By Ryan Adshead
Often, we get overwhelmed with the information that is thrown at us about fat loss.
What the latest celeb diet is! What your mates are doing! What your PT or gym is telling you to do! What your parents taught you!
Yep – super confusing.
This article has been designed to make it simple yet effective for fat loss, it can always be referred back to if you ever forget the basics.
However, you have to WANT to change your body shape. People say they want to lose fat, but do they want to organise their training and nutrition, do they want to reduce alcohol intake, reduce junk foods?
Being lean and in amazing shape requires effort, commitment, consistency and patience. If you struggle with these elements then fat loss results will be sluggish and poor.
Transformation HQ’s basic fat loss steps follow below, but before you read ahead – you need to answer the following questions.
Will I enjoy the way I eat?
Will I enjoy the way I train?
If not then it will end in total failure. If you are forcing food down your throat then that’s senselessness as you will not continue. If you’re feeling hungry and starving all the time, is that the way you always want to feel? of course you don’t! Eventually you will binge on your favourite junk foods as your body is craving quick calories as a survival mechanism.
You may believe you can get away with eating what you want and out train your diet. You think you must annihilate yourself in the gym to see quick results as you’ve eaten crap. Most people do this on the start of their fat loss journey and do as many classes, running sessions, swims, weights as possible until they eventually burn out and throw in the towel.
If you ever dreaded going to the gym – you can safely say you have either been training too hard, not eating enough or that style of exercise you have been doing is NOT for you. You should leave the gym feeling like you have worked but have a little energy left to exercise more.
There is no need for you to do more that 3 or 4 strength/ weight sessions a week plus one or two walks. That is more than enough to see significant fat loss within a couple of weeks.
I really wanted to remind you and make clear how simple fat loss is with a structure that DOES work. This is proven by the results Transformation HQ produce without fail.
Follow these 4 simple steps for long lasting fat loss;
Enjoy the way you eat and keep calories controlled. We are big fans of flexible dieting at Transformation HQ. This means hitting your individual daily calorie target with as much healthy foods as possible, however if a certain meal e.g. ham and cheese sandwich, fits into your calorie target and that’s all you can grab to eat, great pop it in.
Flexible dieting stops you panicking over the small mindless details or you freaking out if you’ve had a bag of crisps. It allows for these mistakes as long as 80% of your food choices are healthy “clean” foods.
Recording and tracking your foods and calories can be annoying at first, but it gets easier the more you do it and it will teach you how to eat intuitively.
To work out your calories we use a simple formula for fat loss. If you have an active job role, times your weight in pounds by 14 e.g. 150lbs you would consume 2100kcal a day
If you have a low active job such as sat in an office all day, times your weight in pounds by 12 e.g. 150lbs you would consume 1800kcal a day.
Simple targets to hit each day. Treat calories like someone has given you £1800 pounds every day and you want to do the most you can with it. You can go and buy a dress or suit for £1800 and walk home, or you can get a £200 dress/suit and spend the rest of your budget on meals, taxis, hotels. In food terms, you can spend all your calories at McDonalds on a big mac meal or you can have 4 small meals of protein and vegetables that will keep you full.
Managing stress and sleep. Starting with stress, we understand some situations in life give you a massive headache and can be a worry. We cannot stop these, but we can control the way we react. Start with breathing & reassessing the situation – react the best way you can to solve the problem and take a step back.
Little things we stress about such as how much broccoli should I be eating? which protein powder is best? which ab exercise works best? these are things you should not be whittling and worrying about. This worrying and stressing is more harmful for your fat loss, as constant stress is bad for elevated cortisol levels. Constant high elevated cortisol levels may encourage more body fat storage around the belly (Talbott 2007).
Sleep is when we recover from our sessions and when we burn body fat. We want you to aim for 7-9 hours a night. This may not be always possible but if most nights fall into this bracket we will succeed.
Lack of sleep has been proven to be linked to obesity, Beccuti & Pannain 2011 found that 1 in 10 adults are obese and obesity has double since 1980. At the same time sleep quality and length has dramatic decreased. They ran a study in a laboratory researching if there was a link & they found a change in “metabolic and endocrine alterations, including decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased evening concentrations of cortisol, increased levels of ghrelin, decreased levels of leptin, and increased hunger and appetite”
Essential lack of sleep altered the body to store more body fat, making you eat more food and to elevating stress levels (cortisol) which we have already touched on is not good for body fat levels.
A big factor for those who run on just a few hours’ sleep, they tend to over eat for a couple of reasons.
- You are awake for more hours so naturally have more hours to eat.
- Your body craves extra calories (energy) to make up for the lack of sleep
Hydrating well, this is over looked and pushed to one side as people don’t believe it matters for fat loss. The simple matter of fact is, your body cannot burn body significant fat without adequate water in the body. The water helps your hormones and natural fat burning systems work efficiently.
Water helps your body build muscle, the more muscle you have, the more body fat you can burn at rest. Stookey et al 2008 did a study on water and fat loss and found increasing water intake was associated with significant loss of body weight and fat over time.
Water will help fuel your muscles in your training sessions – if the muscle and the body are well hydrated, you will feel energised to train hard in sessions. The harder you can train and push up the intensity, the quicker body fat will melt off your body.
Assess. If you are not assessing you are just guessing! Great tag line that should stick in your head.
If you haven’t taken pictures and measurements, how do you know if you have improved?
We see ourselves everyday so will not notice the changes our bodies have made. You need to take measurements every 2 weeks.
First measurement – in a mirror or get a friend, family member, partner to take your photo in your swim or underwear. You may not like the first photo but it can be the driving factor you need to make a change.
Second measurement – tape measurements of arms, chest, belly, hips and thighs.
Third measurement – scale weight.
These three measurements must be done every fortnight on the same day, at the same time in the same clothing. Sundays morning usually work best for everyone just after they have been to the loo.
Record your measurements on your phone – if you see no progression hand in a food log to a trainer. If you haven’t seen any progression you should ask yourself – have you made all your gym sessions, hit your calories, slept and hydrated properly? Then act on where you haven’t been doing so well.
If you’ve seen progression – GREAT, keep going until your results plateau then ask yourself the above questions.
All will fail unless you enjoy the way you eat and train, if you gag on the meals you make then it’s not going to work. If you dread the thought of going to the gym, it’s not going to work.
You should love your meals and how they make you feel. You should look forward to going to the gym (even be annoyed that you can’t make a gym session)
Follow the above steps of tracking calories and hitting your daily target, reduce stress where possible and sleep 7-9 hours a night, keep well hydrated and final take measurements. These are the steps successful leaner and ripped people do – want to look like them – do as they do. Our results at THQ do the above steps and prove it works. What are you waiting for, get cracking!
Need help with anything? Comment below
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Beccuti & Pannain 2011. Sleep & Obesity, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA, Issn Print: 1363-1950, Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. 14(4):402–412,
S.Talbott 2007. The Cortisol Connection, CA USA, Hunter House Publishers.
Stookey, Constant, Popkin, Gardner 2008. Drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity. Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, California, USA