Why Weight Loss Programs Never Seem to Work

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Why Weight Loss Programs Never Seem to Work

Weight loss can be an excellent goal, but there are so many misconceptions on how to lose weight that it can become very difficult to know if you are doing the right thing. For that reason I am providing common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight.

Weight Loss Mistake 1: Not Strength Training

Strength training is crucial to any weight-loss program. The obvious benefit is that it causes you to gain muscle. This increase in muscle will help to increase your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), commonly known as your metabolism. Keep in mind that most people trying to lose weight have sedentary lifestyles, people with sedentary lifestyles don’t typically have a lot of muscle mass when compared to people who are physically active.

Along with increasing your RMR through muscle gain, strength training also causes EPOC also known as the after burn. Keep in mind this is a minimal amount of extra calories burned, but, for the next 16-36 hours your body will burn calories at an increased rate, adding to the effectiveness of your workout as it will help you lose additional weight over time.

Weight Loss Mistake 2: Doing The Same Thing Over & Over

Progression is crucial for any weight loss program.

The first time an individual does a workout their body will be inefficient at the workout and will likely have some significant muscle soreness. If you continue to do the same workout over and over your body will adapt to become more efficient and the workout that was strenuous on Day 1 becomes easier. This is your body adapting. If you never change the workout, your body will not need to adapt or gain muscle or lose fat, etc.

This is why people who have physically active jobs can still be out of shape, fat, and unhealthy. They do something daily that would be an intense workout for most people, but their body adapted as it became  efficient at the work they do daily. Take this same concept into your workouts. If you do not gradually progress you will lose weight initially and then plateau.

Program Design, Program Changes, or Periodization is Difficult to Understand.

A simple way to think of how to progress is by increasing either the volume (Reps/Sets/Distance) or intensity (Weight/Speed). This can be done weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. I hesitate to say as needed but keeping a workout journal will help you determine when is time to make the adjustment.

Below is an example of three weeks of increasing volume & intensity for cardio & strength.

  • 1st Week Load: 8×1 minute airdyne@200 Watts, 4×6 Back Squats@55-65% Max
  • 2nd Week Load: 10×1 minute airdyne@200 Watts, 4×6 Back Squats@60-70% Max
  • 3rd Week Load: 12×1 minute airdyne@200 Watts, 4×6 Back Squats@65-75% Max

As you can see for the strength training, the loading intensity changes and the volume stays where it is. While the cardio workout changes the volume, but leaves the intensity the same.

Below is an example of changing the intensity for cardio & changing volume for strength training.

  • 1st Week Load: 10×30 seconds airdyne@200 Watts, 3×8 Back Squats@60% Max
  • 2nd Week Load: 10×30 seconds airdyne@250 Watts, 3×10 Back Squats@60% Max
  • 3rd Week Load: 10×30 seconds airdyne@300 Watts, 3×12 Back Squats@60% Max

Weight Loss Mistake 3: Crash Dieting

Most people think that to lose weight they must go on some sort of restrictive diet. Paleo, Whole 30, Vegan, and Keto are a few examples of popular diet plans. These diets are extremely difficult to maintain and in my opinion are ALL FLAWED! They may have initial success, but very few people are able to maintain them forever.

Any healthy weight-loss plan involves long-term lifestyle change. Crash dieting is not a long-term change. Everyone reading this article knows someone who has lost a ton of weight and then six months later they have put half or more of that weight back on.
This is the cycle of crash dieting because once you reintroduce what was in your diet beforehand the weight comes right back. Many crash diets are very expensive to maintain, are not enjoyable for most people and alienate people during one of the most fundamental social events of sharing a meal.

Example 1:

For example, you go on Keto and cut out nearly all carbohydrates from your diet. Carbs are your primary energy source for high-intensity activity! Exercising on this diet is very difficult. Not to mention your grocery bill is going to be more expensive than in the past, especially if you are really committing to doing this Keto Diet right.

Example 2:

Now imagine you are going to your friend’s house for dinner wondering if there is going to be anything there that fits your restrictive new lifestyle. Are you going to refuse to eat what they make because it does not fit your diet? Are you going to bring your own food? Perhaps you will justify eating poorly because you have been so disciplined lately. This is not an outrageous scenario and it puts unnecessary stress around food (stress is bad for weight-loss). This diet (and most diets) are not realistic to maintain, and what is going to happened when you stop and reintroduce all the foods you were missing during your diet? You’re going to gain back any weight you lost!

I repeat, crash dieting does not work!

Your diet needs to be the way you eat all the time. It needs to be something you can live with and feel good about. If you can eat real food (that does not mean it needs to cost a fortune), learn how to portion control, and occasionally allow yourself to have small amounts of unhealthy indulgences you will have a much better chance of long-term success. Trying to do something extreme for a short period of time, in the end, crushes so many people’s weight loss plan.

Weight Loss Mistake 4: Not Doing Steady-State Cardio

Steady-state cardio is one of the most popular weight loss methods and is typically where people start their weight-loss program. This is a very important rule to manage your weight! Whether you want to maintain your weight and especially lose weight!

Most people starting a weight loss program need to do 2 things.

  1. Eat Less Calories

  2. Move More to Burn More Calories

This simple type of cardio can be low impact and relatively easy to moderate intensity. This is great because it reduces the risk for injury. For someone who is trying to lose weight an injury is going to derail any progress that may have initially been made.

Overall, using steady state cardio as a beginner and as a seasoned veteran to working out or training is a good idea. We need a minimum of 150 minutes of cardio a week and doing steady state cardio is a nice way to get that. You are not going to be able to do 150 minutes or more of HIIT, or intervals per week and be able to sustain that regimen for long.

Weight Loss Mistake 5: Too Much Too Soon

This is the most detrimental mistake the average person trying to lose weight will make. Start slower than you think you should and gradually progress! This goes for your workouts, eating habits, sleeping habits, and more.

Making multiple big lifestyle changes at the same time very rarely works. Going from sedentary to working out five days a week is not sustainable. Neither is that crash diet! Even if you are mentally tough enough to sustain it your body will likely give out, an injury will happen, or your enthusiasm will fizzle out with a whimper.
I see many people with great intentions for weight loss that give up after a month because it is too difficult. It does not have to be this way.
Weight loss will not be an easy road to be on, but you don’t need to make it the most difficult road to be on either. The hardest part about that road though is that it is long.
We all want quick fixes to whatever issues we may have. However, in life and in weight-loss the quick fix is rarely the best thing for us. To have healthy, long-term, sustainable weight loss that leads into proper weight management you must make healthy, long-term, sustainable lifestyle changes.

Its ok to start slow and want to progress – its actually the right way too!

If you want to change your life you need to change the way you live!

Wrapping It Up

These are 5 mistakes I see all the time. They are things that are easy to correct. With proper strength training followed by cardio sessions, increases in daily physical activity, minor adjustments to the way you eat, and gradual progressions and changes over time you can lose weight gain muscle and live a healthier life.For more questions please feel free to contact me! Click on this Contact Link and fill out the Form!

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