Why You're Not Getting Toned

Here's why you're not losing weight and here's why you're not getting toned. 

I see it all the time. Tell me if this is you:

 

You go to most of the group exercise classes at your gym...sometimes spending hours at a time there. 

 

You're dripping in sweat after every session, because you've heard that's the defining factor of a good workout. 

 

You do all the high-impact moves and are pretty much a "cardio queen."

 

But

 

You're not losing any weight, and your body composition won't budge.

 

Why?

 

It feels frustrating, doesn't it? You do all the work and "all the moves are right," so where's the six-pack? 

 

"I just don't get it," you may say. 

 

My clients are women who've had enough and are ready to cry, pull their hair out, or both. They're ready to overhaul. 

 

I'm ready to show them that it takes some basic tweaks. 

 

And I'll let you in on it, too. Essentially, you're on the right track. The problem? You're still not understanding what your body needs to make this process seamless. 

 

Because here's what you think losing weight is about...

 

Exercise is put forward as one of the top ways to lose weight. In fact, people need to feel sweaty (which isn't an indicator for weight loss or burned calories, by the way) to feel like they're losing.

 

You think that to get results you need to spend hours at the gym, do all the "hardcore" moves and workouts, and eventually your body will get the point. Eventually, we can force our muscles to respond...right?

But You're Missing Something:

Nutrition. That's the word that you will hear from trainers and, sometimes, random people who have seen the light. "How's your nutrition?" I'll ask people.

 

I ask that question, not really expecting an answer. In fact, when I ask that question, it's to help the other person understand that there is another factor that they are either ignorant of, ignoring, or suppressing. 

 

But what does nutrition mean? 

 

Getting into the nitty-gritty of this all by myself is well beyond my scope of practice. However, I'll say that in my experience, those who work themselves hard only to make little nutritional improvements and modifications, ultimately end up seeing no results. Moreover, poor nutrition offsets your body's ability to rebuild precious tissue and go through crucial metabolic processes. 

 

Working yourself into pulp and demanding that your body perform at a "top athlete" level, without giving it the crucial micronutritional support it needs is dangerous. 

 

Looking toned starts when you're hovering in the 20% body fat range, but losing body fat is a process that needs to happen with proper exercise regimen and nutrition planning.

 

What you might be doing wrong

Are you skipping meals? Are you eating high-energy, low-fiber foods? Are you managing your portions? Do you still think that smoothie bowls are all healthy? (Well, it says "smoothie," so it must be, right?"). Are you staying up late? And...are you still saying "yes" to every cocktail recipe you see on Pinterest?

 

Here are some of the sneaky sabotaging behaviors that I know will wreck your results:

 

Staying up late: working out at a high intensity throughout the week requires rest. Getting enough rest shouldn't be optional, because your body's ability to build healthier tissue depends on it. If your body isn't exhausted and over-trained, it doesn't need to store fat because it's in crisis mode

 

Drinking cocktails on the weekends: generally speaking, drinking alcohol makes you consume more calories. At the same time, how "bad" drinking is for you depends on a variety of variables such as the type of alcohol consumed, your own level of tolerance, genetics, etc. Your body cannot process alcohol and stored body fat at the same time--the presence of the former interrupts the processing or "burning" of the latter, and when you're knocking back cocktails every Friday night, you're not only adding excess sugar and calories, but with every drink you're forcing your body to choose processing the alcohol over burning stored fat. 

 

Taking in too much processed foods; not understanding what "processed" actually means: I'm not going to go somewhere else to get a definition for processed foods. In fact, I'm going to give you my definition of a processed food so that you'll know exactly what I tell my clients: a processed food is a food that isn't whole. OK? It's something that you didn't buy whole, cut or chop, and cook. And often, we eat out at that nice restaurant because they have vegetarian options without thinking of the fact that...you still didn't make it, it may have more sodium than you need, and to save money that particular restaurant is cooking with sub-par ingredients.

 

Dabbling in fad diets: are you a registered dietician? Even I know my limits. I know how to eat so I can feel healthy, but embarking on a diet where I have to meticulously manipulate the amount of carbs vs. fats vs. proteins I eat is irritating. Embarking on a diet where I have to senselessly eliminate vital food groups sans history of allergies, or starving myself for periods of the day may be surefire way to obtain a calorie or nutritional deficit...if you don't know what you're doing. 

 

How I coach my clients

I don't teach my clients to count calories. I don't tell my clients to eat a certain number of meals per day.

 

Instead, I teach my clients about real food--the kind of food that will heal them. I teach my clients how to distinguish between foods that have enough vitamins and minerals to support a vibrant and active lifestyle, and those that will zap their energy or cause inflammation. 

 

More importantly, I teach my clients how to enjoy eating healthy foods. My Supercharge Your Plate program is all based on coaching clients to eat for results and not have their nutrition wreck their fitness. What my clients get is clarity around what they need to eat so that "eating healthy" stops becoming an overwhelming mystery. 

 

Libet Chang