As fitness buffs in the emirate pick up the pace for the Dubai Fitness Challenge – which entails exercising for 30 minutes everyday for 30 days straight – it’s worth noting that some people tend not to lose weight as easily as others. While there could be various genetic, medical or psychological reasons at play, most healthy adults who are not shedding kilos in line with their workout regimen could be unwittingly guilty of the following no-nos.
You have not set a goal
For true weight loss, which is both measurable and sustainable, the hard truth is that goals matter.
It’s the “why” that will keep you consistent. Without a goal, it is easy to lose the way. Just going to the gym randomly isn’t enough; you need to keep track of everything you do to understand when you are gaining the desired results.
So, if you want to set a faster run time or achieve a particular body weight, first get a goal and put a plan in place.
You don’t lift weights
Getting well-toned abs, legs and arms is unlikely to come from endless hours on the cardio machines. Yes, cardio is important for heart health, but to truly burn fat and build muscle, you also have to do some weight training. Increasing muscle raises BMR (calories burnt at rest).
Resistance training also helps increase bone density, which declines with age.
You’re put off by the scales
I’ve often observed people be put off and even give up on their fitness journey because they can’t see the results on the weighing scale. However, as you get older, your body is more than this one number.
Ideally, you want to have a healthy body fat percentage (this will vary based on gender and age) and a strong percentage of muscle mass, which is increasingly important as you become older. The more muscle you have, the more easily you will burn fat.
You compromise on your diet
No matter how many hours you spend in the gym, you cannot out-train an unhealthy diet. It’s extremely helpful to have nutrition coaching to support your training journey as the two things go hand in hand.
If you’re not used to training, you’ll also notice a spike in your appetite, so eating the right things at the right time to fuel your exercise is crucial.
Many people also unknowingly consume vast amounts of liquids, from speciality coffees to sugar-filled smoothies. It’s important to remember everything adds up and these type of drinks do not give you the same nutritional value as, say, a piece of fruit.
You tend to binge
Whether it’s food or exercise, the key is consistency. Don’t think that being active for four hours on a Saturday will be better than half an hour a day four or five times a week. Even a walk for half an hour, to combine some quality time with your movement, will make a big difference over time. Little and often is far better than burning yourself out through guilt, and will get you better results over time.
The same goes for food. Just because you were “good” during the week, don’t ruin it with a binge at the weekend, which can ruin all your hard work.
If you enjoy sweet treats during the working day or at the weekend, consider baking your own at home, using real, high-quality ingredients – for treats such as banana bread, avocado or carrot cake.
You’re not sleeping enough
The recommended amount of shut-eye is seven to nine hours, but many adults struggle to get this every night. A good night’s sleep is a vital component to maintaining healthy weight loss.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep can determine how much fat is lost as well as how much muscle mass you retain while on a calorie-restricted diet.
You eat too fast
It is common to eat quick meals on the go to fit everything into our busy schedules. However, mindful eating may be one of the world’s most powerful weight-loss tools.
This entails eating without distraction and savouring each bite while listening to the natural signals your body gives out when it is full. Numerous studies have found that slower, more concentrated eating can help you feel fuller sooner and promote long-term weight loss.
You don’t drink enough water
Water. It’s vital – for survival, good health and weight loss. You always need to drink more – so drink more.
Whatever climate you are living in, drinking sufficient amounts of water keeps your body healthy overall and curbs rogue hunger pangs.
Sarah Lindsay is a three-time Olympian and founder of Roar