Are you working your butt off at the gym but not seeing the fat loss results you want? Perhaps you’re dialling in the food but the scale dial isn’t moving in the right direction. Sound familiar? Keep reading.
Many people never reach their weight or fat loss goals despite all of their hard work. It’s not because they aren’t trying hard enough, but because they aren’t building the foundation of their fat loss journey correctly. Whether it’s misinformed personal trainers, crash diets or juice cleanses, there are somethings that just won’t help you lose fat. In fact, they may even prevent you from losing fat or make you gain weight!
We’re here to help get you on the right track with these five fundamental fat loss tips.
1) Count Your Calories
Counting calories may seem like a hassle but it will help you stay on track. It can also be quite eye-opening if you haven’t done it before. Research has shown that dieters commonly underestimate the amount of food they are eating.
The easiest way to count calories is to use an application like My Fitness Pal. This can be used in a web browser or as a mobile application on your phone. Using the large database of foods in My Fitness Pal lets you log food quicker. My Fitness Pal also lets you track your weight and exercise.
How many calories per day should you eat? You can do this by calculating your BMR (Google BMR Calculator) and eat 200 calories less than this per day. BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the number of calories you burn at rest. This does not include calories burned through exercise. Don’t get too excited and start eating back those calories – research has shown dieters are also likely to overestimate the amount of calories burned from physical exercise.
If that sounds too confusing you may be able to get a free nutrition plan through your gym or book an appointment with a nutritionist who will work this out for you.
2) Improve Your Metabolism
The basic key for optimum fat loss is achieving a higher BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). A High BMR means that your body burns more calories at rest. We all know that one guy who eats a lot but never gets fat, you know why? It is because of his/her super-fast metabolism.
The best way to increase your BMR is to increase your lean muscle mass. Your body burns calories just to maintain your muscles. That is why people say muscle burns more than fat. Incorporating strength training into your fat loss program will help you increase your BMR. Strength training also helps you preserve the muscle mass you have while you lose fat.
3) Use Cardio In Moderation
Cardio is a great weight loss exercise but should be used in moderation. Excessive amounts of cardio while eating at a caloric deficit will most likely see the weight on the scale drop from losing muscle, not fat. This happens because your body isn’t getting enough food on a diet to fuel intense cardio sessions. Your body begins to break down muscle tissue for energy during these sessions. This decreases your BMR as you have less muscle mass to burn calories.
Mix the cardio sessions up with some strength training to preserve muscle mass. If you are incorporating cardio sessions keep them low to moderate intensity.
4) Get A Good Nights Sleep
Quality sleep is important not only for fat loss but any fitness and health goal. Lack of quality sleep can increase your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Cortisol is catabolic since it breaks down muscle protein and converts it into energy. As you will now know we want to protect your muscle mass as much as possible!
Moreover, if you are tired from poor, or little, sleep you may find it harder to stick to your eating plan or make it to the gym.
Try to get to bed early and turn off the TV, computer, phone etc before bed so you have a chance to unwind. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
5) Eat More Protein
It’s important to consume enough protein while you are eating at a caloric deficit for fat loss. Protein helps keep you fuller for longer, feed your muscles, and minimise cravings. It will also help maintain your existing muscle mass and minimise muscle breakdown. If you’re struggling to get enough protein in your diet from food there are a range of protein supplements. Check the nutritional content on protein powders and choose one that is high in protein but low in fat, carbohydrates and sugar. Protein bars can be convenient on-the-go snack to keep in your bag.
That’s it. Follow these five fundamental fat loss tips and you’ll be well on your way to achieving fat loss results.