6 “Main” Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat

Posted: August 4, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Articles

A few weeks ago I talked about five aspects of fat loss you may be overlooking. It was a hugely engaged blog and one of my most popular ones overall. The two of the most common feedback I received however were, “I don’t even know the main ones – what are they?” and oddly enough “I run/do zumba/do cardio because they work.” The second made me facepalm but figured they both gave a good opportunity to elaborate a little more on the “big rocks” of fat loss. And for the record – no they don’t 🙂

Let’s start with the biggie in Why You Arent Losing Fat…

1) You Do “Cardio” For Fat Loss

This is another one of those things I say so often that clients now roll their eyes when I say it. Jogging/low intensity, long duration cardio does not promote fat loss.

Bear with me for a little bit of science if you will. It will be worth it I promise.

A Zouhal 2009 study – Athletic Performance and Weight Changes during the “Marathon of Sands” in Athletes Well-trained in Endurance. The study analyzed participants after 6 days in which each day they performed a marathon – ran 26.2 miles.

2005 London Marathon

The results? The average weight loss was 6.1% However – 82% of that weight loss came from muscle (5% muscle loss, 1.1% fat loss) So with a whole lot of jogging and cardio that the average person could not even accomplish, the “elite” runners got infinitely fatter. The scale went down but bodyfat went way up. Not good for fat loss, not good for metabolism. You got fatter technically.

A three month study by Utter et al. Int J Sport Nutr. 1998 – Compared two groups, one that followed a specific diet and another that followed the same diet plus the addition of 45 minutes of aerobic exercise/jogging at 78% Max Heart Rate, 5 days a week, for 12 weeks.

The results? The second group with the added 5 sessions of 45 minutes aerobic exercise showed NO EFFECT over dieting alone. Simply dieting was just as effective as wasting 5 sessions of 45 minutes each week for 12 weeks for 3 months.

There was then a six month study by Redman et al. in the J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan – Compared Two groups again. Same circumstances as above except they increased it to 50 minutes, 5 days per week. Conclusion – no additional effect on body composition and fat loss than dieting alone.

But six months still isn’t long enough, right?

So McTiernan et al. Obesity 2007-08 June, looked at TWELVE Months and they even bumped it up to 1 hour and six times a week. The finally got a study that showed some “results”. The average weight loss after one year was 3.5lbs or about 0.3lbs per month. And that average was composed of 3.08lbs for women and 3.96lbs for men.

You could literally lose that in a bowel movement.

One last one and the most important…

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in March 2010 looked at twelve weeks of moderate aerobic exercise (4 days a week at 70% Max Heart Rate for 45 minutes) without any dietary intervention

What did they find?

“Aerobic exercise for weight loss does not affect 24-h energy expenditure in lean and obese adolescents.”

There was no weight loss and no change in metabolism.

No more science, I hope you made it through and are still reading. Aerobics/jogging/elliptical/whatever does NOT in any way, shape or form, promote fat loss. It actually makes you worse because it is muscle wasting and it makes your movement competency worse so you move worse when it comes time to do things that matter. Remember the less lean muscle you have, the worse it is. So you need to focus on things that promote lean muscle and promote your metabolism outside of the workout. Aerobics/jogging does neither.

Remember, just because it is free and easy, does not mean it if effective. Aerobics and jogging are popular because anyone can do it and it doesn’t cost anything. NOT because it works.

2) You Drink Too Many Calories and Don’t Drink Enough Water

The only calories that should be drank are the (very) occasional alcohol beverage as a cheat type event and maybe a protein shake (this isn’t universal for everyone). Other than those out of the ordinary examples you should not drink any calories. They are wasted calories and better utilized as actually eating food that serves to fuel your body.

Also “diet” beverages are not a good choice either. I recently read a study on the insulin response from diet coke and it showed that there was in fact one so even though it is “diet” and “calorie free,” your body still responds as if it is carbohydrates. But alas, I cannot for the life of me find it again.

I’ve spoken excessively before about the importance of hydration so I wont go into it again here but you need to drink more water and always be hydrated. It literally helps everything.

3) You Don’t Lift Heavy

I thought we were officially done with the “lifting heavy makes you bulky” nonsense but I’ve heard it multiple times recently and it just needs to die. Strength training and lifting heavy are the foundation of the Hierarchy of Fat Loss and need to not only be included in absolutely everyone’s training, from youth to females to the elderly, they need to the first and foremost priority.

In short and not to bore you with more science, strength training builds lean muscle, lean muscle burns calories at rest thus burning fat. It is extraordinarily uncommon for any female to magically get bulky lifting heavy weights. It does happen in rare instances, but it is very unlikely you are that exception. There are “bros” who have been trying tirelessly to “get huge” and not succeeding in any way. It isn’t going to happen to a female “by accident”.

Female Bodybuilder Example

This doesn’t happen without some serious exogenous (from the outside) hormonal (steroid) interventions and no female can get there without it.

4) You Don’t Sleep Enough

One of the most underemphasized aspects of healthy living overall and fat loss specifically is the importance of sleep. It always makes me roll my eyes when I hear, “I only need 3-4 hours of sleep and Im fine.” No, you don’t and no, you aren’t. You may have forced your body to adapt to it to a point but you certainly aren’t running optimally and you will suffer the effects if you aren’t already.

It replenishes you, it helps you recover, it regulates your appetite and it makes you more productive. Im a full believer that getting in the 7-9 hours a night and being more productive in those 14-16 waking hours is a lot better option than dragging for 20-21 hours and getting 3-4 hours of sleep. This doesn’t mean you cant get a less than ideal amount of sleep every now and then if productivity or a social event dictates but you should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night for ideal fat loss. If you aren’t, try it and I promise you will thank me.

5) You Strength Train Like It Is Gold’s Gym in the 1990s…

Treadmills are dead. Machines are dead (and proven unsafe). Isolating body parts (for fat loss) is dead.

The fitness profession has grown more in the past 7-10 years than it did the entire time it preceded it. Fat loss training has done the same. We now have the most effective and safe implements, tools and methodologies we’ve ever had to individualize our fitness needs and goals completely. If you aren’t familiar with the Functional Movement Screen or Postural Restoration Institute when it comes to assessing and individualizing your program you are missing out.

If your training doesn’t involve the Ultimate Sandbag, DVRT, kettlebells, the TRX Suspension Trainer or true functional training – you are missing the core foundation of strength training and fat loss.

7 19 Jeremy USB Rot Lunge Swing 2

Twoguns Training Systems Success Story, Jeremy Reed demonstrates one of the best exercises for fat loss, the Ultimate Sandbag Rotation Lunge Swing.

6) Your Diet Isnt Nearly as Good as You Think It Is


I’d say for a lot of people, knowing the “big rocks” of sound nutrition isnt hard. People know broccoli is better to eat than ice cream and that real food is better to eat than fast food. Implementation is more of the issue. But that isnt always the case. Some people simply dont know what proteins are, what carbs are, what fats are and what foods are actually healthy. And everything they learned along the way has been wrong so they are confused on top of it.

For example, the average person I come across thinks cheese, yogurt and all nut variations are proteins and eat them like they are. They are not.

Cheese and Almonds/Cashews/Pistachios/whatever are examples of fats and Yogurt is an example of a carb. They may have some protein content to them but they are not quality protein sources and shouldn’t be consumed as if the are.

It is more often than is acceptable that I hear, “Yes, I had a lot of protein for dinner, I had cheese, almonds, (insert random carbohydrate here) and fruit. You essentially had a meal of fats and carbs with a little bit of protein included and likely ate too many calories in the process. Your meals have to have protein as their foundation and protein is broadly defined as more or less animal meats – chicken, beef, turkey, fish etc. Eggs also fall into this category.

Another mistake I see people making is they still think “breakfast is the most important meal of the way.” Another is that you should eat 6-8 small meals a day. It isn’t and you should not – unless you are a competitive male bodybuilder who competes on stage in a higher weight class.

The diet misinformation list goes on and on. If you’d like more details on some ways you may be mistaken about dieting, be sure to check out our FREE Nutrition Myths Revealed Seminar on August 16th. It will reshape the way you look at nutrition and you will lose a lot of fat as a result of it.

If you have any questions or would like more details on the Nutrition Myths Revealed Seminar don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or over on Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you.

  1. Debbie Cyparski says:

    Please give me more information on the semindar

  2. Cristian says:

    I am just 2 weeks into my weight loss pledge and I am down 5 pounds already. I am shocked about the jogging studies and fat loss. All I did to lose those 5 pounds was some running, cycling and healthier meals.

    I plan on starting a work out routine in 4 weeks or so.

    • dannytwoguns says:

      Cristian, the research would say that your weight loss was a result of the healthier meals or a result of you losing muscle from the running and cycling.

      Get some strength training in first and then do the running and cycling if you want to.

      • Cristian says:

        Thanks for the tip. I used to hit the gym on a daily basis for a couple of years when I was in college and I look forward to weight lifting again.

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