Hooping For Weight Loss? Part 2 Of Your Top Questions Answered

Heyyyy guys!  Welcome back to part 2 of your hooping for weight loss questions answered.  If you missed part 1, you can check out the blog here.  In part one we looked at whether hooping is an effective weight loss tool, why you can hoop consistently and still not lose weight, what’s going on with sugar cravings and whether on body or off body hooping is more effective for weight loss.  In Part 2, we’re going to take a look at:

  • How long should each hooping session be?
  • What’s going on with the upper and lower parts of belly fat and the flabby part of your arm
  • “I have a gorgeous Hoop from y’all…however, I cannot work it! When I was much younger (and thinner), was able to keep a hoop going forEVER. Sooo, really just one question: How do I get the darned thing to stay on/going?!”
  • How to stay motivated to keep hooping (and well, the motivation to do just about anything – one super simple 5 second hack)

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Hooping For Weight Loss? Part 1 Of Your Top Questions Answered

Ever wonder why OTHER people are getting results from hooping?  You’ve got a hoop.  You’ve tried waist hooping.  Maybe you’re even consistent but you’re not seeing the results you had hoped for.   We had a feeling you weren’t alone and so we asked for your top questions about using your hoop as a tool for weight loss – and you guys knocked it out of the park.  You had so many amazing questions, we are answering them in a two part series.  So let’s dive in and start unraveling this.  In part one we’re going to cover:

  • Does hooping even work for weight loss?
  • Why you can hoop consistently and still not lose weight
  • Why you crave sugar – Plus One Recommendation You Should Probably Stop Doing if Fat Loss Is Your Goal
  • Is on body or off body hooping better for weight loss

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How To Get Your Diet Back on Track. 3 Strategies to Balance Hormones, Eliminate Calorie Counting and Smash Your Biggest Weight Loss Obstacle.

“When did I become my before picture?” my friend messaged me as she struggled to get her weight and more importantly her health back on track.  It happens to all of us, whether its from life stress, tragedy, boredom, loneliness, Netflix binging – whatever the cause, we can all get off track at one time or another with our health and fitness goals.  I’m off track.  Yep, there it is.  It’s difficult to admit as a trainer and nutrition professional.  But yes, I I got off track due to family tragedy and the ongoing stress that followed.  I began consistently overeating (you can see my own before pic at the end of the lesson ).  I’m making my way back to where I feel and function best.  That may be different from where you feel and function best, but the how to’s will be similar.  So in today’s lesson we are going to tackle how to:

  1. Balance your hormones.  Why you should care and simple cues that will tell you if you’re in or out of balance.
  2. Stop counting calories.  It’s not only inaccurate, but it’s time consuming and well, a pain in the —.  Yes, there are times when you might need to track, but using this one technique will take care of most of your issues.
  3. Eliminate your biggest weight loss obstacle.  Your biggest weight loss obstacle is different than mine, but left unaddressed you’re not going to reach your goals.  Stop wasting time on things that won’t budge the scale and your health in the right direction.


Step 1.  Balance Hormones

You’ll see diet trends that come and go – Diets that become uber popular like Southbeach, Atkins, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian or even Keto.  Truth be told you can have success on any one of these plans.  The trick comes into assessing whether your plan is sustainable for YOUR body over the long haul.  And paying attention to hormonal balance is a pretty good indicator of whether your plan is a good fit for you.  It’s part of the reason why your friend may have had great success on Keto, but you completely tanked or why one person can get ripped on a vegan diet and another can get ripped using a Paleo approach for a short time period but found it unsustainable past six months.  For today’s lesson, we are going to focus on

  • Why you should even care about hormones with weight loss,
  • The signals your body sends to tell you your hormones are out of whack, and
  • 3 strategies to get things back on track

Why You Should Care About Hormones

For so long, we’ve all been told that weight loss is about calories in, calories out – how much you’re under or overeating.  And if you can just manage and get this one piece right body fat will magically fall off and life will be rainbows.  That’s just one piece of the puzzle.  To achieve weight loss, you need both a hormonal balance and a caloric deficit.  Often overlooked, your hormones can have a huge impact on being overweight.  Hormones are messengers that

  • control your appetite,
  • stress responses in the body (think belly fat),
  • WHERE you store fat in the body (are you storing in your lower body with stubborn fat pockets or are you storing fat in your midsection),
  • metabolism,
  • menstrual cycle function,
  • mood,
  • and cravings.

How To Tell When Hormones Are Out of Whack

An easy way to tell whether hormones are balanced in your body is to pay attention to whether you have reached hormonal ACES.  ACES is an easy to remember acronym that stands for appetite, cravings, energy, and sleep.  If these four areas are stable, its a pretty good indicator that things are in check.  In addition to these four indicators you can also use the scale and your waistline to determine whether you’re moving in the right direction.  If the scale weight drops, but your waist measurement doesn’t budge or even worse increases, you’re not losing fat.  You want both your ACES in check and your waist measurement to drop.

3 Hormonal Fixes You Can Apply Now

  1. Get Your Blood Sugar Under Control.  Mismanaging blood sugar is probably one of the largest causes of hormonal problems.  While yes, our bodies need glucose to fuel our activity and brain, we don’t need as much as most of us are getting!  High blood sugar can switch on fat storage, cause uncontrollable cravings, create inflammation in the body and flatline your results.
  2. Focus on Sleep. Aim for at least eight hours of uninterrupted quality sleep in a dark, cool, technology free environment.  Sleep disturbances can impact cortisol, leptin and ghrelin and human growth hormone.  Translated, this means that consistent, quality sleep can lower belly fat, decrease cravings and hunger the next day, and help preserve lean muscle mass.
  3. Exercise Smarter, Not Harder.  Thank you hooping.  Activities like walking, yoga, and hula hooping top the list as restorative exercise that lowers cortisol, increases feel good brain hormones and lowers inflammation in the body.  Simply trying to eat less and exercise harder is going to backfire on your entire system.  Your body will respond for a short period of time under this model but eventually cravings, energy, and sleep all tank.  Aim for 3 hoop sessions a week complimented by quiet nature walks, relaxing baths, tai chi, yoga, meditation or even massage.

Step 2.  Stop Counting Calories

Hmmm, It’s Sort of Accurate

Counting calories will work if weight loss is your goal. It may be time consuming to track and manage, although technology has made this easier and easier with apps available at our fingertips. But it relies on a principle of estimating how many calories you need based on a number of factors versus estimating the energy or calories of the food you take in. Let’s take a look at how this COULD be tripping up your efforts.  And let me also say, if it’s working for you GREAT!  Keep going!  If it’s not, then it may be that the estimates are off just enough to throw your efforts off track.

Energy and nutrients listed on labels and databases can have an error margin of +/- 25%. And most of us try to balance this with energy expended during exercises. This adds even more variability, since this is even harder to measure than the food you eat. All of this means even if you are doing your best to measure this precisely, you could be off by 20% or more.

This Method is Simple and Uses Your Hand to Measure Portions

This super simple method is a lot easier than counting calories and will be a great place to start when putting your plate together.  Monitor cues like hunger, energy, and cravings to determine whether adjustments need to be made.  Here’s how it works (and if you’re a visual person check out our infographic below).

  • Protein:  Use Your palm to determine what portion you should have as a starting point.
  • Veggies:  Use your fist as a starting point to determine portions.
  • Carbs:  Use your cupped hand (no, I didn’t say hands plural – although truth be told that’s what I would like to do at every meal) to determine carb portioning.
  • Fat:  Use your thumb to determine a starting point for the amount of fat.

Step 3.  Smash Your Biggest Weight Loss Obstacle

If you have heath and fitness goals or weight to lose, you may be wondering how to start closing the gap from where you are to where you want to be.  All too often we focus on doing so many things at once, which can really impact your success because a) either you don’t do any of it really really well, or b) you focus on the wrong things that aren’t going to move the needle in the right direction or c) you’ve got unfinished projects all over the place.  Most of us can relate to this problem in terms of productivity whether it’s work based or personal life/home life based.  And obviously this impacts success, but it gets really really critical to correct this in the game of weight loss.  In order to move in the right direction, it is absolutely critical that you get clear on “the one thing right now”.

Step One: Identify Your “One Thing”

Ask yourself, “What is the one specific measurable action I can take right now that if done consistently this week would produce results?”  Let me give you an example from my own personal case study.  Over the past year as the stress has piled on, I’ve gotten into the habit of bonding with Netflix and anything that has fat and sugar in it.  Oh Netflix, how you’re killing me.  Anyway, because I’m eating a) way too much and too much of the wrong foods and b) eating too close to bed, I’m now impacting my sleep, release of growth hormone and affecting how my body responds to hunger and cravings the following day.  The rest of my meals are pretty on point for the most part.  Not perfect, nor do I strive to be.  BUT, cutting the nighttime snacking is going to have a big impact for me on moving me in the direction of getting back on track body composition wise.  So my specific measurable action is to stop eating after dinner.  Period.

Your one thing could be entirely different.  Maybe it’s constant snacking.  Or enough sugar in a day to fuel five kids.  Whatever it is, sit down, take some time and identify your one thing.

Step Two:  Is it a must do to achieve results?

This is where you now evaluate your “one thing”  Take a look and really ask yourself whether it’s going to make the biggest impact on your goals.  For me, the nighttime eating is.  It’s throwing my calorie and hormonal balance out of whack, impacting my sleep and kicking off a cycle of overeating.

The most common issues I see with clients are:

  • Too much sugar
  • Too much snacking
  • Nighttime binge eating
  • Portion sizes are off

If you can’t answer yes to whether this a must do, go back and work on Step 1.

Step 3.  Think Big But Aim Small

It’s absolutely critical to aim big on your goals, but I really encourage you to get laser focused and small in how you execute your “one thing”.  Its critical to be very very specific in how you are going to carry out your one thing.  It should not take up your entire day.  It should not be all consuming.  If it is, it’s too broad.  Make it a task you can execute and check off your list!

Allrighty, here you go.  The picture on the left is right about the time I started paying attention to my own nutrition principles I teach again.  The picture on the right was taken this morning.  There’s about a five week difference.  If you aren’t taking pictures and measurements, please start.  The scale is only one indicator of what’s happening.


Leigh Little is a certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Precision Nutrition Certified. She is a hoop dance performer and regular Canyon Hoops contributor with blog articles and videos and is the creator of Canyon Hoops Hoop Fitness DVD.  To work with Leigh one on one for hoop fitness, dance, or weight loss contact her at support@canyonhoops.com

Buns and Guns Hoop Circuit

Fire up your glutes and sculpt sexy shoulders using our buns and guns hoop circuit.

The majority of us that start on a hoop fitness quest waist hoop to lose abdominal fat and increase mood and have fun.  But if you’re looking to make some serious gains with your fitness and weight loss, you may just need to step out of your circle from time to time and boost your results with strength training.  Even a couple of sessions  a week can have HUGE impact on your weight loss and fitness goals by:

  • Burning belly fat.  Twice weekly strength training sessions with overweight women ages 25 to 44 (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) compared with a group that did only aerobic activity showed more body fat total with the strength training group, AND less abdominal fat.
  • Firing up your posterior chain.  If you are on your computer, driving, watching tv or texting, you’re not only sitting on your rear, but you’re inactivating that whole posterior chain.  This series is designed to fire that back up to help prevent back injuries and muscle imbalances.
  • Lower blood pressure.  Even an hour of strength training a week can help reduce blood pressure and drop stroke risk by 25 percent.
  • Build strength without the bulk.  These exercises are challenging enough just using your body weight.  You’ll gain strength without a bulk look.
  • Improve insulin sensitivity.  If you’re struggling with weight loss, you likely are some degree of insulin resistant.  Adding strength training into your program helps your body use glucose, or blood sugar.

We’ve got two versions for you – one with your fitness hoop and one using hoop minis (our secret weapon for sculpting shoulders and arms).

Demo videos are posted at the end of the workout cards.
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Weighted Hula Hoops Are The Rage. But How Heavy Is Too Heavy?

Weighted hula hoops are all the rage.  In today’s lesson, we’ll answer some of the biggest questions about them.

  • How HEAVY does your weighted hula hoop need to be in order to lose weight?
  • Which trend could be moving your weight loss goals in the wrong direction? (and killing your back in the process)
  • What’s the perfect hula hoop weight to really work your abs?  
  • Is front back pushing or side-to-side better for your core?

Plus, a super simple exercise you can do anywhere to help you fire off deep core muscles! Read more

Mini Lesson: Focusing on THIS Will Ruin Your Weight Loss Efforts

It’s December.  The season of giving, the season of frantic holiday shopping and commitments, lunches with friends, and yes, the season of endless food appearing at your office.  We could save this mini series on fat loss for the new Year, but we thought we would give you a head start to help you reach your goals.

And yes, this was actually my lunch in a sea of pies, so I really do get it.

I recently had lunch with a very good friend of mine, Paige, who shared that she was up 8 lbs from this time last year and that the doctor had advised her to get the 8 lbs off as soon as possible to avoid some very common health problems that affect many of us and have affected others in her family.  All of this while I bob my head up and down as I too have had obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression,  and chronic back pain debilitate members of my family. Read more

9 Ways to Freshen an Old Trick

It happens to all of us, from the novice hoop dancer to even the most veteran of performers. You spend so much time mastering a hoop trick or flow sequence, that your brain gets stuck in the movement pattern you’ve practiced.  You can see this in a hoop jam or a performance, where inevitably you fall back on the patterns that your brain and body know, the sequences that are comfortable.  This can lead to stagnation, boredom, or feeling “stuck” in your hoop dance flow.  Today we are going to give you 9 ways to freshen up an old trick and break out of your “hooping habits” that will re-energize your mind and just might help you invent the next amazing hoop trick. Read more

5 Hula Hoop Exercises That Fire Your Core and Wake Up Sleepy Glutes

[ultimate_heading main_heading=”What Better Homes and Gardens Got Right (and a few minor tweaks) PLUS a Low Impact Hula Hoop Circuit that Will Activate Deep Core Muscles”][/ultimate_heading]
Canyon Hula Hoops Featured in Better Homes and Gardens
Our Two In One Fitness Hoop was featured in the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  “Versatility makes this fitness hoop and jump rope worth the investment”  You can check out their Fit in 15 workout routine in the issue.  If you are looking for a lower impact version, we’ve got your covered – Scroll down below for our Done For You Low Impact Hula Hoop Circuit! Read more

Stop White Knuckling Your Weight Loss

Steal These Strategies

I recently sat down for a goal setting session with a client and one of her goals was to “lose the jiggle”.  Are you in a similar situation?  You order a fitness hoop to help lose your belly fat and want to know where to start?  Today I’m going to give you strategies to help move fat loss along.  And these tips aren’t about the specifics of your exercise program or your nutrition strategy, but rather how you set up your environment so you can stop white knuckling it through the process. Read more

Rock Your Balance!

5 Balance Drills With Your Hula Hoop

Look, we get it.  Balance exercises aren’t “sexy”.  The exercises alone don’t produce rapid, amazing, shocking body transformations, or RIGHT NOW results.  And in a busy, fast paced world we tend to deal with the “right now” problems versus the prevention of the “what might be” problems.  Adding another session of exercises to your routine on when so many of you struggle to fit in your workouts now can seem overwhelming.

Luckily, we have created a series of short yet super effective exercises you can use in three different ways, whether you are focused on weight loss, hoop dance flow, or preventing falls and injury.  It’s like a transformer workout.  (Bear with me, I’ve been spending time with my five year old son and transformers and legos are at the center of my vocabulary these days!)

[ultimate_heading main_heading=”3 Ways to Use This Exercise Series”][/ultimate_heading]
[ultimate_info_table design_style=”design05″ color_scheme=”blue” package_heading=”Your Main Workout” package_sub_heading=”Turn Weight Loss “On“ By Reducing Stress ” icon_type=”custom” heading_font_color=”#ffffff” heading_font_style=”font-weight:bold;”]If you have belly fat or are post menopausal, adding in this sequence can give a boost to your weight loss efforts.  The old mantra of “exercise more and eat less” is ineffective in the weight loss gain.  It creates additional stress on the body.  And if you have belly fat and are post menopausal, stress is a factor holding you back.  We’re not just talking emotional stress but physical stress in the body, created by too much exercise, reducing calories, processed foods, food that cause inflammation, etc.

Adding in this sequence, especially if set to a very soothing, rhythmic type music can challenge muscle activation without increasing hunger, cravings, and mood swings like too much cardio can.

Frequency:  Try this series a couple of times a week.  Complete each exercise 1-2 times, depending on your level of fitness.  Focus on your breathing, moving fluidly through the exercises and relaxing.[/ultimate_info_table]

[ultimate_info_table design_style=”design05″ color_scheme=”blue” package_heading=”For Balance Only” package_sub_heading=”Improve Balance to Help Prevent Falls”]This series addresses the balance triage (cognitive, visual disturbance and poor reaction time) simultaneously.  This will not only save you time, but drastically increase the effectiveness of the exercises when faced with a fall or balance challenge

NOTE:  IT is very important to perform your balance exercises before engaging in your cardio waist hooping or dance sessions.  Engaging in balance exercises AFTER your workout can negatively impact the progress of your balance work.

Frequency:  Try this series a couple of times a week.  Complete each exercise 1-2 times, depending on your level of fitness.  Finish up each session with 5 minutes of waist hooping at the end.[/ultimate_info_table]

[ultimate_info_table design_style=”design05″ color_scheme=”blue” package_heading=”Hoop Dance Flow” package_sub_heading=”Ever Felt Dizzy or Off Balance In Your Flow?”]These are excellent drills to help you “ground” your balance while constantly turning, changing foot position, changing direction, and multitasking if you work with more than one hoop.

You can add this series in the beginning of your flow session as a warm-up, in the middle as a “reset” if you’re having difficulty with tricks, or at the end to slow things down and cool down.

Frequency:  Try this series a couple of times a week.  Complete each exercise 1-2 times.[/ultimate_info_table]

[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Why These Exercises Are Kick Butt”][/ultimate_heading]
  1. The exercises combine cognitive AND balance challenges together. Training balance problems in isolation doesn’t simulate real world conditions – for example, falling in the dark or falling when you are distracted by other thoughts or activities.
  2. The advanced exercise (see #5) at the end of the series won’t allow you to anticipate the disturbance in your balance, making it simulate real world more effectively.  We do well when we KNOW what’s coming, right?  But it is your ability to recover from an unexpected balance disruption that causes the most serious problems.  This can occur from bumping, slipping, tripping,  bending, reaching, and turning.
  3. The exercises combine strength training AND balance challenges.  This is very effective, as muscle weakness is a major contributor to balance problems as we age.  These exercises develop core strength and balance at the same time.
  4. The balance exercises include sensory challenges that stimulate real world conditions – lighting changes, loss of vision, moving your head from side to side.  To simulate lighting changes you can dim your room lights or even wear sunglasses.
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Balance Exercise Series”][/ultimate_heading]

Each exercise contains modifications based on balance skill level.  Choose which version you are most comfortable with and can safely perform.  Be sure to work in a space that has enough room and wear smooth bottom shoes or go barefoot.

Exercise #1:  One Leg Balance Drill Series

Aim for 10 balance holds on each leg.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can choose which one leg balance drill best suits your current balance skill level.

Exercise #2:  Body Circle Series

Aim for 10 body circles in each direction.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can choose to perform these with or without your hoop based on your current balance skill level.

Exercise #3:  Walk the Line

Aim for 10 steps both forward and backward.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can choose to perform these with or without a lifted leg balance based on your current balance skill level.

Exercise #4:  Object Stepping

Aim for 10 steps over your objects.  Be sure to use soft objects.  Repeat 2-3 times.

Exercise #5:  Obstacle Course

Aim for 10 random steps over your soft objects.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can increase the challenge by having someone call direction changes for you, as demonstrated in the video and also tossing a ball back and forth as your skill level increases.

About the Author:

Leigh Little, Hula Hoop Expert

Leigh Little is a certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Precision Nutrition Certified.  She is a regular Canyon Hoops contributor with blog articles and videos and is the creator of Canyon Hoops Hoop Fitness DVD.  To work with Leigh one on one for hoop fitness, dance, or weight loss contact her at leighlittle@real-fitness-solutions.com