Fat loss is simple...not easy, but simple.
With the wealth of information out there this simplicity often gets lost in the buzz of new fads, quick fix diets, latest supplements and internet gurus.
If you are frustrated at where to even start when it comes to losing fat please read on as I discuss 3 of the foundational pillars of fat loss.
Resistance training is the first mode of choice in our selection. Large compound movement which use as many muscles as possible, lifted with relatively heavy weight.
Why is this?
Resistance training 2-4 times/week has been proven to increase your basal metabolic rate (or the amount of calories your body burns at rest). This will continue to increase with the amount of lean muscle you have. As a bonus this lean muscle is the thing that gives your body shape or tone and without it losing fat will not make your body look any better.
The cardio myth.
Resistance training is the much preferred way of training for fat loss. It is healthier and provides a more exciting and positive gym experience than slogging it out on the treadmill endlessly. Traditional aerobic focussed training (eg. Spin bike for 60mins) has a few problems:
‘Cardio’ training is extremely stressful on the body, my free ebook goes into more detail about this, but the stress created influences hormonal levels, hunger, cortisol and much more which can all affect fat loss.
Aerobic improvements plateau fast, sometimes within a month. Aerobic adaptations come on very fast and improvements are seen straight away. The problem with this is as you get better at traditional cardio exercise (say running 10km) your body becomes more metabolically efficient, meaning each following session burns less and less calories.
A much better way is to start you sessions with your resistance training program and then finish with some interval training on your machine of choice.
Key point: We train to build or at least maintain muscle, not lose fat.
Barbell squats 4x8 reps supersetted with dumbbell overhead presses 4x8
Hip thrusts 4x8 reps supersetted with dumbbell one arm rows 4x8
Walking lunges 4x12 reps each foot supersetted with plank reaches 4x12
Bike: 15 seconds sprint/45 seconds rest x10 with 5min warm and and cool down.
Training is the easy part and now it gets a little more difficult. It is still simple but the difficulty comes from the effort you will have to put in. If you are not ready to put in some effort then don’t complain about how you can’t lose that belly fat.
In this section I will discuss calorie counting. This is not the only way to monitor your eating but so far I have found a large success rate using it.
1) The first step is to find your maintenance calorie level using an online calculator (this one is fine http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calorie-calculator/itt-20084939) or I would be happy to help if you contact me for some guidance.
2) Minus 15-25% off your maintenance calorie level to find roughly your daily calorie target to lose fat.
3) Set up your macronutrients which are your protein, carbohydrate and fat levels. Using your calorie target and the following information you can set up your daily macro targets.
Now, as an example on how to calculate macro targets, I’ll use a 28 y/o female who is 170cm tall and weighs 75kgs. Her calorie target to lose weight is 1900 per day.
From the research we can see that protein should be consumed at around 2g/kg of body weight. So for our female she will aim to get 150grams of protein each day.
Fat should be set at roughly 25% of total calories for proper brain and hormonal function. So 25% of 1900 is 475 calories. Since fat is 9 grams/calorie, 475/9 = 52.7grams. So let’s say 50 grams of fat per day.
The rest of calories should come from carbs. Due to our calculations she is getting 600 calories from protein and 475 from fat so 1900-600-475 = 825 calories from carbs. This means her carb target each day will be roughly 205 grams.
4) Now the next step is to track your food intake to make sure you stay on track and hit your targets. It will require a little bit of work, but it’s not forever, and the results will be well worth it. The easiest way to do this is to use an app like myfitnesspal (guide coming soon) and just log what you eat.
I have a guide here on calorie counting for those who want an easy method :)
Not only will this allow you to monitor progress and keep you accountable it also starts to provide you with the knowledge of what food are high in protein, which ones fit your lifestyle/diet, and which foods to avoid. A little bit of effort goes a long way.
And the last pillar for this post is mindset, the commitment to make a change. I would advise 6-8 weeks of a resistance training routine coupled with monitored nutrition to really see benefits.
Consistency over this period is of major importance. Even if you don’t feel like trying, stick with it, 80% perfect is better than 100% some days and 10% others. Find a supportive community, set small pathway goals, manage your time, prepare your food and crush it. Put in the effort and reap the rewards.
If you want some tips for fat loss consistency, see this post.
PS. My online fitness coaching goes into a lot more detail on these points and more. Also with my guidance I can set up your program and nutrition and then work with you to get in the right mindset and smash your goals.