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“If I could just take off the last five pounds, I’d be happy with my body.”

Hi there, I’m an business owner, mom, and a lifelong fan of exercise, and I feel like I just uttered that phrase in the last thirty days, and I’d like to chastise the s#*t out of myself for it. I know better. Still, that phrase—insert five, ten, twenty pounds—is pretty common in circles where people are chatting about food, health, diet, and exercise.

I put this silly statement to the test a few years back when I hired a trainer…because I wanted to take off five pounds. Unlike many who are married to the scale, I don’t own one. I won’t go near one at most gyms, either. So, when my trainer asked me to hop on the scale at month three of our adventure in fitness, I replied, “You hop on the scale.” Then we giggled, but I didn’t get on the scale. My trainer measured me instead, and made some notes. At month six, I heard it again. “Let’s hop on the scale.” My reply was a look, a “screw you, pal, I ain’t getting on that scale” look. This brings me to year one. My trainer spewed something about it being our anniversary, and the perfect gift would be for me to you know what. This time, I obliged.

I had only lost two pounds. I was so p.o.’d, well, you can imagine. But, I felt really good. And I felt like I looked good—toned, tan (it was summer), and I was carrying myself differently. Confidence, you say? Possibly….

I had lost two pounds, but as inches went, I was down 7.5 all over my body, except my biceps; I gained 1.25 inches in those bad boys. *My BMI went from 22 to 18 percent. My waist was down 2 inches, my hips were down 2 inches, my thighs were down 1.5 each. It didn’t stop there; my calves were up .5 (we tried that), and my chest was up 1.5 (we tried that, too!).

That yearlong journey into fitness taught me and taught me well that I’m not supposed to gauge my health or shape by the number on the scale; yet I still do it occasionally. This is my New Year’s reminder to all of us: It’s not about the number on the scale! Muscle weighs more than fat; we know that common phrase, too, but seem to forget.

Sometimes we’re so focused on what we have to do, we forget about what we shouldn’t do. Here’s 10 things NOT to do if you want to get AND STAY in shape:

  1. Don’t skip meals
  2. Don’t set unrealistic goals
  3. Don’t overdo cardio—yes, you heard me. Joe will expand on this in a sec!
  4. Don’t be hungry—this isn’t a punishment, don’t starve yourself.
  5. Don’t rely on fat free this and that—butter is one of my best friends, just sayin’.
  6. Don’t get workout burnout—this is a marathon, not a 50-yard dash.
  7. If you fall off the wagon—Don’t stay off the wagon. Keep calm and carry on.
  8. Don’t be negative. Lose the mantra in your head that whispers you’ll never get there.
  9. Don’t eliminate foods you love.
  10. Don’t focus on the scale. It’s not about the number on the scale!

Lisa Cerasoli

Author, mom, entrepreneur, and gal who likes to be fit & healthy.

JOE: Lisa’s right, guys. Strength training is where it’s at. Strength training causes mini tears in your muscle fibers that your body spends energy repairing over multiple days. This energy expenditure revs up your metabolism over multiple days and burns fat while you get stronger. Your larger, stronger muscles will then require more energy (calories) to maintain, and your body will divert calories to your muscles, rather than to your body fat. It’s a real triple threat! Cardio burns calories while you’re engaged in it, but not really after you’re done. Cardio doesn’t spur much new muscle growth and therefore you don’t get stronger or get that metabolism after burn that you do with strength training. Cardio ain’t bad for a light workout day, but don’t make it your primary form of exercise.

About Mobile Fitness Group

Mobile Fitness Group
Mobile Fitness Group is a mobile personal training operation covering all of Los Angeles, CA.  Our LA certified personal trainers provide in home personal training to people at all fitness levels.
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