Okay, well a brief summary of my best advice!
You see, sometimes I feel as though I'm writing the same things over and over again. Sometimes I doubt myself when it comes to what I have to say. Does anyone even care? Am I just re-hashing the same old stuff? Do I EVER have anything new to say?
Yep, you got me. I have confidence dilemmas like anyone else. But I (try) to keep coming back to the fact that people give me positive feedback. Say that I've helped them. Or ask me questions? And, as much as I don't want to downplay the way you feel, the truth is that a lot of those questions (when it comes to weight loss) are pretty similar week in and week out. I guess that's kinda reassuring when you think about it - you're not the first one to get stuck in the constant, frustrating turmoil of how to best tackle the weight loss journey.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I receive (and my answers):
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TRAIN EACH WEEK?
While some experts would tell you that training three times each week is a great start, I'd have to argue otherwise. Do you want a great start, or great results? The human body is designed to move every single day. No exceptions. I'm not saying hit the gym daily, but get out there. Get active. And no, window shopping does not count. I'd recommend 2-4 30 minute weight training sessions, 2-3 20-40 minute cardio sessions (interval), and a bonus brisk walk or swim. Yoga, pilates, or group exercise are also good options to mix things up. If you're serious about losing weight and feeling great, you'll exercise daily. No excuses. You can always find time for that which truly matters to you.
SHOULD I CUT OUT CARBS?
No. N. O. Carbohydrates are crucial to good health, and an important aspect of weight loss nutrition. Yes, even after 6pm. The catch? When most people think of carbs, they think of bread. Pasta. Rice. Potatos. In other words, high GI, starchy foods that tend to bloat and clog. Here's a tip (or two). Vegetables are carbs. Even the green ones. Salad is carbohydrate. So is fruit. Legumes. Even seeds and nuts contain some carbohydrate. When it comes to cutting out carbs, just don't do it. But that's not to say you need to load up on heavily processed, difficult to digest, poor quality grains. For optimal nutrition and maximal weight loss, focus on carbohydrate from a wide source of vegetables. This is very general advice! Correct nutrition is a highly individualised thing, and very difficult to address completely within an article.
ARE PROTEIN SHAKES OR WEIGHT LOSS DRINKS THE WAY TO GO?
For convenience and quick satisfaction? Maybe. To save money on meat and other forms of quality protein? No doubt. To lose weight? Not in the long-term, that's for sure. Protein powders and fat loss shakes come with a host of problems which - while they may aid short-term weight loss - will ultimately have the scales tipping over the edge. Poor digestion? Check. Over-excited stress hormones causing increased fat storage? Check. Dehydration leading to decreased exercise performance? Check, check, check. Want to know more? Search my article on this site, 'Why Protein Powders are the Fastest Way to Long-Term Weight Gain'.
HOW MUCH CARDIO SHOULD I DO?
The biggest con of weight loss is that you need to do loads of cardio to burn fat. Sure, doing an hour cardio in your 'fat-burning HR zone' will burn off more fat (within that hour) than a high-intensity weights or circuit session. But as soon as the hour is over, so is your metabolism boost. Restrict cardio to 2-3 weekly sessions of no more than 40 minutes, and choose interval training for best results. If you're working hard enough, 20 minutes is really enough. Seriously! It took me a long time to get my head around this, but when I did I leaned up in no time. And I've watched my clients do the same over the years. Don't try it? You'll never know what it is to feel and look your best.
CAN WEIGHT TRAINING MAKE ME BULKIER?
Many people (okay, many women) worriedly question me about weight training, and whether it can cause them to bulk up. Short answer? Unless you take a pretty serious concoction of steroids and growth hormone, train weights daily for over an hour, and isolate every body part, then no. Sure, there's the one (in a million) girls who seem to have more testosterone and a greater ability to gain muscle bulk then most, but if I had a dollar for every time a girl told me she puts on muscle too quickly (legs are the most common complaint), then, well, you get the picture. Truth is, when I've forced those very same girls to take before and after measurements, they've realised that they've actually lost size. The bulky perception comes about because they notice the added muscle shape and definition, and may even find that certain parts of their body seem thicker (where the muscle belly lies) even though the overall size is reduced and they have a leaner, tighter package to show off. Long story short? Weight training at the recommended level will not make you bulky. What it WILL do is boost your metabolism and carve up your physique, giving you definition and shape to die for.
Of course there are many more FAQ's in the weight loss field. What gets you most frustrated? What do you constantly wonder? Or do you have any secrets to share?
I need your ideas! But even if you don't have any, I continue to welcome your questions. 'Cause it's all about the journey. The wondering. The constant desire to learn, to try, to improve. Why?
You guessed it.
Life is Now. Press Play.