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Is How You're Exercising Keeping You Fat? Why Your Training Isn't Shifting the Flab and What to Do About It

Are you exercising on a regular basis and yet still struggling to shed excess fat? I can probably tell you why. Either you're eating too many fattening foods or your training is not optimal for fat burning.

Are you exercising on a regular basis and yet still struggling to shed excess fat? I can probably tell you why.

Either you're eating too many fattening foods or your training is not optimal for fat burning.

Does the following scenario sound familiar?:

You decide to start a new fitness regime and find a workout/class/DVD you like the look of or maybe you decide to take up running, or cycling, or whatever.

At first it's great, the fat starts coming off, you feel fitter and healthier and it seems like you've found "The Answer".

After a few weeks you start getting used to it, it all feels a lot easier, it even begins to feel comfortable. This is great, you're getting fitter, right?

...But here's the kicker, just as that starts to happen the fat stops shifting.

Going Longer

So, you decide to push yourself more by exercising for longer sessions. If you've taken up running maybe you enter a race, after all it's good to have training goals, everyone knows that.

And, joy of joys, with the increase in training a bit more fat comes off.

But then progress stops again, quite quickly this time.

Your body, being the wonderful machine that it is, just keeps adapting to cope with the strain.

You're pretty much max-ing out on your available training time at this point. But you really want to get this excess fat off you, you're not a quitter after all. So, you make time. And you ignore those pains in your joints and the general weariness you're starting to feel because it's all about pushing through the pain, isn't it?

Like the hero you are, you carry on. Until you eventually have to stop because your body can't take it anymore and you get ill or injured. Or maybe just because you realise it's getting a bit ridiculous putting all this time and effort into something that isn't producing the results you want.

So you stop. And gain back all the weight you lost. Plus more besides maybe?

...Fun times eh?

Going Harder

Sorry, I don't mean to make light of it. Believe me, I've been there myself. And probably much further into the spiral than you. (Unless you've ran events longer than 50 miles.)

Eventually I figured out something that now seems so blindingly obvious to me that if the above wasn't so typical among so many people I'd be hugely embarrassed about my previous inability to perceive it:

Any type of long, slow endurance exercise, when done regularly will cause the body to become more endurance-focused. It will then want to store energy as fat to ensure it has plenty of reserves to get through all the miles it is used to needing to fuel.

When I switched from long steady exercise to short, high-intensity sessions and added more variety and strength training into the mix, my body changed dramatically. The fat came off, my energy levels soared and I became healthier, stronger and fitter.

So now, as a trainer, I spend most of my time helping other people do the same. In my book,

The Fat Burn Revolution I describe a 12 week programme of varied 20-40 minute workouts, which change and increase in intensity before the body has chance to get comfortable with them and keep the fired up for maximum fat burning even after the sessions are over.

Going for the Burn

One reason this is super-effective is because of the "afterburn" effect. Your metabolic rate goes through the roof and stays elevated even after you finish training while your body adapts and recovers. This will cause you to burn more fat for 24-48 hours after exercising, depending on how intense the training was. Of course, you also get the health and fitness improvements that come as a result of working your heart, lungs and muscles harder.

Also, when you train using high-intensity cardio and challenging resistance sessions, the body prefers to store fuel as glycogen in the muscles, which can be quickly released to enable fast-paced, power-driven activities.

With this type of training you will shed more fat, experience fewer injuries, improve your health, get a better body shape, increase your energy levels and with your accelerated metabolism it will be easier to maintain your leaner physique in the long run. Plus, you don't need to spend as long exercising. Leaving you with some bonus extra time to spend feeling awesome.

If you'd like more of Julia's advice on diet and fitness, her best selling book, 'The Fat Burn Revolution: Boost your metabolism and burn fat fast' is available now on Amazon UK, Amazon USA and in stores across the world. You can also join in her fitness group on Facebook or visit