The 10 Rules of Fat Loss

Rule 1- It’s Not Always About Calories. Straight calorie restriction is ineffective as a fat loss strategy as it causes reductions in lean muscle mass and therefore reduces the body’s resting expenditure of calories, focus on the quality of what you eat with good lean cuts of protein, low GI carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables at every meal and plenty of healthy fats.

fatloss-image2Rule 2- Do More, Burn More. Upping your general activity level will help burn more energy and enhance fat burning. Going for a walk, cutting the lawn or even doing the hoovering will burn additional calories- it is not always enough to go to the gym for an hour a day and then sit down for the rest of it!

Rule 3- The Amount of Time Made Available to Train and the Organisation of Training. Exercise without a calorie deficit will not necessarily decrease body fat though improvements in lean muscle mass may be seen. This added activity as well as an increase in muscle will elevate the Resting Metabolic Rate which in time may provide a calorific deficit presuming calorific intake does not increase. To accelerate fat loss exercise and nutritional interventions together create a greater calorific deficit (by increased activity), enhance muscle mass gains and lean mass maintenance (by providing ample resistance to cause a muscle gaining response) and in turn increase the resting metabolic rate.

Rule 4- How Experienced An Exerciser Are You? Your current fitness levels will dictate the intensity that you can work at. With resistance training beginners will see an increase in lean muscle mass, whereas, advanced trainers main emphasis is to maintain muscle mass and strength levels and to develop their general physical conditioning. With anaerobic work (intense work) beginners will find this mentally and physically challenging whereas sprint sport participants (e.g. football, rugby, netball etc.) will have an affinity with this type of training. This will also be affected by your diet, the lower your calorie intake the harder it is to maintain high intensity exercise.

Rule 5- Why Intensity Determines Results. Fundamentally, the same principle applies across the board. Intensity is the driving force for exercisers as they become more advanced as well as leaner. Volume or amount of exercisers performed is the driving force for beginners and individuals with a higher fat mass. As an individual improves fitness, to get further gains intensity has to be increased to provide additional returns. Training organisation is therefore dictated by the time made available to train and how experienced you are.

Rule 6- Getting Optimum Results? The more you exercise the more the macronutrients are used for recovery, regeneration and maintenance of lean muscle tissue as well as better insulin sensitivity and obviously a reduction in fat storage (this does not just mean do lots of exercise it means do the right type of exercise to get firstly better results and secondly to avoid overtraining). During periods of exercise elevating your calorific intake is vital for fat loss. The dangers of calorie depravation and metabolic slow down are well researched. Maintaining a suitable amount of calories means sustained sympathetic nervous system activity, maintained metabolic rates, better vitamin intake and improved mineral status. This is as much from the variety of foods consumed as most calorific deficit diets tend to be limited in choice.

fatloss-image3Rule 7- The 90% Rule. With your nutrition plan if you eat 90% of the meals to the specifications then you will achieve a desired loss of body fat. Therefore, if you consider that if there are six meals a day (including snacks) then that is a total number of 42 meals a week therefore you are aloud 4 cheat meals a week. Now this does not mean that you go completely crazy, remember that portion sizes are still important (a pizza the size of a house does not count as one meal).

Rule 8- Begin with the Result in Mind. Goals are important. Set your goal before you start. Be specific- for instance lose 2 stone, lose 5cm from your waist, fit in to a specific dress or a certain pair of trousers. Be clear with what you want to achieve. Break your goal in to smaller targets. This is good from a motivation standpoint. Goals such as only eating your allotted cheat meals or making it to the gym for all your workouts will help you achieve results in the long term. Breaking your main goal in to 4 week blocks can help with this programme.

notepad with pen vector illustrationRule 9- Preparation for Success. Preparing yourself takes a lot of the stress away from changing your lifestyle or habits by undertaking a focussed exercise and diet. Making sure that you plan your shopping once a week (ideally after a main meal to avoid any hunger related buys!) will get you focussed on your meals for the week ahead. This is also a good strategy as it will mean that if you buy all your foods and snacks for the week in theory there is no excess food to overeat on.

Rule 10- You will Miss a Workout and Eat Food Not on the List. This is just a reality- the key is to stick to both your fitness and nutrition plans as much as you can. If you are achieving this 90% of the time you will get some results. Don’t get demotivated if you eat badly or train poorly, just get yourself back on track.

About the author

Hannah developed a passion for fitness from a very young age which led her to compete in a wide range of sports including netball and athletics, where she trained and competed for several years. She graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2009 with a Degree in Health, Exercise & Nutrition, during which she gained experience in the fitness testing of elite athletes including Cyclists and Triathletes.

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