Before we look into fat loss let me address body fat monitoring. It’s not such a big deal really. You don’t need no magnetic resonance measurement or body fat calipers. For all practical purposes this is how you need to approach body fat monitoring.
“If it jiggles… its fat!”
Fat or skinny if you have something that remotely resembles a bowl of jello .. then you have fat to lose.
What is fat loss?
Fat loss is the process of losing fat tissue from the body while preserving lean tissue (muscle mass).
Weight loss is not the same as fat loss. Weight loss is just a reduction in body weight. In other words, weight loss involves the loss of fat tissue AND muscle tissue… and in almost all cases more muscle is lost than fat. A starvation diet + 3-5miles of running everyday will result in weight loss. Weight loss is not healthy and should under no circumstance be considered an achievement.
The governing laws of fat loss:
In the given order…
1. Total calories in should be less than total calories out.
I don’t like counting calories and I have leaned down to pretty good levels of leanness (~8-10% body fat) without any calorie counting. All I do, and urge you to do the same, is eat the right stuff and only the right stuff.
When you’re trying to lose fat…
Choose a big bowl of vegetables instead of a bowl of rice.
Choose berries with little cream cheese instead of ice-cream.
Choose a square of 70%+ dark chocolate instead a bar of milk chocolate.
I can go on and on (may be another post)… but you get the idea.
Bottom line: Choose your calories wisely. Eat only what you need & when you need it.
2. Dump the sugar & junk. All of it.
Sugar = glucose in the blood = insulin release = fat storage
This is not a smart thing to do when you’re trying to lose fat. So stop thinking and stop saying ‘It’s hard!’. Just dump the sugar and see the difference it makes in just 4 weeks! And for love of God don’t even think about ”fat free options! They are all loaded with sugar!
If you have a sweet tooth… curb it. Substitute fruit in place of dessert… but don’t go yabadabadoo on the fruits either.
Tip: Throw in a stick of chewing gum right after you eat. Guaranteed to kill the sweet cravings/temptations.
Bottom line: Sugar intake on a regular basis is detrimental to your health in more than one way.
3. Lift weights.
Men, women, young & old.. and those in between… lift some heavy stuff. Muscles burn more calories than fat and so having more muscle in your body will help you burn more calories throughout the day. A person @ 150 lbs & 10% body fat will have a much higher metabolic rate than a person @ 150 lbs @ 20% body fat.
Attention womenfolk: Having more muscle does not mean you are ‘muscular’. Women need not worry about bulking up as a result of weight training. You do not have enough testosterone for that. Trust me… guys bust their chops in the gym 6 days a week and they dont bulk up easy… lifting moderate weight will not bulk you up! Take my word for this.
Bottom line: Lean mass (muscle) is the holy grail of staying fit. Not too much… not too little… but just enough to run a fast mile, jump up a box 1/3rd your height & lift your body weight.
4. Don’t spend half your day on the treadmill/elliptical.
Chronic cardio is the number one muscle destroyer! So stop running a 10k everyday (unless you’re training for a marathon or similar event) and mix up your workouts. Do some lifting 2-3 days a week, high intensity conditioning or sprint workouts 2 days a week, do a medium duration medium intensity run once a week, do a low intensity hike once a week etc. Please get off that machine… right now.
Bottom line: Don’t just train hard… train smart!
5. Get more protein. Up the good fats. Reduce carbohydrates.
You need the protein to build, maintain & repair muscle… so get more of it.
Start using fat as your major source of energy. Fats provide more energy per gram and is the preferred fuel for the body. Ever wonder why your body stores fat? It is the body’s ‘reserve’ when you’re out of fuel.
Avoid carbohydrates unless you need the instant energy they provide. Best times to feed your body with carbohydrates are immediately post workout and during an aerobic activity that is 60+ min.
Bottom line: Carbohydrate intake should be proportional to activity. Fat is awesome!
6. Eat real food… only real food.
Protein – Lean cuts of meat, chicken breast, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, whey protein (or other protein supplement) if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Fat – Olive oil, fish, avocado, flax seeds, macadamia nuts, almonds, coconut.
Carbs – All vegetables (with potatoes eaten sparingly) and little fruit. Avoid grains, beans & legumes.
Form meals using only these ingredients and you will automatically be eating only what you need, you will get a tonne of vitamins & minerals and you sill stay satiated (full) longer. Once again… throw out the processed crap.
Bottom line: Eat only what your body is meant to metabolize.
7. You need to snooze to lose.
One of the most underrated things with respect to health, fitness & longevity is sleep. Lack of sleep stresses the body and that results in cortisol release which is catabolic in nature. If you are constantly sleep deprived, you are chronically stressed and that just means you have steady cortisol release which is preventing you from losing fat.
The number of hours of sleep changes from person to person. There are people who need 10 hrs per day and there are those lucky ones who do perfectly fine with 6. Find out what works best for you and get the required amount of sleep.
Bottom line: If you’re doing everything right with respect to nutrition & training and you’re not seeing results, I strongly suggest you you look into the quality & quantity of your sleep.
8. Stay active.
Most of us work desk jobs which demand our asses to be glued to our chairs for hours together. Break that eternal bond between your butt & the chair.
- Walk around more. Your spine is craving the walk!
- Do not sit in one place for more than a hour at most.
- Walk 15 min before lunch. Walk 15 min after lunch.
- Where ever you go, park as far as possible from your destination.
- Be greedy for work. Take the trash out, run an errand, offer to pick something up from the floor etc. You’ll become the good guy and you’ll be burning off some grease.
- Play… with your kids, neighbor’s kids, your dog etc.
- Walk/bike to work if possible.
I’m sure there are a million other ways to stay active. These might sound trivial but trust me they all add up and could account to like 300-400 extra calories burnt per day.
Bottom line: There is no substitute for an active lifestyle.
Well by now I hope you have a decent idea of what fat loss is and why your 50 situps every morning is not giving you results. If you are interested in a more customized fat loss program shoot me an email.