When it comes to FAT LOSS the biggest questions I get asked all relate to calories, cardio and how much of each a individual needs in order to get results. My instant answer to those particular questions are 'How long is a piece of string?'
Everyone is different and everyone has to be seen as an individual. There is no way you can predict what a client will 'need' straight off the bat. You could have identical twins and both need slightly different calories and energy expenditure needs in order to illicit the same fat loss response.
I spent years wondering why me....at 96ish kg back 2 years ago wasn't losing body fat whilst eating 2500 calories but and friend would lose tons of body fa whilst eating 4000 cals. INDIVIDULISATION.
So here is my step by step guide to figuring out how you start, plan and implement the basics of your FAT LOSS program.
First thing you need to do when starting a fat loss journey is to determine where you are starting from. I recently said there is no cookie cutter way to determine your calories. Now this is true but in my opinion the best and closest way to get a starting point is by using a TDEE calculator (Total Daily Energy Expenditure Calculator. These calculators take into account many different and use equations to estimate what calories you require. There are several different equations but I like the HARRIS-BENNEDICT equation that takes into account activity levels aswell.
Once you have completed this and you have a ball park figure as to what you need to be eating in order to maintain your weight you need to ensure that it is accurate and adjust it accordingly.
Over a 1-2 week period........
-accurately track your calories using myfitnesspal and hit the target set out by the calculation
-track your weight first thing in the morning, after a piss and shit, before you eat or drink and repeat at least 3-4 times a week.
-track your average weight for the week.
-compare the scale weight change to the calories consumed.
-If your weight average stays the same over that period of time you know you are in the general ball park of maintenance calories.
-If you gain weight you know your eating in a surplus
-If you lose weight you know you are already in a deficit.
Now you have found your maintenance calories ( the calories you need in order to maintain your weight) you now need to create your deficit. By creating a deficit of calories your body will tap into those fat stores in order to sustain it self. Think of it this way.
Your body is a bucket and the water within the bucket is body fat. As you add water to the bucket (calories) those fat stores build up and eventually fill the bucket. If however you put a whole in the bucket the water (fat stores) will reduce. The hole in the bucket simulates either eating less food or increasing the amount of physical activity you are doing. So long as the water is coming out of the bucket quicker than you are putting it in, you are in a calorie deficit and you will lose body at.
Now as you gathered from that complicated analogy, there are essentially two ways to create a calorie deficit.
By eating less food and there by reducing the amount of calories we consume we will likely create a net calorie deficit.
By moving more we are increasing the calorie demands on the body and there for utilise those fat stores as fuel. Thus creating a calorie deficit. Now in an ideal world we would be able to perform both at the same time in order to maximise results. We may however have to prioritise one over the other due to lifestyle and education around nutrition.
We got our calories, we got our deficit but now we need to ensure what we got is working and giving us the results that we want. So.....we track. There are numerous ways to track progress and YES.........the scales are a valid method so long as you have the knowledge around what can effect your weight and you are using other methods along side them.
Ultimately we need to monitor a few variables so we know we are on the right tracks. If the things we monitor aren't improving then we know we are fucking up somewhere.
SCALES- there are numerous things that effect scale weight that being said if you are in a calorie deficit and you are losing body fat you will be losing scale weight. Will there be fluctuations? yes! I advice clients that choose to use the scales to weigh themselves first thing in the morning after a piss and shit and before they eat or drink. I ask them to weigh themselves at least 3 times in the week and then take a weekly average. By working to a average you iliminate the daily fluctuations. Scale weight moving in the right direction then you are in a calorie deficit ....simple.
PHOTOS- this is a simple one. take photos of you front, side, back. Same lighting, time of day and clothing. If you look better then what you are doing is working. If you look worse then again......your fucking up somewhere along the road.
BODY MEASURMENTS- Another simple one. If you are losing inches you are in a calorie deficit. You may see some areas stay the same or maybe even increase if you are developing muscle tissue but generally if you are losing body fat you are losing inches!
The best thing to do in my opinion is do all things together and then your not relying on one method alone.
Without getting into the nitty gritty and minute details of a fatloss diet and lifestyle....which will be covered in future blogs if we ensure we have a calorie deficit, we track our progress and we stick to these simple rules you are no doubt on the road to success.
PROTEIN- consuming 1.5-2g protein per kilogram of body weight is proven to be sufficient to help you grow new tissue and preserve excisting muscle during fat loss phases. So for a 80kg person they will aim for around 160g protein per day. That amount of protein would equate to around 720 cals as protein is 4 cals per gram of protein. It sound alot but I assure you it isn't when you make the right food choices! (blog to come)
EAT WHOLE FOOD- If I said to you what is healthier....frozen shepards pie or homemade what would you say? CORRECT home made. Cooking from scratch you know what you are putting into your body, you limit preservatives, salts, sugars and 'bad fats' I hate that term btw. Ultimately you can make your food optimal to your needs and make it as nutritious as possible.
WALK- walking is something we don't do enough of. Not only is it something that 99% of people can do for exercise but it is free and has so many benefits. In the UK the average person only walks 5000 steps per day. Now if I told you on average 1000 steps is around 60 cals burnt could be more depending on the individual, if you walked an extra 5000 steps per day thats an extra 300 cals used. thats a whole meal for some people. Not only is walking a great way to burn calories but it has be proved to reduce all cause mortality by 2 thirds. meaning you are less likely to die. Now who doesn't want that.
DRINK- again in the UK we as a population are chronically dehydrated. The vast majority of our bodies are water and without sufficient hydration our bodies simply don't work properly from digestion, hormonal function, performance, recovery, healing....the list goes on so drink ya H20.
Follow these simple steps and enjoy.
If you need any extra support or guidance check out my online coaching packages