Spring is starting to show its face in many parts of the country and pretty soon it’ll be here for real. Now is when so many women start thinking about getting into gear with their fat loss plans. Unfortunately, many women also let a lot of things slide through winter and the holidays.
So, while you may be eager to get back on track (or get on track to begin with), there’s a good chance that you’ve let your workouts slide, have added a few more pounds to what you need to lose and are feeling a little discouraged about losing significant fat by the time the warm weather is here to stay.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do this month, whether the weather is good or bad, to seriously boost your fat loss potential, give you a head start on your goals and get you motivated to get serious about changing your body.
Here are three of the best things you can do right now, regardless of how you spent your winter and regardless of your current fitness level.
If you only do one thing to change your body this month, this should be that one thing. Simply kicking processed foods out of your diet will accomplish so much, including cutting calories (maybe a ton of calories, depending on how much processed food you eat), getting your fat storage/fat loss hormones into the correct balance, cleaning out your digestive system and boosting your immune system.
All of these results are a natural effect of quitting processed foods, especially if you eat a lot of prepared meals, fast food, refined sugars and flours, packaged cereals and snacks, soda and so on. Even if processed foods only make up a third of your diet (it’s typically much more for most women), you’ll see dramatic fat loss results very quickly by cutting them out.
In fact, cutting out processed foods is such a dramatic change that I’m comfortable telling you that you can cut the processed stuff and eat as much as you want of any whole, fresh foods, without counting calories and still see immediate and continued fat loss.
Of course, those of you who eat a diet heavy in processed foods (yes, even the “healthy” packaged foods and “healthy” options at the fast food places) will see the most dramatic results. But even those of you who are pretty moderate about processed foods will see results, because while you may not be eliminating significant calories, you’ll still be getting your hormones, digestive system and immune system in line and all three of those have a huge impact on fat loss.
Instead of giving you a long list of good and bad foods, I’ll give you a simple way to eliminate processed foods completely: buy and eat only single-ingredient foods. Sure, you can combine them for tasty soups, sauces and other dishes, but everything in your shopping cart should have one ingredient on the label or no label at all. It’s as simple as that.
This doesn’t mean you have to peck at rabbit food all day and go without treats. How about a delicious dinner of a nice, juicy steak, a baked sweet potato with olive oil, salt & pepper and a huge salad? Even better, you can whip up your own strawberry sorbet for dessert. There’s nothing depressing or lackluster about eating clean.
I actually get sad when I see lovely women spending hours a week walking or even jogging on the treadmill. Hours and hours per week, when I know they probably aren’t losing a single pound of fat and would be much happier spending all of that time with their friends and family.
If you’ve read this blog for very long at all, you’ve heard me say this before, but I will say it again emphatically: steady-state cardio builds your endurance but it does not build you a new body.
The best thing an hour on the treadmill or elliptical will do for you is maintain your current state of cardiovascular health and burn a few hundred calories. That’s it. It won’t help you shed fat and it won’t help you improve your cardio health.
But you can do both by ditching the hamster wheels and spending even a quarter of that time doing some high-intensity interval cardio and bodyweight resistance.
If you think you’re too out of shape to even think about HIIT, you’re wrong. High-intensity means high-intensity for you, not something that would half-kill most fairly fit people. This means that if you’ve been very sedentary, it won’t take much to get your heart rate up where it needs to be for your workout to be effective.
You can put together a very effective and doable workout that takes just fifteen to twenty minutes and not only burns calories throughout the day but also helps improve your cardiovascular health and reshapes your body at the same time.
You might start with 30 seconds of high-stepping in place followed by ten push-ups (girl push-ups are fine), then 30 more seconds of stepping and ten squats. As you progress, you make the cardio more demanding (such as doing mountain climbers or standing jumps) and doing 20 pushups or lunges or what have you.
The whole key is to do short bursts of cardio at the highest intensity YOU can manage, alternating with longer sets of bodyweight moves that use the large muscle groups and your core. It’s safe, it’s easy to change up each week as you get stronger and it speeds up your fat loss dramatically. Best of all, you can cut your cardio workout down to 15-20 minutes and have more time for your life and an easier time of scheduling fitness.
If the treadmill does very little for you, those 1-5 pound dumbbells do even less. You are simply wasting your time and energy of hoping that slinging those things around will help you build muscle. What does this have to do with fat loss? Everything.
The more muscle you build, the more fat you lose. It’s that simple. Adding muscle not only causes you to burn more calories, it also prompts your body to shed fat by increasing the amount of fat burning/muscle building hormones in your system and decreasing the fat storage hormones.
You don’t need to replace those cute dumbbells with 200-lb barbells, but you do need to move enough weight to fatigue your muscles and facilitate the building of new muscle tissue. For some women, that means starting with 20-lb dumbbells for biceps curls and for others, it’s more like 10. Start from where you are right now and don’t worry what the person next to you is doing.
If you haven’t been training at all with weights and think you don’t have time to add another workout routine to your schedule, I’m going to correct you. Use the time you’re NOT spending on the treadmill.
You can easily do a 15-30 minute weight routine and get in a 15-minute HIIT session and be out the gym door faster than you do now. Even if you haven’t worked out in years and have a crazy busy schedule, you can schedule 30-45 minutes three times a week, which is all you need if you’re doing a full body workout.
These three steps are so important and effective that doing just one of them will net you fat loss results. But incorporate all three and you’ll be amazed at the impact it will have had on your body just four weeks from now.
If you want to view some workout videos from Flavilicious check out my Youtube channel: