Female fat loss, what is it all about and why is it that ladies seem to struggle to lose fat a little bit more than their human counterparts, aka men. There are many reasons for this and there are also cases when women shape up very well, very quickly. Anyone who knows the foundations I work with will know hormones are something I pay great attention to. Don’t panic, this doesn’t involve using syringes with needles or using any shady pills.
Other considerations or prescriptions I will make 99% of the time with women is resistance training and intervals. If you are a lady and you are asking about weight loss I immediately take that as ‘’body recomposition’’ and will not have you doing endless sessions on the cross-trainer, sorry. It doesn’t tone your derriere just like crunches won’t spot reduce fat around your waist. Let’s cut the crap and get back to basics. Prepare yourself there might be some things in here which will contradict the stuff you read in lifestyle magazines, you know the ones which talk about losing a stone in 14 days eating salad and berries dressed with oxygen.
So food, where do we start? The truth is, there isn’t a ‘’one size’’ fits all diet for anyone, if someone claims to have ONE diet for everyone they are either a salesman dressed in PT clothing or deluded. Having said that, this is an article and as we know a written piece of this nature cannot cover every eventuality so we will have to make do with some sweeping statements. Touching on the topic of hormones again, for preferential body recomposition with a lady we want to help retain a healthy balance between estrogen and progesterone. Among women with stubborn body fat it is common that their estrogen/progesterone balance is out of sync. What’s more, it is believed that progesterone can help inhibit cortisol to an extent, yet at the same time something known as ‘’progesterone steal’’ can occur if you are a highly stressed invidiual. In a nutshell, the precursor to progesterone (pregnenolone) is utilised to create cortisol, a stress hormone used to help the body cope. What is wrong with this? Cortisol is heavily linked with stubborn body fat around the belly. Whilst that might all be a bit of a blur, in ‘’real’’ talk here are a few things you can do with your diet to help counteract this.
- Eat protein from organic meats, fish, eggs and limit soy protein.
- Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, spinach etc)
- Focus on insulin control (restrict grains and starches). Improving insulin health is massively beneficial for fat loss. Briefly, the idea is to allow the body to utilise fats as an energy source which it doesn’t do very well if you are constantly spiking insulin levels via carbs.
- For the main bulk of your fruit, stick with dark berries.
- Look to take in carbs mainly from sweet potato post-weight training and possibly have a ‘’high carb meal’’ once a week to help promote steady thyroid activity and keep leptin levels elevated (if this hormone falls too much the body can become resistant to fat loss).
- Women love a coffee, right? (I do as well!). Drink organic coffee as it is one of the most heavily treated crops in the world and this can become a negative thing for your hormone profiles.
Nice steady simple advice with your food, nothing too heavy.
Exercise, are you going to be training like Arnold? Damn right!! Well no, not quite. However, yes you will be going to the weights section of the gym (even if it is swarming with egotistical gym monkeys, ignore them). Really, for preferential hormonal response (especially as you age a little) there is nothing like intense resistance based circuits to improve your growth hormone response which is often related to better body composition. You will not suddenly ‘’beef up’’ and look manly, you don’t have the testosterone to do it and if that doesn’t convince you. Look at all the ‘’Hulk’’ wannabe when in the gym, do they all look ‘’huge?’’ No, and they try to be! Again, a few pointers to start trying.
- Start with 3 circuits a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday are always a good formation to use.
- Look to use 5 exercises back to back, preferably ones which get you more bang for your buck (think leg press, bench press, rows, overhead press etc)
- Do 3-4 circuits with 90-120 seconds between each one
- Use a 4 second negative on every repetition
- Get out in the fresh air when you can and walk!!
Supplements, should you or should you not? There are certainly some I think you should at least consider, maybe they won’t be the ones you expect me to list. With female clients using a vitamin D supplement, calcium, magnesium, omega 3s and a greens detox drink are often a great place to start. Thereafter I might look to add in L-carnitine. Oh yes, drink plenty of green tea!
Hopefully there are a handful of useful tips in there for you ladies. As I said, there are some ‘’generalisations’’ but I do think that a lot of people will benefit from these.
Here are a couple of photos of the results I have helped a couple of very cool ladies achieve using similar principles. (another tip, whenever someone offers advice ask to see some ''proof'' of their work!)