If you have been struggling to lose weight after dropping the first 5 pounds, or if your fat loss has hit a roadblock even before it began, then you are most likely making one or all of the 5 mistakes in this article. Yes, no matter how unique you may think you are in your failures to lose fat, you do have a lot in common with other strugglers.
I have observed time and again the similar training mistakes made by trainees that halt their fat loss progress. So let me share 5 of the very common ones, and how you can overcome them.
1) Too desperate and short sighted - Yes I can understand how badly you want to fit into those size 32 waist jeans or that designer dress in a few weeks. However, in the real world you need to be more patient and think of the long term. I am sure you did not pack on 30 pounds in 3 weeks, so why expect to lose it in 3 weeks?
A reasonable expectation would be to lose the fat in ¼ of the time that it took you to put it on. Remember one thing: when that fat comes off you should be a far fitter and stronger person. If your fat loss program leaves you weak, unfit and overall, makes you feel terrible, then it’s not worth it.
A better approach would be to focus more on your progression in terms of strength and fitness. This would mean a focus on lifting more weights, doing more reps, running faster, etc. As your physical capacity improves your bodyfat levels will come down too if your diet is clean.
To put it another way, focus on the journey of getting there and giving it the best along the whole way rather than only being obsessed about the destination. This will give you a much better chance of “getting there”.
2) Your workout lacks intensity - It is very common to see fat people walk on a treadmill while watching TV. If that is your idea of a workout, then be prepared to be stuck with your bodyfat. Your workouts need to be I-N-T-E-N-S-E!
And don’t even get me started on doing high reps with those 5 pound plastic dumbbells. I don’t even consider them weights. They are just toys for kids and not a tool for serious fat loss. You can start with them for certain exercises if you are weak to begin with, but slowly you'll want to move onto serious weights to see a real loss of bodyfat.
From now on focus on going hard and heavy during your workouts and try to finish them in 45 minutes. Yes, moving around slowly for 90 minutes is not the best way to lose fat. Of course you can take a little longer if you do an extended stretching session along with your weights and cardio.
Focus on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, etc to maximize your results. You will also do well to spend most of your resistance training with free weights like barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells instead of using too many machines like leg extensions, etc.
3) Lack sufficient resistance training - Traditionally it was advised that to lose weight one should spend about 80% of their training doing cardio. The outcome of this advice was that the cardiovascular exercise machine manufacturers had fatter purses. If you want to lose fat then learn to make resistance training a major part of your training program.
Resistance training can include both weighted and bodyweight exercises. The advantage of resistance training is that it raises your resting metabolic rate which means that you burn more calories throughout the day. This ends up creating a much greater fat loss than doing just 30-60 minutes of slow cardio.
Of course it is essential to go heavy to get the benefits of resistance training, so once again those 5 pound pink dumbbells should not be your best buddy in the gym.
4) Changing programs too often and not focusing on progression - Did you start a routine and leave it after two workouts because you came across another awesome looking super fast results promising routine on the net? If you have been doing such chopping and changing for months then stop and have a good look at yourself and see how much progress you have made. Chances are that there will be very little to no improvements made.
It is important that you try a program for at least 4 weeks before changing it to get the best results. In fact, I will even advise that if a program is working well for you then don’t be in a hurry to change it even if you end up doing it for 3 months.
Progression is what you need to focus on instead of being obsessed with finding a “perfect” program.
5) Being a couch potato outside the gym - Being a couch potato was one of the major reasons why you got fat in the first place. So if you have not overcome that habit, then you are not maximizing your fat loss results.
Look for opportunities to get active outside the gym. This could mean playing sports with buddies, walking more instead of using a car for short distances, etc. If you are a parent, then you can plan 1-2 days a week to take your kids to the park and play active games with them. It will be a great stress buster and will help you bond better with your kids.
Again, there can be many other such options to get active if you really try to look for them. So to help you get started or blast through that plateau let me share with you a sample fat loss workout that you can try.
Fat Loss Workout
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Start with 5-10 minutes of warm up on the treadmill or skipping rope.
- Superset 1: Military press 3 x 8-10 and Deadlift 3 x 10-12.
- Superset 2: Lat Pull Downs 3 x 12 and Dumbbell Lunges 3 x 12-15 each leg.
- Superset 3: Reverse Crunches 3 x 12 and Plank hold 3 x 20-45 seconds.
For each superset do the two exercises back to back and then rest for 1-1½ minutes and repeat.
Cardio- interval running on the treadmill. Go fast for 15 seconds and slow for 45 seconds and repeat this sequence for 15 minutes.