Lifestyle The Keys to Losing Fat

The Keys to Losing Fat

Notice how this post is about fat loss & not weight loss, these are two completely different things so please do not get them confused. To “lose weight” would simply mean to lower that number on the scale & not specifically target body fat (BF), through this process we would also be losing lean body mass (LBM) which is not ideal. That’s the difference when we’re trying to lose body fat we are doing so in a way that preserves as much LBM as possible. One thing to keep in mind is that through preserving more muscle the weight on the scales will not drop as quickly. Say in a month you only lose 1kg & feel like you should’ve lost more, this is simply due to the fact that although you may have lost 2kg in BF you’ve also gained 1kg of muscle, bringing your total weight loss to 1kg.

So I guess the question is how do we preserve our LBM while losing BF?

Well, that’s where strength training comes in. I know what you’re thinking, “shouldn’t I just be doing cardio?” Wrong. In order to prevent atrophy of your muscles, it is crucial that you are applying a stimulus, progressively overloading & getting stronger.

For this, I recommend prioritizing compound lifts (bench, deadlift, pull-up, squat, etc) working with heavyweight & lower volume, between 3-6 reps for 4-5 sets which will focus on strength. Following these compounds should be some accessory work with a lighter load & higher volume, less focus on strength here but still overloading those muscles with extra volume, for example, cable flys, leg extensions, cable pushdowns, etc.

Once these bases are covered it’s time to move onto the boring stuff that no one likes, cardio. Personally, I will generally opt for HIIT cardio however I do not recommend you jump straight into the deep end, begin with the simpler cardio machines like the cross trainer, step up or treadmill & slowly introduce higher intensity interval work into your training.

Now for the final piece to the puzzle, your diet.

There are no magical answers when it comes to diet, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts is all comes down to energy balance, you must be eating in a deficit, where you’re taking in fewer calories than your body uses in a day. In order to do this, it is crucial that you track your calories, I recommend using the MyFitnessPal app as it makes this process much easier. Firstly though you will first need to find your maintenance calories, which is as the name suggests the number of calories you need to maintain your weight.

There are a number of equations to figure this out.

To keep it simple I recommend that you use a calculator online, I have linked one at the bottom of this post. Please, not that as you eat in a deficit for extended periods of time & begin to lose fat your metabolism will slow down to compensate & your maintenance calories will begin to decrease so you will need to adjust accordingly.

Once you have your maintenance calories it’s a matter of figuring out how much of a deficit to eat in & listening to your body. To determine how much of a deficit to eat it depends on how rapidly you’d like to lose weight, it is recommended that you aim to reduce 0.01% of your total body weight, so in my case, as an 82kg male, I should aim to drop 0.82kg per week or less.

You don’t want to try to lose more than 0.01% of your body weight & the reason for this is that the larger the deficit & the quicker you lose weight the more LBM you will lose in the process. And remember the aim when losing BF is to try to retain as much of that LBM as possible, essentially the smaller the deficit & the slower the weight loss, the more LBM that is preserved.

Just as a reference to understand what your deficit should look like, for someone looking to lose 1kg per week they should eat in an 847 daily calorie deficit, 0.8kg per week should eat in a 677 daily calorie deficit, 0.6kg per week should eat in a 508 daily calorie deficit, 0.4kg in a 339 daily calorie deficit and so on, these numbers, however, are a guide & will not be correct for everyone, it’s a process of trial & error.

A method that I find works well is to track your calories/deficit on a weekly basis.

What I mean by this is that you find your maintenance calories which we’ll say is 3300, 3300 x 7 = 23,100, this is my weekly maintenance calories. Now say I’m aiming to lose 0.6kg per week, my daily deficit should be 508 calories, 508 x 7 = 3556. 23,100 – 3556 = 19,544 calories – this should be my weekly caloric intake. While using this method you still need to track your calories on a daily basis, however now you have a bit more flexibility. You may go over your calories on one day, so to compensate you lower your calories the next day/throughout the rest of the week to bring your weekly average to 19,544 calories.

Now that you understand the importance of strength training, retaining LBM & caloric intake now it just comes down into putting this all into action. It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be a tough journey but I fulfilling one.

The key here is consistency.

Don’t be too hard on yourself but also don’t be too easy on yourself. It’s okay to have a cheat meal every once in a while, notice how I said cheat meal & not cheat day, if you do cheat on your diet it is OKAY.

Don’t feel guilty & just say “ahh fuck it I already messed up, I may as well eat like shit for the rest of the day” you need to have self-control, accept that you had a cheat meal, get back on track & move on from it. A method you can use if you know you’re going to cheat on your diet for an event is to preserve calories coming up to the event, say by eating less earlier on in the day, track your calories with MyFitnessPal & leave some excess calories to compensate, or to use my weekly calorie tracking method.

You can do this, it’s going to take serious willpower & self-control but it is definitely possible, don’t ever doubt yourself. Take this information & do something with it. If you have any other questions, don’t know where to start or just need a hand then reach out to me & I’ll do everything I can to help.

I believe in you!

(Maintenance calories calculator)

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