Thinking you need to be in the gym every day (or need to do cardio every day)
You do not need to be in the gym 7 days a week to reach your desired fitness goals.
Most people make great results with only 3 days in the gym (as long as they are putting in the necessary work). However, if you like being in the gym 7 days a week and it isn’t a problem for you, then go 7 days a week. It’s just that sometimes people force themselves in the gym when they know for a fact that they don’t want to be there because they’re too tired from all of the other gym days, which will just create an unhealthy habit. Or maybe they just don’t have the time but continue to tell themselves that they “need” to make it to the gym, which is just going to continue to stress them out because they missed that extra day that they “planned” on going.
As for cardio, if you’re doing it every day for pure enjoyment, please continue doing so. However, if you’ve created this thought that the more cardio that you do in a week, the better and faster the results you’ll get, you’ll be disappointed. VERY disappointed. Not only due to the fact that you’re putting in a shit ton of time doing cardio and hate every second of it, but the fact that cardio isn’t the best option for fat loss. You’d be better off using that time to design a better diet to suit your lifestyle and fitness goal while using a combo of weight lifting and conditioning instead of cardio to cut back on the time that you spend at the gym and improve your results.
Plus, our bodies are pretty amazing at adapting to stressors (cardio, lifting weights, etc… ). So if you’re continuously doing cardio for long periods of time, multiple times per week, you’ll adapt and become more efficient at it.
What does that mean?
Well, if you started off doing 50 mins of normal steady state cardio burning 200 calories (this isn’t accurate, it’s just an example), your body will become “better” at doing cardio and will burn less calories for the same amount of cardio. This is quite annoying because your goal is to burn calories, right? So you’ll have to do more to burn what you used to. By utilizing a weight lifting program with conditioning, there are multiple ways to change the stressor (increase weight, reps, sets, decrease rest, etc… ) so that the body doesn’t adapt and become as “energy-efficient” when compared to regular low intensity cardio.
Being afraid of gaining muscle or getting “too big”
Increasing muscle mass and decreasing fat mass is what everyone raves about. They just don’t know it.
This creates what some call, “toned, curved, lean, etc… “
In order to increase muscle mass, you must lift weights. You must also increase the amount of work you do over time.
Increasing work can be done by increasing the weights you are lifting, increasing the total amount of reps you are performing (by increasing reps per set or keeping reps the same and increasing the number of sets), or a mixture of both.
3 sets of 10 with 100 lbs
We can increase the amount of work we are doing with these 3 options (colored in red):
3×10 with 105lbs = 3,150lbs
3×12 with 100lbs = 3,600lbs
4×10 with 100lbs = 4,000lbs
If the goal is to build more muscle, I would personally choose the 4×10 option due to more overall reps and work being done. However, if you’re pressed for time, I would suggest options 1 or 2.
By increasing the overall work you can do (we refer to this as “volume” = the poundage in the example above) the more energy (calories) you will expend. You will also expend more calories at rest with more muscle mass compared to if you had less muscle mass.
More calories will be spent to feed more muscle mass and do more work. You will be able to consume a higher amount of calories while dieting for fat loss compared to someone who isn’t lifting weights or doing a good amount of work. Would you complain about eating more food while leaning out?
“Getting too big”
First off, you need to put in some serious dedication towards training, programming, and dieting in order to get big. Most general gym-goers don’t have the desire to put in the amount of mental and physical work to get “too big”. But then again, everyone has their own idea of what “too big” is.
So I’ll just say this:
If you think you are getting “too big”, all you have to do is back off the gym a little or eat a little less. You’re not going to get stuck with huge muscles.
Doing exercises to lose fat in specific areas
You want your abs to show.
You want the underside of your arm to not be as flabby.
You want your love handles to go away.
You want definition in your thighs.
“We get it, you want to lean out.”
Doing crunches isn’t going to make your abs show.
Doing tricep extensions won’t reduce the flab under your arms. (That’s a mixture of your tricep muscle hanging with some fat covering it, so it’ll never fully go away)
Wrapping a waist trainer won’t reduce the fat around your love handles. (But it’ll temporarily cause you to look thinner)
Leg extensions won’t define your thighs. (We’ll it kind of will because it will build quad muscles)
You cannot target certain areas in the body to lose fat mass, unless you get liposuction. Please do not go that route.
I need you to get creative for a second and imagine fat as a giant single cell that is surrounding your body (this is just an example). There are certain areas of the human body that store more fat than others. For example, we tend to store more fat in our midsections compared to our calves. So there may be 1 inch of fat at the calves but 2-3 inches of fat in the midsection. When we lose fat, that whole single fat cell gets a little smaller. You cannot target where it gets smaller, it just gets smaller all over. So now you might have ½ inch of fat at the calves but 2 inches of fat still at the midsection.
YOU CANNOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT THIS. So it’s best to just keep doing what your are doing by hitting the gym and stop worrying about targeting specific body parts for fat loss.