In home personal training isn’t just about showing up and exercising clients until they’re in great shape, it’s about helping clients transition to the healthy lifestyle changes that will keep them healthy long term. We might work out for 3 quality hours a week, but what one does in the remaining 165 hours that week matters…a lot! Losing body fat is often a major client goal, and after years of weight gain and frustration, it’s smart to hire a personal trainer to finally make that change happen. “I can work out on my own” usually doesn’t work, leaving many people de-conditioned, over weight, and low on energy.
Another thing to remember: your body is geared to hold on to fat. Being lean is fashionable, but from a survival perspective, it’s foolhardy. Body fat is stored energy, and it evolved to help us survive periods of low food supplies (hunters and gatherers). To lose fat in times of exercise and plentiful food, you have to work hard and eat smart to lean up. And above all, listen to your personal trainer!
Here’s basic breakdown of key elements in losing body fat:
First, you need to understand that genetics has a strong role in where you store your body fat. As I said, body fat in healthy amounts is natural: it stores reserves of energy and insulates your body. For men, fat often collects on the abdomen, and women tend to see it on the hips, butt, and thighs. You can work out all you want, but whenever you eat more calories than you burn, your body will store those calories as body fat in the places where you are genetically predisposed.
Spot Training Doesn’t Work
Will doing a crazy amount of crunches work? No, “spot training” doesn’t work. People lose fat in thin layers over the whole body, and the last fat to go is where it collects most. When my clients lose weight, I see it first in their faces, arms and legs. It’s gradual, and many don’t notice it right away…then one day—wow! Keep working at it and eating right, and the weight loss will come, wherever you store it.
Types of Fat
Just under the skin is the subcutaneous fat, everyone needs that fat to insulate the body. Below the subcutaneous fat is the visceral fat that protects your organs. Visceral fat is more dangerous because it can increase your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and high blood pressure. Women tend to have, on average, about six to eleven percent more body fat than men, often resulting in a pear-shaped body. Men tend to have more visceral fat because they are likely to collect fat on the belly. And the term “beer belly” might have some truth to it: some studies suggest that alcohol specifically contributes to belly fat. Funny thing is, many of my clients say they train with me so they can have a glass of wine or two without worry…and I can’t blame them!
Consistent workouts are key, and that’s where many people fail. You must schedule the best time for it, and do it right. A good fat reduction fitness program of 3-4 sessions a week will burn tons of calories and make you look and feel awesome. It’s a “no-brainer” when you have a personal trainer to create your workouts and make sure you are safely performing each exercise. We do a variety of workouts to reduce fat and make fit and happy clients; studies suggest that strength training is the best workout method overall because it adds new metabolically active muscle on your frame (increasing your metabolism) and it continues to burn calories for hours after your workout. Cardio is great for straight calorie burning while you exercise, and HIIT training can be a great combination of both. But fitness training is only part of the equation.
Quality Food Supply
Sure, you’ll regularly burn hundreds of calories per Bodystar workout, but if your post-workout reward is a 1,000+ calorie Chipotle burrito (yes the typical burrito is over a 1,000 cals), you will probably put MORE fat on your body! It’s simple: when you eat more calories than you burn, your body will store it and you will gain weight. Sure you’ll have awesome new working muscles after a few months of consistent workouts—that six pack will be perfectly developed—but since “Abs are made in the kitchen”, you’ll have to eat right to decrease the fat layer that hides it.
Getting a trainer helps a lot in positive accountability, and often the eating is the most challenging part of a new client program. One step at a time and you’ll get there. You have to eat “clean” foods, i.e., un-processed, simple foods in their most natural form: vegetables, fruits, lean meats (poultry, eggs, fish, etc.), whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts and low fat dairy products. Avoid eating out because restaurant food has plenty of extra calories due to added butter and sugar—tastes great, but probably has a ton of extra calories you don’t need.
Sugary drinks are a major source of body fat, too! Cut out or minimize the alcohol and sugar drinks and great things happen! One trick I use is to always have 12 packs of zero calorie flavored water in the fridge. Dump the sugar drinks and move on to a healthier habit that keeps you hydrated and helps you lose weight.
If you’re not sleeping more than about seven and a half hours a night, you are likely depleting two hormones, ghrelin (the hormone that tells you when to eat) and leptin (the hormone that tells you when to stop eating). Less sleep means your metabolism slows down, those hormone levels drop, you eat more, and then you gain weight. Do whatever it takes to get enough sleep! Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm or it can keep you in the lighter stages of sleep.
Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep and be a major driver in your weight loss effort. Starting a program now is the best way to get the process going and stay on track with the above healthy improvements.
Bodystar Fitness is an at home personal training service for Chicago’s North Shore, check us out at bodystarfitness.com or bodystar.fitness (new ending, no .com). We train wonderful clients in Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Northfield, Glenview, Glencoe, Northbrook, Highland Park, Evanston, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to get in great shape at home.