It’s NOT your fault.
Here’s the conventional wisdom when it comes to working out and exercise for a lot of people. And I want you to raise your hand (even though I can’t see it) if you see anything that resonates with you and a lot of this is going to sound familiar.
You go to the gym and you use every single possible machine you can imagine to target certain body parts. Or you lift heavy weights until failure and you do that for multiple sets.
Another version of this is you hop on a bike or a treadmill or Stairmaster and you workout at your maximum heart rate or you do group classes where it’s just go-go-go, maximum intensity for 60 minutes.
It’s a near-death experience every single time.
And then you look at your Fitbit afterwards. It says that you burned 500 calories but then you step on the scale the next day and it’s still the same.
You workout every day you’re not losing weight
You have the right intentions but the wrong execution.
Exercise but no weight loss EXPLAINED
If that is your fitness philosophy then there’s a very real chance that your workouts might actually be hindering your weight loss progress.
I explain this in further detail in this video.
I actually used to always wonder about this.
I worked out every day, six or seven days a week. Never took days off.
I made sure that I went to the gym even though I didn’t feel good or I was tired and my energy levels weren’t high. I was not losing weight working out and I always felt like I deserved a better looking body than what I had from all the effort I put in towards working out..
Was I stronger? Sure. I even saw some definition in my arms but I still had a spare tire around my stomach. I still had a dad bod. And I’m not even a dad. I was building muscle but not losing weight.
I wasn’t really getting a very good return on my time invested at the gym.
And this is where a lot of people find themselves. They workout, they think that eating “healthy”, they do all these really really hard workouts but they just can’t get rid of those last 15 or 20 pounds.
You still can get rid of that damn spare tire around your stomach.
Now I’m going to introduce you to two concepts that’s really going to optimize your workouts for weight loss.
It’s the concept of being inconsistent with your workouts.
That’s right. I wasn’t you to be inconsistent. And the concept of less is more when it comes to training.
Honestly, if your goal is to just improve your overall health and fitness but more importantly lose excess body fat, learn how to lose stubborn belly fat, build lean muscle, fit better into your clothes and just feel generally better overall and feel more confident about yourself, it’s really all about just trying to move as much as possible throughout the day.
Just keep your body moving.
And you can achieve that by blending a lot of low intensity movements like walking with some strength sessions where you’re lifting heavy weights, combined with some high intensity workouts every week.
Again, your goal is to just move your body as much as possible. But we miss out on this concept all the time. We confine our workouts within the four walls of the gym where we try to target every single muscle group in our body. We use really weird and random machines that are just completely unnatural when comes to range of motion. The Smith Machine at the gym is a perfect example of this if you ever use it for squats.
Another example is the calf raise machine or using that machine where your legs go in and out (Lord help you if you make eye contact with somebody while using that machine). I can’t even think of a real life function of that stupid machine.
Maybe you’re somebody who goes to group fitness classes. Here’s the problem with that. Whenever you go to a group class, and I love group classes by the way. But if you’re new, you have this immense pressure to keep up with the fittest people in the class.
For them it’s a normal workout. But for you, it is a near-death experience every time.
If your fitness goals align with what I just mentioned earlier, build muscle and lose fat like 99% of the population, your workouts doesn’t have to be complicated for them to be effective.
Your number one goal is to avoid prolonged stillness where you’re just sedentary all day and you can make simple changes in your life to achieve this.
If you have an office job for example get up from your desk every two to three hours. You can also ask for a stand up desk. It can be as simple as taking the stairs. You can take the elevator. If you’re going to the mall, you can park a little bit further (those spots are ALWAYS open) so you can again get some walking done. You can do your errands on foot.
Again, exercise does not have to be just confined at the gym.
You can get extremely healthy and fit and lose all the excess body fat in your body with just a few hours of low intensity cardio well below your Maximum Aerobic Capacity (Maximum Aerobic Capacity = 180 minus your age).
And then you combine that with a strength session or two you’re lifting heavy weights. You can even just start using your own body weight if you’re just a beginner and compliment it with a couple of high intensity interval training (HIIT) style of workouts. These HIIT workouts doesn’t have to be long either. I’m talking about going max effort during your workout that lasts anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes. That’s it.
That just adds up to a few hours out of the 168 hours at your disposal every week. And that is such a far cry from what a lot of people do. I know people who go to the gym for two hours every day. They don’t take days off and it’s it’s just too much.
Who’s got time for that anyway??
Remeber, you don’t have to confine yourself to a very restricted and extremely regimented workout program unless you’re a professional athlete where you’re following a logbook that says, Monday equals leg day. Arms on Tuesday. Wednesday, it’s abs day. That’s completely unnecessary.
In fact, it’s better if you’re inconsistent with your workouts.
If you’re exhausted for example, you had a long day at work or you’re stressed out from school. You don’t always have to go to your 6:00 A.M. Barre class.
You can easily make that up by going for a 30 minute walk on your lunch break or you can go to the gym instead after work.
You should always prioritize sleep and recovery over going to a workout where you just don’t feel good. It completely defeats the purpose or the workout.
If that’s you, if you’re currently racking up dozens of hours every week, you go to the gym every day and twice on Sunday, I want you to consider this way of thinking instead. I want you to shift your thinking from more and frequent is better to less and more intense is better.
Make your workouts harder but not more frequent.
Again, unless you’re prepping for a bikini show or you’re doing it for sport, if you’re a CrossFit athlete or you’re like a weightlifter for example and you’re getting paid to workout, then that’s fine.
Otherwise, it’s completely unnecessary to go all out and do extremely hard workouts six or seven days every week. It’s completely unnecessary and unnatural.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to the gym by the way.
Let’s say you like going to the gym because of the community aspect of it. Then that’s great. But you don’t need to be doing the same goddamn workout every day.
Again, being inconsistent with your workouts is actually better.
Remember, if your goal is to lose body fat, 80% of your results will come from your diet.
Exercise has many benefits but weight loss isn’t really one of them. If you’re working out but not losing weight or inches, THIS IS WHY.
Exercise is for building muscle and improving your overall fitness. If you want to improve your 5k or your 10k time for example or if you want to run a half marathon or a full marathon, then that’s what exercise and training is for.
Proper diet and nutrition is for fat loss.
Hormone optimization by moderating your insulin levels through proper diet and nutrition is what turns you into a fat burner and when you’re a fat burner, that is the only time where you gain access to your fat stores for energy.
You need to fix your diet first before you even think about what the best exercise for abs is or how to build calf muscles at home.
And for those people who like to keep track of how many calories you’ve burned through exercise, I’ve got some bad news.
The calories that you burn during your exercise minimally contributes to fat loss. If that’s news to you, now you know. This explains why you’re exercising but not losing weight on scales.
Honestly, that shouldn’t be groundbreaking news to you. Again, if you keep track of your calories that you burned from working out, but it doesn’t reflect on the scale or how your body looks, then there’s obviously a disconnect there.
And just because it says that you burned 500 calories from your workout doesn’t mean that you you can have a 500 calorie treat.
It doesn’t work like that. They don’t cancel each other out.
You cannot outrun or outwork a bad diet.
But that’s the calories in vs calories out model that a lot of people still believe in. And if that’s what you believe in, that’s why you’re stuck and you’re not losing weight with exercise.
This video explains the calories in vs calories out myth.
A lot of people think that calories in and calories out are independent of each other. Meaning if they increase the ‘calories out’ part of the equation by working out all the time, then the ‘calories in’ stays stable.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. They’re completely dependent of each other.
If you increase your ‘calories out’, your ‘calories in’ goes up as well. Let me explain.
So let’s say if you increase your workouts. You workout all the time. That triggers a compensatory increase in appetite. So you eat more calories when you burn more calories. Again, if you increase your ‘calories out’, by exercising all the time, your ‘calories in’ goes up as well.
Here’s the other argument against calories in vs calories out. Notice how you’re always extra hungry after a really hard workout? And not only that, you’re craving the worst kind of food. You’re craving carbs. You’re craving sweets, you justify that it’s okay because you just worked out so you end up eating it.
The problem is it’s extremely easy to overeat on sweet and calorie dense foods. And there goes all your efforts from your hour long workout. If anything, now you’re at a caloric surplus from that post workout cookie you just ate.
And if your metabolism isn’t set up as a fat burner, the excess calories from all that sugar, refined carbs, starches, and the Gatorade you were sipping on during your workout just gets converted into fat.
This is why a lot of people who workout aren’t losing weight.
It’s your diet that determines your fat loss results.
Wanna know what the best ab workout for results is? It’s five sets of stop eating so much crap.
Stop drinking Gatorade. You don’t need it to fuel your workout. You have about 100,000 calories of stored energy in the form of body fat. That’s what it’s there for. It’s not just there for looks.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you should probably use that up first.
Stop drinking pre-workout drinks. I don’t care if it’s zero calories. Your body doesn’t count calories anyway. The problem with pre-workout is that they’re often laced with artificial sweeteners which then triggers an insulin response and then your body goes, “You know what? Look at all this sugar coming in. Let’s just start storing energy instead of burning fat.”
All you need to know about insulin for now is that high insulin blocks fat burning. And remember, your body can’t determine whether you’re ingesting real sugar or artificial sweetener. Your body will react the same way and that reaction is to start storing body fat.
You don’t need to worry about protein powders either. Eat your protein instead. The thing about protein powders is again they’re often laced with sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Bottom line is this. Your goal if you want to be fit, if you want to build muscle and lose body fat is to just move your body all the time. Find ways throughout your day to move your body consistently.
Avoid prolonged stillness. Avoid periods where you’re just completely sedentary.
Less is more when it comes to your workouts and training.
Do a lot of low intensity cardio like going for a walk, biking, hiking, etc. as much as you can. Even though it doesn’t burn a lot of calories it’ll greatly enhance your ability to metabolize fat.
Combine your low intensity cardio with brief but intense strength sessions to drain your muscle glycogen stores and trigger a metabolic response in your body.
And once you become a fat burner you can then tap into your unlimited energy source by burning body fat. And if you’re trying to lose weight, if you have access body fat, that’s exactly what you want.
If you then combine those two things with a diet that moderates your insulin levels like a paleo diet, or a low carb diet like the Ketogenic diet, that’s when you become an unstoppable fat burning machine and you’re going to optimize your workouts and point it into the direction of weight loss.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
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