Any fitness goal should be treated as a gradual process and a life long change. The people who treat it as a quick fix or look for a short term, fast solution are the ones who always fail. Patience is key! Especially when it comes to fat loss. My aim for all my clients is to condition there body to perform better over time.
This means not only will the become fitter, but there body will be able to burn fat more efficiently and build lean muscle faster. Here's a few of my top tips on how I help them do that....
Gradually Reduce Your Calories
Don't drastically reduce your calories too soon. This kind of dramatic reduction will send your body into starvation mode which will slow down your metabolism and make burning fat more difficult. Figure out your daily calorie requirements (calorie maintenance level) and aim for an amount that's around 20%-25% calories less than that. But gradually reduce your calories until you hit that amount and then try and remain below it.
Your calorie maintenance level might be 2000kcal - consuming this amount of calories would mean you maintain your current weight.
If you reduce this to 1600kcal you would be in a calorie deficit meaning your body would need to burn stored fat for energy.
More Protein, Less Carbs
Protein is not only the most filling macronutrient, it will also help increase your metabolism and help maintain muscle. Both of which help to burn fat. Your body also burns calories purely through the process of digestion and will use more calories to digest protein than carbs or fats.
When it comes to carbs try and reduce your intake of simple (refined) carbs. This is things like bread, pasta etc. or at least keep them for post workout meals.
Veg is technically a carb but it is a fibrous carb meaning it doesn't yield the calories like other carb sources but will still leave you feeling full. Fill up on veg and cut down on other carbs.
.... And More Good Fats
When we talk about 'good' fats we're talking about polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. These type of fats actually help you lose fat and also contribute to a healthy heart.
You can find these fats in fish, fish oils, nuts and egg yolks amongst other things. You can also increase your good fat intake by using supplements like fish oil capsules.
Include Free Weights Into Your Training Plan
Training with weights burn calories - FACT. Too many people avoid weight training purely because they think it doesn't help them lose weight and will make them put on masses of muscle.
Thats not true. If you train but without any weights then you risk losing muscle which is what you don't want. Losing muscle mass will mean your metabolism will slow down and you'll turn into one of those people who's not quite fat but not quite skinny. Nobody wants to look like that.
If you want to get a lean, toned, athletic look then Increase the calories you burn in your sessions by picking up the weights.
....And HIIT Training
HIIT training or high intensity interval training is hands down the BEST type of cardio whatever your goals are. But its hugely effective for fat loss. I wont go on about it too much here because we've put together a whole guide on what it is and how to do it. You can read that HERE - BUT we're not done yet! Finish this article first!
Water can help your body suppress your appetite and as your body can also mistake being hydrated for being hungry its pretty important to stay hydrated and get around 3 litres a day. Water also helps the body to metabolise fat so keep a bottle on hand all the time and don't allow yourself to become hydrated.
Include Some Fat Burning Foods In Your Diet
Some foods are low in fat but some foods actually help you to burn more fat. Foods like eggs, oatmeal, salmon, green tea and coconut oil can actually boost your metabolism amongst things and help your body along with the whole fat burning process:
Eggs - eggs are one of the best protein sources around. They are packed with nutrients and make a great choice whatever your goal, especially for breakfast!
Green Tea - starting your day with a mug of green tea and swapping your regular tea or coffee for this super fat burner could massively aid your fat loss goals. Even better taking it in supplement form (i.e. as a capsule) is more time efficient AND has been shown to have the same effects as drinking it. Green tea increases norepinephrine – one of the body’s key fat burning hormones. It also provides powerful antioxidants and prolongs thermogenesis – the body’s ability to generate heat and burn calories.
Salmon - not only is salmon another great source of protein, it also contains omega 3 essential fats. Its these fats found in food like salmon that turn on your body’s fat burning systems and block fat storage.
Oatmeal - oatmeal is an ideal food source for breakfast as it has been proven to leave you feeling fuller for longer and less likely to suffer food cravings throughout the day. Try it with water instead of milk to reduce the calories and avoid any of the ones with artificial sweeteners.
Coconut Oil - studies have shown it has a massive effect on blood sugar levels by regulating the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose, meaning you won’t get that insulin ‘spike’ where you quickly become hungry and feel like eating more carbs. It can be used in a variety of ways including replacing normal cooking oil in cooking and baking. It can even be added into black coffee or taken as a supplement.
Get Your Sleep
Sleep can affect your weight in more ways than you might think. We're not just talking about an obvious connection between lack of sleep and lacking the energy to actually exercise, sleep deprivation can also affect two key hormones in our body. Gherlin is the hormone that tells your body when to eat, whilst Leptin is the hormone that tells us when to stop eating. Lack of sleep causes our body to produce higher levels of Gherlin and lower levels of Leptin.
Lack of sleep = less Leptin and more Gherlin
Less Leptin and more Gherlin = potential weight gain - GET SOME SLEEP!
Use Progress Photos Not Scales
So this one is more about motivation but still relevant. Scales only tell you half the story. You might have smashed it in the gym one week and nailed your nutrition only to find you haven't lost any weight - or even worse you've gained weight!!
Your body goes through a lot of complex processes when your eat well and exercise regularly. You may be losing weight but replacing it with lean muscle. Muscle is denser than fat so this will reflect in your weight when you hop on the scales. Try progress pics instead. Looking at the physical change is a much more motivating way to track your progress.
Swap Your Hot Drink For Green Tea
Firstly regular tea and coffee acts as a diuretic on your body meaning it dehydrates us, we already know what dehydration does to our body. Secondly green tea is actually a fantastic thermogenic which means it assists our bodies metabolism and can help improve its fat burning ability. If you're not keen on actual green tea try taking green tea tablets which can have just a good effect!