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Re-assessment time

September 9, 2008

September has arrived! :> My favorite time of year has come.

To those of you who are still frustrated with your weight loss efforts, or to those of you who may not be happy with your current physique, let’s go over some variables that you may need to look at before you officially throw your hands up and give into the Hagen-Daaz or that bottle of wine you’ve been staring at all morning/day/evening.

If you are on a weight loss quest and haven’t achieved your goal, I have a few questions for you:

1. Have you tracked your food intake by means of a diary or food log? If you haven’t, you may be over-consuming food, plain and simple. A food diary is a GREAT way to assess what exactly is going in. And most likely, what is going in isn’t really necessary and more than what you truly need in terms of caloric intake (sorry, but it’s true! I never said this was going to be easy).

2. Are you doing enough cardiovascular exercise? There are so many guidelines as far as how much cardiovascular exercise one should do when embarking on a weight loss venture, but studies do show that those who do 60 or more minutes per day have a greater success rate than those who do less. If you are getting the bare minimum and expecting miracles to happen, then chances are, you will be sorely disappointed. Be completely honest with yourself-are you doing enough?

3. If you ARE doing enough cardio, have you tried adding different types of workouts to your program? Intervals? Hill repeats? Swimming? Biking? We all have our preferences as far as what we like to do, but sometimes changing it up adds the necessary boost that our bodies just might need. I am pro interval work. These added bouts of high intensity training burn more calories, boost your fitness level, and take your physique to new levels.

I’ve always felt that the body is one smart machine and it does get used to doing what it is doing and will become VERY efficient at doing it. Give your body a shock every now and then! If you need ideas as far as what types of interval training you should be doing, just ask! :>

4. Boozing too much? I hate to sound like a broken record, but unless you are CUTTING calories elsewhere in your diet, alcohol will only add pounds to your frame if you continue to drink it year after year, especially after our bodies begin to slow down and need less fuel to function (the inevitable metabolism decline). Be careful with alcohol, and if you choose to imbibe, cut the calories that you will be consuming from the alcohol elsewhere in your diet (which I wouldn’t recommend-I’d rather have you eat FOOD, but I know some of you aren’t giving up the nectar of the gods no matter how much I grip about it).

5. Have you have a physical and blood work? Rarely it’s our thyroid that may be malfunctioning, but in some cases, this is very real and can be causing you to keep the pounds on. If you think you are doing everything you can possibly do but still aren’t losing weight, take a trip to your doctor and get your blood work done. Hey, better safe than sorry.

For those of you who are happy with your current weight, but just aren’t seeing the changes in your body (muscle tone, size, strength, etc), reassess the following:

1. Are you eating enough protein? This is also an area that can be confusing-so many different guidelines and parameters. However, if you are trying to add muscle or change the way your muscles currently look, shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Shoot for clean sources of protein such as lean meats, egg whites, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream (just kidding).

You should be eating protein at every meal, and your snacks should contain protein as well. I am not an advocate of pumping the protein shakes because most of them contain many artificial ingredients and sweeteners, but there are some on the market that are relatively clean. Look for those that contain the LEAST amount of ingredients, and also those that contain NO artificial sweeteners.

2. How are you structuring your work outs? Are you training correctly for the body type that you desire? What is your ideal body type? You should always work out according to your #1 goal. For example, if your #1 goal is to build muscle and get more defined, then you need to spend more time lifting weights, less time on the cardio (hard to accept for the all too common cardio addicted female). You can change your program to a split program, maybe add drop sets to your routine, or maybe find a work out partner who will assist you in lifting a little heavier. Now, onto #3…

3. Are you lifting heavy enough? We all know the myth, but I still hear that some women are afraid to lift heavy. Let’s put this one to rest once and for all. You MUST increase your work load if you want your muscles to change. If you lift the same weight week after week and month after month, your muscles will simply adapt, and your body will plateau. We just aren’t equipped with the necessary hormones that will produce large muscles, and those women you see WITH those bodies (we all know the types), well, they most likely are taking some sort of steroid.

4. Are you sleeping enough? Many of us get by with the minimum amount of sleep required, which is only doing you and your body a huge disservice. When you sleep, your body recovers and repairs. Skimp on proper sleep and your body might suffer as well. Also, when you are sleep deprived, you just can’t work out as hard as you would if you had the proper amount of sleep. That being said, it’s best to shoot for 6 hours minimum each night, and 8 hours is ideal. Don’t think you can manage 8 hours? Then choose to live with the alternative-constant sleep deprivation, fatigue, irritability, increased cortisol output, and a lackluster appearance. Fun!

5. Have you had your body fat checked? Ask me to check your body fat levels so we can get you down to a number that is attainable and that will also help uncover those lean muscles you are working so hard to uncover! :>

I think I’ve rambled on enough. Go ahead and really give these questions a good thought. Are you doing enough to get your body to where you want it to be? If the answer is no, start by making some minor changes, and before you know it, you’ll notice changes that you will be ecstatic about!

Until next time-keep moving!

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