Being thinner and more defined is a common fitness goal, improves health and confidence, and can make you a much happier person. Fat loss is all about discipline and small lifestyle changes that have huge effects in the long-term. We’re going to break this topic down into dieting and exercise, as these are the most important factors.
We’ve already discussed how calories are key to determining whether you lose or gain weight, so it’s no surprise that this is the first step to losing weight. The number of calories you use in a day is called the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), and fits into our calorie equation:
Calories In (Diet) – Calories Out (TDEE)= Energy Balance
This means that you need to have a good idea of how many calories you use in a day, and eat less than this. You can increase your TDEE through exercise, but diet is more important: it is always easier to eat 200 calories less than it is to burn 200 calories through exercise.
This diet should also be high in protein, as this will preserve your muscle tissue while you lose fat. A diet that is high in both protein and fiber will also have an improved feeling of fullness and satisfaction while keeping calories low, allowing you to stick to your diet more effectively while losing more weight and holding onto more muscle.
When cutting weight, it is always important to make sure that you’re consuming enough essential, healthy fats. These are best consumed in the form of fatty fish, high-quality animal products, high-quality dairy products (such as eggs and natural yoghurt), and plant oils. Olive oil and fish oil are the best sources of healthy, polyunsaturated fats and will keep your hormones balanced while dieting for fat loss.
Carbohydrates are key for fuelling hard work. Once you’ve eatenplenty of protein and healthy fats, you should eat carbohydrates in proportion to the amount of tough, prolonged exercise you perform. Focusing on high-fiber foods will keep you full and improve digestive health, but starchy plant-based carbs are the best way to fuel up while staying healthy, full, and keeping calories low.
Training for weight loss is all about getting in plenty of hard, high-calorie work in the shortest time, using movements that are well-balanced and appropriate to your level of experience and strength.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great way of burning lots of calories quickly. This is a type of exercise that alternates between high- and low-intensity exerciseto keep your heart rate and metabolism up with a relatively small time-commitment. If you’re pushed for time, HIIT is a great way of getting a full workout – using resistance and speed intervals is also a great way to improve other athletic capabilities.
Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio is less efficientbut has an improved effect on visceral fat: the type of fat that builds up around organs and increases serious health risks. This includes long-duration, ‘classical’ cardio. Try to stick to low-impact exercise like rowing and cycling where possible.