Good golly, Miss Molly! I most certainly hope not!
Roxanne D. asks –
“Despite a regular workout schedule and generally pretty disciplined eating, I seem to be adding day around my middle. I am 62, fit, a size 4 U.S. And not gaining weight at all, but even with 3 double KB sessions plus 2-3 body weight and cardio sessions per week, my waist and thighs are getting larger and flabbier. What to do?”
Has this ever happened to you?
You work out more and you see negative results –
The OPPOSITE results from what you were hoping?
Here’s what’s happening to Roxanne:
She’s losing muscle and putting on fat.
How do I know?
Well, I can’t “know” for sure without doing some body composition testing, however, based on what she reports, we can deduce that to be the case.
“Adding weight around the middle” for many is a tell-tale sign of increased cortisol production.
Cortisol is one of your stress hormones.
And your body releases it to mobilize energy – fat, carbs, etc, when your body perceives the need for extra energy.
This normally is a good, healthy, and normal thing.
However, when you’re working out too hard, not eating enough of the right foods, and/or not getting enough sleep, your body can’t recover.
As a result, the increased blood sugar, along with the food you’re already eating, gets stored as fat as a result of the stress your under.
Remember, working out is a stress, just like an over-bearing boss, a toxic relationship, or rush hour.
When you’re under large amounts of stress that remains unmanaged, your body is “sympathetic dominant” –
Which means your sympathetic nervous system is working overtime keeping you in the “fight or flight” mode.
When in “fight of flight” mode, your digestion and immune system function becomes impaired. Stay in this mode for long enough, and you end up with chronic inflammation, and ultimately start putting on body fat and losing muscle tissue.
So what is Roxanne to do?
1. Cut back on her workouts to 3 times per week.
Unless you’re a professional athlete who gets 8-9 hours of sleep per night, and you have all your bills paid for, then you have other stressors in your life to manage, along with your workouts.
If you “must” work out 6 days a week, balance your 2-3 hard workouts with 2-3 easy “workouts” like walking, stretching, yoga (not that “power yoga” nonsense).
2. Watch what you eat.
Under times of stress, many of us subconsciously gravitate to comfort foods –
Foods high in sugar, high in salt, high in fat, or worse –
High in all three.
3. Get more sleep.
Go to bed early. Turn off the TV. Put down the People magazine.
4. Engage in more “fun” activities.
Laugh more – watch funny movies.
Go out with friends.
“Cuddle” more with your significant other.
Go for a hike in the mountains or a swim at the beach.
And finally –
5. Change your workouts to -
A) The “minimum effective dose.”
In other words, what’s the least you can do and still make progress?
(A helpful question my good friend Brett Jones once asked me.)
Do you really need to do 10 kettlebell exercises or can you get great results from 1 or 2?
B) Do a completely different type of workout.
Look, many people are constantly on a fat loss program.
What worked great for 6 weeks is no longer working.
Your body has adapted to it.
And you need to remember – there are “seasons” in your training.
You should NOT always be on a fat loss program.
For one, it’s obsessively unhealthy.
Second, sometimes it’s easier to travel up the mountain using the switchbacks then climbing straight up.
In other words, you may need to do something that looks like the opposite of your goals – yet it may be the thing that gets you to your goal.
Like fixing your chronically sore shoulders, hips, or knees.
Stop trying to gut out your hardcore kettlebell fat loss workout and “ignoring” the pain.
Pain alters movement.
And altered movement decreases your efficiency and increases chronic inflammation, which guess what?
Yep – makes you fat.
There’s lots more I could say about this process.
If you’d like to know more – go here.