As you may know, fitness is at the forefront of my mind more than usual right now with my upcoming wedding in March. (!!!) I’ve loved working remotely with Scott Keppel who is an expert in both fitness and nutrition and is slowly changing my way of thinking from “eat way less to get skinny” to eat more to nourish your body and replace fat with muscle. He’s helped me find the right program that works with my lifestyle and so far I’ve lost 2 inches off my waist, whoop! I thought it would be helpful for him to answer some questions that had been plaguing me that I thought would resonate with most people. I’ve also sprinkled some awkward pictures of myself working out throughout this article for color and to break up the massive blob of text – enjoy! haha
1. What is the biggest misconception about losing weight/getting in
“Often times, I get women who feel they need to lose weight, but in reality they want to lose body fat. As a coach, I educate my clients on the importance of not focusing on the scale and being more mindful of the changes that are being made in how they feel, how clothes fit, and overall how they are looking. Keep in mind, a pound of muscle is 3x smaller than the size of one pound of fat! In addition, 1lb of muscle can burn up to 4x’s the amount of calories in a day! A misconception a number of women have is that muscle weighs more than fat – this is not true. Muscle is more dense than fat (but again, 3 times smaller!), but a pound is a pound no matter what it’s made of. If you were to drop a pound of feathers and a pound of coins, they would fall at the same rate. However, you would need a lot less coins.
Getting in shape is relative to many. For women, if you are between 18-24% body fat, that is optimal fitness – so if you are looking to be in shape, this is an ideal place to fall. Women often feel they should cut calories and do a ton of cardio to lose weight. This is another misconception. Most women should not be below 1200 calories in a day and often 1400-1600 calories per day is ideal. When a woman cuts her calories too low, her metabolism will start to slow down in order to preserve energy (fat) and she will hit a plateau. Fueling the muscle so it can burn the fat and fuel you for a calorie burning workout is ideal.”
2. If people were only going to change one habit, what is the most
important one to change?
Nutrition! Nutrition is 70-80% of achieving results. As far as what nutritional habit to change? It’s hard to pick just one, since everyone woman has her own unique set of deficiencies. Overall, I would suggest making sure to get enough water – 3/4-1oz per lb of your body weight. Water will help with certain vitamins, flush out toxins, and keep you from being dehydrated. When someone is dehydrated, performance decreases both mentally and physically. If you’re already drinking enough water, talking a multi vitamin and fish oils is the next habit to start. Take as suggested. Studies have shown that by simply adding these to one’s daily regiment, there is a decrease in anxiety and mood swings! Next, work on limiting your alcohol to 1-2 drinks per sitting. Anything more and your body will not be able to function properly until the alcohol is out of your system. This means whatever food you’re eating at that time will be stored as fat.
3. In your opinion, what is the most effective workout?
It varies for each person. If you’re a woman that has more body fat than you’d like and you weigh more than you like, I suggest a metabolic style workout. Metabolic = fat burning! These would be workouts that incorporate complex movements (squats, dead lifts, squats and presses, squat jumps, etc.) along with cardio throughout (jump rope, running, squat jumps, burpees, etc.) Rest 30-60 seconds between rounds. Here’s an example: Dead lifts: 3 rounds of 12-15, Close grip push ups: 3 rounds of 12-15, Squat jumps: 3 rounds of 12-15.
If you’re already thin, but want to build a little more lean mass, I suggest you lift a little heavier (8-10 reps) and skip the burpees, jumps, running, etc.
4. How important is getting enough sleep/water when you’re trying to get in shape?
I can’t emphasize this enough! If you are even slightly dehydrated, you will get headaches, dizziness, weakness, muscle cramps, constipation, and more. Sleep = rest, rest = recovery, recovery = gains. You must sleep to allow your body to recover from the stress of your daily activities and exercise. Keep in mind, when you’re lifting weights, your body is tearing down muscle and the sleep and rest will allow your muscles to recover.
5. When you’re on a weight loss plan, but you feel like you need to cheat what is a healthy snack you like to have that satisfies the craving?
Fruit is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try to stick to berries, grapes, apples, and fruits from the northern hemisphere. They are lower in glycemic index (which means they don’t impact your insulin levels as much as bananas, melons, etc.) You can mix protein powder with unsweetened almond or coconut milk, freeze it in a cupcake papers, or make popsicles with the mixture. You can mix in peanut butter, almond butter, berries, etc. If you’re more of a salty fan, air popped pop corn is a great treat that is low in carbs, calories, and you can get more volume than turning to chips or fries.