Q: I eat clean and have a set plan, working out five to six times a week including lifting and cardio, but I still cannot seem to lose weight— which is my main goal. Do you have any advice?
I get this question a lot: “I’m doing everything right, but not seeing results,” as if being in shape and having a body of desire is some God-given right. If only it were that simple. In order to grow the body, one must first grow the mind and know why you physically do what you do in terms of body biochemistry. Don’t walk through the normality of life unless you want to be normal. Challenge all you hear and then apply what you’ve learned to a physical action. If you don’t understand the means to your actions, your actions will never have a result.
It is impossible to answer this question without knowing what you are doing in the five to six times a week— your intensity, your goals, your time in the gym— but I will give an answer to what I feel most do wrong, especially since you said weight loss is your primary goal.
1) SLOW DOWN
Body fat is burned by your heart rate. If you spike your heart rate, your body will go into a state of requiring immediate energy to sustain your current activity. The only thing your body can break down fast enough to a high heart rate activity is carbohydrates (which will be burned in the first 15 to 20 minutes) and then your body will attack your muscle mass while bypassing your body fat because your body cannot break down fat fast enough to a high heart rate activity. Slowing your workout down where your heart rate is moderate to around 65 percent of your MHR will cause a fat-burning routine.
2) DON’T BE A FOLLOWER
STOP doing the cardio that everyone does! Cardio is a waste of time unless you know why you are doing it … hence, you must exercise your brain and be a student of the game before you ever engage in a program. It is a proven fact that a lifting session for an hour where you lift high reps with limited rest between sets burns 10 times the amount of calories in a 24-hour period than doing the normal treadmill while talking to your friend on the phone for an hour. Why? Because when you lift and elevate your heart rate you not only burn calories, you also cause a healthy micro tear in your muscles, which causes calories to be burned to repair after the workout— as opposed the treadmill, which once you’re finished with the workout, calorie burning is also finished. The repair process of lifting for an hour in the 24-hour spectrum will burn 10 times the calories as a hour treadmill session. But also, the lift will help to decrease your body fat while increasing your lean mass on your body’s BMI. When you increase your lean mass and decrease your body fat, you burn more calories in any given activity because body fat is a stored energy source that requires a very little caloric intake to move, whereas lean mass requires a tremendous amount of caloric intake to move. This means that you can have two twins, one at a 5 percent body fat and the other with a 30 percent body fat, running a mile, and the lean person will burn exponentially more calories than the twin who is doing the same exercise because he or she is moving predominantly lean mass as opposed to body fat.
3) BE A STUDENT OF THE GAME
Most just go through the motions, but some study the system— and those who do are the ones who have the most effective workouts with the greatest results. Don’t walk though life blindly; people far less than you with less potential and genetics have achieved far greater than you because they have a greater desire and perseverance to see it through.