What's the best exercise for weight loss for women? Do I need to exercise for weight loss? These are common questions I receive from women over 35 trying to lose weight.
Today I'm going to give you the truth behind exercise and fat loss because let's face it. The scale may be going down, but you might be losing muscle not fat.
Do you need to exercise to lose weight?
The short answer is no. I explain more about the why, the science and studies behind this in my free weight loss training, but in short you do not need to exercise to lose weight.
That's not to say that exercise isn't great for mental health, cardiovascular health and overall health, but the true dial mover for fat loss is not exercise.
In fact, the biggest dial mover for weight loss is proven to be what you eat. The truth is only a small percentage of your total daily energy expenditure is exercise. If you're going to focus your time and energy on one thing, you will get the most return and best results focusing your diet.
For those of you who've followed me for awhile, you know the beginning of my weight loss journey started with walking. That walking was what made me feel better about myself and inspired me to begin eating different foods. Had I not changed my diet, I never would have experienced an 80 pound weight loss.
In fact, for the majority of my clients who are starting their weight loss journeys I have them focus on increasing movement instead of exercise.
Movement is so good for mood, increasing energy and keeping the body in a lower stress state.
Importance of cortisol for fat loss
Contrary to popular belief steady state cardio, high intensity training, Orange Theory, running etc. is not great for female fat loss because it puts the body under too much stress, and the female body is highly sensitive to stress.
When you're trying to lose weight, you have to give your body the right signals. Doing these type of workouts is signaling stress to the body and many times people overeat or eat more than the calories burned due to the increase in stress hormone.
Cortisol is the body's stress hormone and it increases with these type of workouts. The issue with cortisol is that it signals insulin to store more fat and it also signals leptin and Ghrelin to increase hunger and cravings.
If weight loss is your goal, then you need to keep stress lower to send the RIGHT signals to your body.
The cardio and high intensity training workouts I recommend doing 2-3 times a week when fat loss is the goal, and really anytime after 35.
Women's hormones for fat loss
After 35 women's hormones begin to decline and as they decline, muscle mass is lost. Muscle mass is what keeps your metabolic rate higher. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest.
That's why many women begin gaining weight after 35 even if they've been working out and eating a healthy, balanced diet. The things that worked before 35 don't work after 35 because of declining hormones, which means you have to workout the right way to promote fat loss and prioritize stress management.
What's the best type of exercise for weight loss?
The best type of exercise for female fat loss after 35 is strength training. Strength training will counteract the declining hormones by building muscle while keeping cortisol hormone low.
As I stated earlier, more muscle means a higher metabolic rate. Prioritizing strength training OVER cardio training is much more important for weight loss over 35.
How do I exercise for my thyroid?
I commonly receive this question about exercising for hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's disease. Even if you have these conditions, my answer is the same. Prioritize strength training and your diet.
Autoimmune diseases are highly sensitive to stress. It's even more important work on stress management and cutting out cardio training if you have an autoimmune disease. I know this personally as I have Hashimoto's.
Often we blame the thyroid for inability to lose weight, but it's not your thyroid that's causing you to be overweight. It's the lifestyle, workout routine and diet.
In fact, many of my clients' thyroid conditions improve once they get the right weight loss plan. Their thyroid begins to function better, they have more energy, fewer cravings and start losing weight!
I hope this was helpful for you. If you need more support, schedule a free weight loss breakthrough call with me. In that 30-minute call, we’ll get super clear on what’s keeping you stuck and how to move you forward!