Let’s get away from the science stuff for just a minute and instead look at fat loss a little more holistically. Because let’s be fair, the large majority of us are not athletes and nor are we in a position whereby our entire lives are dedicated to ensuring training, recovery and food are optimised.
Instead, the large majority of us want to just look and feel better. Now, whatever that ‘better’ is for you is 100% individualised, but I think if you can base your daily decisions around the following 3 fundamentals, it is almost certain you will either feel or look better if you can be consistent.
Even more importantly, you’ll be healthier as well.
While “feeling the burn” doesn’t necessarily mean a hell of a lot in terms of exercise specificity, what we can extrapolate from the burn is that the intensity of the exercise is at least high.
During high-intensity exercise, the primary fuel source for performance is carbohydrates, which are broken down from stored muscle glycogen, as this is our primary fuel source. However, the reason why intensity is important is not because of the fuel we need to perform during exercise, but instead the after effects once we are finished.
High-intensity exercise stimulates the breakdown and utilisation of stored fat post exercise to a higher and longer degree than all other forms of exercise. It is also linked to maintaining more muscle mass when compared to low-intensity exercise, meaning a healthier metabolism, and furthermore, it helps facilitate a higher caloric burn per minute while you are training as well.
- Burn more calories
- Burn more fat daily
- Maintain a healthier metabolism
Aim to complete a minimum of 3 training sessions per week and a maximum of 6 with the majority of them involving weights or some form of resistance.
Dieting really isn’t a difficult process despite a lot of people going to the extremes of over complicating the timing, frequency and type of meals you are supposed to eat to enhance fat loss.
Make your dieting strategy simple:
- Aim for 3-4 major meals with 1-2 snacks per day.
- Eat at least 1 piece of fruit per day
- Eat as many vegetables you like and any kind as there are NO BAD VEGETABLES
- Aim to have a minimum of 3 serves of protein per day from lean meat, fish, chicken or protein powder
- If exercising within 1-2 hours, add carbohydrates to your meal before you train and a small amount after as well to refuel your system
- If not exercising within 1-2 hours, add a healthy fat to your meal to ensure your health is in check
- Eat a type of food or a particular snack/meal that you love at least once daily
- Eat when you are hungry, not when the clock tells you too
|Great lean protein choices include:|
|Chicken, beef, fish, whey, kangaroo, low fat mince, turkey, lean pork, low fat yoghurt and whey.|
|Carbohydrate sources include:|
|White potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, white rice, brown rice, couscous, white bread, brown bread, pasta, bagels and fruit.|
|Fat sources include:|
|Nuts, seeds, egg yolks, oils, coconut, full fat yoghurt and avocado.|
|Something you enjoy:|
|Milk, ice cream, a doughnut, cereals, sorbet, chocolate, popcorn, lollies or a muffin|
Following these simple guidelines is a great way to both indirectly control your calorie intake while also making it simple to follow.
It is almost impossible to over consume protein and your vegetable intake can essentially be endless. Use vegetables as the cornerstone of your meals by bulking them up with volume and then fortify them based on the guidelines above.
Ask yourself this...
Is it better to have something small that you enjoy daily but allows you to adhere to your dietary guidelines consistently or restrict yourself to the point of binging once a week?
Above all, food and exercise should always be fun.
If you don’t like eating broccoli, don’t eat it! Swap it for another vegetable you enjoy and make meals you love to eat. Utilising herbs, spices and low calorie condiments should be used to the best of your ability.
Likewise, if you hate boxing or don’t like squatting, change the exercise type to something you enjoy so you're not dreading exercise every day.
Finding the enjoyment in your lifestyle choices is the key to ensuring you are able to maintain them long term.
Following rigid dieting plans has been countlessly linked to increased instances of obesity, binge eating, depression, anxiety and poor dietary adherence (1,2,3). Starving yourself of food choice is the fastest way to failing at dietary adherence and long term it will fail you at achieving your goal of a happier AND healthier life as well.
When fat loss is the aim of any program, the key to its success is finding a strategy that suits you as the individual and attends to your needs holistically.
Instead of starving yourself of physical, psychological and social enjoyment, find the freedom in choice and make a lifestyle change you can adhere to.
Fat loss is not about suffering.
SMITH, C., WILLIAMSON, D., BRAY, G. and RYAN, D. (1999). Flexible vs. Rigid Dieting Strategies: Relationship with Adverse Behavioral Outcomes. Appetite, 32(3), pp.295-305.
Meule, A., Westenhöfer, J. and Kübler, A. (2011). Food cravings mediate the relationship between rigid, but not flexible control of eating behavior and dieting success. Appetite, 57(3), pp.582-584.
Stewart, T., Williamson, D. and White, M. (2002). Rigid vs. flexible dieting: association with eating disorder symptoms in nonobese women. Appetite, 38(1), pp.39-44.