Throw Those Pink Dumbbells Away!
When I first began my weight loss journey, I fell for the same dogmatic and ineffective fitness advice that most other folks do...
I thought that I needed to do hours of cardio, eat exclusively "clean" foods like chicken breast and broccoli and do hours of ab circuits in the gym to lean down and "target" belly fat.
I don't think I need to tell you how this approach to losing weight is unsustainable, ineffective, and frankly - downright unenjoyable.
Luckily, I was able to identify a few truths about losing weight and getting fit before I completely lost motivation and the willpower to follow such a strict eating and workout plan.
Unfortunately, most people never learn the fundamental truths about losing weight and continue to think that it all comes down to who can suffer the longest to see results....
This is especially true for women.
Most of the advice out there regarding female fitness advises hours of "toning" cardio and extremely low-calorie diets.
I know I'm a....dude.... but trust me when I say that losing weight and getting fit for men and women is much more similar that you've been led to believe. There are only a few specifics with training and nutrition that differ.
Here are 4 of the most common mistakes I see women making in their weight loss regimen, and how to easily fix them!
(I also included a FREE Women's Beginner Fitness Plan that includes some basic nutrition advice and a sample workout to get started. If you'd rather jump straight into that and not read my crappy article, scroll to the bottom to access it for free!)
Mistake #1 - Relying Entirely On Cardio
Although it was before my time, female fitness had a revolution when the popular Jane Fonda At-Home Workouts were starting to popularize...
Now I am all for moving and being less sedentary, and these types of workouts helped thousands of women achieve that.
But here's the truth - to get "toned", women need to focus on strength training.
Toning is not something that you can train for like fitness magazines would like for you to believe. Instead, a toned physique is the result of developing small amounts of muscle mass and dropping excess body fat.
Many women fear that lifting weights will make them "bulky", but the truth is that the women you see with Man-Sized muscle are either training incorrectly or on steroids.
Here's the Easy-Fix: Focus primarily on proper strength training and secondarily using cardio as a way to be more active or help lose excess body fat.
Proper strength training for women includes lifting moderately heavy weights (primarily in the 6-15 rep range).
Mistake #2 - Following an Extremely Strict Diet Protocol
There's a common perception that if you workout more and eat next to nothing, you'll lose weight more quickly.
In the short-term, this type of extreme approach can definitely work. However, it will NOT be sustainable in the long run.
Just as your car needs gasoline to function, your body needs adequate fuel to mentally, physically, and physiologically perform optimally.
Extreme low-calorie diets promise miracle results, but it has repeatedly been shown that the outcomes people get from these approaches rarely last, and can even be dangerous to their health (source)
Here's the Easy-Fix: Stop depriving yourself to such extremes. Balance your lifestyle between a healthy caloric intake and an increase in physical activity.
If you find a diet approach that says to ELIMINATE a particular food or macronutrient because it "stores fat" - avoid it like FIRE!
If your goal is weight loss (and you want to lose it consistently), I recommend you start tracking your food intake to get a decent idea of how much food you're eating.
Then you can use that knowledge to determine much you need to eat to lose weight. (refer to my free report at the end of this post for more details on diet)
Mistake #3 - Having Unrealistic Expectations and Goals
Everyone has the ability to lose weight and build a fit body that they can and should be proud of, but not everyone has the genetic destiny to become a fitness model.
Instagram fitness accounts and other media outlets portray a feminine look that's simply unrealistic.
The truth is that some women aren't intended to have a "thigh gap" or the perfect female ratio (whatever that is...)
However, that doesn't mean you can't build a healthy, lean, and yes... SEXY physique with what you've been given.
Here is the Easy-Fix: Ensure your goals have both quantitative and qualitative properties.
For example, instead of having a hard-set goal to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks, change your goal to:
"In 4 weeks, I want to lose 5-10 pounds, gain energy, and reduce my body fat."
By giving yourself several benchmarks to shoot for, your odds of success skyrocket.
You may only lose 5 pounds, but you now have more energy and have reduced body fat... so you are ultimately successful!
Avoid making the mistake of trying to match someone else's success....
Just because your BFF Jill lost 15 pounds in a few weeks doing yoga splits and a coconut fast does NOT mean that you will or even should try to lose this amount yourself.
Your healthy journey is yours alone.
While others can motivate and encourage you, only you can make the change happen. Work towards creating the best version of yourself, not to replicate someone else's results.
Mistake #4 - Thinking Weight Loss Has to be a Miserable Experience
Along with the dogmatic "exercise like crazy for weight loss" approach, many people assume that losing weight requires you to give up all of the fun activities in life.
No more drinking and no more twinkies...
The truth is that you CAN enjoy things like alcohol and sweets - just in moderation.
Here's the Quick Fix: Consider tracking your calories and macronutrients to lose weight.
Yah it'll take some upfront work to learn about tracking, weighing, etc. But the long-term benefits are more than worth it.
You see, most people suck at visualizing how much food they are eating, which is one of the leading causes of unnecessary weight gain.
By tracking and weighing your food, you'll slowly start to learn what portion sizes actually look like.
Eventually, you gain the ability to accurately "eyeball" portion sizes and estimate your intake to ensure you aren't consistently overeating.
Yes - losing weight requires commitment and giving up some of the unhealthy habits that have caused weight gain, but it should primarily be rewarding, energizing, and enjoyable!
Here is some good news: losing weight and getting fit doesn't require daily exhausting workouts and restricting your food to a small list of "healthy" foods.
Instead of prolonging this article with more action steps, I decided to create a quick & dirty fitness plan outlining some basic nutrition tools and a workout plan for women just getting into this whole fitness thing.
This plan outlines how to determine many calories you should be eating, how many grams of carbohydrate, fats, and protein you should get from those calories, and a workout guide specifically designed for women.
It's totally free, so keep your credit card in your purse or wallet.
Better yet - buy some frozen yogurt or something delicious. IF you have Snapchat, snap me what you get! 😉