Not losing weight with exercise?
There’s a reason for that.
If the benefits of exercise could be put in a pill, it would be the greatest blockbuster medication of all time.
However, there are certain mistakes that I’ve seen people make that prevents them from maximizing their results. Heck, some of these mistakes could even prevent people from losing weight. Imagine that.
If you’re not losing weight with exercise, you need to watch this video. I’m gonna show you the top 5 workout mistakes you need to avoid so you can lose fat faster.
Make sure to stick around until the end of the video because I’m gonna show you how to burn up to an extra 2000 calories outside of exercise without even trying. It’s an absolute game changer.
Not Losing Weight With Exercise – 5 Workout Mistakes
1. Doing too much cardio and/or you’re only doing cardio for fat loss
These days, everyone including their dog is wearing a fitness tracker or they’re counting how many calories they’ve burned on their favourite cardio machine. Because it’s all about the calories.
And it sounds great in theory.
If you burn let’s say an extra 1,000 calories every day from your 30 minute session on the treadmill or the elliptical. It should translate into pounds off the scale.
You do a little math and you’re supposed to lose 2 lbs a week in theory. You extrapolate it and you’re supposed to lose 8 lbs in a month.
The problem is, it doesn’t really work that way.
Here’s the ugly truth about only doing cardio for exercise where you’re just counting calories.
Falling into what’s called chronic cardio patterns where you’re going for your daily 30 minutes on the elliptical, or your 5k or 3 mile run every day does not help you lose body fat.
Running has its own set of benefits. For example, it makes your heart stronger. It can pump more blood throughout your body. But weight loss isn’t one of them.
And if you’re not losing weight with exercise even though you’ve put in countless hours on the treadmill, you already know that to be true.
The other thing that you also have to consider is exercise is a type of stress. Doing chronic cardio can then lead to chronic stress. Which often results into mistake number two.
2. Over training
A lot of people don’t make this connection but the human body treats all types of stress the same way.
When we experience a stressful event, like when you’re stressed at work or school, maybe you’re going through a break up, or again when you exercise, the fight or flight response gets triggered in our body.
Our blood stream gets flooded with hormones and neurotransmitters like cortisol which is our stress hormone.
Remember, calories matter but hormones are more important.
Now, short term stress isn’t a bad thing. The problem starts when it becomes chronic.
This is where we circle back to chronic cardio patterns.
You’re doing cardio workouts like running that are a too long, too hard, that’s above your maximum aerobic heart rate (I want you to keep that in mind), and too frequently, with insufficient rest.
So if you do that every day, 7 days a week, sometimes you go twice a day. Because you think more is better because you’re burning more calories. The stress from cardio becomes chronic.
Chronic stress leads to chronically high cortisol levels. Which then leads to systemic inflammation. Inflammation, in case you didn’t know, is the root cause of a lot of chronic disease.
Chronically high cortisol also has a really big effect on weight gain specifically around your belly.
So if you’re a runner and you’re not losing weight with exercise. Or worse, you find that your body is starting to look like a pear. You’re starting to gain weight specifically around your belly, the infamous spare tire, this is why.
I’m not saying you should never do cardio. Once or twice a week? Do it.
But it should not be your only form of exercise. The problem is, a majority of people do exactly that. Then they wonder why they’re not losing weight with exercise.
I get it. It’s very easy to get started with. I always see the same people running when I’m out for my daily morning walk. There are levels to this. It’s better than nothing. But it doesn’t make it optimal. Far from it.
The solution, especially if you want long term sustainable fat loss and improve your overall health, with the side effect of you looking good naked.
Your number one goal is to make yourself as physically strong as humanly possible.
You achieve that through strength training to build muscle. Not cardio. Because cardio is catabolic, which means to break down. Lifting weights is anabolic, which means to build.
Building and maintaining muscle from strength training is a very energy expensive process. That’s why having a lot of lean muscle is the key driver of your metabolism.
The faster your metabolism is, the easier it becomes to lose fat. And the more you get to eat. Who doesn’t want that?
Notice how your super muscular friend usually get to eat more food than you and have more flexibility with their diet in general? This is why.
3. Not using the right intensity
There are two sides to this.
First, you underestimate yourself. You think you’re a lot weaker than you are so you don’t push yourself.
You don’t push yourself to the extent that you’re fully capable of that would actually be most beneficial and illicit the biggest change.
Or you’re on the other side of the coin and you over estimate your capabilities.
Maybe you’re one of those ego lifters.
You go way too heavy to the point where you compromise form and range of motion. Or again, you workout way too much which often results in injury and/or overtraining.
The truth is usually somewhere in between. You wanna push yourself hard enough to illicit a beneficial physiological response. But not too much where your form breaks down.
I usually see underestimating more common with women. That’s why you see a lot of them spend 90% of their time on the cardio machine area.
Or they use the super lame excuse that they don’t wanna lift weights. So they just use these bands because they don’t wanna look like an Amazonian warrior.
That takes years of hard work and strict dieting by the way. Plus, what’s wrong with having muscle? Strong is the new sexy. If you want that tight and toned look, you need to lift weights to achieve that.
While overestimating is usually more common with men. This is where you see dudes stack plates on the bar to look impressive. But they’re only able to do half the required range of motion.
Or again, people overestimate what their bodies are capable of. They wanna make up for their years of inactivity all at once.
Which results in over training and all of the negative side effects of pushing your body too hard. Which brings us back to mistake number two.
I can personally relate to this recently. I have a very competitive personality. It definitely comes from doing competitive sports for years.
When I started doing Muay Thai last year, I wanted to be good right away.
So I went 7 days a week. Often times, I would do two-a-days. I think my record was 12 classes in one week. That was dumb.
And I did progress fast. The trade off was my body felt broken all the time. I would wake up tired. It was hard to walk first thing in the morning because my calves and the tendons on my feet were always tight and sore.
I didn’t realize that I was over training until my body was basically ready to tap out.
When you’re overtraining, it makes it so much harder to make progress. You’re actually not over training. That’s not the right term. You’re under recovering.
When you’re under recovering, your body is never fully at 100%. That’s usually when people get injured.
The easiest way to fix this is again to just scale it back a little. Think less, but better.
4. Unnecessarily overcomplicating things
I’m always amused/concerned whenever I see people do weird stuff at the gym.
A lot of people have the right intention when they overcomplicate things. My only question is, why don’t you just keep it simple? A basic squat is gonna infinitely better than whatever you’re doing.
The risk of injury is also infinitely less.
If your goal is to build some muscle to have that tight and toned look, have a flat stomach, maybe see some abs, or just fit better into your clothes.
I’m gonna throw a lot of people under the bus here when I say this. You can achieve all those things by focusing on just three movements. Pull ups, push ups, and squats. That is it.
It does’t have to be complicated for it to be effective. That will always stay true.
And, guess what? You don’t even need to go to the gym to do any of those three movements. It costs zero dollars to do them.
By the way, have you seen how much a Peloton costs? You can buy a car with the same money. Barry’s in the U.S. charges over $300 a month. Madness.
Rant over. Let’s talk about each movement real quick. If you can’t do a regular push up, you can do it off your knees or elevate yourself a little bit to make it easier.
If you don’t have access to a pull up bar, that’s okay. You can just do body weight rows. Find something sturdy that can hold your bodyweight, like under a table, and do it there.
Pro tip: Go to a playground and do your pull ups there.
Quick disclaimer: If you have one of those pull up bars that you can hang at your door, proceed with extreme caution. I have seen way too many fail videos with those things. Don’t come back to this post saying you injured yourself because of me.
While the squat is the king of all exercises. It’s easily the most functional movement and the one that you’ll probably need most in your life.
If you recently bought a workout program that doesn’t involve squats, you should ask for your money back.
And you don’t have to do your squats weighted when you’re just starting out. Just do bodyweight squats.
Yes, bodyweight squats are easy when you do 3. When you do 100, it’s a complete different story.
Think about people who purely do calisthenics. They look pretty good to me.
And don’t underestimate the power of doing bodyweight movements. Think about a burpee.
A burpee is a full body, compound movement where you’re required to get on the ground and get all the way back up. Nearly every muscle in the body has to contract to make this happen.
It also targets some of the largest muscle groups like your shoulder, glutes, quads, and hamstring.
It’s actually been a year now since I did a 100 burpees a day for 30 days challenge at my local gym.
Funny enough, that also coincided when I was at my leanest. My diet was also almost perfect during that time.
If you’re up for a challenge, you should try it. I guarantee, in fact I will double guarantee, that you’re gonna be unrecognizable if you do 3000 burpees in 30 days.
Mistake number 5 is probably just as common as people doing cardio for fat loss. A lot of people spend way too much time doing this.
This is a prime example of majoring in the minor.
5. Doing too much ab exercises
If you wanna see your abs, doing ab specific exercises are basically a waste of time.
Okay, maybe that’s a little too extreme. Let’s just say it’s not the most efficient way to do it.
Having abs comes from a low body fat percentage. 80% of your body composition is determined by your diet. It’s true when they say abs are made in the kitchen.
So doing 100 sit ups isn’t really gonna help with that. And if you’ve done countless sit ups but you’re not losing weight with exercise. You still can’t see your abs. You already this to be true.
One of the biggest exercise myths that still exists is that you can somehow spot treat where you’re gonna burn fat.
Because the thinking is if you do bicep curls, it builds your biceps. Therefore, if you just do enough sit ups, you’re gonna magically see your abs.
No. That’s not how it works. The best ab exercise is 5 sets of stop eating so much crap.
Also, going back to keeping things simple, heavy squats and deadlifts can activate the ab muscles far better than many traditional ab exercises.
10 heavy squats and other compound movements is gonna be infinitely better for you than 10 sit ups.
6. Not doing enough NEAT
We evolved to move as human beings. Otherwise, you’d be a tree. That’s one of my favourite things to say because it’s just so true.
We did not evolve to run for hours every day and fall into chronic exercise patterns.
Our ancestors regularly walked 5 miles every day and they would occasionally sprint. A short burst of running at maximum effort when they’re hunting or when they’re being chased by a sabre tooth tiger.
They also climbed trees and built shelters which means moving big pieces of wood and heavy rocks aka strength training. They were really active. And they were all naturally lean and strong.
And this is another point that I wanna bring up. It’s just as important as working out.
Your goal is to avoid prolonged periods where you’re completely sedentary. Nothing shuts down your fat burning metabolism faster than prolonged periods where you’re not moving.
Your hour long gym session or home workout is not enough to fulfill your daily activity goal. That’s just one piece of the puzzle.
Because if you workout and then you turn into a couch potato afterwards, you’re still living a mostly sedentary lifestyle.
The solution is to be conscious of increasing your NEAT.
What is NEAT?
NEAT stands for Non-exercise activity thermogenesis. It’s the energy expended for everything we do when we’re not sleeping or exercising. Hence the “non-exercise”.
Things like mowing the lawn, walking up a flight of stairs, carrying groceries, walking your dog, are all great examples.
If you have a desk bound office job, your level of NEAT is generally appalling compared to someone who works as a server at a restaurant or a nurse who’s mostly on their feet for their entire shift.
The average steps per day of a server is a mind blowing 22,778 steps. While nurses take 16,390 steps on average.
According to Dr James Levine, who first described this phenomenon, NEAT can vary by up to 2,000 calories a day between two people of the same size.
That means that just by moving around and being on your feet more, like humans were designed to be, you can burn an additional 2,000 calories without even trying.
If you’ve ever tracked macros before, 2,000 calories is a significant number.
Imagine how much more freedom you can have with your diet if you get to eat even half of those calories more.
Now, let’s quickly talk about exercise physiology for this to make sense.
Fat, which is what most people are trying to get rid of, burns well in the presence of oxygen. That only happens when you’re in the aerobic zone. Aerobic literally means with oxygen.
Walking, which is what servers and nurses do for their entire shift, is one of the easiest and effortless ways to increase your NEAT.
Most importantly, it almost always keeps your heart rate below your maximum aerobic heart rate. Why is that important?
Well, your maximum aerobic heart rate is the point where you reap maximum aerobic benefits, that’s maximum fat burning, with a minimum amount of anaerobic stimulation.
This is the infamous fat burning zone. It exists. If you’re trying to lose body fat, that’s exactly what you want.
If you go past this threshold aka running, you start burning an increasing amount of glucose instead of fat and you stimulate more stress hormone production because it’s hard. Which brings us back to mistake number two.
If you’re curious and you wanna know exactly what your maximum aerobic heart rate is, you can use Dr Phil Maffetone’s formula of 180 minus your age in bpm.
Again, if you go for a walk or do other types of NEAT, you’re almost always guaranteed to stay below that number because it’s easy.
Bottom line, do your best to stay active outside of your workouts to maximize your results. That’s why I’m such a big advocate of setting a goal of getting 10,000 steps every day.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
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