Hello and happy Friday to everyone! It’s a beautiful day here in Calgary and after a much needed rest day yesterday, I’m excited to head out the door for a run soon before the day begins. I took the day off from many things yesterday besides exercise, including blogging, calling my mom (like I was going to – sorry madre!), and really getting much done around the house besides cooking and some cleaning.
I did, however, read an interesting article from one of my favorite fitness gurus, Shin O’Take who created Max Workouts. Shin believes in high intensity interval workouts using strength and circuit-style training to burn fat and increase lean muscle. He’s the picture of health (in my eyes) and I love his and his wife’s (Susan’s) approach to fitness. For a fee you can sign up for his workouts online and then receive monthly newsletters on different topics (very informative) and have access to his and Susan’s video workouts. Nothing gimmicky, not many props required, just working hard and getting it done – akin to BodyRock workouts. I recently received an article from Shin that got me thinking and wanted to share the main points from it, especially as a few people have asked me how get rid of those last few “stubborn pounds” (which, for the record, you’re not alone in – there are a few I’d like to shed as well!). If you’re in this boat, can you relate to anything on the list?
As always, use your own discretion and know that while I am a certified personal trainer, these are my thoughts based on Shin O’Take’s article and understand that your body is your body – what works for you might be different than what works for someone else! But perhaps these guidelines can help push you in the right direction to being as fit as you can be.
Top 4 Mistakes That Are Causing You to Hold Onto Stubborn Fat:
- Lack of Sleep or Rest
- Food Intolerance
- Too Much of a Good Thing is Still Too Much
Let’s elaborate on these together, shall we?
Lack of Sleep or Rest
Everyone’s bodies need different amounts of rest, especially depending on the quality of their sleep. I seem to really only need 5 or 6 hours to still function well the next day while my husband needs at least a full eight (probably due to after-effects of chemotherapy). But assessing if you’re sleeping enough and/or getting enough rest in your busy days is important because if you don’t get enough, your body produces too much cortisol. “Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone in your body, but too much of it can be detrimental for your overall health and especially for losing weight” as it “triggers your body to retain and deposit fat!”
Got one of these (not mine)? You might be suffering from a lack of sleep. Love to all the moms out there – I don’t know how you do it!
This is an interesting one as most people think “the more [exercise] the better!” But that’s not always the case. In fact, if you’re moving too much and not getting enough rest (like most of the over-worked North American population!) it’s actually fairly easy to over train. The negative effect of producing too much cortisol applies here as well. Essentially, this is why many fitness professionals like Shin and Zuzanna (from BodyRock) are proponents of shorter, high intensity workouts; they get your metabolism up, your heart rate pumping, your muscles working, without overwhelming your body or the free time left in your day. They are GREAT time savers and do a whole lot to your body – much more than many people think who are stuck in their “3 sets of 12 reps of biceps curls” type of gym routine that takes an hour and includes breaks to chat with gym-goers. Above all, listen to your body – if you really are in need of rest, a gentle walk or a power nap could be what you need to revive you, give your body a break from overtraining, and help diminish the rest of that fat.
Recently, Jen wrote a post about overtraining that I’d recommend you check out it you think this could be you. Gina also posted about the importance of rest days, another key component to your fitness routine.
Many of us can live in moderation, meaning that we can eat a bit of wheat and some dairy, some meat here and some beans there, and achieve a well-balanced and healthy diet. For some, however, moderation is not the key if they have food intolerances, and there are some of us eating everything but not cluing in on certain intolerances that could actually help get rid of those last few pounds! Again, from Shin, here is a list of foods with the highest level of allergens:
- All grains (whole and refined)
- Dairy (cheese, milk),
- Fruits (some)
By testing the waters to see how you feel after eating foods from this list, you can start to fine-tune your eating to know how best to fuel yourself. “Once you figure out what’s causing you to keep that last bit of weight on, simply eliminate it from your diet and say ‘goodbye’ to your last bit of belly fat!”
Too much of a good thing is still too much
This point resonates with me most of all! As I’ve been trying to get back on track this week, I’ve noticed that my food choices have been great but I’ve eaten a lot of those good foods. The truth is that at the end of the day, even if berries are full of antioxidants and are a great source of fiber, they still break down into fructose – sugar! If your primary goal is weight loss, it’s important to monitor the amount of food you’re taking in. Shin recommends keeping your net carbohydrate intake (total carb content minus fiber content) at or below 100 grams a day, if you want to effectively get rid of that last bit of weight!
Say it ain’t so – too much almond butter is still too much?
So if you’ve hit a weight loss plateau take a look at these 4 factors and see if one (or more) of them might be the missing link to you reaching your goal weight.
Fun Friday Links: a few good links you might want to check out this weekend:
- My recap of the HLS is up as of this morning on the Attune Foods website! If you can believe it, I found a few different things to take away from the event that I didn’t write about earlier. Check out the link here and feel free to leave a comment!
- A post on Ashley’s site really blew me away – if you’re interested in nut butters and making them yourselves, check it out! She is so creative and her recipes are well laid out, making for easy-to-follow instructions. This is my time to hint for a food processor…next birthday? Christmas? Anyone?
- An article for “competitive runners,” which I am not, that I still found super interesting was this one from Competitor magazine. Written by Matt Fitzgerald, it basically says that 9/10 (competitive, not recreational) runners aren’t logging enough miles. As the great Arthur Lydiard said, “Miles make champions.” Interesting! Check it out and then I’d love to hear your thoughts…
- Lastly, Angela wrote an interesting post on Creating “Career Happiness” that really got me thinking. I am blessed enough to be able to do what I love (when I am working – soon, hopefully?) with personal training but it made me think more about blogging and writing too. Definitely worth a read!
Have you ever experienced a plateau in your weight journey? How about in an effort to gain more strength, endurance, or speed? I’d love to hear your story. What do you think of Shin’s tips?
And since we’re talking high intensity interval workouts here, how about I leave you with a Fun Friday Workout? It’s one my mom created and I did it the other day and loved it! Remember – it’s supposed to be TOUGH! You want to be breathing hard the whole time! It doesn’t take long, so keep that in perspective so it feels difficult, then get it done and move on with your day. Enjoy this workout – may it fuel you to a weekend of good choices and fun times!
Mom’s HIIT Circuit:
40 sec per move + 12 sec. rest/transition between moves; complete 3 times
- TRX pull ups (substitute: regular/assisted pull ups or back rows w/weights)
- Prisoner jump squats (hands behind head, back straight & strong; squat down & launch up!)
- Mountain climbers (click here for video tutorial)
- Clapping push ups (substitute: regular push ups, knee push ups, incline push ups)
- Jump lunges (click here for video tutorial)
- Bicycle crunches
- Crab kick ups (click here for video tutorial – almost the same move but don’t go down to a laying position; stay on your hands and feet the entire time and crunch up from there with your “crab” movement)
- Forward/backward lunges (R leg for 40 sec. then L)
- Side plank lift (click here for video tutorial)
- Burpees (my favorite!)
It’s intense! But remember, it’s supposed to be. Get your sweat on (thanks to my mom!) and have a great weekend you guys! Live well & be well,