Not Seeing a Difference

Question:

Hello! I am 24 years-old. I am 5'1, 130 lbs, 29% body fat. I'm evenly-portioned and have muscle so to the average person I don't look fat, but I have gained a few lbs I would like to lose. 10-15 lbs actually.

I've been going to the gym regularly since the end of November, about 3-5 days a week. I have been stuck at 130 the whole time. I have a few questions...

I eat well, cereal for breakfast, leftovers or a sandwich for lunch, homemade dinner. One snack at night (every other night I allow myself a treat like maybe a few cookies with milk or a sliver of pie). Am I eating enough?

Is "starvation mode" true? If I don't eat enough, my body will hold onto my fat? How many calories should I be eating?

Is the "fat-burning zone" for your heart rate when exercising true? For me that is walking on a treadmill at 3.0 mph on an incline of 5 or so. I usually go for 45 min. then bike for 15 min.

This is 4-5 days a week. I also do an hour-long weight-lifting class 2 days a week and yoga one day a week. Abs class about 3 days a week. Why am I not seeing a difference?

Should I be running and in the cardio zone instead of walking in the fat-burning zone? Or has it just not been long enough to see results?

There hasn't been a change on the scale or in how my clothes fit. They're still tight and I'm still spilling over.

Answer:

Jason Spencer, CSCS

Jason Spencer Online Personal Training

 

From what you described about your exercise habits you just have slightly too many things going on which takes focus and intensity out of your routine... The focus is off because you are going from walking to biking to classes many days out of the week.

The intensity is lacking a bit because of the very fact that you can do an hour cardio and go right to a class on some days...

Without an appropriate and focused intensity the body will not force itself to improve because it doesn't see enough of a challenge to do so...

If the intensity is right, you should not be able to do all the things I just mentioned so many times a week. You will need to focus in your activity, which is actually the best way to do it!

 
So in raising your intensity to the correct level for you, some of the things you have been wondering are correct...

Yes you most likely should do more of a running routine even if not the whole durations. The cardio zone as opposed to the fat burning zone is closer to the type of intensity that most people need to be in. Especially people such as yourself that have built a base level of conditioning over some months...

Exactly what you need to do with that though depends on some things i could learn about your current fitness level, because you may or may not be able to do a steady state activity at that level and could possibly be better off with specific intervals....

lso, your eating question is correct to different degrees. The body does hold on to calories and store them as fat if it senses that you are not eating the amount it needs. And this point becomes even more important when you step up your activity the way I'm advising you to do...

 

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