Fitness, Fat loss, personal trainer, pilates, epping, essex
It is the start of the year and January is, of course, a favourite time of year for healthy resolutions.
Whilst we don’t do fad diets, we are always happy to advise our Fit School members how to drop fat safely and effectively.
At Fit School we are pretty tired of the same messages being pumped out online and on the TV. Fad diets, super foods and quick fixes will always grab attention and headlines because they are extreme and new but we all know the basics. How do we make it happen?
How to lose fat
We can’t prescribe a ‘one size fits all’ approach because we all have different starting points.
So we’re going to take a moderately active, 65-75 kilo woman, who wants to lose half a stone of fat. She may want to lose more but we’re going to start at the beginning.
We’ve broken our recommendations into top tips, with the most important and effective at the top so you could start with one and work your way through until you find something achievable.
- Start small. Make your first goal 3-4 pounds or 1-2 kilos of fat loss. This way, once you’ve successfully lost weight, you can repeat the process or adapt as necessary. Starting out with a massive goal is a recipe for disaster. Break the goal down. The same would be true if you were training for a marathon. You wouldn’t start with training for a marathon distance, you’d start with running without stopping for a period of time and gradually build up. Your training plan would change as the goals change.
- Lose your refined carbohydrates calories. This is the really simple bit (in theory). Cut out the excess calories. This means cutting out things like biscuits, crisps, white bread, alcohol and juices/sodas. Fruit juice is often a surprise culprit here.
- Cut out surplus fats. Our bodies need at least 10% fat to function optimally, especially women. For fat loss, 20% of your daily calories should come from fat. Anything above this needs to go. Fat is high in calories so cutting back is an easy way of lowering your daily calorie intake. This could mean changing your milk, choosing lean meats and cutting back on cheese. Cream, pork scratchings and crisps are out if you want to drop pounds.
- Move more. THIS DOES NOT MEAN ‘GO TO THE GYM’. A 30-minute, high intensity workout, once a day is not as beneficial to someone trying to lose fat as regular, heart raising activity throughout the day. There are specific health benefits of HIIT training or resistance training but when it comes to fat loss, frequency beats intensity. You want to keep your motor revved. This is about increasing your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body uses calories) so find excuses to move. Walk to the shops; walk the kids to school; or pull up some weeds whilst you ponder a problem.
- DO break a sweat. Whenever possible up your movement intensity. Walk faster. Get sweaty. Find hills!
- Find friends who are on your path. It’s so much easier to make healthier choices if you aren’t alone.
- Make new social habits. We’ve said it before but swap a coffee shop habit for a walk. Yes, even if it’s raining. You’ll feel so much better for battling the elements.
- Create a specific calorie deficit. There is no getting around the fact that if you want to lose fat, you need to create an energy deficit. Once you’ve done the simple dietary changes and increased your activity levels, you need to get specific on your calorie intake and expenditure. This could be by increasing your activity levels, by decreasing your calorific intake or by a combination of both. If you are already moderately active, you’ll need to reduce your daily calorie intake by roughly 250 calories per day. If you aren’t very active, you’ll need to make this 500. You can of course tailor your food intake to take into account active versus inactive days.
- Use your tech. Fitbits, Garmins and Apple Watches all make measuring your calories in and calories out much easier. Use them. If you have a device that measures your activity levels in calories this will really help you to work out what foods to eat. You can also increase your daily step count by 1-2000 if you know where you’re starting from.
- Eat a moderate to high protein diet. Protein will keep you fuller for longer and help fuel your muscles. We’d consider high protein to be 2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight, per day. So for a 75kg woman that’s 150g per day, which is the equivalent of six chicken breasts. So if you think you’re on a high protein diet, you probably aren’t! Aim for at least 1g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day and try to have protein with every meal, especially breakfast.
- Drink more water and fluid from soups, herbal teas and infusions. Aim for at least 2 litres a day to help with satiety and to help regulate your metabolism and waste disposal!
- Make new relationships with food. If you know you need to eat lower fat and higher protein, start getting fresh with recipes. Ask friends or experts and find ways of cooking what you love. You may know all of the science but the crucial step is making it a part of your life.
- Get uncomfortable. Weight loss is not easy. You will need to be uncomfortable. You can’t always satisfy a craving if you are on path. We’d be lying if we said that cycling up a big hill or choosing the boiled egg over the fried is always what you want to do. Our modern lifestyles have made us even more familiar with comfortable. You’ll need to make a conscious choice to sometimes be counter intuitive in order to reach the bigger goal.
Creating new habits is a challenge. It requires discipline and planning. Make sure you have a team on board to help you. From friends to support you when you workout to family who help you navigate meal times. We all know the science. Success is in the practical application.