchers meals, etc.
- Ensure you include a serving of protein, vegetables and fat at every meal. Concentrate the majority of your carbohydrates after your strength training workouts.
- Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Well this seems like a no-brainer! But we so often lose sight of true hunger, how to eat mindfully and honoring our bodies satiety cues by rushing through meals and eating surrounded by distractions. Slowing down, paying attention to your meal and listening to your body takes time and practice, but is a very valuable skill.
If you follow those nutrition principles consistently you will be able to maximize your results, reap the benefits of your hard work in the gym and never feel the need to obsess over calories again. Remember, food is so much more than calories or fuel – it nourishes you, keeps you healthy and allows you the energy to perform at your best.
- Effectively manage stress.
This is, in my experience, the farthest overlooked and most underrated component of fat loss and well-being for women. The major concern with stress is that your body doesn’t know the difference between being held at gun point, staying up all night caring for your sick child, performing a very intense workout, cramming for a big test or fighting with your boss. From a hormonal and nervous system standpoint, your body produces the same reaction no matter what the stressor is, which can be quite detrimental if it becomes chronic.
So when you have a day that starts with running late for work, you get in a disagreement with a co-worker or your spouse, become so busy that you skip meals and then get stuck in traffic on the way home, your body is close to fried. At that point, the last thing you need is a workout that’s going to run you into the ground with exhaustion and lump more stress onto your body.
Stress will inhibit your body’s ability to recover and rejuvenate, therefore setting you back from the results you deserve and work hard for. There are several modalities you can use to help manage and balance your stress, but for the purpose of keeping things simple, the three with the most significant pay off are:
- Adequate, quality sleep. Consistently getting 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is crucial and will change your life and body. Enough said.
- Engage in activities that promote recovery. Soft tissue work (foam rolling, regular massage, manual therapy/body work), epsom salt baths, aerobic cardio, “play” or other fun active pursuits.
- Deep breathing or meditation. This is as simple as taking 5-10 minutes one or more times per day to sit quietly and breathe deeply into your belly and exhale fully. This will calm you and help you re-focus while also enhancing recovery. If 5-10 minutes is too intimidating, start with just 10 deep belly breaths.
Although the above suggestions sound simple, they can be overwhelming to begin incorporating, as most new habits are. I suggest picking one that is easiest for you to integrate right now and start there. Once you gain confidence in that as a solid habit, choose another and build forth form there, one at a time.
Developing habits that you are confident in maintaining over time is much more sustainable and manageable than attempting to drastically overhaul your lifestyle overnight. Always ask yourself, “Is this something I’m confident I could maintain for the rest of my life?”
You don’t need a complicated, fancy or over-restrictive plan if you want to get healthier, leaner and stronger. Focus on keeping things as simple as possible: train for strength, eat for nourishment, take care of yourself and most importantly, be patient – stick to it for longer than a few weeks or months. This isn’t a quick fix, this is about life-long results.
Need help? Reach out! Erika@HurstStrength.com