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Believe it or not, successful fat loss doesn’t involve going to the gym 7 days a week.
All the time I hear from people who have gone from one extreme to the other. They have moments of intense motivation where they:
▫️ Hit the gym daily (but only do cardio)
▫️ Eat nothing but salad & air
▫️ Fail to value their recovery
And as you can probably guess.. it doesn’t end well.
They crash & burn, feel like a failure for not reaching their own absurd expectations, & rebound back to their old ways. If this resonates with you at all, here’s where you’re going wrong:
1. You’ve set the bar wayyyyy too high.
2. You’re neglecting the fact that you’ve got a career, family, social events, & so many other energy-demanding things going on in your life.
3. You're trying to shortcut a process that requires time!
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t push yourself.. progress doesn’t take place without some discomfort. But, you’ve got to find that happy middle-ground.
This means creating a lifestyle for yourself that you can sustain not just for a few days.. but for the rest of your life.
So, here are 4 things worth prioritising if you want to slim down, improve your health, & become a more confident version of you!
1) Strength Train 2-3x p/w
Building muscle is the #1 way to boost your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories) & therefore create fat-loss.
I won’t go into too much detail on the training side of things, as I’ve touched on this in other articles.
The important thing to know is to not over-do it! You really don’t need to be going to the gym 5, 6, or even 7 days a week & destroying yourself with exhausting HIIT workouts!
The number of people that try doing this for a week & then don’t set foot in the gym again for 6 months is absurd.
2) Up Your Steps
People often think that doing a shit-ton of cardio is the answer to changing their body shape.
Cardio will of course have a positive impact, but you're actually much better off putting your energy towards increasing your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) - in non-nerd speak, the physical activity that ISN’T exercise (walking, gardening, fidgeting).
It's a lot easier to up your NEAT than it is your EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis) & you're much more likely to be consistent at doing so.
So here's how I’d suggest increasing your NEAT:
1. Begin by simply tracking your step count for a week to gain an idea of your daily average step count.
2. With this data on hand, set yourself a step target to strive for each day (aim for one that’s just slightly above your current average e.g. 500-1000 steps more than your current average).
3. Get outside & walk!
I appreciate that even when you have a step target outlined it’s not always easy to find the energy & motivation to take yourself outside get it done. If you’re struggling to consistently hit your daily step target, I recommend that you:
3) 80% of Calories from REAL Food
As helpful as it can be, the truth is that you don’t need track your calories to lose weight & reduce body fat. But, what you do need to do is set yourself some boundaries.
A handy rule I try my best to live by is to get at least 80% of the calories I eat from real, nutritious food sources.
What I mean by 'real' is single-ingredient foods provided by nature; foods that have been consumed by humans throughout evolutionary history, like..
This still allows room for ~20% of your calories to come from those less-nutritious foods that we all love; there's no way I could go on without pizza & garlic bread!
4) Proper Rest & Recovery
I left this point until last, but in reality it’s probably the most significant. I say this because If you aren’t recovering & managing your stress levels then you’ll find it incredibly tough to stay on top of your strength training, activity levels, & diet.
So, the first thing to be conscious of is your sleep quantity & quality. Quantity-wise, you ideally want to ensure that you’re getting between 7-9 hours sleep each night.
Quality-wise, here’s a few things worth considering:
Schedule: Keep a consistent sleep & wake time across the week. By doing so you’re able to regulate hormone production favorably to ensure that you’re tired when it’s time to sleep & alert when it’s time to wake up.
Comfort: Seems obvious, but make sure that you’ve got a comfortable mattress & pillow. If not, it’s going to be tough to get a restful nights sleep
Environment: Keep your bedroom cool, dark, & device free.
Stimulants: I recommend staying free of caffeine post 2/3pm. Caffeine has a half-life of 8 hours, meaning that half of it is still circulating your system 4 hours after consuming it.
Hot Bath: Take a hot bath/shower soon before going to bed. Doing so helps cool your internal body temperature, bringing you into a more restful state.
Eat Light: Avoid having heavy meals 1-2 hours before going to bed - eating too much can cause indigestion, interfering with your sleep. It’s also worth avoiding drinking fluids a couple of hours before bedtime to prevent bathroom trips in the middle of the night.
Get Some Sun: Sunlight exposure during the day helps align your circadian rhythms - our internal body clocks responsible for dictating hormone production, which in turn regulates sleep patterns.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article! I try to make each article as interesting, easy-to-read, & informative as possible. Hopefully you found it to be useful & has given some direction to your health & fitness journey moving forward.
But, if you're tired of going round in circle & would like a more detailed guide on the weight-loss process, I highly recommend you check out my free download 'The Transformation Guidebook'.
Just click the button below to access your copy!
Christian Lawal Personal Training.
Personal training in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Sevenoaks.