The January Fitness Rush

Here are some typical questions that a lot of people have during the January Fitness Rush:

1888584_10151868006186946_936215147_nMy husband and I started a workout program and he is losing so much more fat than I am. We seem to be doing the same amount of exercise and both eating well, but the fat is just falling off him.  What am I doing wrong?  J.C, Vancouver, WA

You’re not doing anything wrong. Men just have it a little easier than women. For one reason, men have a lot more muscle mass than women. Since fat is burned inside of muscle tissue, once they start exercising they become a better fat burning machine.  Secondly, men store the majority of their fat in their abdominal region which has the capacity to turn over and be burned more easily. Women store more fat in their hips and thighs which is more resistant to change.  Keep plugging away and try not to compare yourself to your husband’s results. You’re doing a great thing for yourself and your relationship.

I’ve lost 20 pounds but I’m having such a hard time losing the last 10 pounds. What can I do to get over this plateau?  J.C., Vancouver, WA

You’ll want to do whatever you can to increase your metabolism so that you burn more calories at rest and during exercise. One way to accomplish this is to develop more muscle. Muscle is where fat is burned so the more muscle you have on your body, the easier it is to lose weight.  Be sure to participate in resistance training two to three days per week.  Another way to rev your metabolism is to eat more. Sounds ironic but actually the act of eating increases your metabolism because your body has to work to digest and process all the nutrients. The key here is to eat regularly throughout the day. Don’t let three or four hours pass before you put something in your mouth. Of course, the only way this tip works is if you’re putting healthy, nutrient-dense foods into your body. So you’re eating less food overall but just more frequently. And finally, whatever you’re doing now, do something different and your body will respond. So for example, if you’re exercising three days per week, try four days per week. If you workout for 30 minutes, try 40 minutes. If you workout at 60% of your heart rate max, try 65%. When your body plateaus at a certain weight, it’s just telling you it is now accustomed to what you’re doing. If you want to change your body, you’ll have to change something you’re doing. 

I just started working out as part of my New Year’s Resolution and I’m so sore I can hardly move. Should I keep working out when I’m this sore?  E.S., Vancouver

You may not want to hear this but the answer is yes. In fact, just doing a light workout will help improve circulation and help remove some of the pressure in and around your muscles which is causing the soreness. Just don’t go hard and back off if anything feels too uncomfortable. You’ll find after a few minutes as your core temperature increases, you’ll start to feel a lot better.  The question I have for you is why are you so sore? You probably did too much, too soon and for too long. Let others take note from the lesson you learned the hard way. Ease into a new health and fitness program or risk being in extreme pain. Remember, if you’re that sore, it’s a warning sign from your body that you did just too much.

Yours in Health & Fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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