It is a new year and it's time for a new you! As this tired and overused cliché goes: You start the new year by attempting to eat a healthy diet or start a fitness routine with the ultimate goal to shed the festive period blubber. Gym memberships increase, motivation is high, adherence to a modified lifestyle is normally pretty good for a while and confectionery sales will hopefully be taking a hit. Sounds like a good combination, it must work!
We have some great and lofty goals at this time of year and we can visualise the end result we want to achieve. Often the main problem we face is wondering how to get there. Well, the answer is diet and exercise of course. Oh you knew that already? So the real question is what to do, what to eat, when and how often? The questions aren’t changing, yet they are repeated every year.
The steps to losing fat are simple. To lose fat we must make our bodies want to; firstly use fat as the primary fuel source and secondly remove anything that will inhibit this process. Exercise will speed up this process, use some calories and help maintain muscle mass! All you have to do is chain together as many days and weeks of this behaviour until you reach your goal.
We already know what tools to use to plan our assault on fat. Just like everything else in life that requires management; fat loss must be measured and planned. A lack of planning can swiftly lead to burn out and negative associations with exercise and controlling food intake. Here are some basic tips to help guide you through.
You're Not "On A Diet"
Initially try not to think that you are going ON a diet, as this will subconsciously ingrain the concept that you may also be coming OFF.... A more commonly discussed approach is now a ‘lifestyle change’, and I believe it’s genuinely a better idea, diet is a constant, what you habitually eat not something you go on or off periodically.
Start Off Easy
Don’t jump in the deep end and strip out your diet and start doing loads of cardiovascular exercise. This will burn you out, drain your enthusiasm and leave you no room to progress. Start with getting control of your diet and removing the obvious bad choices.
Break it All Down
Periodisation is commonly used to help structure long term strength training programs but it is also vital for fat loss success. By planning your dieting and training in distinct blocks of time you are able to increase and decrease your training intensity appropriately.
Reduce Your Intake of Food
Be aware that, over a 6, 8 or 12 weeks period or however long you want to set up your fat loss plan, you must continue to slowly reduce the amount of food that inhibit fat loss and change the macro-nutrient ratios over the course of the plan.
Increase Your Intensity When Exercising
Be prepared to increase the length of time and change the intensity of your exercise sessions to suit your nutritional state to enhance the power of exercise.
Do Exercises That You Enjoy
Choose types of exercise that YOU enjoy or at least can put up with, not just the ones that some celebrity tells you works, adherence to your training plan is paramount.
Clear Your Schedule
Clear your schedule, because FAT LOSS is what you are doing for the next however many weeks until you reach your ultimate goal.
Remove Any Barriers
Remove barriers to achieving your goal, invest in yourself and get some home gym equipment if needs be, time is the most commonly cited barrier to exercise, don’t become another statistic. Get some weights and a spin bike for the home, it is definitely worth the time and investment, for the cost of 2-3 big nights out you could have a new Spin bike which will last you years and help maintain the improvements you will experience.
Just Do It!
You must be prepared, full stop! Prepared to alter your food, your exercise, your lifestyle. If you can’t deal with this then don’t set yourself up to fail, take stock of your currently lifestyle and have assess whether it is the right time, what are your current commitments (family life and work life stressors) that may get in the way.
There is and always will be a lot to say about how to lose fat, be consistent and disciplined and you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals.