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5 Mistakes Women Make While Trying To Lose Fat

5 Mistakes Women Make While Trying To Lose Fat

Female Personal Trainer London

For the most part, training men and women is pretty similar. Yes, there are biological differences, and we program for those accordingly. But for the most part, there are more similarities than differences.

Female Personal Trainer London

Where they do differ though, is the preconceptions and baggage they arrive with.

The bad ideas, adopted from the media and society in general, that tend to stick and cause roadblocks to progress.

Men have their own specific brand, but this week we’re looking at women.

Caveat: Yes, these are generalisations, but they’re based on years of experience. Please don’t shout at us on twitter about it.

1 – Copying Celeb/Instagram Workouts

It may come as a shock, but having a million insta followers and a nice bum is not a professional fitness qualification. The thing about social media posts and fitness articles is they need to seem fresh, fun an interesting. And as much as we love them, squats and deadlifts (you know, the things that actually work) aren’t particularly fresh, fun or interesting.

Female Personal Trainer London

You’re likely to get more clicks on some weird exercise on an unstable surface using a gimmicky gadget than you are on yet another deadlift video. So the weird and wonderful stuff is what you tend to see.

Bottom line: When Gwyneth Paltrow is advising women to have their vaginas steamed (we did not make that up), it’s definitely time to ignore celebrity advice.

2 – Chasing The ‘Burn’

Female Personal Trainer London

Generally speaking, male clients want to lift heavy things and take long rests between sets. Female clients want to feel a burn in their muscles and have short rest periods so that they feel like they’re “working hard.”

Both of these strategies are useful, because they use different mechanisms to elicit a growth response from the muscles; The first uses maximal tension and the second uses metabolic stress.

Both are important.

So don’t neglect one while focussing on the other. 

3 – Not Enough Protein

This is changing, thankfully. But we’re fighting against years of advertising depicting granola, pasta, fruit and yoghurt as weight loss foods. There’s also the scare stories that get trotted out every few years claiming meat gives you cancer, despite the fact that these studies don’t discriminate between kinds of meat, so a frankfurter made of pigeon heads and earlobes gets lumped in with grass-fed organic beef.

As soon as women switch to lifting weights and eating protein, they never look back.

4 – Not Acknowledging Your Cycle

You’re going to have cravings. It’s one of those things guys take the piss out of, but it’s a biological fact that women experience a perceived need for certain foods in a totally different way from men.

In the week before your period, carb cravings will generally be high. The problem is you will also be most likely to store carbs as fat in this week. You should ideally keep your carb intake the same throughout, if fat loss is the priority. You’ll find it easier to do that if you have a high protein and high fat meal for breakfast; smoked salmon and eggs and a handful of mixed nuts, for example.

Female Personal Trainer London

Here’s our own Fee Pocock to summarise…

“The first half of the cycle (day 1-14) when women are oestrogen dominant.

This means women are more insulin sensitive, thus more likely to be able to gain more muscle and store less fat at this time.

Pain threshold during this phase is higher, so this is the time to concentrate on heavier lifting/intensity.

The second half (15-28), as progesterone increases, is when women become more insulin resistant – ie they store fat more easily, so either maintain or lower carbs in this phase.

Reduce training intensity down and shift focus towards volume (maybe input/ increase steady state cardio here) as pain threshold/tolerance reduces and injury risk increases. Keep stress to a minimum and put more importance on recovery.”

5 – Emotional Eating

Female Personal Trainer London

Huge subject this, and we don’t want to stray too far into territory we’re not qualified to talk about. But at the less extreme end of the scale, we just need to stop telling ourselves stories about food.

Stories like…

I’ve had a hard day so I deserve this tub of ice cream.

I’ve been good this week so I’ll have a massive blow out.

I feel tired, there must be some magic food I can add to my diet that will fix me.

The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with having ice cream or going out for a big meal. There are no inherently evil foods. If you have the specific goal of losing fat, then yes those foods need to be curtailed for a while, but adding an extra layer of stress on top whenever you ‘crack’ and go off your plan is unnecessary.

Food is just food. It’s fuel or it’s the centrepiece of a social occasion or it’s a treat but it’s not magic and obsessing over it never helps.

If you’re goal is fat loss, you need a small daily calorie deficit, about a 200 calorie deficit is fine. Most of that should come from food that either used to be alive or grew in the ground.  That’s the truth, and it’s never going to change.

Words by Zack Cahill

If you would like a fat loss program tailored to your specific needs, check out our Female Personal Training in London Location. 

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