We all have that one friend. The one who claims to eat all the time and has an amazing body! We blame our genetics or lack of willpower, but in reality, it’s just a small difference in our daily habits and workout routine. Let’s examine where our fitness misconceptions started and bust through these fitness mistakes most women make!
Way back in the ’80s, fitness was thought to be just a fad. Many thought it would die out along with the scrunchie and neon spandex. Well, my friends, fitness is here to stay! It’s great that fierce females all over the world are getting active and making fitness a priority, but we have got to upgrade out fitness routine to see results! We’ve come a long way from the days of jazzercise, low-calorie diets, SlimFast, Jane Fonda and power-walking, haven’t we?
While I personally still love dancing around in neon leg warmers and doing classes like Zumba, U-Jam, etc., the science behind fitness has evolved. The best way to get that hour-glass figure is by eating a well-balanced diet and through weight-training.
Unfortunately, so many of us are stuck in a cardio rut, and we’re frustrated because we’re not seeing results! The ’80s were great because they got us off the couch, but don’t stay stuck in an old mindset about fitness!
Are you making one of these mistakes in your health and fitness routine?
Mistake #1: Too Much Cardio
Why are you running away from your health?
Many people associate getting fit with elliptical machines, cycling and copious amounts of running. All that heavy breathing is great for you in moderation, but it’s not going to get you abs, girlfriend.
When gym members were asked what their number one fitness goals was, most study females said they want to get toned, lose weight and look fit. Taking hours of cardio kickboxing or running long distances is not going to make us lean and sexy! Steady state cardio and even high intensity interval training alone won’t give you results.
Mistake #2: Not Lifting Heavy Enough
Weight training is the key to burning fat, and I’m not talking about those dinky little five pound weights. When you lift weights, you should be struggling at the end of each set, because they’re too darn heavy.
Lifting heavy is what is going to tone and firm up your whole body! For women, weight-training burns fat and builds sleek, lean muscle tissue. It also feels great to see yourself getting stronger, and it brings us to a whole new level of fitness.
Weightlifting allows you to strive towards goals like being able to lift heavier weights, and every set is an opportunity to grow. It’s not just about surviving 30 minutes on the treadmill anymore!
The bottom line is we’re not lifting heavy enough. We need to understand there’s a difference between a bodybuilder and a person trying to get lean, toned muscle. It’s nearly impossible to get big unless you’re supplementing specifically for mass. Instead, you’ll create lean, sexy muscle.
Mistake #3: Not Eating Enough Calories
There is a common misconception that if we just don’t eat, we can’t gain weight. The exact opposite is true, not eating can make you fat in the short term. Your body is a smart machine, and it will go into survival mode, saving your fat stores for an anticipated famine.
The more you starve your body, the more fat it will attempt to save, thus making you—yes—fatter. If your body gets hungry, it will eat your muscle first, so when you hear your stomach growl, you should think about how all your work at the gym is getting ruined because your body is eating all that hard earned muscle!
We see people starve themselves all the time—celebrities do it—but it’s a temporary fix. Starving yourself is a slippery slope that can lead to eating disorders, binge eating and a variety of other health problems including cardiac arrest, low iron (anemia), loss of period (amhenorrea), fatigue, headaches and more. No fun!
So how do I know if I’m not eating enough?
You need to figure out how many calories you need in a day and base your food choices within that range. But you can’t just eat whatever you want, because you’d still be hungry without a proper blend of protein, carbs and fat. Everyone’s needs are different, but if you want to eat to get toned, lean muscles, protein is the key.
If you are weightlifting regularly and looking to gain lean muscle mass you need to eat 1-1.5x your body weight in grams of protein per day. That means if you’re 140 pounds, you would need between 140 and 210 grams of protein a day!
Another tip to lose fat is to eat when you’re hungry. Your body will eat your muscle for fuel first, before attacking your fat cells because fat is emergency fuel. Your body wants to keep those reserves, so it is important to give your body a consistent supply of energy.
Bottom line, you can’t drive a car on an empty gas tank. You can have a perfect paint job with a great interior, but if you don’t put gas in, it’s just a piece of metal in the garage. Food is fuel, so let’s do our bodies good by eating more food and pumping some iron. Strong is the new sexy!