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Your Own, Personal Fat Loss Walkthrough
I have been thinking a lot this week regarding what to write about next and, after I had such a good response to my talk on Fat Loss & Definition on the weekend, I decided to write you up a similar thing to help guide you through the process of Fat Loss – Your Own, Personal Walkthrough
I really wanted to make this one count and help you make the RIGHT decision when wanting to lose weight.. so there’s lots of content in this one.
I’ve put the important bits in bold so, if you’re feeling lazy, you can just read them instead.
The first thing I’d like to clarify, when it comes to weight; you will lose it, gain it or maintain it, entirely depending on calorie exchange (calories in, calories out) – it is the other factors (like exercise, sleep time and length, metabolism, meal timing, sunlight exposure, hormonal balance and production, etc) that determine the rate and extremity of this change in weight.
Weight Loss or Fat Loss?
The weight you lose can be a combination of fat, muscle and fluids – this is why I say that:
‘general weight loss is rarely the answer’
There are some people that do just need to lose weight in general, but for most people, the want to lose weight is for appearance and when this is the case it’s actually your shape you want to change (not the numbers that come up on the scale). I’m talking about fat loss & definition – aka sculpting the physique you desire!
As I just mentioned, to lose weight you must be in a calorie deficit, which means that you expend (burn) more calories than you take in.
When you train for definition or ‘toning’, you want that weight loss to come from fat. To ensure that the weight you lose is predominantly coming from fat; you must harness the calorie deficit.
Dramatic drops in weight almost always relate to excess muscle loss (which is called catabolism), where your body is so lacking in energy that it turns your muscle molecules in small units that can be used as energy – this is why, anyone who wants to improve fitness should avoid a diet that puts them into a substantial calorie deficit or isn’t specific to them as an individual.
Instead, as a trainer, I recommend small incremental changes to get you to your end goal in a healthy, lasting and sustainable fashion, without sacrificing the fitness improvement you can make along the way that will help sculpt that physique you want.
So How Much Should You Eat?
This is the question that it always leads back to, and it certainly isn’t as simple as ‘300kcal less than you burn to lose 1lb a week’, that’s just not accurate as it doesn’t relate to you and your body – particularly muscle content.
To establish how much you need to eat, you must first figure out how much you burn, and what your goal is.
Let’s start with how much you burn: this is your total daily energy expenditure or TDEE for short. There are 3 ways to work out your TDEE
Option 1 is to find out the amount of calories your body burns at rest, your lifestyle outside of exercise, your physical activity levels, and the calories you burn digesting and processing the food you eat. If you add these all together, that will be exactly your TDEE; simple right? Well actually it’s very hard to get access to the necessary equipment, and can cost a vast amount of money to have the testing done. And as soon as one of those factors or your body composition changes, including just losing a bit of weight, this figure you just went through thorough examination to establish, is now invalid.
Option 2, you can measure your bodyweight in pounds and times this by 13-16 for a woman or 14-17 for a man, depending on how physically active you are. It’s a vague estimate and at worst can be out by about 300 kcal, which could affect the results you get. But it’s free, easy and is certainly better than nothing!
Option 3 is to calculate your BMR and multiply it by a number specific to your activity level. This way we get a bit of method in there and get within about a 150 kcal range of the exact number we’re looking for. A good, effective, mid-range place to use as a starting block for your diet. At RAW, to make this method even more precise, we calculate BMR in a more thorough way by including your muscle content into the equation. This way, your BMR is more accurate and therefore the end number we get much closer to the real thing.
If you would like more information on this stuff or how to figure out your metabolism, send me an Email to email@example.com and I’ll help you out.
What is the Actual Goal?
So, now we’ve figured out your TDEE (or at least how to figure it out) we move onto your goal: where are you now, where do you want to be and how quickly do you NEED to get there?
Do this in your head – put a hand up and keep it there. If you ever can’t answer a question, lower your hand.
We’ll start with the easy one: What is your primary fitness goal? Can you answer that?
Next question: Can you put a number on that, a destination that defines the achievement? Still up there?
Let’s dig deeper, to the big question that stumps just about anyone who hasn’t had a goal analysis session: Why THAT number and why by then?
If you still have your hand up, you can bend at the elbow and pat yourself on the back. As part of our Goal Analysis, as some of you will already know, we give you what is called a 5‘Y’ form. So, that reason you just gave, that was your first ‘why’. We want to know more and so we ask you “why is THAT important?” And as you make your way through your 5 ‘whys’ you start to realise just how much of an effect you’re expecting this change to make. If done right, at the bottom you’ll have something pretty big. You have just told yourself “THIS is why I need to achieve that goal”. Once you have this, and you stick to it, the only things that can stop you from achieving that goal are outside of your control – and what’s outside of your control is not worth wasting time on.
Now you know where you are and you know how far you want to go, we have all the information there to know what is required to make it happen – you have a rough estimate of how many calories you burn and the % of bodyweight you want to lose, so just copy this with the % of calories under maintenance that you should consume and there’s your caloric intake. Get it?
Here’s the equation just in case you’re struggling to grasp it:
Weight Loss (in %Body Weight) ÷ #Weeks to Achieve = Weekly Weight Loss (in %Body Weight)
Weekly Weight Loss = %Calories Deficit
(If you’re still confused, you can request a nutrition consultation at reception or by Email)
So we should have finally sussed the calorie range to be working in, it’s a case of figuring out what foods will supply this sufficiently and in the right macronutrient value.
Unless you’re obsessed with optimisation, I would never recommend that you count calories – it’s not a healthy way of looking at food and it overcomplicates what could be a very fun and enjoyable thing.
When people hear the word ‘diet’, they think of a particular food scheme that will get them from A to B; this is a misinterpretation of the word through the overuse of it by companies that sell meal plans. Your diet is, quite simply, what you eat on a consistent basis. It has become more and more evident through scientific research and studies that diets are supposed to be for the long-term so you that can make a steady change and allow your body to adapt to a more efficient way of fuelling itself.
I diet should not be designed with an end; it may CHANGE, but it shouldn’t END. You shouldn’t ever be thinking “I can’t wait to finish this diet” or “when I finish this diet, Maccy D’s here I come!”Don’t mistake this for me saying you should never have those foods – they may not do a lot of good for your body, but they could certainly help you adhere to your dietary program long term.
If I never allow myself a little something naughty, then eventually the my resistance will slip and I’ll have a tea spoon full of ice cream, which turns into a tablespoon, which turns into a cup, which turns into a pint, which turns into a litre and before you know I’m going GTA-style and stealing an ice cream truck. What would be better is if I allow myself these nibbles from time to time when I’m struggling.
Don’t try to make some rigid rules or turn things into black & white, it’s just not realistic. Listen to your body, and know the difference between NEEDING a bar of chocolate and just needing some simple Carbs.
Now, for anyone looking to lose fat and retain muscle, protein is going to play a big role in your diet – so the first thing to look at is making sure that every meal (unless eating little and often) has some form of protein.
Next up, comes fat. Fat is going to become your best buddy throughout this journey. This is the guy who will be helping you sleep at night and get up fresh in the morning, stay alert throughout the day and keep you in control of what’s going on inside your body. So make sure you get a regular intake of fats daily.
Lastly, we look at carbohydrates. Carbs have of late been looked down on as the latest enemy to our health, particularly sugar. Well what a load of rhubarb that is! The only enemies are junk food and malnutrition (and yes, malnutrition can also mean over-eating).
Every nutrient has its role in the body, that’s why it’s there. Of course if you maxout on one nutrient it’s going to be bad for you, it’s only a matter of time before people start overdosing with protein and it turns out that ‘protein is the enemy’. What matters is volume and ratio: the volume of calories you consume and the ratio of macronutrients that make up this volume. There’s no set rule for what ratio we should all be having, that’s specific to you and your goals and lifestyle. The standard ratio is 40:40:20.
Your body will always need an abundance of carbohydrates so we stick them up there as about 40% of your calories.
Alongside Carbs go fats that, because of their high caloric content, quickly accumulate that 40%.
And finally we have protein at 20% which we only want for strength & recovery purposes. Due to them commonly being in the same foods as fats and Carbs, they pretty much take care of themselves, so long as your ensure you include them in every meal.
These values are only a guide and it’s important that you experiment with what works for you and your body to find the right diet for you.
Through extensive research, it is made very clear to us that the closer something is to its original form, the better your body will be at breaking it down and absorbing it.
I understand that, when it comes to reaching your macronutrient requirements, there are issues for people who are vegetarian or vegan, so if you would like some extra help with accommodating for these particular dietary factors, sling across an Email and I’ll really make this an easy thing for you to keep on top of and most importantly enjoy!
To put all of what we’ve covered into action, work out how many calories you burn, how many you need and coming from what macronutrients, work out what foods contain these nutrients and make up this calorie intake, allow yourself a treat when you need one, make it all taste good, eat it and then let your body work its magic! But don’t forget to try different macronutrient ratios and see what works best for you and your body.
If you’re ever struggling with any of this stuff, I’m always there on the other end of an Email.
I hope you enjoyed this content, I’d advise you to read over it again every couple of weeks or to help stay on track. If you feel you benefitted from reading this then I would really appreciate you clicking the like button and sharing it with people you feel it would help.
Sam (The Man) Ely