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In this podcast, I'm answering three listener questions.
I'm Eating Healthy, Why Am I Not Losing Body Fat?
You may have heard that all you have to do to lose body fat is to eat healthy. Of course, for your hormonal health, it is important to eat healthy foods. But from fat loss perspective, it's not only about the quality of the foods that we're having — it's also about the quantity!
That way, the first reason why you may not be losing fat is this: You're still eating too many calories.
Healthy foods have calories too.
A good example is nuts and nut butters. Most people would argue that these are healthy foods, but they are very high in calories and if we don't have a good portion control, these calories absolutely add up.
The second reason why you may not he losing fat even though you're eating healthy, is this:
Maybe the food you thought was healthy, isn't that healthy after all?
Couple of key words to look out for:
“High in protein”, “Keto”, “Low fat” .
You may see these words on many food packages, but they don't mean that the food is healthy. For example, many protein bars have the word keto on them, and they taste good so you end up eating more than you needed — and you still end up with calorie excess. Therefore, no fat loss.
The third question to ask yourself is this:
What happens in weekends?
You may be eating really well and stay within your normal calorie range Monday through Friday, but what happens Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday? A lot of people eat more, eat out, have a few drinks which can most certainly ramp up the appetite. If the sleep isn't great either, we may want to eat a lot more the next day, reach for all the carb-y stuff that adds up quickly, and end our week with a big calorie excess.
This is an easy reason why the fat isn't coming off.
Let's move on to the second question that I got from one of my readers.
Why Am I Always Sore After Strength Training? Can I Build Muscle Without Strength Training?
The person who asked me this question told me that she's very sore and completely exhausted every time she works out, and was wondering if there's another way to build muscle.
Instead of quitting strength training, let's figure out why she's getting so sore and fatigued. Because the truth is — you can't build muscle without resistance training. Yes, resistance training comes in many forms, and can be done with TRX, bodyweight, or barbells, but it's still resistance training, and it's needed to sculpt the body.
Here are the questions we should answer:
Are you pushing too hard?
Don't go into every workout trying to hit your PR. Some days are for going lighter. If you push yourself to the max every single workout, all your body does is trying to recover. When does the growth happen? There's no time for it if the body is constantly in the recovery mode.
Are you sleeping, resting and recovering enough?
The other reason for poor recovery is… Well, poor recovery! What I mean by this: Not enough sleep and downtime. Sleep is crucial for muscle building. A study that compared 2 groups of people, those who slept just 5.5 hours and those who slept 8, found that the latter group was able to build 60% more muscle.
So get your zzzzz in!
Are you eating enough?
That is, in general — are you getting enough calories for your activity, but also more specifically, are you getting enough food before and after working out? Or are you playing the “let's see how long I can go without food” game? (I used to do it and it was silly! This is not how you build muscle, at all!)
Do your best to eat about 30 minutes after working out, which is especially important if you didn't eat before working out. Aim to have equal amount of carbs and protein. If you're only having a small snack post workout (maybe you literally can't get anything bigger down), make sure it has at least 20g of carbs and 20g of protein in it, and keep the fat lower. After eating this snack, still have something larger afterwards because a few hundred calories after a heavy workout isn't likely enough to fuel you.
When Should I Take a Break from Working Out and When Is It Okay To Keep Pushing?
This wasn't actually a listener question, but something that I wanted to bring up as I see my go-getter clients struggling with it quite a bit.
There is a time and place for rest. Actual, real, serious rest!
No, you shouldn't be pushing super hard in your workouts all the time, and especially during times when your life has been extra busy and you feel like your body is very stressed out.
There are days when you feel just little tired, little unmotivated, little lazy even. But you haven't had anything major going on that would make your body scream because of stress. On those days, go to the gym (or whatever your preferred workout place is) and simply get started. It will likely start feeling good soon. And if not, and you really feel exhausted, simply keep it shorter.
Then there are days when you're actually stressed out. The stress may have been going on for weeks and weeks on end. Work is crazy, sleep is disrupted, your nervous system is on high alert all the time. You're irritable, brain foggy and fatigued. Your body is screaming at you to stop (but your stubborn mind tells you to get it done…)
What do you think would be the best thing to do on a day like this?
Let me tell you… It's not a hard workout.
Movement, like a walk, stretching, foam rolling? Sure. But doing a 30-min intense HIT, or 45+ minutes heavy weights? Not a good idea.
Your body is already fatigued and also inflamed due to stress and lack of sleep, and it will not get better if you keep pushing. It's better to rest up. I can tell you from my personal experience that if you wait for too long and keep forcing no matter what, eventually your body makes you to take months off, whereas you would have gotten away with just a week off.
I hope you found this episode useful, and I'm excited to hear your thoughts on it!
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