A Activity. Good nutrition is only half of the equation for optimal fat burning. Getting physically active is the other half. When you combine the two you get great results. But it is also important to establish a daily regime so that these essential facets of healthy living become habits and not just something you do in the short-term. It only takes a week of no exercise or a couple of evenings of excessive eating to undo the good work of a well planned fat loss program, so avoid these pitfalls by committing to a manageable regime and sticking to it.
B Body Fat percentage. Getting yours measured, either through skinfold measurements or bioelectrical impedance, will give you an accurate idea of where you’re starting from, so you’ll be able to monitor your progress effectively and adjust your diet and exercise regime as necessary.
C Calorie deficit. In order to lose fat, you need to create a calorie deficit, and that means burning more calories than you consume. Regular exercise combined with a carefully monitored, healthy, balanced diet is the quickest way to achieve this. In order to lose 1lb of fat per week you need to create a calorie deficit of 3500kcal.
D Dieting. It makes you fat. When you significantly reduce your calorie intake, your body goes into ‘famine mode’ and slows your metabolism right down, which means you’ll burn fewer and fewer calories at rest. When you diet, your body tries to hold onto its fat reserves and will hence break down lean tissue, or muscle, for energy instead. Remember, the more lean tissue you have , the more fat you burn, even at rest.
E EPOC. Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Most people are misled into thinking that the amount of calories you burn during an exercise session is what’s key for fat loss. But we actually spend far more time not working out than we do exercising, so it is also important to focus on how many extra calories a particular session is going to lead you to burn after you’ve finished.
This is where anaerobic exercise is so important. Not only does it burn calories whilst you’re doing it, but it also increases the amount you burn afterwards as a result of heightened metabolism (EPOC). This state of increased calorie expenditure can range from several minutes for light work (i.e. aerobic training), several hours for heavy work (i.e. anaerobic cardio training) and up to between 12 and 24 hours for prolonged, exhaustive workloads (i.e. interval training or circuit weight training).
F Fat Burning Zone. Sorry, it doesn’t exist. Advocates of long, steady stints of cardio suggest that the body burns more fat during low intensity aerobic exercise than it does at high intensities, but this is a misinterpretation. At low intensities, a higher percentage of fat is burnt in relation to protein and carbohydrate (50% of calories from fat). However during higher intensity exercise, even though total calories from fat are only around 35%, a much higher number of calories are burnt overall, which means you’ll burn more fat calories at high intensities than low ones.
G Goal Setting. Grab a pen and paper and write down exactly what it is you want to achieve. Be Specific about what it is you are trying to achieve and by when; this helps us to focus our efforts, clearly define what we are going to do and helps us to stay accountable by committing to a deadline. Decide what actions you are going to take to achieve your goal and establish why it is important that you achieve your goal. For example, instead of writing ‘I want to lose weight’, you could say, ‘I will lose 5cm off my waist by December 25th and I will achieve this by committing to a daily exercise regime and healthy diet, which I will preplan each day to ensure I stick to it.’
H Herbal Tea – studies have shown that drinking teas such as green tea can help fat loss by increasing your energy expenditure by up to 4% for 24 hours after drinking it, as well as detoxifying the body, suppressing appetite and aiding the digestion of fatty deposits. They can also help to reduce cholesterol, which, in excess, can put you at risk of coronary heart disease.
I Interval Training. As previously mentioned, high intensity interval training continues to boost your metabolism long after your exercise session is over (EPOC). There are various means of performing intervals but the essence is the same whatever your level of fitness; following an appropriate warm up, short bursts of high intensity work are followed by a low intensity recovery period, repeated several times and finished with an appropriate cool down.
J Juicing. For those with the time and inclination to prepare fresh juices, these can be incredibly beneficial for fat loss in that they allow you to consume a myriad of different vitamins and minerals in one serving and are low in calories as well as filling. They can also help to satisfy a sweet tooth and make an ideal mid morning or afternoon snack.
K kilograms, pounds and weight in general. It’s not really important or relevant how much you weigh. What is important is how much fat you are carrying and what you look like. Muscle weighs more than fat and is much denser, so measure your progress through body measurements and fat loss assessments and don’t get too bogged down by what the scales say.
L Lean Tissue. Building more muscle is like having a passive income. Passive income pays dividends when you’re not working and aggregates even more when you are. When you train with weights it boosts your metabolism and when you stop your body continues to burn calories in order to build and repair muscle that training has broken down. Low intensity cardio, on the other hand, burns calories while you’re performing it but stops as soon as you do. Focus on what gives you the most bang for your buck; strength training.
M Mental Toughness. If fat loss were easy, we wouldn’t be facing an obesity epidemic. It takes determination not to skip workouts and eat junk food, but if you really want it, reach inside yourself and find the strength to take charge of your life. A personal trainer can give you the best chance of success by supporting and guiding you in your fight against the fat, but at the end of the day no one can do it for you.
N No sugar or saturated fat. Eliminating sugar and saturated fat from your diet is essential for fat loss. This includes sugar as we know it, but also sugar substrates such as honey, dextrose and sucrose. Sugar is highly addictive and causes excessively high insulin levels, which triggers the body to store excess carbohydrate as fat, thus ruining any chances of fat loss. Beware of hidden sugars in prepared foods; always check the labels. Excessive consumption of saturated fat, meanwhile, not only makes you fat but also puts you at a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease as a result of increased cholesterol levels.
O Omega-3 fatty acids. These Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) cannot be produced by the body, so it’s important that we get them from the food we eat, much like vitamins and minerals. Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from plant or animal sources, such as salmon, mackerel, and other oily fish. As well as possessing a list as long of your arm of health-giving properties, including prevention of a wide array of cancers and cardiovascular diseases, a number of human studies have suggested that Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in facilitating the fat burning process and may even accelerate the rate at which fat is burnt. Watch out for saturated fat in biscuits, cakes, pastry, fatty meats, cooking fats and spreads, milk and other dairy products.
P Portion size. One of the easiest ways to cut calories is to decrease your portion size. This really is an important facet of a healthy balanced diet, because too much of even healthy foods can still leave you carrying more fat than you would like. Remember bigger is never better where fat loss is concerned, so aim for quality, not quantity. Reading food labels and preparing food yourself will help you to establish exactly what you are consuming, whilst also ensuring that it doesn’t contain any hidden nasties which might hinder your fat loss efforts. It is also important to eat regularly; research has shown that spreading your food intake over 5 or 6 meals a day rather than the standard 3 is more conducive to fat loss even when calorie consumption is exactly the same.
Q Quality food. Investing in quality food rather than cheaper alternatives will ensure that you not only fuel your body with the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients that it requires, but the foods you eat are also likely to taste a whole lot nicer and hence help you to stick to your healthy regime. You only have one body, and if you want it to fire off all cylinders, you need to put the best petrol in.
You Understanding why your fat loss attempts have failed before will allow you to avoid making the same mistakes again. Remember, if you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got, so learn from your previous attempts and turn them into positives to help you succeed now. Was it that you ate healthily but drank too much alcohol? Did you eat too little which then led you to experience cravings which resulted in you resorting to quick-fix sugary foods? Were your portion sizes too big? Was your exercise regime sub-standard? Take the time to understand where and why you have slipped up in the past, so that you can prepare accordingly to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
R Resistance Training. As previously mentioned, raising EPOC means raising the amount of fat we burn after exercise, and nothing induces it quite like a good resistance training session. Training with weights also adds muscle fibre (fear not, ladies, I’m talking dense, sculpted muscles here, you most likely don’t have the genetics to build anything more without a seriously concerted effort) which not only means greater strength, but also a higher basal metabolic rate (i.e. the amount of calories you burn at rest every day). The other great thing about resistance training is that it encourages the body to burn fat instead of muscle tissue. The body isn’t fussy which source it uses for energy, but by placing strength demands on it, you are effectively saying,’ hey body, I need that muscle for lifting heavy things, burn fat for energy instead!’
S Sleep. When you don’t get enough rest, your body responds by increasing a substance called grehlin, and grehlin makes you want to eat more. Not getting enough sleep also reduces the amount of leptin in your body, a substance that suppresses appetite and lets you know when you are full. So, when you are sleepy your body tells you it is hungrier than it really is and cannot let you know when have filled up as efficiently as it could if you got enough rest.
T Truth. I.e. To thine own self be true. The amount of people who I hear complaining that they ‘barely eat anything but still put on weight’ is quite astounding. People don’t put on weight by eating less than they burn; fact. Therefore one has to accept that if you are truly serious about losing fat, you need to stop kidding yourself and really look at what you are eating, and drinking, that is making you fatter than you would like to be. Only then will you start moving towards your goal.
V Vegetables. These are the perfect fat-loss food. Full of nutrients, vegetables are so effective for fat loss because they provide “bulk” to the diet but contain very few calories. This keeps the metabolism elevated because of the large volume of food the body has to process. They also increase satiety and maintain blood sugar levels at a constant level, so you won’t be susceptible to dips in energy and subsequent sugar cravings.
W Water. The body’s need for water is second only to its need for oxygen and plays a critical role in the body’s energy systems. Good hydration is key to the fat burning process in that it flushes toxins out of the body. If we become dehydrated, the kidneys, which are primarily responsible for dealing with waste products, become overloaded and the liver has to step in to help. The problem with this is that the one of the liver’s main jobs is to burn fat for energy, but if it busy helping the kidneys deal with water retention and excess waste product build up a result of dehydration, it can’t do its own tasks as effectively. This obviously has negative implications for optimum fat burning, so try and drink at least 8 glasses (64-80oz) per day.
X Xenadrine and all other slimming pills. Are more often than not a complete waste of time and money and are usually no where near as effective as the well planned marketing campaigns used to sell them, which prey on the fact that you are absolutely desperate to lose fat with minimal effort. Please, put your wallet away, take responsibility for yourself and accept that fat loss is not easy, but with commitment YOU CAN DO IT, without the need for pills, potions or other useless gimmicks. You just have to decide whether the effort involved is worth it to have the body you desire and if it is, take action.
Y Yoghurt (low fat, natural varieties) is an excellent health food that is portable, nutritious, convenient and delicious and works for breakfast, lunch, pudding or as a snack.
Z Zero willpower? Consider hiring a personal trainer, who will not only ensure you stick to a workout regime that is safe, fun, progressive and tailored to your needs, but who will also monitor your nutrition, help you stay accountable in your pursuit of fat loss, and ensure you reach your goals.
Charlotte Ord is an innovative personal trainer and kettlebell coach who brings together the most effective of both old school and cutting edge training methods to deliver outstanding results to her clients, whether they be sport, health or aesthetically motivated.
Charlotte has a reputation for being one of Surrey’s foremost trainers, hallmarked by her commitment to excellence in every area of her coaching practice. Her reputation has been built upon her ability to deliver results which consistently surpass those normally expected of a personal trainer, her infectious energy, and her unrivaled ability to instill self belief into even the least confident of clients.
For more information on one-to-one or group training with Charlotte, or to enquire about kettlebell classes in Surrey, please visit the COPT website at http://ift.tt/KInxS1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For the very latest in strength, conditioning and fat loss research and information, sign up for the free COPT newsletter at the above address, or visit the functional fitness and fat loss blog at charlotteord.blogspot.com
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