My 5 Simple Fitness Secrets: A Weight Loss Success Story, Part 2

by | Oct 31, 2013 | Blog, Fitness, Health, Mental Wealth

Rewind to just over 4 years ago, and I was about 20lbs heavier.  I know this may not seem like much, but on my 5 foot 2 frame, it sure felt like a lot.  My approach to health and wellness was far different back then, and although I thought I ate healthy and trained right, I surely did not.  I’ve learned so much through my personal journey and client experiences, that I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you too.  Here are my top 5 simple fitness secrets that helped to encourage my lasting weight loss success.

1. Train Smarter – Not Harder.  Over the years, I had read in many fitness magazines that I should be exercising 5-7 times per week, for an hour or more each time.  Believing what I read and saw in the gyms, I committed to this, and I can tell you firsthand, it did not work.  Initially yes, I lost some weight, but just like any other hardcore diet or fitness regime, I quickly hit a plateau and was unable to make any further improvements.  I found myself putting weight back on, and noticed my body always in constant pain and experiencing injuries.  Obviously, this method was far from advantageous for me.

What I learned: There is such a thing as overtraining.  Instead of working out hard almost every day, I began to workout smarter, and save myself time.   This was mentally challenging for me to adapt to, but far more efficient.  I found my body was is in less pain, suffered less injury, and I was in the best shape of my life.  Now, I only workout 3-4 times per week, and the workouts only consume 20-60 minutes of my time.  I go hard, and workout my whole body with each sweat session.  Looking for a lean and shapely body, this method works perfect for me, and it save me lots of time.  It’s a keeper!

2.  Stop Running – Start HIIT’ing.  During the years I trained exceptionally hard, I was also a big runner.  I would use running as my warm-up, my cardio, and my method to fat-loss.  The ironic thing is that I found my belly fat percentage to be higher, my hunger insatiable, and my knees in constant pain.  It felt damn good at the time, but it wasn’t doing me any justice.  After lots of research and trial and error, I decided to forgo running, and now I’ve been ‘run free’ for 2 years.

What I learned: Running is very hard on your body.  Some people can run comfortably, see results, and be lean, but in my experience this is not true for the majority; myself included.  All you have to do is go to a marathon to see that not all runners are lean, and injuries are common.   To my point, marathon organizers have therapists and emergency services on-hand because injuries are so common. Instead, I use high intensity interval training (HIIT) as my method of cardio, fat-loss, and hunger control.  It’s literally changed my life and my body, and I will never go back to hitting the pavement.

Experimental success:  I put my ‘hitt’ing’ theory to the test last month, and proved that I could still maintain stellar cardiovascular health and endurance without running being a part of my workout routine.  I completed a beep test to level 6.5, and could have gone longer if needed.  I was pretty pumped about this little experiment, and happy to know my theory was right.

3. Train the Whole Body – Not Just Part of It. When hours were spent at the gym most days of the week, my training style was far different and included lifting very heavy and only concentrating on 1-2 body parts each time.  In my personal opinion, this is very old school, and not ideal for a woman’s body.  At least not the body shape I was looking for.  Being a short girl, this left me looking rather ‘thick’, and with sore joints.  My little frame was not meant to lift far beyond its limits to increase my strength, nor was it necessary.

What I learned: Although some people can pull this off and look nice and lean, I personally think the majority of women can get a far better shape and save themselves time by working their whole body a couple times a week.  I am leaner and more physically fit now then I was back then, and I love it.

4.  Stretching – It’s Your Best Friend.  Don’t underestimate the power of stretching.  Too many times in the past I would squeeze in and extra set of exercise, instead of spending time stretching.  This was an awful idea.  If you’re constantly contracting your muscles and never lengthening them, you’re setting yourself up for injury and constant pain.  

What I learned:  Managing your workout time to include stretching is important.  If you’re tight on time, don’t spend the last 5 minutes you have working out – spend it on stretching!  Yes, you may burn some extra calories working out, but forgoing the all-so-important stretch time will increase your chance of injury and potentially cut your workout time to ‘no-time’ in the future.

5.  Get a Massage – Not a Big Mac.  It’s important to reward yourself for all your hard work, but be careful how you choose this reward.  Although I am a big believer in treating yourself to your favourite meal once per week, you don’t want to make this your ‘reward’ all of the time.   If I was to follow-up every workout with a dessert at night “because I worked hard”, or a Big Mac “because this is the best time to eat it”, I would never see results.   

What I learned: Investing in massages and/or pedicures are great rewards too.  Maybe you would prefer a yoga class, or something different, but the point is that you find different ways to reward yourself beyond food.  Who doesn’t want an excuse to hit up the spa with a girlfriend!?

So my friends, that wraps up my secrets to my weight loss success story.  I understand that each person may have different goals, could desire a different body shape, and may respond to workouts completely different, however, I hope this story may have inspired you to view your journey to weight loss and fitness success a little different, maybe helping you see outside the ‘normal’ box.

Showing you the difference between liking and loving your body,
Ashley Dale Roy

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