|As a transformation coach the majority of my clients come to me to lose weight. And there is nothing wrong with that. If you WANT to just “lose weight” and be skinny, that’s fine, go hit up the elliptical or the treadmill, or bike for 3 hours a day and don’t eat anything. I did this for years in my late teens and early 20's. In short it was awful. I was mad at my body for not responding the way I thought it should be. I was fatigued, I lacked the muscle tone I desired, I was slim but still soft, I was hungry....all the time. I just couldn't figure out why no matter how hard and long I worked out (which was mostly running, step classes, elliptical etc) which was typically a couple of hours a day. Often times I'd wake up for an early run and then hit up a Step class later that night. And sometimes I'd walk to the gym and that was about a half hour walk, 1 way!!! On top of eating salads, dry chicken breast, rice cakes, veggies and fruits and staying away from fats. And I got nada, zilch, nothing good in return from my body and I was one unhappy, frustrated, mad camper with a damaged metabolism. But guess what? My body was just as mad at me for not giving and supporting it to respond to all the demands I was putting on it. OY VEY! Just remembering these days makes me cringe (excuse me while I go apologize to my body)! It wasn't until I found strength training and flexible nutrition that I began to FINALLY see my body changing and moving in the direction I wanted it to. GAME CHANGER! These changes didn't happen overnight. I was skeptical and resistant in the beginning and had to do a lot of trusting, and letting go of my deep seeded beliefs of what I thought was the "right" way. But slowly, slowly I did and I started to shed body fat, decrease my body size, have definition and energy on top of enjoying food from ALL food groups. What!?!? Yep like I said GAME CHANGER :) I am now 43, I weigh about the same weight as I did in my 20's but am 4 sizes smaller, I've got muscle definition, strength, ENERGY, and I'm eating more than I ever have and right now all I'm doing for cardio is two 22 min HIIT workouts and 1 metabolic workout (which is about 40-50 min long) a week. In short.....life is GREAT! So my clients who come to me in the beginning often have this same "cardio, cardio, cardio, live on rabbit food and NEVER eat above 1200 calories a day" mentality. I get it, been there done that. I understand it is hard at first to accept, trust and follow what I'm asking them to do when often times it feels so wrong because it's almost the opposite of what they believe to work. Lift heavy weights? Eat fats....and carbs? Limit my cardio to just a couple days of HIIT? And as I'm losing weight and inches you're going to increase my food in take?" Yep, that's my plan and I'm stickin to it. But once my clients start seeing the results they start accepting, trusting and adopting a new much more balanced, healthy lifestyle approach that is sustainable type of mindset. They start to FEEL what REAL fitness can do for you physically, mentally, and spiritually.They feel empowered by lifting,they gain confidence through an increase in strength and they learn daily what they’re capable of doing. Not just in the gym but in the kitchen as well. All that being said, this would be a waste if I didn’t at least offer some general tips towards getting into that lean, defined body you’re craving. But for starters, in order to be open to changing your body you need to be willing to let go of what you THINK you know about what it means to have a fitness physique. You do not need to do hours of cardio a day and in fact doing so can be VERY unhealthy and metabolically damaging. You do not need to live off of tilapia and asparagus You do not need to avoid dietary fat You do not need to opt for the “low cal”, “low fat”, “no fat” or “sugar free” versions of things. You do not need the colored weights. You do NOT need to lift light! You do not need to live off lettuce You do not need to under eat all the time You do not need to “no carb”, “low carb” or “carb free” it You do not need expensive gadgets, heart rate monitors, fancy computer programs or the latest Dr Oz detox to get the body you want INSTEAD, you need to... Eat at levels to support your activity but not promote body fat Eat carbs (the RIGHT kinds) Eat fat (the RIGHT kinds) Eat lean proteins Hydrate with water Pick up a barbell. A kettlebell. A sandbag. A tire. A dumbbell. I don’t care, but PICK UP HEAVY WEIGHT Master the basics. The push-up. The pull-up. The squat. The deadlift. Don’t think of “cardio” as being confined to the elliptical. Think of plyometrics, sprint drills, hill runs, metabolics and HIIT workouts Get intense. IF you’re training heavy GO HEAVY. If you’re doing sprints pound them out! Abandon long duration cardio and try to rely mostly on plyometrics/metabolics and HIIT for the “cardio” component of your training. Or use a barbell. Clean and press barbell 50x. You’ll sweat trust me. Reduce the amount of refined sugars Rely on whole natural foods for your primary source of fuel Stick to the outer isles of the grocery store Think lean meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains etc and yes the occasional splurges. Or with flexible nutrition if you're someone who needs a lil treat each day, just work it in and you'll still get those results you are after. No feelings of deprivation, YAY! EAT! Resist the urge to reduce calories, cut macronutrients from your diet or resort to other drastic measures. So until you master a sustainable and balanced nutrition habits and proper training don’t get too mad or frustrated with your body. After all it's doing the best it can with how you are supporting it. Bottom line: Eat real food from all food groups including the "treat" food group. Strength train. Get real results. No gimmicks. No pills, powders, or potions. Eating lean, nutrient dense natural foods and lifting real weight WILL put you in the feminine, defined, tight body the we are all after.