The constant battle of the bulge can be frustrating and exhausting, I completely get it, but by following these 3 straight forward tips it no longer needs to be a losing fight.
If you feel like you are doing all you can to drop those unwanted kilos and you still can’t seem to do so, you are not alone.
After spending many years in what felt like a losing battle, I decided to learn what was really important when it came to effectively losing fat.
The fact is, if you don’t know what you are doing or how your body works then you are unlikely to get the results you want.
This article will help guide you with 3 simple things to keep in mind as you work towards a leaner, healthier you so you can feel good for life.
Let’s start with the big problem about fat loss.
THE PROBLEM: Believing fat loss is about simple maths.
So often I hear my clients ask, “But isn’t it just about calories in versus calories out?”. I can understand why many people may believe this because it is an idea that gets thrown around all to often. “Yes, it doesn’t matter what you eat just keep your calories in check”. Those who are supporting this message understand very little about the physiology of food and our bodies. No wonder many people think the solution to their weight loss lies in eating less and exercising more. Sounds logical, right?
If this was the answer it would be easy just to measure your calorie intake and keep it to the level that ensured weight loss. If this was true we would not be seeing seeing increasing numbers of obesity and the chronic ill-health associated with it.
This formula isn’t the answer.
Initially, you might see some success but the results are just not going to be sustainable. There is going to be a point where you just can’t keep reducing your calories any further or work out longer.
Every BODY is different and understanding the science of fat loss and metabolism is essential to providing the results you want and having the right amount of energy to sustain it.
Let’s dive into it.
Estimating the number of calories you need to consume for basic metabolic function and survival requires scientific calculations and needs to take into account a number of factors. The amount of energy burned by different people varies depending on factors like their lifestyle, environment, hormones, body composition, gender, age, activity type, intensity and duration. These are not constant nor can they be generalised, so estimating calorie requirements is not straight forward.
If knowing how many calories we need per day is difficult, how can we work out what our daily requirement is if we are looking for an average deficit of 500 calories when aiming for a body weight reduction of 0.5kg per week? An inaccurate starting point is going to lead to an inaccurate conclusion.
Even if we can estimate what a reduction of 500 calories looks like, whether this is coming from eating 500 calories less, or burning 500 calories more, the effect on the body is not the same.
If we look at the effect on the body of 500 calories coming from vegetables compared to 500 calories coming from junk food, most people would agree that the nutritional quality of those two food sources are very different. Yet some people would believe it is the number of calories that is the determining factor in our weight equation.
This is just not the case. Our bodies are more intelligent than that.
What happens at the cellular level is very precise and significant – and very dependent on the quality of the nutrition we feed it.
On the flip side, if someone is aiming to get their deficit through increased exercise, once again we run into problems when making assumptions. Burning 500 calories through different types of exercises has different effects on the body, depending on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the type of afterburn experienced (or not) following the workout.
Cardiovascular activity does burn more calories for a given time period than any other form of exercise and you will burn fat during cardio BUT whilst this is true, it is also the problem.
Exercise sends a message to your body that results in the body adapting to the stress placed upon it. Over time we become more efficient at this, which slows down our progress and the results we see.
Unfortunately, that is not all that happens. Continued cardio reduces muscle mass in an attempt to reduce the amount of unnecessary calories we are burning, hormone profiles change and the amount of activity we engage in when not actively exercising becomes less. This is a bad situation to be in because it will eventually lead to “burn out” and fat gain – the exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve.
THE SOLUTION: Personalisation.
1. Understand your unique body type
Every individual body is formed uniquely. Hormone sensitivity, body structures and metabolism vary from one person to another. What works best for one person may not work at all for another, and in some cases may actually be causing harm.
2. Do the right exercises at the right time for the right body
The exercises that are the most effective for building muscle are the ones you need to be doing if your goal is fat loss. Having more muscle INCREASES your metabolism because muscles are very metabolically active tissues. The major exercises are squats/lunges, deadlifts, pushes (like push ups), pulls (like pull ups), presses (like bench presses or overhead presses).
3. Nurture muscle growth
Muscles need fuel to grow.
Protein feeds the muscle and having a diet that also provides the adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals (for these reactions to take place) is essential. Eating a predominantly whole food diet (protein from organic meats, fish or plant-based sources such as beans and legumes, complex carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables, and healthy fats such as nuts and seeds) and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, are key elements.
Muscles also need rest.
Aim to get good quality sleep of between 7-9 hours every night and take extra rest when your body is telling you it is fatigued. Muscles grow during sleep.
So there you have it.
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Find one that suits you and your needs.