Fat Loss Tips for Women

OK, time to be honest. How many of you women out there are making steady progress morphing a body consisting of a spare tire and arms of flab into a svelte, ripped, head turning, compliment receiving, can I have your digit physique? Chances are, if you’re reading this, you don’t fall into that category.

If you’re a woman who’s looking for results, read on. If you’re a newly minted personal trainer, realize that more than half of your clients will be women and they will all share one goal that reigns supreme—fat loss!

Here are just a few tips to ensure that the fat loss program is successful.

1. Listen to the real experts and do your own research.

Sounds simple, right? The fitness industry has evolved into a logjam of conniving thieves who prey on the misinformed. The ones who market and present themselves the best grab the spotlight. These are often the ones you see featured in entertainment magazines doling off advice, which is laughable at best.

One such “trainer,” who I was hard pressed to find any information regarding his education or certification(s), offers fat loss solutions such as extremely low calorie diets for periods of three months or more in conjunction with two-hour long training sessions six days a week. Rather than spend my time picking on people with an exercise physiology IQ that’s less than room temperature, I’ll provide some helpful links at the end of the article, which can help steer you in the right direction.

Moreover, the supplement industry frenzies people with fat loss supplements. Many of the ingredients found in fat loss supplements haven’t been clinically proven to be effective, yet droves of people are lining up at the register, dreaming of the godlike or goddess-like physique they’ll never end up achieving through a couple handfuls of pills each day.

2. Common dietary sense always prevails.

Rather than bore people with nutritional biochemistry and a bunch of extraneous sciency stuff that will put you to sleep faster than a handful of benzodiazepines, I’ll say this—if you put crap in your body on a daily basis even when you’re “working out,” you can expect crap results. I liken sedentary people to the run of the mill economy cars we see on the highway. They don’t really stand out, and when it’s time to hit the gas station to fuel them up, they only need unleaded. Now, let’s say you trade in that run of the mill sedan with the hubcaps and a smaller engine for a high performance vehicle or model your existing one to resemble something from Fast and the Furious without the shopping cart handle styled spoiler. That vehicle will require better fuel and more upkeep. Active people need to eat better and need more rest to properly recuperate from training sessions. Inactive people need less food and less rest between the primetime reality shows they catch each week in place of heading to the gym.

Here’s a brief takeaway—more quality food and more rest for active individuals. They push their bodies to the limits or at a minimum move around more than their sedentary counterparts. Therefore, they need to fuel their body with the nutrients that physical activity uses up. Also let me chime in with this basic tidbit of information. Change in weight equals calories in versus calories out. Eat more and do less and you gain weight. Eat less and do more and you lose it. If you or your client isn’t losing weight, you’re probably underreporting your intake and grossly overestimating the amount or intensity of your exercise.

3. Olympic lifts aren’t considered conditioning.

Nothing burns me up more than seeing a trainer put his overweight female client through seemingly endless circuits of sloppily performed Olympic lifts. Before I get flamed by Olympic lifting enthusiasts (mainly the ones birthed by the CrossFit evolution), I’ll say that I’m a massive proponent of Olympic lifts but not for fat loss. The primary reason why non-Olympic lifters incorporate Olympic lifts and their variations in their programs is to generate greater force development. That’s it.

If a football strength coach told his linemen to clean 135 lbs for 100 reps, it then becomes a conditioning exercise. Even though it’s a relatively low weight, it will undoubtedly expose them to injury at some point due to the amplitudinal forces that are known to cause repetitive stress injuries. If you want to pattern the Olympic lifts and perform them as conditioning, that’s perfectly fine. Lighter kettlebell swings that perhaps progress into snatches and cleans as the client’s skill level advances or lighter medicine ball work are more appropriate forms of conditioning. Less can go wrong with them and, when they’re interspersed with briefer rest periods, they make you feel like your heart is about to explode from your chest cavity.

4. “I don’t want to look like a Division 1 linebacker, so I don’t lift more than three pounds.”

My ranting rebuttal—your body has looked the same or has grown flabbier and weaker since that ‘Division 1 linebacker’ was an eight-year old man child hit sticking opponents and his teammates in peewee football. You’ve feared getting big, but you need to add lean body mass, appreciable strength, power, and local muscular endurance, which will pay big dividends later in your life. While you won’t get “big,” “bulky,” or “muscle bound” lifting three-pound weights, you won’t get strong either unless you were a previously sedentary elderly woman. When you do get to that point, your half-assed workouts that consist of walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes while reading, shopping on your iPad, text battling people in downloadable games, and watching television followed by basking in a purgatory of neoprene dumbbells won’t have you looking too good when you become old.

Challenge your body. Lift heavier. You’ll work those extensor groups and increase bone density via loaded exercises. Those two things disintegrate around the fifth decade, so you should focus on strengthening your musculoskeletal system to avoid greater problems in the future such as a body that’s riddled with weak, atrophied, tight, and fibrotic muscles and brittle bones. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are pretty serious. Also, lifting heavier things or performing more challenging movements will do wonders for your body, evoking a greater hormonal response compared to a lollygagging session of light dumbbells and machine work with the pin atop the stack as seen in men. You won’t get big like us because you have fewer, smaller muscle fibers. However, adding more lean body mass will assuredly hasten your metabolism, resulting in a leaner, meaner physique.

5. Move the entire workout.

It’s difficult for many to conceptualize moving throughout an entire workout. However, if pressed for time or if corrective work needs to be done, you’re going to have to move throughout the entire workout. Obviously, we aren’t going to train to failure on every exercise. However, everything will be done as a circuit, ranging from a power-based movement (perhaps a plyometric movement, Olympic lift, or regression) to a strength-based movement (classic lifts like the squat, deadlift, press, or variation) to maybe alternating antagonist corrective exercises or stretches as active rest. Then maybe move on to a body weight exercise or calisthenic followed by a brief period of complete rest. The continuous movement will incur a great metabolic demand on the body, cause your heart rate to soar, and make you sweat profusely. When you finally get in your car after stumbling out of the gym, you’ll be sitting in your driver’s seat feeling like you accomplished a lot.

As promised, I’ve included some resources below that will be a tremendous help to women desiring fat loss. Also, to you trainers out there, most of your income will come from women wanting to lose fat. Sure, you’ll get the mass obsessed college kid willing to do what it takes to pack on size and you might get a collegiate or professional athlete if you’re lucky, but realistically, fat loss centric women will be paying your mortgage. Appreciate their business and desire to learn more.


About the Author

Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is a Philadelphia-area personal trainer, corporate health coach, and freelance writer. More of his content can be found at joshstrength.com.