I’ve had several people in the last week send me a message or approach asking the same question, so I thought it might be a good blog topic 😉
The question (in general) is: “I have been trying to slim down/lose weight during the past couple of months. I eat healthy and workout, but I’m still not seeing results. What can I do?”
I know that each person is different in terms of how their body responds, how they view ‘eating healthy’, etc. BUT I have found that there are 3 MAIN things that can make a big difference for someone who maintains a healthy lifestyle, but isn’t seeing results they want. I usually ask the person these 3 questions right off the bat, and 1 or 2 of them pinpoints the area they can clean up to start succeeding in their fitness endeavors:
1) How much water do you drink a day?
- If you are working out, you should be drinking AT LEAST a gallon a day = 3.75 Liters approx. or 128oz. You don’t have to carry around a huge gallon jug (it’s easy to track with), but it is good to have 1/1.5/2 Liter bottle so you can track how much you are drinking a day. I have a bottle that is 2.4 Liters, and will drink 2-3 of them a day. (you can add in flavors like crystal light if it helps — that still counts as water 🙂
- Why so much water??
- Your muscles are made up of 80% water.* If they are not hydrated, your workouts are not at your full potential meaning you are not burning as much fat or building as much muscle as you can during your time at the gym.
- Water will increase your satiety (making you feel less hungry).
- Water can increase your metabolism and burn extra calories: Drinking 1/2 Liter of water will increase your metabolism 24-30% for 90minutes **; & Drinking 2 liters of water will cause you to burn 96 calories throughout the day. So drinking a gallon of water will mean you burn about 200kcals a day more!
- When you don’t drink water, your kidneys slow down & the liver will help them out. One of the Liver’s jobs is to convert your body fat into usable energy… however, if your liver is doing the kidneys’ job, it stops breaking down your fat, and your body will store the fat instead. 😦 So, by keeping your kidneys hydrated, you are also allowing the liver to break down more fat.^
- What about water poisoning?
- Yes, it is possible to OD on water. However, your kidneys are able to process .26 gallons of water per hour (approx 1 Liter) so as long as your not downing the entire gallon in an hour, you should be ok 🙂 If you are really concerned, you can check out this site for some more information: “Too Much Water Can Kill”
2) How many servings of vegetables do you eat a day?
- Aim for 7-10 servings a day. Like water this will help you feel full and eliminate hunger for unhealthy foods. Additionally, the nutrients in vegetables will fuel your body’s cells to help them perform optimally which will increase your metabolism and energy level as well. So you burn more calories through the day, and have more energy for daily life and workouts 🙂
- 1 serving of vegetables = 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup steamed.
- If you have problems eating this much vegetables:
- Use Spinach. You can steam about 10 cups of fresh spinach into 1 cup for a salad, or you can blend your spinach into a protein shake — It will be green, but you won’t even notice the flavor.
- Find ways to substitute vegetables in for a snack — like carrots and hummus, or celery and almond butter.
- And, you can add vegetables into meals you currently eat — like adding in vegetables to you breakfast omelette or adding some extra into a chicken stir fry or burrito.
Focusing on ADDING in these 2 things will automatically eliminate other parts of your diet that are less healthy and you will not feel deprived since you are looking at how to incorporate these new things into your day.
3) Do you lift weights? If so, do you do it before or after cardio?
- If you don’t lift weights, start to, even if it’s in small amounts. Strive to include weight training at least 3-4 days a week. If you add 3-5 pounds of muscle to your body, you will burn 250-500 extra calories per day which equals 3-5 pounds of fat loss per week. *
- If you do lift weights, follow it with cardio. A study from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) found that
” lifting weights first for 30 minutes and then doing aerobic exercises is the best way to maximize energy used in high intensity training while selectively burning fat efficiently”
- This is because your body will use up your creatine, blood glucose, & glycogen during the 1st 30minutes of your workout, then will start to break down fatty acids for fuel after that. So, Lift first for 30-45 minutes and use all of your power Energy to build lean muscle, then follow it with either moderate or interval cardio for 20-30 minutes which will be strictly fat-burning.
Hope this helps you in your Fitness Journey! Have a great week!!