I do step aerobics three times a week, run once a week, and weight train two times a week, but I just can’t get rid of those saddlebags. I also follow a low-fat diet. Can you recommend anything else to try? I’m ready to give up.
You’ve certainly got the right idea for following a balanced training program — aerobic activity, weight training, and a low-fat diet. Just make sure you’re doing all of these things in the most effective manner, so you don’t waste your time.
When doing your aerobics, make sure you’re reaching your target heart rate and that you’re working at a high enough intensity to burn fat. (Your target heart rate is 220 minus your age multiplied by .80; for a 35-year-old, that’s 220 – 35 x .80 = 148 beats per minute). Also, you should be working at this target heart rate for at least 15 to 20 minutes for the fat-burning benefits to kick in.
Working with weights is a good way to develop muscle tissue, which in turn raises your metabolism; since muscle requires more calories to maintain than fat, your body will be burning more calories throughout the day. Remember to always use good form and pause at the top of each contraction for maximum benefit.
Also, take a look at your low-fat diet; make sure it’s balanced with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and is high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Remember that even “no-fat” foods can turn into stored fat if you’re eating more than your body can use up.
Remember, too, that there’s no such thing as “spot reduction.” We tend to lose fat in the last place we put it on, but there’s no way to “target” fat-loss areas. Just continue to work for overall body fat reduction and developing lean muscle. Most of all, don’t give up! There aren’t any “quick fixes” in fitness — the key is consistency and, yes, hard work. Try new activities and programs to keep you motivated.