Consistency Wins Every Time
If you can’t follow a nutrition or training programme consistently (either because it’s too hard or tedious) chances are you won’t achieve success. Training hard for three weeks then taking six weeks off won’t get you anywhere. Following dietary requirements and training with considerable regularity will always win.
Damn Those Love Handles
You can’t target where you want to lose body fat first. Everyone loses body fat in different places and however much we want to lose that belly fat, those stubborn love handles and excess arm fat first, unfortunately there’s just not much we can do about it.
You Gotta Be Liftin’ Heavy
Building and preserving as much muscle mass as possible is vital for fat loss to occur. The best way to achieve this is by getting strong through heavy resistance training. Building muscle ensures your resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn at rest) is kept high, which will in turn considerably aid the amount of fat you’ll be able to burn.
Cardio Isn’t All That You Know
The traditional methods of completing long distance cardio to promote fat loss have consistently been debunked. The goal of fat loss is to burn as much fuel as possible; meaning you want your body to be as fuel inefficient as possible. The more cardio you do, the better you get at it and the more efficient you become. Not ideal.
While cardio does burn calories and can be used as a tool to stimulate fat loss, it does little to keep your metabolism high and promote a lean, defined figure.
Get Off Those Scales
The number on the scales provides very limited information when it comes to gauging fat loss progress. Measurements, photos or bodyfat percentages are usually more reliable when checking progress.
Stop Cutting Things Out
You can still make progress while appreciating the foods you enjoy. Restricting whole food groups or specific types of food leads to anxiety, stress and constant worry that will not lead to long term success. Fat loss isn’t easy, but there are ways to make it more enjoyable.
All Hail the Calorie Deficit
The laws of thermodynamics (the effects of work, heat and energy) state that an energy deficit is a critical aspect of the fat loss process. Find yourself with an intake of energy less than the amount you expend each day and you will be in a caloric deficit.
Putting yourself in a deficit (consuming less than you expend) will force the body to pull energy from stores (e.g. fat stores), inevitably leading to fat loss.
Sleep Like You Did When You Were Young
OK so sleeping in till 1pm every day may not be logistically possible, but valuing the importance of enough sleep is paramount to fat loss success. Hitting at least eight hours every night has the ability to reset your metabolism which can positively impact hunger, stress and muscle building hormones.
Sleep is a prime determinant of whether you can maintain sustained fat loss.
Progress Is One Squiggly Line
Sometimes fat loss will be accelerated, whilst at other times it will plateau. Reasons for this could include water retention which can sometimes mask true fat loss, the constant state of balance your metabolism always wants to be in and even a lack of dietary adherence as fat loss has developed.
As long as the overall trend of progress is continuing downward, you are on the right track.
Similarly Everyone’s Line is Different
Just because somebody else is progressing at a rapid rate doesn’t necessarily mean you should be keeping up with them. Everybody possesses different genetics, reacts differently to varying dietary protocols and trains in different ways. Focus on yourself and the progress you are making.
Let’s Get Hormonal
Hormones can enable more muscle growth, determine how the body responds to physical and psychological stress and also affect your hunger, energy and cravings. Whilst hormones are constantly in flux, balancing your hormones can stabilise these hunger, energy and cravings, resulting in a more efficient way to lose body fat.
Stop Training Like A Bodybuilder
While the principles of bodybuilding certainly hold some truth when it comes to fat loss, utilising full body workouts with short rest periods and a significant intensity will lead to greater progress than blasting one body part per day. Focusing on arms and calves sure won’t get you far.
Sweating and Feeling Drained Isn’t Everything
It isn’t a bad thing if every training session doesn’t leave you crawling to the door and dripping with sweat afterwards. The goal isn’t to make you tired (anyone can do that), the goal is to make you better.
Show Me That Attitude
Aiming to lose body fat with a half-hearted approach that expects results with minimal effort will always lead to failure. Standing tall in the face of adversity, working extremely hard and constantly testing your character is the foundation to success.
Crash Diets Suck
Extremely low calorie, quick blast diets never work. You may win for the short term, but inevitably the weight will creep back on and you’ll often end up worse than when you first started.
Your Environment Is Everything
If your cupboards are stocked with unhealthy snacks and treats, you spend most of your time in an office with bowls of chocolates available and you frequently go out for dinners you’ll be more likely to gorge on these unwanted items.
Change aspects of your environment so you just don’t have the option of deciding whether you possess enough willpower to reject the opportunity to indulge in unnecessary luxuries.
Stop Majoring In The Minors
Focusing on things like supplements, meal timing, different training protocols and other intricacies only mask the fundamentals that need to be targeted. Less thinking, more doing.
Giving yourself a large amount of accountability, whether through friends, family or a trainer will always lead to greater success.
Adherence is Paramount
Undoubtedly the number one goal and foundation to any fat loss programme is adherence. If a programme, diet or change is too hard, too involved and ultimately not enjoyable, devotion to the cause will unquestionably take a large hit.
Whenever undertaking a new diet or training programme, I always get people to ask themselves: ‘Can I see myself maintaining these changes 3, 6 and 12 months down the line?’ If you can, you know you’re on the right track.
Walk Like You’ve Never Walked Before
Adding in a mere few thousand steps to your day, every day, will ensure you’re continuing to burn calories even when you don’t think you are. Moving as much as possible, however big or small, is one of the easiest ways to encourage fat loss.
Prioritising high quality protein sources when trying to lose body fat will keep you fuller for longer, promote the preservation of muscle mass, require more energy to eat and will ultimately fuel the ability to burn fat more effectively than other macronutrient groups.
Understanding and being aware of how many calories you’re actually consuming each day will play a big part in facilitating fat loss. Keeping a disciplined food diary will give you a big insight into where things may be going wrong.
You May Just Get A Little Bit Hungry
We’re not talking over the top, hormone wrecking hunger here, but putting yourself in a calorie deficit will mean you’re probably going to feel a little bit hungrier than you’re used to. Unfortunately it’s just part of the game.
Get Burning Post Session
One of the keys to fat loss success is getting your body to burn fat even after your session. The best way to do this is to complete short, high-intensity exercise that creates an oxygen debt, resulting in a metabolic boost long after your session is over.
Fat loss isn’t the be all and end all. Learn to enjoy life, food and your body. Success will come.