Why 93% Of Women NEVER Lose Belly Fat

Why 93% Of Women NEVER Lose Belly Fat

Alright so do you think those old fitness infomercials are as ridiculous as I do?

What’s the real reason why 93% of women never lose belly fat?

BECAUSE IT’S REALLY…

REALLY…

REALLY HARD!

And because when we feel like results aren’t snowballing,

when we don’t see changes happening on the scale, we feel like the effort doesn’t equal the outcome…

And we QUIT.

But to lose from those oh so stubborn areas…To lose that last little bit…

We often NEED to keep going past the point we want to quit.

We need to stay consistent, be precise with our nutrition and workouts and not give up just because it feels like nothing is happening.

Because the simple fact of the matter is…

It’s not easy to reach a new level of leanness…especially for the first time.

And stubborn areas are stubborn for a reason.

Literally we may see fat being lost from EVERYWHERE else FIRST before we shed that final bit.

We may not see the scale change at all as we are actually getting leaner.

But we will only lose that last little bit of stubborn belly fat if we don’t quit or let little inconsistencies and 1% deviations from our plan start to add up.

We’ve got to embrace the suck of doing something hard and outside our comfort zone.

Which is easier to do when we remember that what you do to reach a goal is not what you’ll do to maintain it.

While we don’t want to sabotage our long-term success with fad diets or crazy 2 a day workout routines, we do need to recognize that not everything we do will feel sustainable.

There is a hard we have to push through before we then transition into maintenance and more of a lifestyle balance.

So now that I’ve sold you on still pursuing your goal of achieving abs so you can be in that 7%, I want to share why some areas are so stubborn to lose from…

Then go over the 2 main struggles you will have to push through…

And finally highlight 4 key tips that can make that 1% difference when you already have the fundamentals dialed in.

So first, why are areas like our stomachs, especially often the lower abs and obliques, so hard to lose from?

First off…our genetics do have an impact on where we tend to store fat. 

And as women we do have higher levels of body fat, and need those levels to be higher than men, to maintain hormonal balance.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still lose that stubborn fat to see that definition.

This all just has an impact on what areas are most stubborn for us.

It just means these areas we often want to change the most will be the last to go…And consistency for longer will be key. 

Sucky but key.

Fat loss from these areas, like specifically our love handles, lower abs or even our hips, thighs and butt, can be harder because there is generally less blood flow to these specific regions.

Less blood flow makes it harder to mobilize and utilize fatty acids from these areas. 

And not only that, but these areas generally contain fat cells that don’t respond as well to the fat loss process.

Yup.

There are different types of fat cells in our body – alpha and beta – and both respond differently to the fat loss process. 

Alpha cells respond better and accelerate the process while beta cells don’t respond as well and make it harder to lose the fat.

Of course guess which ones we tend to have more of around our middle?

Those annoying beta fat cells!

But notice I didn’t say they made it impossible to lose belly fat.

It just is why you have to truly go in prepared to be consistent and let TIME work its magic as you’re precise in making sure those systems work together.

You can’t out exercise your diet if you want abs.

You can’t try to rush the process to see the scale change quicker.

Both of those things will ultimately only sabotage your success.

That’s why I think it is key we go in with eyes wide open as to the struggles we may encounter when trying to get leaner. 

Because the more we almost oversell the negative to ourselves, the less challenging we may find the process because we are prepared for the struggles. 

We may even find ourselves thinking “That wasn’t so bad!” just because we knew it was going to pop up over being caught off guard!

So in terms of the challenges….

First, the areas you want to change the most will be the last to go and even though you’re progressing, you may feel like you look worse. 

Yea you heard that right…

You may actually feel like you look WORSE as you lean down.

Where does your eye go when you look at progress photos? 

The areas you want to change the most.

And as I already mentioned, those are the stubborn areas that often are the last to change.

This means we will lose off of other areas first.

As these areas get smaller, guess what looks bigger in comparison?

That fat around our middle!

Yet that area didn’t gain.

We just haven’t lost from there YET.

This is why we need to track measurements too from these other places. 

Seeing losses from those other areas can help us know we are on the right track and just need to stay consistent. 

So if you’re feeling like you look worse, and have seen loss from other areas, you need to buckle down and keep going.

Second, you’re going to get “burned out.” 

Breaking a set point, getting leaner than you’ve gotten before will not be easy.

It’s new and oddly “scary” for your body.

Our body, and even our mind, doesn’t like or want change.

So your body will fight the process and you are going to need to be more precise in your systems. 

You can’t guestimate your macros or calories.

You can’t randomly pick a workout.

You need a strategically designed plan.

And this plan will be uncomfortable and push your boundaries.

Because it will take a lot of focus to be consistent and prevent old habits and patterns from creeping in…

It will require WILLPOWER and not just discipline to sometimes do that workout on a day you’re tired and just want to watch chick flicks on the couch…

Or skip that cupcake or cookie when everyone else is having something on Friday night. 

You’ll question is it worth it?

And you’ve got to say YES and keep pushing through.

Now you may be thinking…IS it truly worth it?

Honestly…

It is.

But it’s not the actual ab definition goal that is worth it…whatever losing the belly fat and achieving ab definition means to you and your aesthetic goals. 

What’s worth it is you achieving something you thought you couldn’t.

Doing habits that are honestly good for you and your body and health. 

It feels good to almost “overcorrect” and break patterns you thought were impossible to break to then be able to create new and sustainable habits and a lifestyle balance.

Because in achieving this aesthetic goal, yes we may love how we look…

But the confidence and strength is really built through what we overcome.

Life is the pursuit of goals…and about conquering the journey and showing ourselves all that is possible. 

We train hard and make sacrifices in so many areas for goals that matter to us.

No shame in this being one of them!

Honestly, I can tell you that so many clients that realize their strength in changing lifestyle patterns not only achieve amazing body recomp but feel their most fabulous and confident inside and out of the gym.

They see so many wins in not only their health and functional fitness but also because they’ve gained pride in what they can push themselves to achieve, in the love and dedication they’ve shown this one body they have for life!

So if you’re like YES this is a challenge I want…

Yes this is a pride I take in my body and I’m going to own my goals, here are 4 keys I want you to focus on to help you push through and see results snowball.

#1: Macros matter most.

Not tracking when you want to get abs is like throwing spaghetti at a wall hoping something sticks.

Precision pays off and what gets measured gets managed.

Track your food. Sucks but it is the best way to make 1% changes that build. 

It helps us avoid dramatic wrong turns in our program and makes sure our diet even matches our activity level, body and goals.

And then don’t be afraid to adjust as you progress. 

Too often when we are trying to lose fat, we even first turn to cutting our calories lower.

But when a client has only that last little bit to lose, I avoid cutting calories as much as possible.

A bigger deficit often backfires and leads to more muscle being lost. 

Instead we will do more cycling of macros, especially going higher on protein. 

This is where those really high protein ratios of over 40% of your calories coming from protein pay off amazingly well, especially as you get older and even go through menopause! 

#2: Progress your core work.

You better learn to love core work. 

No you can’t spot reduce an area by just doing a bazillion reps of an exercise for that muscle group. 

But your abs are muscle and you see better definition when you do build them to some extent.

No, you’re not trying to grow them like you may other areas…

But you do still need to progress your core training to see better results.

Focus on changing the range of motion, tempos, loads, resistance types all while keeping the reps in that even 10-20 rep range.

And even consider including this core work to END your workout before maybe some steady state cardio, such as walking. 

I mentioned to start there is less blood flow to stubborn areas making them more stubborn.

But by working the muscles in an area, we can stimulate more blood flow to help mobilize more fatty acids.

The key is then making sure we USE those mobilized fatty acids which is where the walking comes in. 

Now note…this is that 1% tweak…if your macros aren’t already dialed in…

If you aren’t already following a clear workout plan…

If you aren’t implementing proper recovery…

This isn’t going to be a magic fix to broken fundamentals.

#3: Focus on QUALITY. 

Honestly this is quality in every component of the systems you are implementing.

Because losing belly fat isn’t about one magic food, one magic supplement or one magic move.

It’s about quality in all those systems working together. 

And it’s about intentionality in your training and your fueling.

You want to make sure you’re focusing on nutrient dense foods.

Yup…as much as I preach including foods you love, you’ll see better results faster by focusing less on those fun foods and more on those nutrient dense foods that help maintain hormonal balance, make you feel fuller, help you recover and even have a higher thermic effect.

This will make the fat loss process easier.

Same goes for your workouts…

You need to focus on quality in those sessions. You need to push hard and truly drive progression. 

You need to focus on what you feel working.

You need to work hard in the gym and then focus on that recovery between. 

We want to focus on quality NOT quantity.

Doing more will only backfire.

Now last but not least…

#4: The process is never linear. 

Note I didn’t say progress is never linear…

I said the process.

You’ve got to embrace ebbs and flows.

To lose that belly fat, you may not always be driving toward fat loss.

Diet breaks, maintenance periods…

Times you back off to keep doing the minimum…

May be needed to ultimately achieve your goal.

Self control is like a gas tank.

We can’t let it hit E while driving on the highway or we’re going to be in trouble. 

At points, you need to pull into that gas station and refill…ideally when the light even first comes on, to keep being able to move forward.

Same thing goes for your fat loss goals.

Sometimes you need to strategically back off to keep pushing forward. So know when burn out may become I don’t care at all forget everything…

And proactively and strategically even plan in breaks! 

So if you’ve felt like you’ll never lose belly fat…

Stop writing off your body recomp goals.

Yes it is hard but when we know the struggles we can plan for them and prove to ourselves so much more than we thought possible is possible!

If you’re looking for that support and programming to dial in your nutrition and workouts to see amazing body recomp, check out my 1:1 Coaching…

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Burn Fat and PROTECT Muscle (4 Tips)

Burn Fat and PROTECT Muscle (4 Tips)

I know you don’t want to hear this but…

Fat loss is a slow process.

If you’re trying to lose fat faster, you might not like the result.

And when we strive to see weight loss faster on the scale, ultimately all we’re doing is LOSING MUSCLE.

Which is generally the exact opposite of what we are trying to do.

Especially as we get older!

Because guess what?

It IS a harder process as we get older.

It’s harder to build and retain lean muscle.

It’s harder to lose fat.

Now note…I didn’t say impossible.

I said harder.

Honestly part of why it is harder is because we’ve approached losing fat in the past in the wrong way.

We’ve tried to out exercise and out diet time.

Spending hours in the gym, as we slash our calories lower isn’t what “used to work.”

It’s why we’re now stuck.

It’s why we’re now seeking to lose fat and so worried about losing our muscle.

So don’t just accept muscle loss and weight gain.

But it is time to buckle down and embrace a true lifestyle change.

That’s why I want to first go over WHY we tend to lose muscle during a fat loss phase and what we can do to protect our lean muscle while leaning down as much as possible.

And for those of you thinking…

“I only have a few pounds to lose…It shouldn’t be that hard…”

WRONG!

It’s harder and a SLOWER process to try to avoid muscle loss as you lose those last few percentages of body fat.

Because the leaner we get, the more our body wants to avoid depleting its fat stores, which are basically stored energy to make sure we are able to continue surviving.

So we can’t just slash our calories lower or train harder to try to get the scale to budge faster.

Doing so will sabotage our success.

Because muscle requires more calories to be maintained.

That’s why we often WILL lose some muscle during a weight loss or fat loss phase…

We just don’t have enough fuel coming in.

But while some muscle loss can be expected, we do to so much to prevent this from happening and even at times GAIN lean muscle while losing fat IF we focus on those fundamentals and don’t rush the process.

Because slashing your calories lower as you train harder will make your body do what it can to function off of less.

We lose muscle because it becomes an optimal source of FUEL.

It not only provides amino acids our body may feel it needs, the building blocks of protein that contribute to so many functions within our body besides just building muscle, but it also COSTS us energy to maintain.

When we eat less and burn more calories, our body finds ways to conserve energy.

Losing muscle is one of those ways as well as our brain telling us to move and fidget less.

Even bodily process such as hormone production are impacted as our body conserves energy to function as efficiently as possible off the restricted energy intake.

What our body is NOT doing as long as possible, is utilizing our fat stores.

It wants to hang onto those as fast as possible.

So when we push to see faster results on the scale, often we’ve depleted stored glycogen that our muscles hold, we’ve lost water weight because of depleting the stored glycogen and we’ve even lost muscle…

What we haven’t lost is MORE FAT from what we would have lost had we not tried to rush the process.

And often we’ve even lost LESS…

Especially as we get older.

Because our body doesn’t have the optimal hormonal environment it did when we were younger…

Not to mention previous dieting and training practices like this have already created metabolic adaptations and put us into a position where we have learned to survive off of fewer calories.

Basically if we don’t commit to dieting and training in a new way that matches what our body needs now, we’re not going to see the fat loss results we want.

But there are diet and workout changes you can make to help yourself not only reverse what’s going on but also protect that amazing lean muscle and even BUILD IT….

The thing is…

What I’m going to recommend you’re probably going to hate.

And your brain will rebel against doing it.

So let’s look at 4 tips to burn fat while protecting your muscle.

Which is to EAT MORE. 

Yes, lose fat by eating more.

Especially if you’ve slashed your calories super low in the past and never retrained your body to eat more, you’ve learned how to function well off of well…Nothing. 

If you’re eating under 1000 calories and not losing, it’s especially time you eat more.

And while you may think you need less as you’ve gotten older because your metabolism has slowed down, the opposite is actually true.

You need to first increase your calories to help increase your metabolic rate.

I won’t lie to you…This retraining process stinks.

And it can make you feel like you’re going BACKWARD before you go forward.

But, by eating more, you’ll have the fuel you need to help your body feel like it can let go of the stored fat.

To move more. To train hard. To support all those efficient bodily processes and restore hormonal balance. 

And most importantly, you’ll build lean muscle!

With eating more, we also BURN MORE.

You burn more calories to turn that food into fuel. 

So by eating more you burn more. And of course, what you eat does have an impact.

You’ll even find you may become hungrier as you eat more as your natural hunger cues return. 

Now the sucky part to start…As you increase your calories, you may gain weight.

You may see some fat creep on.

But you have to go through this slow process of retraining your body to eat more BEFORE you can then create a small calorie deficit to lose.

After increasing your daily calories 50-100 and maintaining each increase for a few weeks, you may then find you have then rebuilt to a point where you start to see the scale tick down. 

Or you can even then try a small deficit of 100 calories off where you’ve built to.

But the key is first learning to eat more to then have an intake where you can even create a deficit from.

Because at 800 calories?! What can you really cut!? 

Now if you’re thinking, “That’s not my problem. I eat a lot and am overeating right now.”

Eating more is still key. BUT in the way of not creating an extreme deficit off of your current intake.

Don’t then dramatically slash your calories lower. 

Instead just create a calorie deficit of 100-200 calories from what you’re doing.

The more we can continue to fuel, the more we support our body maintaining that lean muscle while utilizing our fat as fuel. 

And to help encourage that protection of lean muscle and even avoid gaining fat as we go through that hard retraining process to start, we want to then also focus on protein. 

Yup. Protein.

The macro that some people say we get too much of and others say we don’t get enough of.

And the thing is, the situation matters for what our intake should be. 

The older we get…

The harder we train…The more we want to lose fat and NOT lose muscle… 

The more important protein becomes.

So focus on at least 30% of your calories coming from protein to make sure you’re fueling those muscles to recover and repair while having enough protein left over for other bodily functions even while in a small calorie deficit.

And while diet is key for fat loss and even protecting our muscle, we can’t ignore how our diet and our WORKOUTS work together. 

If our workouts don’t match how we’re fueling, we won’t see the results we deserve.

Yet so often our training compounds the problem of under fueling because we see our workouts just as a chance to burn more calories. 

Which is why we so often turn to doing more cardio.

But if you want to protect your lean muscle, you need to focus on strength work and be SMART about how you include your cardio. 

I didn’t say you couldn’t do cardio, especially if you love your long runs or rides, but you do need to be smart about how you include it.

We always need to know the cost and reward of anything we include.

Steady state long distance cardio is catabolic to muscle mass, especially when in a calorie deficit. 

So if you’re turning to cardio to see results faster, you may be sabotaging yourself.

If you love your endurance sport, make sure to account for that in how you fuel and strength workout. 

And no, that doesn’t mean just more carbs. Actually increasing PROTEIN is again key. 

But also consider, lowering your mileage for a time to focus on one primary goal.

Remember it is easier to maintain your results once you’ve achieved them. 

And if you do include cardio, prioritize your strength work FIRST. 

What we do when we are freshest, we get the most benefit from. 

If you do your cardio first, you’re going to be tired for your resistance workout.

Your 100% intensity simply won’t be a true 100% because you’ll be fatigued. And progressing week over week is what drives muscle growth. 

So if you want to protect your muscle and lose fat, do any cardio AFTER you lift.

Even put cardio workouts after strength workouts that target those stubborn areas. 

This mobilizes more fat from the areas surrounding the muscles you worked to be utilized by your cardio finisher.

Also adjust the length and intensity of those cardio sessions. 

Short sprint work or even walking may be better forms of cardio for fat loss without putting you at risk for losing muscle. 

Both help you burn more calories over the week to create that deficit without slashing your calories lower (aka you can eat more) while also not being catabolic to muscle. 

Walking especially can be great for recovery.

And sprints can improve your conditioning and power to improve even your strength workouts while helping promote an optimal hormone environment for muscle growth! 

Now, the last and probably most important thing I want to cover to help you protect your lean muscle during fat loss is something that mentally may be the hardest to do…

Step off the scale. 

Yup. It’s not a workout or diet tip but it is key.

Because too often we judge fat loss based on that number on the scale changing.

And fat loss, without losing muscle, is going to mean that scale changes VERY slowly, especially the closer to your goal you get and even NOT AT ALL especially to start. 

Because the scale sucks at measuring fat loss.

The faster we want the scale to change, often the more we ultimately lose muscle.

So if you want to keep yourself focused on fat loss, take measurements, progress pictures and use clothing to monitor changes. 

This way you won’t sabotage yourself by working harder and going to extremes to ultimately just lose muscle and not more fat and keep yourself stuck in that horrible yo-yo dieting cycle! 

Ready to dial in your diet and your workouts to work together?

Learn more about my 1:1 Online Coaching.

What I Wish I Knew About Protein Sooner (The 20g Myth And More!)

What I Wish I Knew About Protein Sooner (The 20g Myth And More!)

Think protein is just for bodybuilders?

Think again.

Focus on increasing protein may be even more important if you’re…

  • Female
  • Over the age of 30
  • Training hard
  • Looking to lose weight
  • Looking to lose fat
  • Looking to gain muscle
  • Looking to stay functionally stronger
  • Looking to stay energized and recover faster
  • Looking to age well and stay mentally with it…

Basically protein is honestly even more key for those of us looking to feel, look and move our best at any and every age.

Yet many of us struggle with not only increasing protein, but wanting to increase it.

Too often we even search out anything we can to tell us we DON’T have to make a change.

But honestly, this desire to not make a change is what keeps us stuck.

And so often our unwillingness to embrace increasing protein, especially as we get older, is what keeps us from ever seeing the results we want.

We keep searching for a way around the hard change of increasing protein ultimately to never see any of our hard work pay off.

That’s why I wanted to share some things I wish I’d personally known earlier on about protein and dispel some common protein myths and highlight HOW it helps.

Because when we truly understand the WHY behind the habit changes, we are more willing to embrace hard habit shifts.

What we value, we prioritize.

And we value things more when we truly understand the benefit and purpose behind the changes.

So that’s why I want to highlight why increasing your protein is something you should value.

Starting with the fact that it isn’t just essential for our aesthetic goals.

This ties into a myth we often also hear that gives us an excuse NOT to eat more protein…

And this myth is “You can only utilize 20-30 grams of protein in a meal.” 

I’ve heard this myth repeated in a variety of ways, arguing that eating more protein during your day will only “go to waste.”

But this amount is just the amount that our body can use in a single sitting for muscle protein synthesis.

However, when you eat protein, all those amino acids aren’t just going to your muscles.

Only a very small portion of that 20-30 grams you’re consuming is actually being used in that way.

Because proteins make up EVERY tissue in our body. 

Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage and skin. 

And it’s involved in so many bodily functions including cellular repair.

So if you’re only eating 20-30 grams your muscles aren’t fully getting the maximal amount they can use. 

Not to mention the studies done on this “ideal” protein intake don’t take into account that mixed macro meals, aka adding carbs or fats with the protein, can impact the rate of digestion. 

They also don’t take into account that as we get older, we don’t utilize protein as efficiently.

This makes increasing our intake per meal even more key. 

Consuming less in a meal when we are younger is something we can “get away with” because of the more optimal hormonal environment we have.

As we get older, we need more protein to elicit that same muscle building response. 

Again…more protein is better.

And a recent study has even shown that consuming 100 grams of protein at a meal not only lead to BETTER muscle protein synthesis but didn’t go to waste. 

So if you’ve been trying to tell yourself you didn’t need to eat more protein because it would only be wasted, think again.

And not to harp on this, but it’s probably one of the biggest reasons I push my clients to be so protein centric, but I want them to define how they age. 

There is no denying our body changes with age. But we truly are in control of defining how we age. 

And so much of what we just write off as getting older, is within our power to change and control.

Feel like you’re losing muscle?

Feel like you’re losing strength?

Feel like you’re not recovering as quickly?

Worried about falls and fractures and your bone health? 

Seeing negative changes in your health, including an increase in your blood pressure during menopause?

Or are you frustrated because you’re metabolism is slowing down and you’re seeing the weight creep on no matter what you do as you even slash your calories lower and lower?

What if I told you focusing on protein may be the simplest solution to addressing these things you’ve written off as just getting older?!

Protein honestly is the fountain of youth we don’t often truly recognize.

Now if you want to focus on building muscle and strength, your workouts and challenging yourself with your training is key. 

But so often we see the results we deserve from our hard work in the gym paying off because our fueling doesn’t match.

You can only train as hard as you recover from. And to recover, your body needs protein. 

So if you want to stay functionally fit and strong as you get older, you can’t avoid increasing your protein.

And by building and retaining more lean muscle as you get older, when so often we see a decline in muscle with age, you’ll also help keep your metabolic rate higher. 

Not to mention the thermic effect, or the energy required for the metabolism of food, of digesting protein itself is higher. 

This means more calories burned without us doing anything differently!

And if we want to lose fat, increasing our protein not only helps with this process but helps us avoid losing more muscle, which we are at increased risk for losing already as we get older.

AKA by focusing on protein we improve our metabolic health and body recomp to be any age and freaking lean and strong!

But again, protein isn’t just about rocking those aesthetic results…

It is also key for our health as we get older.

It can help keep our bones strong and avoid fractures, and lower our risk of osteoporosis.

And it can even help lower our blood pressure, which is key especially during menopause when we can see our risk for cardiovascular disease rise.

Now I do want to touch on protein and “risk.” Because this is something I wish I’d realized sooner… 

Protein is honestly the least risky food to include if you want to see fabulous body recomp and your hard work in the gym pay off. 

And I wish I’d known this sooner because it would have helped me get leaner and stronger faster.

Of course there is too much of even a good thing…

And specific health concerns like kidney disease may mean that a lower amount of protein is key for you, although there are some interesting new studies even debating this exact amount…

But for anyone with healthy kidneys who focuses on quality fueling and hydration, higher protein intakes will NOT have a negative impact. 

But I mention “risk” also because increasing our protein intake helps us see results in a much easier way.

A high protein diet is the only diet shown to help you gain lean muscle in a deficit and even avoid gaining unwanted fat while in a calorie surplus. 

It gives you wiggle room in your calorie intake to still see results.

Not to mention, it can help you eat more and feel fueled while still seeing body recomp. 

And being able to eat more will help you keep your metabolic rate higher and create a more sustainable calorie intake that doesn’t leave you feeling starving and deprived. 

Not to mention, protein does improve our health, reducing our risk of so many health concerns…yet too often we only focus on the negatives it may have for specific populations.

But honestly, almost every healthy food can have a negative impact if not consumed based on what we need!

And there are also so many MICROnutrients in protein sources we don’t often realize and value.

We talk about getting more fruits and vegetables, which are 100% key…

But we don’t recognize that protein sources offer a diversity of vitamins and minerals that are essential as well.

And many found in protein sources aren’t available in other sources in the same form such as Vitamin A (Retinol), B12, Carnitine, Carnosine, Creatine, D3, DHA, EPA, Heme Iron, and Taurine. 

These things are essential to optimal health.

So not only is protein essential as a macro, but it packs a micronutrient punch!

Now if you’re like “Ok Cori, I’m sold on increasing protein…But it’s just so hard! I’d like to, but how!?”

I’ll tell you…I get it.

We’re used to consuming foods in the portions we are currently eating. 

And to change our macro split, we have to adjust those portion sizes which often means planning ahead.

Because otherwise we are just going to do what we’ve always done…and we’ve always not eaten more protein! 

I also think we often simply get overwhelmed with the idea which makes our brain freak out and not think in terms of small adjustments.

Or we make changes to hit a number without focusing still on making it ENJOYABLE. 

We go straight to the chicken and broccoli or force ourselves to choke down a protein shake we hate. 

Instead our goal should be to consider ways we may ENJOY adding more protein.

When we are excited to do something, when it is enjoyable over a chore, we are more likely to truly embrace the habit change.

We need to feel like, and remember it is our choice, not something we HAVE to do. 

Yes a protein supplement or bar can be used, but that is too often what we jump to. 

And we want the benefits that whole, natural proteins provide.

So instead, try looking up dishes you may enjoy that have more protein. 

Or take a day of meals you already love and search for small tweaks. 

Massive changes aren’t made overnight.

But one small adjustment that you can build on will add up. 

So even take your meals today and see where you can make one change to increase your protein.

Can you add an ounce more chicken? 

Sprinkle nutritional yeast on something? 

Swap greek yogurt of sour cream? 

Those grams add up!

And this is something key I wished I’d found when I first sought to add more protein because it would have made the process so much easier to see the results I wanted sooner!

Focus on those small changes and really seek to understand the why behind the habit swaps you’re looking to make, like increasing protein. 

It can help you truly value the changes to make them easier so you can see the results you deserve.

Because if you’re looking to move, feel and look your best till your final day on this planet, increasing your protein is the magical habit change that most of us avoid making but that truly makes all of our hard work add up!

Ready to dial in your diet to match your workouts and help you build your leanest, strongest body ever?

Learn more about my Metabolic Shred!

The Underrated Full Body Exercise (that looks a little silly)

The Underrated Full Body Exercise (that looks a little silly)

I know it looks a bit silly….

And I’m not expecting you to go into the middle of your commercial gym weight room floor and start doing it…

But the Towel Taz is an amazing, and deceptively hard conditioning drill that can be a great way to mix up your cardio sessions without all the impact and even put an emphasis on your upper body and core.

It can get you moving in every direction and be done no matter your fitness level.

And it doesn’t require fancy equipment.

Heck you can grab your comforter or even a sheet off your bed if you don’t have a moving blanket.

But I do want to break down the benefits of this amazing move because it can be done without any fancy equipment and is deceptively humbling!

The first reason I love this move, despite how silly it looks, is that it can be used with a variety of intervals to achieve different conditioning benefits.

You can use a heavier moving blanket and easily gas yourself out with quick 10-20 second sprints.

Or you can even learn to use it for more aerobic capacity building longer interval durations of even 1-2 minutes.

But no matter your fitness level you can vary the intensity and intervals you work in to get benefit from this exercise.

And it can really be tailored to what you want to work on – whether you want to focus more on intense quick bursts or more endurance!

And unlike so many of the conditioning drills we do, it gets you moving in every direction while being a full body drill!

When you often think about cardio, our first thoughts are often of running or biking.

If we’re thinking about bodyweight interval workouts, we may start to consider the basic burpee or jump squats, which really still are moving us only in one plane of motion.

And while I think there are some great variations of these moves that can be used to twist and turn and work in every direction, the Towel Taz is a great way to do this without the impact of jumping!

You shuffle laterally as you shake the towel up and down.

Or side to side.

You can circle.

Move forward, backward.

You’re not just moving in one direction like we are with running and riding and your whole body is working.

There is a lot of freedom to the movement, whether you want to make it more core intensive, rotating side to side as you move around…

Or you want to make it more shoulder and arm intensive, shaking the towel up and down.

And it conditions not only your lungs, but so many of the muscles that pay off for other sports.

That towel becomes way heavier than you’d expect and you’re going to feel your arms and shoulders.

This can be a great drill to help keep your shoulders healthy, while improving your conditioning for swimming, not to mention any fight sport.

You may even be surprised by how much it improves your upper body lifts, improving the strength endurance of your shoulders.

And by moving in every direction, you may feel your agility and even reaction times to cut, twist and turn improve. You see your balance and stability improve from your ankles up to your hips.

It also will add diversity to your routine as so many of the cardio moves we do are lower body focused.

While no, we can’t spot reduce an area and just do a thousand tricep exercises to try to lose the bat wing, this move does come in handy for that little extra fat loss benefit when our lifts and nutrition are dialed in.

Studies have shown that more fat is mobilized from areas AROUND the muscle we work. We just then need to UTILIZE that mobilized fat…and a little cardio focused on those areas strategically may make that 1% improvement.

Do your upper body lifting session then finish it off with a killer 30 on 15 off series of Towel Taz while making sure your nutrition is on point, and you may be surprised by how much that helps with that last little stubborn bit!

The Towel Taz can also be helpful if you’re not able to do some of the higher impact conditioning drills or lower body cardio exercises.

If you’ve had a lower body injury and have to reduce impact, you may feel limited in your conditioning drills.

This move can be done seated if needed or even by stepping or quick cuts to move around.

Honestly, this silly looking move is well worth the stares you may get.

And can be a great option if you’re training at home and looking to mix things up.

It is incredibly functional in how it asks us to quickly engage muscles and have so many things work in unison in every direction.

No it’s not a functional movement pattern you will directly do in everyday life, but the benefits of the mind-body connection, conditioning improvements and strengthening in every direction really will have you feeling fabulous.

Now I just wanted to add some quick tips to implement this move….

Use a big and heavy towel. Moving blankets are ideal as they won’t whip you and they have some weight to really challenge your upper body and core.

Focus on quick movements of both your upper AND lower body. While you may shake the towel up and down, shuffle and step in every direction.

If you even swing the towel side to side, focus on walking forward and backward.

Force your upper and lower body to work independently in different directions but together!

Make sure you focus on that exhale as you shake the towel and focus on a speed that challenges you for the intervals of work you’re performing.

If you’re doing 20 seconds, max out.

If you’re using this for 1 minute, consider more of a 65-75% of your max effort pace to push yourself to feel out of breath but be able to work the entire time.

But as much as you may be shaking your head no at your screen, give this move a chance.

It’s humbled many an MMA fighter and you may be surprised by how much it improves your conditioning to even be able to lift more, run faster and cycle further.

You may even be shocked at how much you see improvements in your ability to quickly react and move in every direction!

What untraditional exercises do you love?

Want more workout and nutrition tips? Subscribe to my YouTube Channel…

–> Redefining Strength On YouTube

 

How To Increase Your Metabolism (At Any Age)

How To Increase Your Metabolism (At Any Age)

Ok let’s get one thing straight – you haven’t killed your metabolism. It isn’t broken even.

It’s adapted.

I want to explain why our metabolism adapts and even strategies you can use to make this work to your advantage.

And just to be clear…your age is not an excuse.

While yes it can feel harder to make changes as we get older, a big part of that is simply the fact we’ve ignored many of these other factors for so long and previous dieting and training practices are catching up with us now!

So first…why does your metabolism adapt?

Our metabolism isn’t a stagnant thing.

Changes in our lifestyle and changes in our lifestyle can have a huge impact on it – from how we fuel to how active we are.

That’s why we have to be conscious of how we approach losing weight, especially if we want to see amazing and LASTING body recomp.

Because so often in search of faster results, and more dramatic changes on the scale, we implement habits that have a NEGATIVE impact on our metabolic health.

While we do need a calorie deficit to lose weight, creating too big a deficit will backfire.

Yet this is so often what we’ve always done.

If calories in vs. calories out is our main focus for weight loss, we almost assume going lower is better.

But it’s not.

Yes, it may be nice to see that scale change quickly, but dropping our calories extremely low changes how our body functions.

Metabolic adaptations occur and our metabolism slows to try to regulate energy expenditure to match energy intake.

Less energy coming in, your body makes sure survival functions are covered first.

This can mean we may find ourselves having less energy to get up and move around extra.

We may find we fidget less.

We may even see our workout performance decline.

Your body will slow down, or reduce, any processes that burn energy it doesn’t feel it has coming in…

And this can also mean muscle being lost.

Muscle is metabolically costly. It requires more energy to be maintained.

Whereas, our fat stores are more pure fuel for our body.

When energy is in short supply, our body is going to do what it can to conserve.

Less muscle means less energy needed to survive.

That is why we can not only struggle to build muscle in an extreme deficit even though we’re trying to train hard, but we can even LOSE muscle.

And oddly enough, the harder we train to try to see the results, the more we may be making that deficit even more extreme…fighting against any muscle building efforts further.

So while yes, a calorie deficit is key…

Slashing our calories lower to try to see results faster started the snowball of metabolic adaptations…

Adaptations you may find accumulate more and more as you get older.

And this is why we start blaming our age for the metabolic slowdown.

Over time, we’ve repeated this yo-yo dieting cycle…

Slash our calories lower and burn more calories in our training.

So we lose fast on the scale.

But we ultimately lose just as much muscle as fat.

Slowing our metabolic rate.

And in the process creating hormonal imbalances which only make matters worse.

Then ultimately we can’t sustain the severe restriction and training regime, so we regain the weight.

But when we regain the weight, we aren’t doing so in a healthy way to rebuild muscle.

Instead we’re defaulting back into bad habits.

All that weight we then gain only makes our body composition worse as we put on fat.

This leads to us even potentially putting on more weight as our body has learned to function better off of the lower calories AND we’ve lost muscle.

So the next time we go to diet down, not only is the process HARDER but our metabolic rate may be slower and may only further adapt as we implement those same dieting practices!

And this is why it can feel like it as we get older it gets harder and harder.

Not to mention, as most of us get older…we aren’t as active.

So lower activity levels on average coupled with improper dieting practices and this yo-yo dieting cycle…

Of course it feels like it gets harder and our metabolism is slower than ever.

Now I do want to mention…age DOES have an impact.

Because while too often we just blame our age and write ourselves off because of it, there are things we WILL need to address with how we train and fuel if we want to see results NO MATTER our age…

As we get older, we aren’t able to utilize protein as efficiently and muscle gains are slower.

Our hormonal environment isn’t as optimal as it once was for muscle growth.

And less muscle as we get older DOES mean a slower metabolism.

BUT again…our metabolism is constantly adjusting…

So as much as our previous dieting practices have had an impact negatively…we can also CHANGE them to not only address our changing needs as we get older but also REVERSE the adaptations we’ve created with previous dieting attempts…

So…How can you use the fact that your metabolism adjusts to your advantage?

Because at any point we can improve our metabolic health and increase our metabolic rate by changing how we fuel and train!

We can eat to be energized and want to move more.

This means NOT starving ourselves as we try to train harder.

We can properly fuel our training as our workouts focus on building lean muscle.

This means we need to stop seeing our workouts as a chance to burn more calories and instead focus on building muscle.

We need to challenge ourselves with our lifts. We need to not just fall into doing more. And we need to focus on that protein.

This will lead to us increasing our muscle mass to burn more calories at rest. AKA raise our resting metabolic rate!

The more we focus on these habits to increase our metabolic rate, the more we will find we are able to lose fat and KEEP IT OFF.

We will look leaner and FEEL BETTER because we are actually FUELING our body to function optimally…

And this can be done at ANY age.

While yes, we don’t utilize protein as efficiently or have that same anabolic environment for muscle growth as naturally, just RECOGNIZING this, we can account for it.

We can focus more on strength training and truly challenging ourselves.

And we can be even more conscious about a small calorie deficit after retraining ourselves first potentially to eat more.

Not to mention, we can emphasize MORE PROTEIN. As by just getting MORE we can create that same muscle protein synthesis we had with less when our hormones were at more “optimal” levels.

But as much as this all sounds fabulous….

I’m going to warn you…

This process of addressing metabolic adaptations takes time…

There are no magic metabolic foods or moves we need to be including.

Honestly, the process of addressing metabolic adaptations is often even FRUSTRATING.

It’s hard mentally because it usually requires us to do the OPPOSITE of what we’ve always done…

And often we feel like we’re LOSING PROGRESS when first making the necessary dietary changes.

Yup.

Especially if you want to see the scale go DOWN….in the process of helping improve your metabolic healthy, you may first have to embrace the scale GOING UP.

Your body doesn’t like change…even when it is good for it.

So increasing your calories to truly fuel that muscle growth and increase your metabolism may mean seeing the scale increase.

This isn’t just that glycogen stores are being filled from a depleted state…

It’s partly because your body has learned to function on LESS.

So this extra energy to start is viewed as extra you don’t need and will be stored.

That’s why slowly increasing your calories from your deficit just 50-100 slowly over the weeks is key.

This helps restore hormonal balance.

And as you do this, you need to focus on PROTEIN.

This can help you avoid gaining unwanted fat as much as possible as you increase your calories.

And it can pay off because extra as we get older because we need more protein to create that same anabolic, muscle building response we had when we were younger.

And then, even as you see the scale increase, you can’t fear increasing calories.

Which will probably be the OPPOSITE of what you first want to do when seeking to lose weight.

As you build lean muscle, from proper fueling and strength training, your energy demands will increase.

Aka your metabolic rate will increase!

And then you’ll need to eat more to maintain it.

What once may have been enough, then becomes a deficit.

Now you may be wondering…But how do I know I’m not just gaining a ton of fat?!

This is where stepping off the scale and measuring may be key!

As muscle is being built, you will see inches being lost before the scale starts to trend downward.

And while frustrating, acknowledging this and accepting this…and embracing the long term habits…will ultimately pay off.

Because if you do have more weight to lose, the scale WILL start to change.

But it takes time.

Yup…patience…that thing none of us want to have is key.

So if you’ve worried your metabolism is dead…

It’s not.

You haven’t killed it.

And metabolic adaptations…heck you even saying you just have always have had a slow metabolism…

Can be changed at any and every age.

But you DO need to avoid extreme calorie deficits, focus on protein and build that lean muscle with your workouts!

And if you’ve found yourself repeating the same horrible yo-yo dieting cycle, the only way out of it is to make a change and realize your results may go backward before that recomp starts happening!

Because it can be hard to trust the process, having that outside perspective and guidance can be key.

To help you address metabolic adaptations and see the results you deserve, check out my 1:1 Coaching.

–> LEARN MORE

15 Reasons To Build Muscle

15 Reasons To Build Muscle

While cardio is important, we NEED to focus on building muscle with our training as well. And no, challenging yourself with heavy weights will NOT make you bulky…

But it may be the secret to you feeling like your leanest, strongest self till your final day on this planet…

Whether you’re a runner…

Want to achieve that six pack…

Or simply want to chase after your grandkids…

You need to prioritize building and maintaining muscle in your training.

Here are 15 reasons why you should care so much about that strength work and those muscle gains at any and every age.

#1: Muscle helps you look leaner.

If you’ve ever felt like you lose weight but don’t see any more definition and even just look skinny but soft, it’s because you’re not focusing on building muscle as you lose fat.

You may even be sabotaging yourself from looking more toned by seeking to lose faster on the scale. 

Because when we look to lose weight faster, we often do so at the cost of losing muscle.

And muscle is what helps us see that definition and look more toned. 

So even if your goal is fat loss, you want to focus your workouts on building lean muscle. 

Don’t slash your calories lower or turn to only cardio workouts!

#2: Muscle helps you KEEP the fat off.

Ever lost weight to feel like it just creeps back on? 

Getting older and feeling like your metabolism has slowed down?

This is often due to the fact that we’ve lost muscle!

And in losing muscle, we aren’t burning as many calories at rest. Not to mention resistance training also increases our metabolic rate.

So to help maintain your results, focus on building muscle to train harder, tackle more physical challenges and even better use the nutrients in your food, especially as you get older!

#3: Strength training protects and strengthens your skin.

With aging, we may find our skin becomes more papery and thin. 

But resistance training has actually been shown to improve our skin health. It increases our skin’s elasticity or the ability for it to bounce back as well as even our skin’s thickness!

This not only keeps our skin looking younger, and helps us fight against loose skin, but also even avoid seeing an increase in cuts and bruising as we get older. 

But focusing on strength training and building muscle isn’t just about looking fabulous, it’s also about moving your best! 

#4: Muscle powers our movements!

If you want to be functionally fit till your final day on this planet, you need to focus on building muscle.

It helps us maintain our capacity to move well and remain independent, decreasing our risks for falls and fractures.

Muscle is really the key to be able to conquer any physical challenges that come our way! 

Whether we want to get down and up off the ground playing with our grandkids or we’re an endurance athlete looking to set a PR and improve our speed and our endurance, muscle is the magic we need! 

#5: Muscle keeps our joints healthy.

Muscle supports our joints.

The stronger our muscles, the better the joint support and protection we have. 

Focus on building muscle with exercises that move you in every direction to keep your joints stable so you avoid the range of joint injuries we see adding up as we get older. 

This strength work to build muscle is especially key if you want to be able to train hard to build your leanest, strongest body ever or continue to even compete in sports you love. 

Not to mention this stability improves your balance, which helps you avoid falls and injuries!

And this strength work can even help ease the discomfort of any arthritis development as you get older.

#6: More muscle means stronger bones! 

Too often we just let ourselves get old.

But through building muscle, we can really keep ourselves feeling younger and stronger. 

We can help ourselves prevent so much of what we just write off as happening with age…like osteoporosis and a greater risk of fractures.

Do your resistance training, even if your strength work is more bodyweight based. 

Because not only does this strength work build strong muscles to protect your bones, it can actually improve your bone mineral density and promote bone development! 

This is even more essential for us ladies as we go through menopause!

And not only does muscle help you look fabulous and move better, it also improves your health in so many other ways… 

#7: Muscle improves your blood sugar levels.

Muscle helps increase insulin sensitivity.

Basically through resistance training and building muscle, you are then better able to handle carbs and move sugar into your muscles for storage.

This can be especially key during menopause when we are at greater risk for insulin resistance and even diabetes.

Along with being able to regulate your blood sugar levels better…

#8: Muscle also helps keep your heart healthy!

Strength training and building lean muscle can help you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and issues. 

It can help lower your blood pressure, lower LDL or bad cholesterol as well as your triglycerides, increase HDL or the good cholesterol and even improve blood circulation.

And while, yes, cardio workouts are key for heart health, too often we don’t recognize the importance of resistance training and building lean muscle. 

Recent studies have found a link between lower muscle mass and higher risk of cardiovascular issues.

So include resistance work and focus on building that lean muscle for your heart health. 

#9: Muscle improves our immune system!

More muscle means a larger reserve of amino acids, or the building blocks of protein which helps your immune system respond quicker to infection or disease.

This helps you not get as sick or stay sick as long. 

Muscle also helps reduce inflammation as weird as that sounds, since building muscle is about creating trauma to the muscles so they have to repair and grow stronger. 

But having on more muscle can help us reduce levels of chronic inflammation, which not only helps us stay healthy, but helps us reduce our risk for age related diseases, such as some cancers.

Now the important thing to note with this is…you can only build muscle and train hard if you are paying attention to your recovery. 

Under recover and you’re going to sabotage your immune system health instead.

#10: Muscle also aids in better recovery from injury and even disease.

Part of this goes back to the benefits muscle has for our immune system.

Muscle also plays an important role speeding up our recovery because it promotes blood circulation and aids in efficient nutrient transport or getting the areas of our body what they need quickly to rebuild. 

And while it’s great that muscle can help us recover, more importantly it can help us better AVOID injuries and illness in the first place.

In the process of building muscle we strengthen other connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments.

But if you are currently injured, don’t keep pushing through the pain.

Training around the injury or issue, to keep your system strong, is key.

This strength training releases myokines, which are messenger molecules from muscles released during and after your workouts. 

These molecules boost the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why muscle can be so key in our recovery!

#11: Strength training improves mood and anxiety.

While I know we often hear about the “runner’s high,” and many enjoy running for the mental benefits, strength training also has been shown to really improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety and stress. 

Part of this is due to the fact that our muscle plays an important part in our overall endocrine system function. 

And that system helps control and regulate our body’s metabolism, energy level, growth and development, reproduction and even our response to injury, stress and mood.

This is even extra reason to include muscle building workouts in your routine, especially during menopause when changing hormone levels may impact our mood and anxiety levels, not to mention make it harder to build and retain lean muscle. 

#12: Muscle helps you feel more energized.

Having more muscle means you are better able to create fuel from the carbs you consume. 

And this is partly because more muscle means more mitochondria.

Mitochondria create fuel to energize you from the glucose you eat and the air you breathe.

More muscle also means improved circulation. 

And this allows your body to function better and use your energy supplies more efficiently.

Not to mention, you’ll also see improvements in your energy levels because muscle and strength training can also positively impact your sleep. 

Which is my next big reason you should care…

#13: Building muscle improves your sleep.

Some interesting research has shown that resistance training may not only improve the quality of your sleep but even the quantity you get. 

So not only may it help you sleep longer, but get more deep, restorative sleep.

One reason it is believed that resistance training may even beat out aerobic training for sleep benefits, although both help, is that lifting stimulates growth in muscles cells boosting both testosterone and growth hormone levels in the body. 

Both of these hormones have been linked with better, deeper sleep.

This again can be an extra reason to focus on building muscle, especially during menopause or as we get older, where we may see our sleep quality and quantity decline. 

And can also contribute to better brain function as well! Which brings me to my second to last key reason…

#14: Muscle helps keep our brain healthy.

From the mental challenge that resistance training provides…

To the benefits that muscle has on our circulation and blood flow…

To even the release of myokines which can have an impact on overall brain function…

More muscle has been shown to be connected to improved cognitive functioning or brain health. 

And maintaining more muscle, while continuing to strength train, as we get older has been shown to decrease our risk of dementia.

Not to mention if you’re experiencing brain fog during menopause, you may find this symptom reduced by focusing on strength training and building muscle. 

Basically, more muscle means you’re going to feel, look and move your best till your final day on this planet.

And this is the most important overall reason to care about building muscle…

#15: More muscle means a longer, healthier, better life! 

Whether it is conquering any physical challenges you set for yourself…

Whether it is moving well to stay independent till your final day on this planet…

Whether it is avoiding illness, injury or disease…

Or even simply feeling more energized, healthier and happier…

Muscle is truly magical.

So focus on that strength work at any and every age to feel your most fabulous!

Ready to build that lean muscle and feel your most fabulous at any and every age? Check out my 1:1 Online Coaching!

–> Learn More About Redefining Strength’s Coaching

JUST A FEW STUDIES:
Skin: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10290068/
Resistance Training Benefits: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22777332/
Sleep: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718168/
Muscle-Organ Crosstalk: https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/41/4/594/5835999?login=true#323027942