5 Reasons You Can’t Lose Body Fat During Exercise
Initially we were going to call this article “5 Reasons We Hate List Articles” due to our extreme hatred of seeing our social media feed littered with list articles breaking down life into small paragraphs of information because one of the greatest evils in the world stems from this madness: people think they know everything on a subject because they read list articles without actually diving into the abyss called “INFORMATION”.
Yet, for all the horrible things list articles do to this planet in general, some triumph can come from them as well. Alas, our hero has defeated the villanous list article and saved the damsel in distress. How? By knowing a small percentage of folks read them with the intention of going further than the average joe into doing this thing called research. And we shall proclaim hence forth a calling to ye, to investigate this subject. Because we believe it’s worth it. Fair dinkum?
So say you are working out a ton and eating well, you believe at least, and you’re having problems losing body fat. Or you’re actually gaining body fat. From this point you will do one of two things: go supernova and freak out “Tom Cruise On A Couch” style or figure out the issue and fix it. We preach that shit here. So here are some reasons, thus completing the intro to our list article. How’d we do?
1) You’re only doing cardio. Here’s a shocker: you’re fat. No really, that wasn’t meant as an insult, but as a human you have pretty much an unlimited supply of fat even though you might not show it. How? You are constantly using fat as a fuel source. A person with as little as twenty pounds of fat has roughly fifteen billion fat cells. Holy shit right? Even more than that those cells have around 67,000 calories, enough to provide 2,000 calories per day for little over a month. You could live off that without food for a month (you’d still need water though.)
More than that, you have enough intra-muscular stores of fat circulating free fatty acids in the blood, stored muscle, liver glycogen and blood glucose to fuel more daily activities, even exercise. Stored fat is like the oil reserves we keep invading and pillaging countries for in the name of terrorism (oh shit, we went there). Only under team-extreme conditions do you use it though. For your body to rely solely on the stored “oil reserve” adipose fat, it becomes a major project that entails specific attention and discipline regarding proper diet and appropriate exercise. The ugly truth is if you can pinch it, it’s going to take a lot of discipline to shed it. But wait, it gets even worse!!!
When you are performing lower-effort exercise like JUST cardio, it can burn fat just not in absolute terms. You do that and you’re sparing muscle. And if you’re trying to make some gains, well, that’s just not awesome at all, right? Right. Training at such a minimal level of effort to target adipose fat as energy would be like throwing an ice cube the sun. It really isn’t going to do much of anything. So to put it nice, stop doing only cardio. You need muscle.
2) You skipped breakfast? Really? Unless you’re a pro at fasted cardio just stop that noise. Alright? That whole “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” isn’t just blowing smoke up your hole, it’s pretty much as important as lifting weights. Since you’re uber dehydrated in the morning, your body is in that prime mode for nutrients. Skip that and then you have no energy. And then your body is starving and goes after things like stored fat and muscle. And then your blood sugar levels drop and a pile of doughnuts are all you want instead of real food.
We’ve covered the issue with reaching for a pile of doughnuts before here. And as much as you would want a pile of doughnuts in the morning, if you’re trying to lose body fat, this is going to backfire like a 1982 Volvo on it’s last leg. And at this point your metabolism is all jacked up, and every faucet of your body is out of whack. Skipping the most important meal of the day is a sure fire way to kill that metabolism like Catwoman “killed” Bane.
Skipping meals can be bad in general but you need the nutrients when you wake up, even if it’s something small, it’ll help. Promise.
3) And you could not even be eating enough. And yes, I know some folks prepping for competition scale back on calories and such to get all cut up. But we’re talking about normal folks not getting set for the stage. One of the first errors I see people partake in when they get into working out for body fat cutting purposes is they stop eating. And then wonder why they aren’t making progress. Well here’s why….undereating dry-humps your thyroid gland into next week. And that little guy is important because he regulates hormone levels in the body. Hormones are responsible for, among other things, regulating mood and appetite. If you’re not getting hungry while under eating, that’s a good indicator that your metabolism has taken a vacation. And then everyone is wondering why you’re a complete crabapple and before you know it, no one is liking your posts on social media. Congrats. You’re now a jerk.
If you’re not sure how to eat, or what to eat for proper weight loss and fitness goals, instead of guessing, please for the love of George, hook up with a nutritionist. They will school you in the art of eating for working out, for maintaining proper everything and feeling as badass as possible.
4) You aren’t working out right. I know, huh? No brainer but you would be shocked at how much guessing people do in the weight room. Two things can be said about this.
First, people aren’t lifting enough weights aka they’re not challenging their bodies. If you do 15 reps of a lat pulldown and then feel like you hadn’t even sat down yet, you should maybe think about loading on some more weight. Why do people do this? Not to single out women but a general idea is women think any weight what so ever will make them bulky and not feminine. Well I have various examples of the opposite here. And here. And for guys that aren’t using enough weight to even feel anything, what the hell man? If you can do more than 15 reps of anything without feeling it, INCREASE THE DAMN WEIGHT.
Second, you’re not doing enough compound movements. If you see someone who is trying to get fit and strong and the trainer is having them do small light weight curls or a little bit of nothing, unless they’re injured beyond belief, they’re wasting their money. The body adapts to working out and will get strong pretty quick with some repetition and consistency. If you are even starting on a workout program it’s smart to learn the basics. Things like deadlifts, squats, rows and presses are key for stacking the building blocks of your future self. And again, make sure you have some weight on there so you feel like you’re doing actual work (and if you aren’t sure how to do any of this please invest a few sessions with a trainer or find an awesome fitness friend to help. Going into the gym with no experience is scary, can be dangerous and unproductive).
5. You aren’t sleeping. And we’ve covered the topic of proper rest in our article about rest days but we’ll round that up by saying the following:
Lack of sleep makes you depressed, it messed with your hormones (read above what that does to your body), screws with your metabolism, and most body processes. A week of poor sleep can actually radically alter your glucose tolerance (how your body knows glucose is in it and pull it into the cells to use as fuel for activity), and it causes weight gain. BOOM! Studies have actually shown people who sleep less than five to six hours a night are more likely to develop diabetes. And then there’s how it jacks up your cortisol levels, which we’ve covered before, is worse than a night driving through Cleveland. And then what it does to your immune system. It’s endless. So start sleeping. We can’t stress that enough.