Medically Reviewed by Dr. Ben Rawson, D.O.
The hot summer is fast approaching, so it’s time to pull out your summer clothes and swimsuits. If you spent more time than usual indoors throughout 2020, you might want to lose a little more than just winter weight. This brings up a unique problem: exercising but not losing weight.
While it might seem like you’re doomed to retain the weight that you gained during the pandemic lockdown, you can actually make some key changes to your diet and exercise routine. If your current regimen doesn’t seem to work, here are a few aspects that could be holding you back.
Eating the Wrong Foods
Eating right is just as important as exercising. If you exercise regularly but have trouble losing weight, there might be a problem with what you fix in the kitchen. Doing an in-depth look at what you should eat is a different topic entirely.
As a general rule, stick with foods that are all-natural. Check the list of ingredients on the foods that you consume. If you can’t pronounce some of them, they probably don’t belong in your body.
Too Much Cardio, Not Enough Strength Training
When people think of losing weight, they generally think of burning fat through cardio. While cardio is an important part, there is such a thing as doing too much. Excessively long cardio sessions that last for 90 minutes or longer, or going for a 10-mile run, often eats into your lean muscle. You need this muscle to increase your metabolism and burn more calories.
On this same note, strength training is important because it helps you build more muscle. To put it simply, muscles require more energy, so they tend to burn more calories. Even at rest, muscles burn more calories. The more muscle that you have, the more fat that you burn. As a result, you should lift weights alongside cardio exercises.
Your Weight Loss Plateaus
Let’s say that you eat right and work out regularly but can’t get the extra pounds to come off. The issue could be that your weight loss has plateaued. There are many reasons why this can happen, but one of the most common is your calorie count.
When you first lower your calorie intake, you’ll probably notice a rapid loss of weight. This happens as your body starts to burn through all of its stored glycogen. To get down to your goal weight, you might need to cut back your calories again. Otherwise, you may need to ramp up your physical activity to burn through more calories than what you consume.
Not Taking Time to Recover
When you want to burn fat, it can be tempting to exercise every day, especially if you’re exercising but not losing weight. You mistakenly think that the more you exercise, the more weight that you’ll lose. While working out every day isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s important to give your body time to recover.
Consider following a routine that works different muscle groups on alternating days. If you do weight lifting one day, do light cardio and stretching the following day. Doing so gives your muscles time to recover. Believe it or not, this recovery time is when your body burns through the most fat for energy to repair itself.
When you make these key changes to your diet and exercise regimen, you should notice a change in your weight in a couple of weeks. The most important thing is that you lose weight in a healthy way.