I know, I know, I’ve been neglecting my female readers
lately, and like I said last week – I’m sorry.
So I wanted to do a multi-part series on how to use your
KBs to target those “trouble spots.”
You know what they are.
Every woman does.
In fact, I got an email a couple of weeks ago from Esther asking
about a rapid fat loss beta test (no, it’s no longer available)
that went something like this:
“Will this help me out with my trouble areas – hips, thighs
Ah yeah, the Big 3 – Hips, thighs, and stomach, particularly
that little “pooch” from right around the navel down.
Why do these things “go wrong?”
And more importantly, how do you address these areas –
“fix” them so-to-speak?
What I want to do is to give you some basics that will
help you out and then the option to go deeper if you so
Let’s start with the #1 trouble spot – which is especially
Pretty much every woman I’ve met and surely 99% of
all women who have had kids obsess over, stress about,
and hate this part of their body.
What’s REALLY going on here?
There are 2 things that are actually happening here.
The first is a hormonal issue. There’s the actual body fat –
which is just the layer of fat on top of the “pooch,” which
is often times caused by an imbalance in your hormones.
So let’s take a look at the hormones:
These are the big five.
Let’s break them down a little bit, shall we?
Insulin – is a storage hormone that shuttle sugar from the
blood into the body’s cells. When those cells are “full,”
the sugar has no where to go so the sugar is converted
into fat and stored in your fat cells. (Yes, the process is
more complex than that – think “Cliff’s Notes” here.)
Cortisol – Is another important hormone that mobilizes
blood sugar for quick energy. It’s most often associated with
the “fight or flight” response, so if you’re under a lot of stress,
there’s a pretty good chance that your cortisol levels are high.
And when blood sugar is too high – your body releases
insulin to store that blood sugar again. Long term elevated
insulin levels lead to insulin resistance which lead to fat
storage as well.
Not only that, but elevated cortisol levels inhibit complete
digestion and shut down your reproductive system.
Estrogen – one of the primary female sex hormones (duh).
When this gets out of control, due to stress, or environmental
factors (lots of estrogen forming compounds like BPA in
our water bottles, and estradiol in our water supply) – it
increases fat storage in the hips and thighs, but keeps
it off the stomach.
Progesterone – the other major female sex hormone, it
works in conjunction with estrogen to regulate the menstrual
cycle and CAN (not “will”) work in opposition to estrogen.
Testosterone – traditionally thought of as the male sex
hormone, women have about 10% of the amount of men.
It actually works in opposition to estrogen – so too much
testosterone in a woman will contribute to storing fat in
the stomach area.
OK, wow – that’s all a lot to take in so let me break it down
Many women (not all) are stuck in the low calorie, lots of
So, they’ll go on a diet, often extreme (and usually carb
and low fat based), and because they’ve been socially
conditioned to do lots of cardio, will do swings.
LOTS of swings.
And they’ll use a relatively light KB too, so they can get in
lots of reps – so they don’t bulk up.
Now many women are run ragged with a full-time job and
shuttling 2.5 kids back and forth and back and forth between
activities so their stress levels are crazy.
Combine these three things – stress, lots of swings, and
a low calorie diet – and you have a recipe for disaster on
the belly fat front.
Cortisol levels will continue to remain elevated, if not climb,
and that means insulin levels will increase and that means
you’re not going to lose your belly fat. In fact, you may
even gain some more of it.
Does any of this sound remotely familiar?
If so, don’t worry – Here’s how you fix it:
Stop all high rep kettlebell work.
Stop with the long swing workouts.
Stop eating low fat and switch over to a low carb (not zero
carb) diet – preferably some sort of carb-cycling type
This will start to manage your insulin levels, which will
start to reduce body fat.
Well besides the fact that you are made to be strong
(we covered that last time) – training for strength will start
to balance out your hormone levels.
It’ll decrease your stress levels by decreasing the demand
on your emotions and you’ll be able to spend less time
Don’t worry, you can still get out of breath and sweat
hard training for strength – especially when you know
the correct cues and exercise progressions.
Plus, it’ll give you body more shape than just training with
high rep swing sets.
Also, focus on getting more sleep.
This will go a long way to help alleviate stress. This is
where recovery happens. And women are notorious for
staying up late to clean or get “me time” from the kids and
I said there were 2 things that caused the Pooch – the
first we obviously just covered – hormones and hormone
imbalances primarily caused by stress.
The second is actually structural – and it’s common to
pretty much all women who have had kids or abdominal
And if you don’t fix this – even if you get rid of all the fat on
your tummy, it’ll still stick out.
This email’s long enough so I’ll cover the second one
*Controlling or manipulating your hormones is a serious
thing. For best and optimum results, I strongly recommend
getting a saliva test and discovering the exact amounts
of these ratios of hormones – one to one another – in your
body currently and consulting your physician about the
results. I also strongly recommend using a physician educated
in Integrative / Functional / Nutritional medicine.