Weight Loss and Why Your Workouts Aren’t Helping

Before we begin, I want to lay out the “triangle of awareness” when it comes to our focus in the gym.

Some athletes have performance goals – they want to get better at their sport, PR their deadlift, run a 10k, etc….

Other athletes come to us with aesthetic goals – they want to lose weight, cut body fat, look a certain way, or fit into different clothes sizes.

Thirdly, some athletes simply have lifestyle goals – they want to live a healthy life, enjoy their bodies and what they can do, play with their children and grandchildren, and so on.

All three of these areas come with different training and nutritional requirements.

We can’t truly optimize one of the sides of the triangle if we’re worried about the other(s).

If I want to lose 30lbs, I can’t be concerned with my squat clean. If I’m trying to build strength and PR in the gym, I can’t be looking in the mirror expecting a chiseled 6-pack. This is tough for a lot of people to conceptualize, but we’ll leave it there and dive into that another time.

For now, let’s get rolling:

Today’s blog focuses on the part of the triangle a lot of people are chasing – aesthetics. The number on the scale, the inches around the waist, the look we see in the mirror, how our clothes fit, etc….

If you’re looking to lose weight or body fat and aesthetics is your priority, your training and workouts in the gym could be hurting your progress.

Did I just say that?

Why would someone who co-owns two CrossFit facilities here in Roanoke, VA sit here and write about workouts or time in the gym HURTING your progress?

Well, my top priority involves HELPING and creating value for the people who put their trust in us at Brickhouse CrossFit and CrossFit Unify Roanoke.

If you’re coming to BHC or Unify and NOT seeing the results you want (aesthetics, performance or lifestyle), I want to know because I am going to help change that. I’m not willing to let you fail.

So, here’s what you need to know:

You don’t NEED to workout 5+ days per week to lose weight and the extra workouts could actually be making things worse.

But I thought the more I workout, the more calories I’ll burn, the more weight and/or body fat I’ll lose?

Not necessarily.

Workouts and the training we do stress the body, and the body needs to RECOVER in order to adapt to this stress and make you stronger, healthier, fitter.

What does recovery entail?

-Appropriate nutrition – preferably macro-based and NO STARVING YOURSELF (more on this in another post)
-Adequate sleep – 8 to 9 hours each night. In fact, if you don’t get 7 hours I don’t feel you should be training under high intensity the following day!

If these things aren’t optimal, recovery suffers and the training we’re doing is NOT helping.

Crushing yourself in the gym 5-6 days per week simply because you think you’re “burning calories” could be having a negative impact on your progress.

When the body is over-trained/under-recovered, it can hang onto fat as a survival mechanism.

So what should I do?

Well, rest days are cool. In fact, we need them.

Let your body recover from the stress of training. Hit 2 or 3 days of workouts, go for a hike or swim on the 4th day as an “active recovery”, and then get back to it the next day.

OR – come to the gym on that 3rd or 4th day and DON’T redline. Scale the weights, reduce the reps, lower the intensity. Be OKAY with just moving; focus on mechanics, move well, sweat.

It doesn’t have to end in a puddle on the floor, a gold star and a top spot on the whiteboard.

You’ll not only feel more refreshed the next day, but your body can adapt and begin to SHOW the work you’re putting in.

Inflammation in the body will decrease and less stress overall with more recovery = a recipe for long-term progress.

Send me an email with questions, let me know the results you desire and I’d love to help in any way I can.

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