Fat Loss 101
One of the most frequently asked questions that we get asked as a fitness company is, how do I lose weight and how long will it take? There are so many mistakes that people make when they’re trying to lose weight that we wanted to dig a little deeper into the subject of fat loss and give you some answers on how to stop that unwanted wobble.
Why do we put on excess weight?
Your body uses food for energy. It stores any excess energy as fat. This means if you eat more food than your body needs for daily activity or cell maintenance without burning it off, you’ll gain weight.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good guide for checking if you’re a healthy weight. See the video below of our nutritionist, Alison Stork explaining what BMI is and how you can calculate yours.
Fat Loss + Fad Diets = Disaster
Fad diets are just not sustainable or healthy. Diets that restrict lots of food groups are not beneficial for you in the long run. Diets that limit your calories to anything less than 1500 usually ends in you becoming weaker or giving up in desperation for food.
InstructorLive’s Craig Glasgow believes that fad diets are dangerous for many reasons but also because people just cannot maintain them. As soon as you finish your diet or give up, your old eating habits will be back and so will the weight. This ‘yo-yo’ effect of dieting is not good for your body. Your healthy eating habits have to change for life rather than eating well for a couple of months of the year.
A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is a key to any weight loss program. If you’re overweight, you can’t continue with your current eating habits if you wish to lose anything.
It’s not possible to reduce body fat at the same time as over-eating. Just because you’re going to the gym for example, doesn’t mean you can go home and have a Domino’s delivery as a reward. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that…maybe someday it will?! But until then…
Making healthier eating choices will help you lose that unwanted weight.
Calories are a measure of the amount of energy in food. Knowing how many calories are in our food can help us to balance the energy we put into our bodies with the energy we use. This is key when trying to get to a healthy weight.
It’s also very important to consider the quality of calories that you’re consuming. Yes, a low-fat muffin may only be 200 calories but it will benefit your body in no way. However, a handful of nuts containing say, 300 calories would be much more beneficial through its a release of energy, vitamins, and minerals, etc. Consider more carefully what you’re putting into your body and what it’s doing for you.
Introduce Changes Gradually
Small changes can make a big difference. Like, Craig says above, you should think of weight loss in terms of permanently changing your eating habits. While weight loss goals are usually set in terms of weeks, the end game is to sustain these changes over months and years. Make changes that you can stick to such as swapping your full-fat milk for semi-skimmed – which is a small change but something that’s easy to keep up.
Fat Loss and Exercise
When you lose weight, fat loss occurs throughout your entire body at once. You cannot target specific areas.
Cardio – Cardio (such as running, cycling, swimming, walking, etc) encourages your body to burn stored fat as fuel. While strength training exercises (such as weights, sit-ups, squats, etc) might help you to tone muscles they won’t help burn body fat from your problem areas! You can do dozens of sit-ups and crunches each day but never be able to see them as your super toned abs will be buried under a layer of fat which isn’t ideal!
Strength Training – You can use strength training exercises in combination with aerobic exercise to target specific parts of your bodies – particularly problem areas such as the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks. Strength training can also help to reduce your risk of injury during exercise because it strengthens joints and improves balance.
Working on a specific area will, of course, be beneficial in terms of building muscle but you need to combine this with cardio also. Both InstuctorLive’s Craig Glasgow and Nadya Fairweather recommend compound exercising for fat loss – exercises that work for more than one muscle group at a time. Craig’s Kettlebell class is an example of this and also Nadya’s Tabata Fitness Test most definitely works you all over!
Be Patient and Persevere
It will take time for you to begin to notice your weight loss, it won’t happen overnight. Keeping your motivation up is one of the most difficult aspects of trying to lose weight. There will be days when eating healthy goes out the window – don’t beat yourself up about it just start again fresh the next day.
There may even be some weeks where you don’t lose any weight or even put on some weight, don’t panic!! Just sit down and re-assess. Do you need to increase your activity levels? Did you eat junk this week and maybe need to make a few changes to your diet? All this will just help you realize what you need to tweek. The other side of this is that you should make sure to celebrate your goals (maybe not with a trip to Mc Donalds) but in terms of some new clothes or getting your nails done.