If you have read your fair share on how to lose weight, you will have come to the realisation that being a good mathematician is probably essential as its impossible to lose weight if we are feeding our body more energy than it needs. Feeding the body less energy than it needs (called a calorie deficit) is needed for successful weight loss.
At this point, I must point out, that although you want weight loss, actually what you want is fat loss. As a restriction in calories that results in a loss of muscle tissue, will also result is a loss of metabolic rate (calories burnt on a daily basis) A reduced metabolic rate will reduce our daily calorie deficit and therefore reduce our result potential.
So, so far we have gone over the fact that in order to lose weight, we must create a calorie deficit, weight loss cannot occur without this natural law of the universe. We have also gone over the fact that we do not want to lose muscle tissue or at least we want to minimise muscle tissue loss as loss of muscle tissue will reduce the amount of calories our bodies burn on a daily basis, therefore reducing our calorie deficit and our result potential.
So we want to create a calorie deficit, we want maintain as much much muscle as possible, to maintain a higher metabolic rate and we want to lose fat. So the rest of this article will be my top tips on how to approach this.
- We must weight train. You have heard the phrase use it or lose it, using your muscles and making them work hard is absolutely essential if you want to maintain a large percentage of your muscle mass and your metabolic rate while losing fat.
- We must support muscle recovery with sufficient protein intake, a lack of protein will also cause muscle loss to occur when we are in a calorie deficit. To keep the maths simple aim for 2g of protein for every kg of lean tissue, we not do not need to support total bodyweight.
- Trying to eat in a calorie deficit is a lot harder if the foods we select are not high in good quality nutrition, why because we crave nutrients. Failure to supply the body with sufficient nutrition will increase cravings and unfortunately will power gets weaker and weaker the more we use it. (for those who have been eating a low nutrient diet for a long time, supplementation will be needed.
- Short term sleep restriction may actually increase metabolic rate slightly, probably due to extra stress hormones being released, but long term lack of sleep is a sure way to stop you achieving your goals. You want to lift heavy and you want to be in control of your energy, lack of sleep stops both of these from being optimal. For some being in a calorie deficit may negatively affect sleep, (in this situation I advise natural sleep aids to my clients.)
- For most of my clients there are days in the week that are manic busy and therefore any meals eaten are probably going to be wolfed down, while doing something else at the same time. For individuals like this I advise intermittent fasting on these crazy busy days as an easy way to reduce weekly calories, but also to save unnecessary stress on the digestive system. Our nervous system can be in one of two states, (rest and digest or stress.) If we are rushing around, stressing about what is going on, then our body is not in a state ready for digestion. This will result in lack of nutrient utilisation, most likely digestive issues and possible side effects like headaches, brain fog, constipation etc none of which help the maintenance of muscle tissue or the loss of fat as they disturb your training and nutritional plan.
So in summary for achieving relatively fast fat loss that is sustainable. We must create a calorie deficit, however we do not want to lose muscle tissue or reduce our metabolic rate. Doing some heavy weight training 2-4 times a week, alongside a diet sufficient in protein will help us to keep our metabolic rate high. Eating a diet low in nutrition makes eating a calorie deficit harder and even harder again as time goes along. Eating when in a state of stress will also reduce nutrient utilisation also making it harder to follow a calorie deficit. Sufficient sleep is essential and fasting is an additional tool that could be used, person dependant.