Sally was desperately trying to lose more bodyfat. She wanted to be fitter and more tone in everyway possible, but her progress had come to a screeching halt. What was she to do? She thought she was doing everything correctly. She was lifting weights at least three to four times per week, putting in a couple hours on the treadmill and stepmill three times a week. Not only that but she had cut her calories down to the bare minimum.
In fact she was now only eating about 1,100 calories every single day! And still the scale failed to move and even worse she looked in the mirror and all she could see was that hideous fat tube encircling her waste.
Sally was far from obese. In fact most of her friends would deem her quite skinny, but she wanted to be fitter. She wanted to look like those gals in Shape, Oxygen and Muscle & Fitness Hers! How could those gals be getting so lean and toned. Sally just didn’t understand.
Sally enlisted the help of one of her friends Suzanne, who was in fabulous shape. She never seemed to have to monitor her weight and every time they went out together Sally was envious of how careless Suzanne could splurge on her meal and even have a dessert. So she invited her out for coffee.
Upon arriving at the coffee shop, Suzanne could immediately see something was wrong and queried, “What’s up Sally? You seem down.”
“Oh, I’m super frustrated,” Sally said. “I can’t seem to lose this last little bit of weight and I feel like the whole world is against me! No matter what I do it just seems to hang on.”
Suzanne ordered a coffee with cream and Sally ordered hers black. They went to the back of the coffee shop to finish their conversation.
Suzanne sat down and asked, “So what sort of things are you doing right now?”
Sally listed all the weight training, cardio and her current eating habits, which consisted of a lot of cucumbers, a bit of chicken and tissues to mop up all the tears. She was tired, beat down and stressed out all the time. She continued to plug away at the gym harder and harder with nothing changing.
Suzanne listen intently and then said, “Sally, I love you to tears, but you’re going about this all wrong!” “Number one, you’re not eating enough. You should be eating up, not eating down.”
“What do you mean?” Sally exclaimed.
“Well, you need to up your calories. You should be well above 1200 calories per day just to stay alive and breathing. For god sakes, you’re already fairly lean and athletic. You’re doing everything else right, save for the fact that you’re not giving your body enough fuel to do what it needs to do. It really all has to do with your metabolism and yours is just not functioning well.”
“Okay,” Sally said intrigued. “How do I go about changing my metabolism?”
“Well,” Suzanne started, “you first need to eat, and continue eating. Now I’m not talking about eating pies, cakes and all that junk. You need to eat wholesome foods in small portions that fill you up for a short time. It’s kinda like building a fire, you’re going to start adding kindling to a fire and build it up into a big bonfire. That’s your metabolism. You feed yourself small frequent meals in order to build it back up to a good level. Then when the fire, your metabolism is nice and hot, start your weight loss again, but very slowly. Continue eating small meals and gradually reduce your overall calories again.”
Sally was shocked. “Really, I have to eat more to actually start losing weight again?”
“Yes,” Suzanne said. “You’re going to initially gain a bit of weight doing this, but it won’t be much if you keep it clean. You just need to stoke up that fire, that you basically put out.” “Start slow and add in a couple of small protein based meals with a bit of healthy fats, like avocado.”
“I do love avocado,” Sally said.
“And then even add in some carbohydrates after your training. Make sure you’re getting enough protein to fuel your workouts and keep working hard in the gym. You may need to taper off some cardio though, but keep some in just to keep fat gain down. But focus on eating more and more until you feel like you’re hungry all the time.” “Then after about a month or so, switch back into fat burning again and taper the calories down a bit at a time, but never go below your bodies resting metabolism or you’re going to be stuck in the same place again.”
“Suzanne, thanks so much, I’ll definitely give it a try,” Sally said.
“So how’s dating life,” Suzanne asked changing the subject.
There comes a certain point in an athletes’ training where one has to overeat in order to keep making solid changes in body fat. There’s just no way around it. It sounds counterintuitive that one can actually consume more overall calories and still maintain weight loss, but at a certain point many people are going to reach a stalling point where they cannot maintain natural body functions, let alone the ability to burn fat.
What must happen is that you have to stoke your metabolism up to the point where the body is willing to let go of extra fat. You basically have to trick it into losing more and more bodyfat. It’s not a static process, as is everything else in weight training and fitness. If you stay at one place to long your body will adapt to it and if you’re only feeding your body maintenance or below maintenance level of calories your body will rebel and stop losing fat.
The solution: Eat small frequent meals that help boost up your metabolism full of high quality protein, essential fats and even some carbs. Get your metabolism up to a good level and then start cutting your calories down a bit again. Wash, rinse repeat until you’re as fit as you want to be and maintain it for life!
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Jesse “Captain Smash” Howland is the owner of SMASH’s Strength Lab, which offers targeted personal training to reach a variety of fitness and physique goals. A natural bodybuilder, competitive powerlifter, certified personal trainer, and nutrition coach, Jesse is often the go-to resource for personal training Ottawa. He studied Exercise Science at Oregon State University and even trained at the world famous Gold’s Gym. He’s a former US Army Captain with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a former blog writer at Veterans Fitness Career College, and former Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). His workouts and personal training are army-inspired to help reach your weightloss, athletic, or physique goals.