One of those topics I get asked about consistently, and with all the contradicting theories out there – its no wonder. Of my 17 years in the fitness industry, I have seen, tried, tested, heard about, laughed at, tried again and made many errors in a quest to keep my body how i like it.
I was one of those typical skinny girls that could NOT gain weight at all, until i turned about 23 and from there my weight yo-yo’d for years while i tried and tested different diet and training programs until finally i settled into something that worked. and you know, what it is no where near as hard and torturous as some as the other millions of things I tried.
The first and most important thing i find works is not NOT over train, but to train effectively. I used to do 2 hours of cardio every single morning and and then do either a circuit class or a pump class every evening. And if i didn’t, i would call myself lazy and beat myself up over it. But, as a result I was bulky from too much repetitive movement, starving from burning so much energy, binge eating because I was SO dam hungry and never as lean as I am not through proper training of just 45 mins 4-5 times per week. Over training and slaving away at long periods of cardio DOES NOT WORK!
The second thing that is super important is strength training. if you are doing proper strength training you can get away with so much more and enjoy a much more balanced lifestyle. Your diet can be 70% right instead of 100% right and you will stay just as lean. Cardio training just allows you to burn some energy during your workout (in terms of the physical aesthetic benefits!). Rarely, will it help to build lean, dense muscles that efficiently burn calories at rest, nor will it allow to continue to burn energy for hours after your workout. And, it wont do much to change the actual shape of your body. I do 1, maybe 2 cardio sessions per week as I am time poor and can only fit 3-4 sessions per week of my own training in (I am too busy training my clients!) so i allocate at least 3 of those work outs to strength training, purely because I know how much more I am going to get out of my workouts. Unless, i am drinking cocktails and really enjoying nights out for dinner a bit too much (which happens every now and then) my body stays as I like it. And thats just from 3-4 45 minute sessions per week!
And thirdly, consistency is perfect. stick to a training program and eating plan that you can stick to! I like to call it a realistic lifestyle plan! don’t try to starve or lock in an obscene amount of weekly workouts. You will end up changing weight every week, binge eating, starving, sick, exhausted, miserable and eventually fat anyway. Work out a plan that allows you to get results and stay there, while maintaining optimum energy, health and happiness!