Weight loss is a typical topic on many of my clients’ agendas. Over the past decade of looking after clients from all walks of life, the majority all arrive with a similar problem and that is the struggle to lose weight. Everyone has tried some sort of diet, method or trend and many if not all, have seen some great success. However, with great success comes great struggle - the struggle to continue and sustain these results is where the problem typically lies. I write this article with the hope of you all keeping these corner stones of weight loss in mind. Below are the keys to weight loss and fundamentals you should implement strongly prior to any weight loss system you choose to use.
A calorie deficit must be omnipresent if weight loss is to occur! A reduction in calorie intake or an increase in energy expenditure must happen if you are planning to shed some weight. For calorie reduction, my tip here is to track your food intake for a week, find out how many calories you consume on average and then reduce your intake by 10%. Correlate this to a 5-10% increase in your activity levels and you should be right on track with step 1. The biggest mistake found during weight loss and with all FAD diets is that a greater drop in calories is required and although weight loss occurs at a faster rate, the sustainability of the method is unrealistic, unhealthy and unsustainable. It’s noted that if this FAD style of weight loss is chosen then on average the individual will gain all their weight back plus 8%!
Choose weight training over long bouts of cardio. Whilst you are dieting it’s important that muscle mass is preserved and weight training is the way to do this. For untrained individuals this may even lead to some healthy muscle gain. Muscle mass is a great predictor of your metabolic rate (how fast and efficiently your body burns calories consumed). An increased metabolic rate will improve your base layer of burning calories at rest. Think of building a bigger engine for your body that runs on more fuel. If you take a look at any muscular individual you will find that staying lean is easier. They also get away with eating a little more treats; this is because the muscular system they have developed is like putting a bigger engine in a car. Bigger engine, more petrol required!
Utilise sprinting intervals over long duration cardio. It saves time, increases anaerobic capacity and builds a stronger body. A stronger body enables you to work at higher intensity capacities adding to your long-term sustainability of weight loss as mentioned in step 2. Now I’m certainly not suggesting long duration cardio is bad, in fact it’s very good, however this article is geared to helping you turn from an individual who has always struggled with weight loss into someone who is strong and in control of their body!
You can’t out train a poor diet. Regardless of calorie intake (the biggest predictor of weight status) nutritional quality along with sleep quality is the most important factor to a healthy individual. Without focus on these two elements you’re fighting a losing battle for long term weight loss, muscle gain or any other physiological goal for that matter.
NEAT. Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis! Now this is all the general activity you get through in a day away from prescribed exercise! Think stairs instead of lifts and walking instead of taking the bus, you get the idea. Increase your daily activity levels and of course, on average your weight will tip into the right direction. A step counter is a fantastic way to monitor this and most smart phones or watches are available now to make this easily tracked. Aim for the golden 10,000 steps a day. This is seen to help you burn around 500 calories adding up to a pound a week!