Don’t blame “fat genes” if you’ve “tried everything” & still can’t lose weight.
There’s a humbling reason for your chronic weight loss failure. The good news is that you can solve this problem!
I’m a former personal trainer and I know exactly why a lot of fat men and fat women just cannot lose weight even though they exercise at the gym nearly every day and try to eat healthy.
Not all fat people are couch potatoes who gorge on fattening food. Many fat people are committed to losing fat and they never miss an exercise session.
But the popular belief is that some fat people are meant to be that way; the fat is hereditary or genetic.
Genetic causes of being fat are RARE. Medications can cause weight gain, but what if you are not on medications, and you exercise faithfully, watch your diet, and still struggle with obesity?
Here are common mistakes at the gym that are keeping you from losing fat:
#1 Keeping your hands on the treadmill’s rails, instead of swinging your arms.
The whole idea behind walking on a treadmill is to re-create walking’s exercise benefits with a machine, when walking outdoors is inconvenient.
What people don’t realize is that when hands are on the bars, you are burning up to 25 percent FEWER calories, then if your arms are swinging naturally.
This is one of the biggest workout mistakes, and it is costing you dearly.
Pretend you are walking on an outdoor track, focus on solid posture, and start swinging your arms to re-create genuine walking.
This way, your body gets no help from the treadmill’s rails, which means many more muscles are now being used.
You can always slow down if you feel wobbly, but a slower walk with an arm swing is a ton more superior than a faster walk while holding the rails and paralyzing your upper body.
#2 Using cardio machines (or moving too slowly outdoors) at a casual pace.
Going through the motions isn’t good enough. You must break past the comfort zone and force your body to take notice of what you’re doing.
The exercise stimulus must be challenging enough to provoke your body into adapting.
When the body is forced to make adaptations to a demanding exercise load, it requires more fuel. If you have excess body fat, this will become the fuel source, and it will get burned.
But you must pedal harder, pedal faster, use higher pedal resistance, increase the tread speed, use an incline, use more risers in your step class for higher height, and work out hard enough so that conversation is difficult for most of the workout.
#3 Not lifting weights.
I can’t begin to tell you how many obese people I see always camped out in the cardio area, who never venture near the weightlifting area.
People believe cardio is king for fat loss, because we’ve all seen those skinny marathon runners on TV.
But intense strength training is more effective at burning fat than is tons of cardio.
You can do cardio till the cows come home (pardon the cliché, but it really applies here), but if you add three weight lifting sessions, one hour each, per week to your life, and you lift weights INTENSELY, I’m telling you, the fat will practically drip off like hot butter.
#4 Not working out hard enough.
The myth is that it’s harmful for fat people to push themselves. Ask your doctor if hard breathing and breaking a grimy sweat is bad for your health.
I do not recommend that fat people do jumping exercises, bear walks, full squats, pushup or pull-up attempts or high stepping exercises, but they can do just about anything else in a gym without worrying about harming their joints.
It’s very important to warm up first, build up gradually if you’re new to exercise, and cool down afterwards.
And fat people are certainly on an even playing field when it comes to weightlifting.
They are on an even playing field when it comes to cardio equipment – as far as using it hard enough to break a sweat, even if it means a lower setting or slower speed than the thin person next to you.
You are not competing against the thin person next to you. And though obese people aren’t the most efficient runners, they will trigger fat loss by simply working on building up the endurance to sustain a medium-paced jog — even if it’s just five minutes.
If you can jog for only three minutes at a time, then jog for only three minutes at a time, switching back and forth between that and walking.
Soon that three minutes will be five minutes, then seven minutes, then ten minutes…
A fat person who’s “healthy” — in other words, who’s been cleared by a physician to hit the gym, need not worry about pushing hard at the gym.
People of all sizes deserve the honor of working up a sweat and panting hard.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.