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Question
Posted by: Vista | 2008-11-15

Lots of pain not much gain

I have been intensively exercising for over a year now, with 3 heavy 45 minute weight training sessions and two 45 minute cardio sessions a week. I also fit in three 15 minute core training exercises. On the weekends I keep active with walking, swimming and climbing. I also follow a healthy diet and take protein supplements. I am 186 cm tall and weigh 84 kgs with about 21% body fat. My question is this why after all this time have a seen virtually no improvement? I have not lost any weight nor have I put any on. I definitely feel fitter and more energised but my body shape has changed very little. I do have slightly more definition on my arms and shoulders but I still seem to carry quite a bit of adominal fat.
When I started out my goal was to lead a healthy lifestyle which I have achieved but I also wanted to carve out a better looking body. I feel I shouldn' t have to still suck my stomach in at the beach. Where are my abs?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Vista

To begin with, you don't have a great deal of weight to lose. Your weight for your height is actually fine, and your body fat percentage is also normal. Of course, it might come down a little, but short of adding a lot more exercise and doing many hours a week, that might not budge. So some of it is a fight against physiology, and possibly ageing (I'm not sure how old you are). We do know, however, that with age, it gets more and more difficult to lose weight and reduce body fat.

I'd argue that your training is definitely having an effect, because you are getting fitter and stronger. That is a very good sign, and as long as that is happening, the results will continue to come. So if you've lost a little bit of weight, then you will continue to lose more weight in the future, provided you continue to get fitter.

I don't think you need protein supplements, and I would look at the diet. "Healthy" is a very relative word, and unless you're absolutely sure tha tyou're eating well, the diet might be a big problem for you. So I really would consider seeing someone who can help with that - a dietician, and look at what you might change. Remember that the margins for error are so small that little things have a big impact.

Good luck

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