I’ve had many people ask me this over the last few weeks. For some, lockdown has meant they have more time in their day to squeeze in exercise, that coupled with the warmer, longer days we have been having (in the South at least!) has some people increasing their exercise from a couple of times a week to 5-7 times a week, yet the lbs are not shifting.
You might have heard “you can’t out exercise a bad diet”? When it comes to our overall health, fitness and weight maintenance, roughly speaking, 80% of your achievements are going to come from what you eat and drink while 20% will come from exercise. It makes me cross when I see posts on social media claiming you will melt away belly fat by following an ‘ab’ workout. The simple truth is, you can’t spot reduce fat this way. No number of crunches will burn off abdominal fat directly.
What should I do?
That does not mean you should ditch the exercise in favour of a diet alone. Increased physical activity in general, combined with the right nutrition are key to losing fat and transforming how you look and feel.
Have a plan specifically for your goals
It is important to have an exercise plan targeted specifically to your goals. When I meet a client for the first time and ask them what they are looking to achieve, I often hear “I want to get fit”. My next question is always, “fit for what?”. There isn’t a one size fits all programme. So, depending on whether you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness, gain muscle and strength or improve flexibility, how you eat and train will need to be different. Ideally you should work on all 3 areas, however, if your goal is to run a marathon you need to get the miles in your legs, and it might be difficult to gain muscle during this time. I work with clients to help them develop the right programme of exercise and nutrition to achieve their goals.
Aside from losing weight, let’s also remember that exercise has so many wonderful benefits, including:
- Boosting your immune system
- Improving energy
- Improving sleep and stress levels
- Reducing the risk of many diseases
- Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
- Helping to build/maintain lean muscle on your body
- Improving mental health – making you feel happier
- Building bone density, helping to prevent osteoporosis