I had this challenge after my pregnancy and it took me a while to work out the solution. Hopefully this article saves you some time and gets you on track again towards your fitness goals sooner.
Here are the key areas that worked for me and have worked for many of my over 40 clients for shredding that last little stubborn bit of fat to get to a healthy weight.
Some of the checklist may involve you cutting things out of your diet or changing some of your habits. Don’t panic though, once you have reached your goal you can reintroduce those things and find your body’s ‘happy place’ where you can enjoy yourself and maintain your goal.
Measure centimetres not just your Weight
#1 Weight Vs Inches
The first step is to decide if weight is still going to be your yard stick.
Let me explain,
If you are 20 or 30 kilograms over your healthy BMI (body mass index) then using weight as a guide for your progress is easy and although not 100% accurate, it will do the job.
However, when you start to get closer to your goal, using weight as your preferred measurement may not be the best solution.
Because if you have been doing regular exercise and eating right you would have put on muscle. Muscle is heavier than fat.
So although you have only lost some of the weight that you wanted to lose, you may have put on some muscle which messes up the equation because we only wanted to lose fat.
Therefore, once you have lost that first chunk of weight I would suggest using the measuring tape (cms or inches) as your gauge until you reach your goal.
There are more accurate tests to measure body fat but we need something that you can do easily.
Don’t know what your measurements goal should be?
One way is to find someone with a similar frame (body shape) to yours like a celebrity for example. Find out what their measurements are and use that as your goal.
A quick Google search will usually give you a few articles that show their measurements or estimates at least.
Be sure to take their height into consideration when comparing measurements.
Obviously is they are shorter than you, you need to make your measurement slightly larger and if they are taller than you, you’ll need to make your measurements slightly smaller. Again it is only an estimate but it really does help in getting clarity for what you want.
Take a screenshot of the person and measurements to your Doctor or Personal Trainer just to get a second opinion.
Nothing beats a well thought out goal.
Plus that added confirmation that your goal is achievable will be a big help psychologically towards your faith and conviction for your weight loss goal.
What is the right amount of exercise per week?
If you have already lost a large proportion of the fat that you wanted to lose then you probably have been training quite well and have started to see the benefits of exercise, so you may already have this step covered. Or you may not be doing enough exercise and that could be a major reason why those last few pounds are hanging on.
Exercise 3x Per Week To Maintain and 5x Per Week To Reduce Body Fat
If you are currently fit and healthy you need to train at least 3 times per week just to maintain that health and fitness.
If you are not where you want to be then you need to be training at least 5 times per week for a minimum of 30mins per day.
3 of those days should be at the gym so that you have the diversity in your routines to tackle your whole body.
The other 2 days can be in the gym or out riding your bike, running / fast walking or swimming.
It is really important that you understand 30mins of running on a treadmill everyday is not going to give you the results that you want. Your body will adapt very quickly to the demands and you need to work your whole body.
You may need to push out of your comfort zone a little and add different types of exercise to your week. But trust me, it really is worth it when you see the results.
Diets Alone Will Not Get You There
If you have lost a large proportion of your fat and you are not training very hard or not at all. Then I assume you are relying on your diet.
STOP – right – now!
A diet alone will never get you looking like you want. Like anything in life there are no short cuts without big prices to pay.
Don’t fall for the marketing. Just eating meat, lemons, fruit or what ever else the fad is WILL lose weight. It will lose fat, muscle, water, bone mass you name it.
We don’t want to lose all the good stuff, we want to lose fat and only fat.
Don’t be silly and please don’t fall for the short cuts.
That being said. There is another myth out there that physical activity can cure bad nutrition. That you can just ‘run it off’. Unfortunately this is not true.
‘You can’t out work a bad diet’
Nutrition and exercise must be used together to get the results that you want. it is not possible to choose just one or the other and be healthy.
You might reach the size that you want but you won’t look healthy.
Schedule In Your Training
Don’t have the time to train 5 times per week?
You just need a better goal that will help you find the time.
The time is available to you. It’s just a matter of what you decide to allocate it to.
Using no time or no money as an excuse to keep destroying your body is stopping you from being happy so I would be doing you a dis-service if I gave it any credit.
5 days per week and 30mins per day is a good guide.
Try not to over think the process. I find if I over think what I have to do I end up not doing it.
First I have to pack my bag,
Get in the car,
Instead just chunk it down to the core task.
‘All I have to do is knock out a quick 30min workout and I’m done for the day!’
How much sleep do I need?
#3 Sleep and Recovery
If you are having trouble losing those last few inches it could be the quality of your recovery that is holding you back.
Getting Enough Sleep
8 hours sleep is a good guide for most people.
If you are really putting in the effort with your training then you are asking a lot from your body. It is at night time while you are in your deep sleep that your body does a lot of its repair.
If you plan to go to bed at 10pm you should be turning the TV off no later then 9pm and that goes for any devices. Stop all screens at no later than one hour before bed. Grab a book and give your mind a break from all that crazy stimulus before you go to bed. This will help you reach a deep sleep faster.
Giving Your Body Recovery Time
If you are still feeling tired and you have been getting enough sleep it may be that your nutrition is off. So make sure you are getting those fruit and veg in and plenty of water.
It may also be that you have been over exercising. This is common with people who are trying to gain muscle as they think more is better but thats not how the body works.
The body can’t keep delivering heavy workouts day in day out.
So if you’re getting enough sleep, your nutrition is on point and you are still feeling like you need a break than take a few days off from the gym and just do some light walking.
Part of making this a life long change is learning to listen to your body.
If symptoms continue after a few days then I would suggest a quick trip to the Doctor because you may need a vitamin and mineral supplement.
Why is alcohol bad for weight loss?
The next step on our checklist is alcohol. If you are stuck just shy of your goal it is time to put the wine down.
As I’ve mentioned, we can reintroduce alcohol after you reach your goal. The amount of alcohol your body can handle while maintaining your goal is different for everyone so you’re going to have to make that decision on your own.
Why is alcohol bad for my weight loss goal?
We all know that alcohol is not a health food and anyone who comes up with a study that alcohol is good for you in anyway I would personally take with a grain of salt.
A) Because it is a poison your body will try and protect itself and create fat cells to store the poison in.
B) Alcohol has loads of sugar in it.
C) Alcohol kicks the appetite into gear which leads to over eating.
D) Alcohol reduces your care factor and even though you know A, B & C are true, you won’t care and you’ll do it anyway.
So just put the drink down for a few weeks until you reach that goal.
Oh and be careful not to substitute your drinking with another bad habit. I don’t want you reaching your goal and then have to try to quit smoking.
If you do feel like a drink just make yourself a soda water. It’s bubbly and you can put a squeeze of lemon in too.
Processed foods are cheap and filled with everything you don't need
#5 Processed Foods
If your diet is not one of the crazy fads I spoke about earlier than your nutrition might just need a little tweak.
For the next 7 days use a food diary and record everything that you eat or drink. There are a few good apps out there or just use notes on your phone, you could even write it down on paper.
At the end of the week take note of what percentage of your intake was live water rich foods. Vegetables, fruit and water.
If less than 70% of your intake was live water rich foods then that will be a major contributor to you not losing those last few pounds.
- Replace bread or pasta with rice.
- Replace snacks with nuts or seeds.
- Replace dairy with almond or oat based products.
- Spend more time in the fruit and veg section of your supermarket when you are doing your groceries.
- If you have to unwrap it from packaging chances are it’s not something you should be eating.
- Don’t let yourself get too hungry. If hunger was a scale of 1 – 10 and 1 was starving, don’t let yourself fall below a level 4. When we are hungry we tend to reach out for the worst types of food.
How to reach the right exercise intensity
#6 Exercise Intensity
Let’s have another look at our exercise training.
This is a really simple fix and will give you huge results as long as you have the other steps covered.
Intensity while you exercise is really only something that you can know.
Just because you are sweating, groaning and pulling faces doesn’t always mean that you are putting in the right amount of effort.
Intensity does not always mean gasping for breath and not being able to move the next day. In fact, if you can’t move the next day then how are you going to bring back enough intensity? We need a balance of consistency and intensity.
You can increase your intensity in a lot of different ways.
The most powerful way to increase your intensity is to hire a coach. A great Personal Trainer will always get more out of you than you ever will alone. Remember that even pro athletes hire a coach because they know it’s the only way to get that little bit extra out of themselves.
And that is what the last 5 kilograms of fat or those last few centimetres represents, it’s going to take that little bit extra from you to make it happen. A little less calories, a little more effort and a little more frequency.
But if a coach isn’t something you are willing to try just yet then I have a couple of exercise tips for you.
Try to mix up your workout with one of these methods,
- You can slow down your reps on either the concentric (short) and eccentric (long) contractions.
- Squeeze your muscle at the top and bottom of each rep.
- Increase your weight to overload your muscle.
- Decrease the rest between reps and sets.
- Increase your speed or power.
- Look for hills to run, walk or ride up instead of just flat ground.
- Start timing yourself and try to get a little faster each time.
One of the things I did that worked really well was set a goal of a Fun Run. It was actually the Sydney Tower Stair Challenge. It was a great goal because I had a definite date plus I had other people relying on me. There was no way I was not making it to the top so I trained extra hard to avoid the embarrassment of not finishing.
Find out what gets you fired up and use it.
There are also pre workout drinks that you can use however be careful. I use a pre workout now and then when I’m not quite fired up enough.
I have tried a few different brands but have found that it gives me headaches if I have it too often. Make sure you read the directions and warnings before giving a pre workout a go.
What are the different body types?
#7 Different Body Types
Your body type will have a big impact on how your body responds to the previous steps. So it’s a good idea to know which one you are. The body types can be broken up into 3 main types, there are more types based on your hormones however we will keep it simple for now. You can find a link below if you want to study this further.
A lean build
Finds it difficult to put on muscle or fat
Ectomorphs don’t usually have a body fat issue. However if they do they need to lose fat it will usually drop off quite easily. A small nutrition change and exercise will do it.
Lean and muscular
An athletic build that puts on muscle easily
If fat is an issue, introducing more cardio and eating a balance diet of carbs, fats and protein will get results.
Stores more fat in the lower part of their body. Puts on fat very easily.
Endomorphs really need to watch their diet. Nutrition will play the biggest part in losing fat . Cut down on the carbs and increase the proteins. Avoid protein from animals like meat and dairy. There are too many bad fats in these products so stick with getting your protein from fruit and veg.
High intensity training (HIIT) works really well with Endomorphs and be careful not to overtrain. Stick to the 5x per week for 30mins per session.
Which hormonal body type are you?
Here is a very interesting article and a more in-depth view on how our different hormones affect body shape.
Conclusion on how to lose the last 5 kilos of fat
1.Weight Vs Inches
Start using cms and inches to track your progress
5 times per week and 30mins per day minimum.
3. Sleep and recovery
8 hours sleep and get away from those devices 1 hour before bed.
Put the wine and beer down until you reach your goal.
5. Cut out processed foods
Food diary to check 70% water rich live food intake.
Find something that will get you digging a little deeper.
7. The 3 Body Types
Know your body type and pay attention to what is working and what isn’t.
If you are having trouble with those last few pounds try the 7 step checklist.
Remember every one is different so you need to listen to your body and see what works for you. Be patient and don’t get caught up in the short term fad diets.
I want you to look great every day not just a couple of weeks a year.
Have fun and remember
Success is a journey not a destination.
Our KickStart Online Programs can help you not only know what to do in the gym. With daily coaching, video tutorials and daily nutrition we’ll take all the guess work out so you can focus on getting your goal faster.
If you have any questions or would like to come in for a FREE Private Session to see if Better Shape Fitness is the right fit we would love to hear from you. Or contact us for more information on our Online Daily Coaching and mentoring Programs.