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

Does Hooping Even Work for Weight Loss?

The short answer is yes, hooping is an EXTREMELY effective tool for weight loss and even sculpting some pretty awesome abs.  I could quote a bunch of statistics about how many calories are burned in a half hour or hour of hooping, how it works your core like no ones business when done correctly, how it boosts mood, is fun and is low impact.  But here’s the deal, you can pick ANY tool and lose weight.  Let’s be honest.  You can lose weight sitting on your couch without lifting a finger.  You could lose weight by walking, jogging, practicing yoga, crossfit, or strength training.  It all depends on three factors:

  1.  Whether you’re creating a caloric deficit
  2.  Whether you’re creating the right hormonal balance for weight loss (hint – this is one of the most overlooked aspects of weight loss)
  3.  Whether you’re going to DO it consistenty

This is really critical – The TYPE of exercise matters but it’s only a part of the equation.  It’s a SMALL part of the equation even though anyone that has a particular fitness product is going to want to tell you that THEIR product is the magic bullet.  If only you had XYZ then XYZ result would happen.  Your BS meter should be going off, because it’s just not that easy.

Don’t lose heart here, because there are reasons that hooping IS a very effective tool in the war against general weight loss, peri, post menonpausal belly fat gain, and belly fat in general.  I’ll cover the causes of belly fat in a separate blog (it really deserves its own post) but here’s the cliff notes that I want you to remember.

Hooping, in combination with the right nutrition strategies, creates a hormonal profile that is very favorable to fight belly fat.  Cortisol, your stress hormone, is particularly a problem when we see higher levels of abdominal fat.  Hooping is a particularly good tool to combat this because it releases feel good neurochemicals that can offset the stress response in the body.   When suffering from belly fat, the answer is NOT always to push harder or faster because you’re body is already fighting a state of stress and inflammation.

Gentle hooping sessions, long leisure walks, practicing self care and short intense intervals are a much better response to combat this, ALONG with a really good nutrition strategy.  And hooping is fun, so you’re more likely to stick with it rather than trying to slog through a workout you hate.  And don’t forget consistency among these three factors.  If you’re not going to DO IT, it doesn’t matter how effective the strategy.

All Right, So I'm Hooping For 30 Minutes a Day. Why Am I Not Getting Results?

This is a tough question.  It’s tough because I don’t know the specific details of the person’s situation that asked this question (By they way – if you asked it and want me to do a case study for your personal situation – send me an email at leighdavislittle@gmail.com and we’ll dive into it. )  But let’s look at the some common reasons this could be happening.

Remember, we need three factors consistently to acheive weight loss goals (see question 1 above)

  1. Caloric deficit (simply put we need to burn more than we are consuming)
  2. Hormonal Balance
  3. Consistency

So if we’ve got consistency but we still aren’t seeing results then we need to take a look at the other two factors.

The amount of calories burned in a half hour of hooping is not going to be a significant contribution to calories burned for weight loss.  A pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories.  Let’s say you burn 200 calories in a half hour hooping session.  That’s going to be 1400 calories, not even a half a pound a week. And that assumes that you are spot on to NOT eat what you just burned.  And let’s be honest.  I can eat 200 calories before I finish typing this sentence.  It’s not hard to do.  And when you rely on exercise for weight loss, it’s a bad bet.  DO NOT use exercise to burn calories and lose weight – the caloric contribution is just too small.

What the **&&%%?  Why should you even pick up your hoop then?  Well, you want the positive hormonal changes that the exercise produces along with the caloric expenditure and the increase in lean muscle tissue to help boost the amount of calories you burn overall throughout the day along with the fact that hooping for exercise:

  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Stimulates human growth hormone production (strength training and intervals are particularly effective  increases strength, weight loss, healing, sleep, mood, immune system function)
  • Decreases cortisol while boosting testosterone (a winning combo in weight loss)
  • Improves ghrelin and leptin levels, the hormones that affect hunger and appetite. These hormones influence your appetite and hence, your body weight.
  • Helps regulate estrogen – which increases metabolism and reduces body fat.

Try This:

  1.  Take a look at whether you may be doing some things nutritionally to offset your hooping efforts.  Look for empty calorie sources that could be throwing off your efforts.  Try logging your eating for a few days and evaluate as if you were an outsider looking in.  If you are, make some small adjustments and see if that doesn’t push the needle in the other direction.
  2.  If you feel like your nutrition is spot on, change up your hooping routine.  Add in some intervals and strength training a couple of times a week to balance out the cardio.  Too much cardio can backfire and raise cortisol levels,affecting testosterone and human growth hormone production.

Need ideas? Check out our 6 minute sequence  designed with exercises in a specific order to fire your abs, glutes, and legs.  

Why Do I Crave Sugar? Plus One Recommendation You Should Probably Stop Doing if Fat Loss Is Your Goal

If you’re a competitive athlete or someone that has a job that involves heavy lifting or activity, your body is able to use sugar efficiently to fuel that level of activity.  But this doesn’t describe most of us and we fall into the trap of thinking that exercise offsets the high amounts of sugar we take in (the average american consumes 200 POUNDS OF SUGAR yearly) on a daily basis.  High levels of sugar sabotage weight loss by:

  • Putting your body into fat STORAGE mode
  • Creating inflammation in the body which blocks weight loss
  • Jamming hormone receptors making us insulin resistant

Sugar cravings start in the brain.  It triggers the same areas of your brain that drugs do and causes a dopamine release – simply put it means your brain is going to cause you to go back for more.  If you find it hard to cut sugar, there’s a good reason why.  Its addicting.  But you already know that, so let’s take a look at a few strategies.

Try This:

  1. Look at Your Environment.  It is easier to change your environment than it is to control your willpower.  Willpower is NOT an infinite resource.  It WILL run out.  It WILL fail you, especially when you’re on a craving rollercoaster.  Make changes to your environment first before trying to white knuckle through a craving.  Stop bringing it in the house.  Pay attention to when cravings occur – are they tied to something else?  TV watching?  Stress?  Simply saying to yourself “stop” likely will not work.  You’ll need to replace your sugar habit with a new habit.
  2. Pay Attention to Your Sleep.  When you’re tired, you’re more likely to crave sugar.  And hunger regulating hormones like leptin and ghrelin are affected – it can cause you to overeat upwards of 300+ calories the next day.
  3. Moderation May Not Be An Option.  Quite honestly to kick sugar, you need to come off of sugar.  Some people can tolerate small amounts and can have small portions and not have it kick off an entire binge session.  But if that’s not you, consider kicking sugar to the curb.  Focus on natural sources like fruit, but cut processed sugary foods and drinks.  The cravings will subside, but you have to hang in there.
  4. Balance Your Brain. If you’re suffering from cravings, try unsweetened cocoa (not hot chocolate) to beat cravings.
  5. Stop Doing This If Fat Loss Is Your Goal.  You may have heard the advice to have a snack before workout or make sure you have a snack right after working out to maintain lean muscle.  Stop.  Unless you’re doing some marathon hooping, you don’t need it and it really can affect your fat loss efforts.  In fact, if you’re working out in the morning, you’re in a perfect fat burning state (your body has shifted to fat burning without fuel during the night)  Doing your hooping workouts in a “fasted” state in the morning is fantastic.  Skip the coffee creamer, skip the shake.  Get up, get your workout done.  If this isn’t an option, try to wait at least 90 minutes before hooping.

Is On Body Or Off Body Hooping Better for Weight Loss?

For effective fitness, you need a combination of both on body and off body work.

On body hooping such as waist hooping is fantastic for recruiting core muscles when done properly and can provide mood boosting, calorie burning benefits.  But staying only inside your hoop has limitations.  It’s difficult to do strength training properly inside your hoop.  It can be limiting, in that you’re not recruiting your biggest muscles – your glutes, and your legs if you’re focusing only on waist hooping.  It would be like a tennis player trying to learn tennis by only focusing on the serve.  It’s a good start, but doesn’t allow you to play the rest of the game.  Hooping is similar.  Start with waist hooping, but incorporate off body dance and strength training.  And of course, pay attention to the principles we’ve talked about above so you don’t sabotage your efforts!

In part two next week we will finish our questions about HOW to keep the hoop up and why you can’t hoop, how LONG to hoop for, what to do about the upper and lower abs and the bat wings waving hello when you’re not waving at all, and more!

Have questions about the recommendations?  Comment below!!

Leigh Little, Hula Hoop Expert

Leigh Little,
Precision Nutrition Coach
Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Creator of the Hoop Fitness DVD

To work with Leigh one on one contact her at leighdavislittle@gmail.com

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