I’ll start by saying that the title of this is a little misleading as this blog applies to everyone, both male and female. I have titled it as such as these are the questions I get mainly from women.
Whilst the internet is a great way to connect with people, there is also a mass of mis-information out there, especially when it comes to health and fitness for females. So to help you out a bit, here are some answers to common questions I get asked.
Won’t I get bulky from lifting weights? This is one of the most common questions I hear when it comes to training women. They don’t want to get bulky so shy away from lifting weights.
Answer: I can assure you that lifting weights alone will not make you bulky. You will only gain bulk if you lift heavy weights and eat a calorie surplus (eat more than you burn off). In fact, lifting weights will actually help you to lose weight and look better. Whilst lifting weights will mean you will put on muscle, it will be lean muscle that will make you look slim and toned. Muscle also burns more calories, so the more lean muscle you have, the more efficient your body will be at burning fat. Which actually means you can eat more and not store fat. Sound good?
Can you reduce fat from certain areas of your body? There are a lot of promises out there on how to reduce fat only from a particular area of the body. However, you can’t just focus on one area of the body and reduce fat there. The stomach is the most common one you see, where people believe a million sit-ups will result in a six pack.
Answer: In order to reduce your body-fat you need to do the right exercise and eat a balanced healthy diet. If you want to see your abs, you need to burn fat from your entire body. Exercising a body part will help to build lean muscle in that area, you need to burn fat from your entire body to see the muscles underneath.
I only need to do cardio exercises to lose weight? This is another very common myth so many people fall into. They spend hours of running or doing spin classes in the hope of losing weight.
Answer: Cardio has been said to burn more calories in that moment of exercise, which is why people see it as an effective tool to use for weight loss. Whilst cardio is extremely good for you, for the best result you need to incorporate both weights and cardio together. That’s because in order to burn fat, you to have to build lean muscle, which means you need to incorporate resistance/strength training into your exercise routine. Remember, lifting weights is not going to get you bulky.
As long as I exercise it doesn’t matter what I eat? I see a lot of people take on the mentality of “well I did a hard workout, so I can eat whatever I want”. Whilst I promote having a balanced lifestyle and allowing for eating the foods you want in moderation, eating whatever you want all the time, just because you did some exercise, is not going to get you results.
Answer: The biggest component to losing weight is actually nutrition. As you may have heard before, ‘abs are made in the kitchen’. Whilst they aren’t solely made in the kitchen, what you eat has a major impact on the results you will get. Losing weight is a basic equation; burn more calories than you consume. If, including your exercise, you are using 2,500 calories a day but you are eating 3,000 calories you will gain weight. If you are using 2,500 calories a day but only eating 2,000 calories, you will lose weight. My recommendations are to exercise and eat a well-balanced, whole-food diet, that will give you energy to sustain you throughout your day.
Can I go on a diet to lose the weight I want to and get my dream body? The ‘diet’ world has been using the same message for years now and that is in order to lose weight you must severely restrict the foods you eat. We’ve all heard of the ‘Cabbage Soup Diet’ and others that are similar. Well, yes, you will lose weight quickly but it will not be sustainable and is likely to result in further weight gain after you ditch the diet.
Answer: To get the body you want you need to eat healthy whole foods. Whilst it’s important to not overeat, obsessing about calorie control and majorly restricting them only leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. The best thing to do is aim to eat the majority of your daily foods that are not processed or packaged. Still have your favourite snacks in moderation, as by doing this you will not feel deprived and that way you are less likely to binge on foods that most ‘diets’ would ban.
Remember, we are trying to build a sustainable healthy lifestyle. A strong body, built with a varied exercise routine, coupled with good sustainable nutrition means that you will look and feel better than you ever have before.
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