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Fat loss isn’t difficult. However, understandably, it can be confusing when the volume of information available to people can be overwhelming; diet zealots, new fads, wonder supplements, quick fixes, snake oil salesman and general misinformation based on anecdotal evidence. 

So if you are beginner what should you do to avoid all of the confusion and give yourself the best chance possible to make a success of your fat loss journey? It’s important to realise that in order to achieve and maintain long term fat loss you must be prepared to make sustainable lifestyle changes. The time it takes to lose the weight will be relative to the time it took to put it on in the first place. Always remember that there is never a perfect quick-fix solution to losing body fat. 

Nutrition

It may surprise you that when looking at fat loss, exercise alone isn’t a very good method. Let me explain; let’s say you go to the gym – you work hard, build up a sweat and get out of breath for 40 mins or so. You may, if you’re working hard, burn 300 calories. Well nutritionally speaking that’s incredibly easy to replace. All that hard work can be undone by 1 mars bar and half a digestive biscuit with your mid-afternoon tea! Now don’t get me wrong, you should be exercising, and we’ll cover off later In this article why that’s the case, but I just want to emphasise that your nutrition is going to be the make or break for your fat loss. 

Calories need to be reduced (not a lot) to lose weight. So how do you start? Begin tracking your intake on an app like MyFitnessPal for a period of two weeks. It’s an easy system to track your food on a daily basis and from there we’ll soon build a picture up of your average daily intake. Without knowing this you cannot estimate an accurate number of calories to consume to lose weight. When you do establish your average daily intake then what you need to do is then establish a reasonable and maintainable reduction (250-300 calories) to enable you to start losing weight. 

Components of your Diet

Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient when body composition is the focus. Building muscle, maintaining lean mass or reducing body fat are all going to be improved by increasing your protein intake.

For anyone looking to reduce body fat, it can often be recommended to increase protein intake to around 1.5-2g per kg of body weight per day (for example, a 70kg individual will be looking to consume anything from 105-140g of protein per day). As well as increasing recovery from the exercise, a higher protein intake will also increase feeling of satiety, particularly in comparison to carbohydrates. A simple way for achieving this higher protein intake would be to consume 20-30g of protein every 3-4 hours a day, pushing a further 20g around training session, usually shortly after training. 

Why Is Protein So Important?

Carbohydrates

Certainly, the nutrient with the worst reputation and one that may need some consideration if weight loss is the goal. The most important thing to bear in mind with carbohydrate intake and fat loss, is the timing, type and total. If training intensity is low, it could always be recommended to consume a lower carbohydrate intake across the day (typically 200-300g is classed as ‘low’), this should come from low GI, nutrient dense carbohydrates (such as fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, sweet potato, brown rice etc).

Where possible, pick carbohydrate sources with a 4:1 or 5:1 ratio of carbohydrate to fibre. Fibre is important for multiple reasons including gut health and satiety. If the ratio is less than that (10:1, 20g of carbohydrates and 2g of fibre) chances are you’ll have a spike in energy followed by a crash. Where possible we need to avoid these ‘pump and dumps’ in blood sugar to allow for a more consistent steady flow of energy. 

Should You Eat Carbs?

Fat

Forget what you have heard about fat being bad for us, the truth is that fat intake is important for fat loss. It can be recommended to increase fat intake to around 0.8-1g daily, per kg body weight. This should come from a combination of saturated (coconut oil etc), monounsaturated (range of nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 and 6).

A lot of foods will contain a good balance of different types of fats, so vary your choices. Fat will play a role in satiety as well so combining protein and fat at meal times that aren’t around training is a good idea to keep yourself full.

The Fat Loss Myths You Should Know About

Here is a way to structure your meals for the day based around training;

Training in the Morning (With Time For Breakfast)

  • Breakfast: Protein and fats
  • Workout: Protein and carbs 
  • Lunch: Protein and fats
  • Snack: Protein and fats
  • Dinner: Protein and carbs
  • Snack: Protein and carbs

Training in the Mid-Afternoon

  • Breakfast: Protein and fats
  • Lunch: Protein and fats
  • Workout: Protein and carbs 
  • Snack: Protein and fats
  • Dinner: Protein and carbs
  • Snack: Protein and carbs

Training in the Late-Afternoon

  • Breakfast: Protein and fats
  • Lunch: Protein and fats
  • Snack: Protein and fats
  • Workout: Protein and carbs 
  • Dinner: Protein and carbs
  • Snack: Protein and carbs

Training

When fat loss becomes the goal most people will embark on a rigorous cardio regime. Resistance training has been proven to be a far more effective tool when attempting to reduce fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the number of calories your body burns at rest. According to studies, your BMR eats up a massive 60–75% of your total daily calorie burn. A pound of muscle therefore, can burn up to 13 calories calories over a 24-hour period, whereas a pound of fat can roughly only burn 5 calories over the same amount of time. The repair to your muscles after you stress them will induce a caloric burn well after the session has finished. This is known as the after burn effect and is not experienced to the same degree with cardio vascular training.

Simply put, do you want to look like a marathon runner or a sprinter?

So what we would advise would be strength training 2-3 times per week, cardio once per week, active recovery (walking, cycling, swimming, yoga etc) 1-2 times per week and completing resting one day a week. If you can, seek out a coach to structure the program for you and guide on your nutrition. 

Personal Training at SPC

When choosing the plan for you include a combination of bodyweight, weight machines, suspension trainers, and free weights. For an effective, fat-burning strength routine, choose 8–10 exercises that hit multiple muscle groups (squats, push ups, lunges, chest presses, rows, kettlebell swings and lat pull-downs etc) and perform them in a circuit style. Use varying times, sets, reps as you progress and always strive for improvement each week. 

Check out our Shop for online programmes available for purchase

Don’t go it alone!

More and more studies have shown that having a support system and a guide is key to losing the weight and keeping it off. This is why joining a community, (SPC men’s and women’s group training, 1-2-1 personal training) is so important!

You’ll soon see there are others working out, choosing healthy eating, and sometimes messing up, too! They all want to lose weight, and they will lift you up and encourage you. It’s inspiring to see that normal, everyday people have reached their goals and transformed their bodies. In our experience they want to help you do it too! 

When it’s easier to hit the snooze button, or tempting to eat the cupcake, remember that your community is right there with you, facing the same challenges.

Your coach, group chats or online forum will be there for those moments where motivation dips and you need that external push. You’ll be checking in with them all weekly so impress them with your dedication and progress. You may find that your hard work will help others struggling with the same issues you had but overcame so don’t underestimate the positive impact you may have on others. 

See how SPC client Matt changed his body and his mindset!

Everyone is different and progress isn’t linear, but if you stick to the principles above, set your support structure up appropriately and dedicate 3-6 months to yourself, then we can almost guarantee results you’ll be proud of.  Surround yourself with the people, team and advice that reinforces the person you want to be and the destination you want to get to. 

When all else fails, SPC is here to help your reach your goals. 

See how SPC Client Jill faced her fear of the gym and lost the weight she always wanted!