In a bid to becoming a healthier you, how many times have you stumbled across an article titled “How to lose your belly fat in 5 minutes” or “Shed your gut in 8 minutes” or even something as ludicrous as “Torch body fat in 2 minutes”, 2 minutes?!!! That’s before I can finish eating a pack of cookies (hmmm…delicious). Fitness is a journey, and although weight loss might be a destination, it does take time.
The mechanics of weight loss is as simple as it is complicated but it all boils down to one thing, creating caloric deficit. Caloric Deficit in layman terms is burning more calories than you consume or consuming fewer calories than your body burns.
The next few paragraphs will highlight tips ranging from workout routines, nutrition guides and practical daily tips that will help you reach this state of fat loss in an efficient and healthy manner.
Your training might be what’s between you and burning body fat. Many people fall into the trap of relying on steady state cardio i.e. running, cycling, swimming for long stretches of time for fat loss. The truth is, that type of cardio only burns calories when you’re working out, on the other hand incorporating the following training styles will help you burn fat even when you are sedentary.
Resistance training is another term for weigh training. It has many benefits including accelerating fat loss; you can read more it HERE. This type of training owes its benefits to the fact that it helps your body build muscles, and this is a good thing because muscles burn more calories than fat. The more muscles your body has, the more calories it burns. Additionally muscles burn fat 24.7, even when you are asleep!
So next time you are the gym, don’t hesitate to head to the weight section. P.s make sure you’re properly supervised if you are a beginner, safety first.
Try THIS sample workout to get you started
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Variety is the spice of life and High Intensity Interval Training proves just that. HIIT consists of short sprint intervals coupled with low-moderate intensity work. An example of this would be a 30 second sprint followed by a 4 minute steady pace walk to cool down and bring your heart rate back to normal and repeat! HIIT creates an intense after burn effect which keeps your metabolism remains elevated for hours, and sometimes even days. It also helps in building muscle, which is an added bonus for fat loss!
Try this HIIT workout for a burn that’ll last for days!
12-mins jump rope: 2-min rest
10 X 30m Sprints (walk back from the end of the sprint and go again): 2-min rest
Workout of the Day (WOD)
- 10 X Burpee box jumps: 30 sec rest
- 30sec Battle Rope slams: 30 sec rest
- 10 (each side) X Sledgehammer tire slams : 30 sec rest
- 1 min punching bag
- 1min jump rope
Do WOD 3 sets with 2 mins rest per set
Notice my use of the word nutrition, as opposed to “Diet”. I find that when the word diet is used, and immediate mental block and an air of fleetingness is created. As humans, we most desire what we can’t have, so the word “diet” naturally spurs craving. In my experience diets never last, so to achieve sustainable weight loss I recommend incorporating a balanced healthy eating plan that doesn’t promote indulgence but also doesn’t choke you. Some things to keep in mind include:
The aim here is to eat enough so you’re not hungry, which is quite different from eating till you’re full. Here are some tips to help you portion your meals better.
Use a smaller plate. It’s the easiest thing to immediately implement, the larger your plate is, the more inclined you are to fill it up. So go out and get yourself a kiddie-sized plate, it’s a true reflection of what you should be eating.
This is a rough guide of what your plate should look like at meal times. Image from WebMD
- Limit high calorie dense foods like oils, sugars and breads as you need to eat a lot of them to feel full but with every bite, they pack a punch of “empty calories” which inadvertently leads to weight gain.
- Carbs are not the enemy, but you need to choose your carbs wisely. Opt for high fiber carbs including vegetables like broccoli, sweet potato. Whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice are great. It’s also key to eat this in moderation, a useful tip is to have only a quarter of your meal as with carbs, another quarter should be protein and half your plate should be filled with vegetables.
- Don’t skip meals. The longer you go without food, the more you are likely to binge at the next meal. Having 4-5 portioned meals throughout the day is ideal, as it keeps your metabolism running, and you remain satiated throughout the day.
- Eat a lot of protein! It facilitates muscle growth, keeps you fuller for longer and it also helps to fight off cravings.
Having your meals prepped beforehand make meal times a breeze, they also guarantee that you will make the healthiest choice as you are less inclined to eat on impulse. To create a fat loss meal plan that’s best suited for your body and goals, you will need to understand your caloric requirements. I find this calorie calculator useful as it takes my body stats as well as my activity levels into account, giving me a rough guide on how many calories I need to eat to maintain, gain or lose weight. I then prep my meals and macronutrients around this.
#Bonus Tip: Cook every 3-4 days so your meals remain fresh and tasty. Not only does meal-prepping help you achieve your weight loss goals, it also saves you time and money throughout the entire week.
Do you have no idea where to start? I’ll be happy to break down meal prepping in an another article, if you’d like me to do so, simply comment below.
It’s no news that water is essential to weight loss. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water. We need it need it for a variety of bodily functions including, regulating body temperature, lubricating joints and blood formation BUT it also acts as a natural appetite suppressant, and aids in boosting our metabolic function.
Drink more water, burn more body fat. Depending on your size, weight or fitness and activity level, you should aim to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.
SUPPLEMENTARY DAILY TIPS
Keep a Journal
This seems an unnecessary burden but it is very useful, as it will help you monitor your progress and keep you working towards your goal. This could be a combination of both a food and workout journal. Fixating over how many “almonds” you ate isn’t the idea, just keep it simple. To ensure accuracy, write down what and how much you eat right away, rather than at the end of the day. Choose a method that is convenient for you: It could be your iPhone notes, or you could use an elegant notebook, just make sure is handy and accessible.
Ditch The Scale
When we start out on the journey to weight loss we almost always focus exclusively on how much we weigh as per the bathroom scale. This is not a very efficient metric especially if you’ve incorporated weight training and HIIT into your workout. Weight, as read on the scale, fails to distinguish between muscle and fat composition. Muscle is denser than fat so 1kg of muscle looks a lot smaller/leaner than fat.
This means when you start training and eating right, you gain muscle on and average of 0.11kg/week and lose fat at about 0.68kg/week. The mathematics gets quite complicated, so I recommend you do a body composition analysis every other month to accurately check your progress.
I’ve co written this article with Moyo, an aspiring PT and also my brother. We have both tried and tested these tips in our own weight loss journeys and we are happy to report that they do work! So include any or all of these tips in your daily routine to get that summer body you’ve always dreamed of.