How One Woman Quit Her Cardio Workout and Finally Started Losing Weight

Alice Fields was finally able to lose weight after she stopped her excessive calorie restriction and cardio workouts and took up powerlifting.

In general, people looking to lose weight typically need to figure out what works best for them. For Alice Fields, age 25, from Melbourne, Australia, it took getting off the treadmill and getting into powerlifting, along with following a nutritional plan that didn’t focus on restricting foods and pushing salad. Now, Fields wants everyone to know that there’s more than one way to lose weight and get in shape.

“I’ve always struggled with my weight,” says the 25-year-old Melbourne, Australia resident. “By age 22, I weighed 92 kilos [203 pounds] despite running at least 5 kilometers every single morning, intense circuit training, and restricting what I was eating.” Sure, she did lose some weight, but those results never stuck. She’d lose a few kilos, and then put on more. “I was killing myself with 5 a.m. sprints,” she says, “but it’s just not sustainable, not physically or mentally. You don’t just run your body into the ground, you exhaust your mind.” That changed, however when a friend introduced Fields to powerlifting, and she discovered an eating plan called If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM).

The “If It Fits Your Macros” plan

Courtesy Alice FieldsThe IIFYM plan looks at all foods in the three main (i.e., macro) categories: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Depending on an individual’s activity levels and goals, a numerical goal is set for the individual to consume each day. This is not only ensuring a consistent amount of calories are being consumed daily, but more specifically that you’re getting enough macronutrients to maintain energy and reach your desired physique.

Fields says, “The best part is, if you want to eat ice cream and watch chick flicks, you can! As long as you read the label and make it work with your macros.” Diets aren’t sustainable, she says. “They aren’t fun, and the foods are flavorless and boring,” she says. “IIFYM enables you to eat the foods you love, and have a happy mind, while ensuring you are still sticking to a consistent amount of calories.”

Cardio is great if it works for you

Fields isn’t dissing cardio. In fact, she knows it’s great for heart health. “A lot of articles written about me have made it seem like I’m saying ‘stop doing cardio,’Fields says. Her point is that there isn’t just one way to lose weight and get in shape. For her, running for hours and severely restricting her calorie intake wasn’t the answer. Look for the combination of exercise and proper eating to sustain you, she advises. “Just move, and be aware of what food you’re putting in your body. How much you move and how you move is entirely up to you.”

“I went from doing 90 percent cardio to mainly powerlifting and cardio for fun—like taking my dog on 30-minute walks or just running around with her at the park.” And it worked for her. Within a month of changing things up, she noticed a difference in the way her clothes fit and how strong she felt. And although her 37-pound weight loss is great, it’s not the most important aspect, says Fields. The real gauge of her success is how she felt about herself and how her body was functioning. With more muscle, her body was more efficient at burning fat. She had more energy. She liked the way her clothes fit when her muscles filled out in places, and fat disappeared from other places.

Lifting weights actually burns a lot of calories, perhaps even more than cardio,” says Fields, “and it’s something I thoroughly enjoy so, for me, this is what works, because I can stick to it without it feeling like a chore.”

There’s no magic bullet

Courtesy Alice Fields“I get so many messages asking if I took prescription pills,” Fields says. “At the end of the day, there are no magic tricks, pills, or potions. Find something you love and enjoy your journey.” People write to Fields and ask them to tell them an exact combination of what to eat and how to move, but her answer is always to just keep moving and eat to support it. “Moving is good for your mind, body, and soul,” she says, “so move. Sweat. Play. Push yourself. But at the end of the day, look at what you’re eating.”

She wants to make clear that she does not advocate the idea that being slim or skinny equals being beautiful. What she advocates is “taking your life into your own hands and doing what makes you feel good. Keep trying, and you’ll figure out what works. Find a way to burn calories that you enjoy and you can continue to do as part of your life and eat the damn chocolate… as long as it fits.”

Haven’t quite figured out what works yet? Here are the signs it’s time to change up your fitness routine.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers health, fitness, yoga, and lifestyle, among other topics. An author of crime fiction, Lauren's book The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.