Strong and Sexy is our monthly feature from Molly Galbraith of Girls Gone Strong and it features questions from readers of the TPS newsletter. Molly will answer at least one question each month on topics geared towards our female readers. Ladies, get those questions ready and reply back to the newsletter with them.
First off, thanks for accepting reader questions. I know this might not get answered, but I appreciate the opportunity. OK here’s my question:
There is so much conflicting and overwhelming information out there about the best way to lose body fat, and it feels like way too much information to wade through and get started with.
Can you give me something simple to get me started on the right track? Thanks! – Bethany M.
Thank you so much for your question. You are correct! There is so much information out there that it’s hard to know who to trust, and it’s hard to know what your priorities should be when it comes to fat loss.
First things first: fat loss doesn’t have to seem like an unachievable, impossible fantasy.
And I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be complicated or torturous. Just keep in mind that there are many things that can affect fat gain or loss, from nutrition to exercise to sleep to stress, and so I am going to address the basics all of those issues right here. I’m going to give you three tips that should be implemented from each category to have you looking and feeling your best.
Keep in mind, you probably can’t incorporate them all at once. You’re welcome to start with one tip at a time, and once you have that mastered, move onto trying another tip. If you go that route, start with nutrition first. You’ll see the best results in the least amount of time.
It’s been said that fat loss is 80% nutrition, and 20% exercise.
While I am not sure if I agree with that exact breakdown, nutrition is a vital component to losing body fat, and looking and feeling healthy. There is a ton of conflicting information out there, but for the sake of this article we are going to keep it simple. If you can check these 3 things off of your list, you’re in good shape.
- 90% of your meals consist of unprocessed meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and oils. The other 10% can come from sweets and/or junk.
- Each meal contains at least a full serving of protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.
- You drink only unsweetened beverages like water, sparkling water, coffee, or unsweetened tea. No sugar-laden sodas or lattes.
Exercise is another crucial component to losing body fat, but unfortunately, many women go about it the wrong way. We tend to favor long-duration cardio activity like running, spinning, or aerobics classes, and shy away from the stuff that will really re-shape our bodies, which is heavy weight training. Now don’t get me wrong, some cardio is fine, but the heavy weight training is what will help you shrink and get curves in all the right places at the same time.
Solid nutrition + heavy, compound movements = lean and mean and shapely! Here are your 3 things to remember when it comes to exercise:
- Start where you are. You are only competing against yourself and mastering the basics is vital to your success.
- Heavy strength training is what will change your body for the long-term. Doing squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, push-ups, presses, rows, and lunges 2-3 days a week is perfect!
- Don’t neglect cardio completely. 2 days a week of the intense stuff and 2 days a week of light walking is more than enough!
Sleep is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of fat loss.
My friend Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, says he would rather have his fat loss clients sleep than work out if they are sleep deprived!
It’s that important people! Follow these 3 rules when it comes to sleeping and you’ll be on the right track!
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Yes, every night. You’ll feel better and be more productive and you’ll actually get more done when you’re awake than you would have gotten done if you had slept less and been more tired.
- Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every night (before midnight is best). You’ll get in a routine and you will fall asleep and wake up more easily.
- Try to avoid lights from a computer or TV within a couple of hours of bedtime. The lights can activate certain parts of your brain that make it hard to fall asleep or achieve deep sleep.
Ah…stress! One of the best and worst things a human can experience. Some stress is great. It helps you grow, change, and adapt. On the other hand, too much stress and/or the wrong kind of stress is a very bad thing. It can make you sick and fat, or worst of all, it can literally contribute to an early death. So how do you manage stress? It’s simple, really! Try these 3 tricks to help you manage your stress levels and feel better instantly.
- Meditate 1-2 x a day for 5 minutes. This can be quiet time, prayer, deep breathing, or visualizations, whatever calms you down and centers you. Doing this once in the middle of the day, and once right before bed is perfect to decrease your stress levels and help you relax and sleep.
- Do something you love. Every. Single. Day. Whether it’s looking at pictures of beaches and dreaming of future vacations, giving your fiancée a long romantic kiss, or reading a book about vampires, it doesn’t matter. Taking a few minutes to do something that you absolutely love will instantly put you in a good mood and make the cares of the world melt away.
- “Treat triumph and disaster as the twin impostors that they are.” This quote is adapted from a Rudyard Kipling poem, and my Dad used to tell me this all the time. Take a moment to really think about the quote and anytime you start to let yourself get really stressed about anything, ask yourself if it will really matter in a year. If not, let it go, and breathe.
So there you have it! 12 quick and simple tips that will help you conquer your fat loss woes once and for all!
Molly Galbraith is a certified strength and conditioning specialist from Lexington, Kentucky and co-founder of the wildly popular Girls Gone Strong group, a movement dedicated to changing the way women train.
She is also co-founder of J&M Strength and Conditioning, one of the most highly regarded private studio gyms in the country for training women.
Her mission is to, ”Help women discover what their best body looks and feels like, with minimal time and effort, and once they discover that, help them give themselves grace and compassion about it.”
She has been an expert contributor to magazines like Oxygen and Experience Life, and she’s no stranger to the gym herself. She he has competed in both figure and powerlifting and her best lifts include a 275-lb. squat, a 165-lb. bench press, and a 341-lb. deadlift.