I get asked a lot of questions from people on how to lose fat and keep it off and I’m always happy to help. One thing I will always do is dig a little deeper into what they are currently doing and I will almost always find that many end up going about it ass-backwards.
You know what, though, I do not blame them for this because there can be so much misinformation out there not to mention conflicting advice on top of it. So I’m going to go over 3 common mistakes that I see on a regular basis.
Not Enough Focus on Protein Intake
Why so important you ask?
Let’s say you are not getting enough protein you might start seeing weight loss but not in a good way, this can lead to muscle weakness (Who wants to be weak, not me, NEVER!) and muscle wasting. Protein has the task of building and maintaining lean muscle, so If you are not getting enough over time you will not be as strong as you typically would be with the right amount.
A higher protein intake helps keep the hunger at bay while dieting and it also increases the number of calories your body burns to digest it. Compared to carbohydrates protein needs two times the calories to breakdown.
Protein is the only macronutrient that can build and maintain muscle and considering the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest, focusing on protein will, keep your metabolism “burning” for longer.
Now let’s focus on how much you should eat. In most cases and to keep it simple try to aim for about 1g per pound of bodyweight. It is okay to go under that by the way, but just try to keep consistent by having around 0.8 to 1.2 grams per pound to see the greatest results. So don’t forget that protein Bro!! Or as I call it brotein.
Not focusing on Strength
I always see many people trying to do a major overhaul on their training plans when they make big changes to their diet plan. Strength training is taken away for hours of cardio and light weight circuits.
There are a couple of reasons why this happens. One, a long cardio session or circuit with light weights makes you sweat a lot, so more calories are being burned. Second, most people think they won’t be able to see progression or build muscle so what is the point of lifting heavy. But this is just not the case.
The body burns calories all day, not just while we exercise. Now on top of this the more oxygen you consume, the more calories you burn and this can certainly lead to more fat being burned off.
Post-exercise oxygen consumption or “EPOC” can be where more calories are being burned if you train right. Now, EPOC is influenced by exercise type, the time it takes for each session and the intensity. Weight training raises EPOC way more than cardio by the way.
Now there is nothing wrong with circuit training, in fact, I use it with most of my online coaching clients looking to lose fat and can be even more beneficial than traditional cardio. (Especially Taylor who loves all the lovely strength circuits I give her) The problem is that people just do circuits with weights that are way to freaking light or they stick with exercises that they have adapted to without any progression.
The best way to look at it is like this, The more work you do during the session (Number of reps) and the more intensely you workout (More muscle mass you engage or training with heavier weights) the larger the EPOC, which means more fat burn to torch off the fat.
Besides the first reason, there is another important factor in lifting heavy for fat loss. If you are carrying more muscle mass, you will be burning more calories during the day and also while you rest. If you are not trying to maintain or build strength, you will end up losing muscle mass. So you want to hold onto as much muscle mass as you can to keep the metabolism revved up!!
Absolute Calorie Deficit and Overdieting
First off over dieting means that you have been in a calorie deficit for too long an absolute calorie deficit is dropping your calories too drastically (Ever hear of those people who eat 800 calories a day). Both of these are big no no’s and can help with slowing down the metabolism real quick my friends.
Being in an absolute calorie deficit will put your body in starvation mode and will hold onto that dirty old fat. Same goes for being in a deficit for too long because your body will start to store energy and you burn fewer calories again making you store fat.
There is also another problem that pops up when you cut calories for too long or by too much. It will literally drain the energy right out of you so you will have less energy to workout or even give it your all during certain training sessions, again keeping you from reaching that tighter waistline of yours.
We all know when it comes to dropping the unwanted pounds nutrition will always reign supreme but exercise provides you that kick to spike the metabolism and get rid of that gut. If your calorie intake is so low you can’t think straight, then my friend you have a problem.
You didn’t get fat overnight did ya? So take it easy it is not a race. Losing fat overtime is always more efficient and help you retain the muscle you worked so hard to keep on. Probably one of the best ways to do this is to cycle calories which is what I help my online clients with.
This means that some days you will keep your calories high, some days will keep your calories low, and if always goes well and we optimize the metabolism, we start throwing in refeeds. Using this approach, you will be in a net caloric deficit but will still be helping your metabolism periodically to keep it from crashing. I like this approach because it allows you to place your higher calorie days around your hard workouts so you go all out.
So here it is folks:
Make sure you get enough quality brotein. (Protein)
Focus on keeping your strength up while adding in metabolic circuit training during the week. (I don’t want to see any tissue boxes or shake weights).
Make sure you are eating enough calories to keep energy levels high and metabolism fired up. You have to avoid being in an absolute deficit.
You follow these rules and I bet you will increase your chance of success.