Summer is just around the corner and most peoples’ goal right now is to lower their body fat ready to look and feel their best over the summer months.
So let’s bust some myths and talk tips to keep you on track and help you avoid a lot of that misconstrued information that leaves our brains feeling frazzled!
AVOID THESE MYTHS
Cut out all carbs from your diet
Carbohydrates are a primary fuel source for our body and whole grains contain high levels of vitamin B which help make energy from food and create red blood cells. Carbs do not result in weight gain, calories do.
Cardio > weights to get lean
The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your Basal Metabolic Rate, meaning the more calories you can consume whilst still reducing body fat.
You must get up at 5am for fasted cardio
Cardio is cardio, do it at a time that suits you, fasted or un-fasted!
Don’t eat food after 8pm
This is nonsense, calories are calories whenever you eat them. Think of your food over a 24 hour period, rather than just hour by hour. 2000 calories is still 2000 calories, no matter what time you eat them.
You need a gym membership to lose weight
Exercise is limitless, gym’s provide great equipment but bodyweight exercises and HIIT sessions in the park will do the job!
Lift lighter weights for more reps
What made the muscle keeps the muscle, if you usually train in the 8-12 rep range, keep it that way. This is optimal for training volume and will generate a great response from your muscle fibres.
Any of those sound familiar? Ignore them. Weight loss is a simple science that often get’s twisted with pushy products and unproven methods.
TIPS TO TRIUMPH
Keep things basic, stay consistent and put the right methods in place to avoid falling off track and YOU WILL SUCCEED. Here are some of my favourite tips:
Don’t think you need to hit the gym 7x p/week
A structured resistance based workout plan 3x p/week is more than sufficient. Where most people fall short is their low level of daily activity, often caused by work commitments. Find ways to stay active and spend more time on your feet each day and not only will this impact your calorie expenditure, but also leave you feeling happier and increase your energy levels.
On average a brisk 45 minute walk 5x p/week would equate to over 1000 calories; combine that with a structured workout program and you are well on your way to smash your goals!
Consume enough protein
I won’t bore you with it’s muscle repairing and building qualities, instead let’s talk about the ‘thermic effect of food ’ (TEF): Protein takes a much longer amount of time to digest which, yes, makes you feel fuller for longer but it also results in more energy being used in the digestion process; up to 25% more than carbohydrates or fats. This means your body gets 70 calories after digestion for every 100 calories of protein consumed, in comparison to, 90 + calories from carbs or fats p/100 calories consumed.
Don’t eat from the packet
Often find yourself eating foods from the packet, or mindlessly consuming food whilst sat at a desk or in front of the TV? STOP IT RIGHT NOW! Eating from the packet is a huge NO NO and will almost certainly result in eating more than you should/need. Throw those crisps in a bowl, break off a few squares of chocolate or put a couple of biscuits on a plate and leave the rest of the packet to enjoy on another day.
Drinks can be packed full of sugars and extra calories, often overlooked by many people on a diet. Opt for semi-skimmed milk rather than whole milk in your coffee to save over 100 calories for the same great taste and be aware that fizzy drinks often contain around 7 teaspoons of sugar in each can!
Now, let’s talk alcohol; most of us love a couple of drinks but a few simple swaps would go a long way to help us stay on track whilst still enjoying ourselves. A cheeky sex on the beach cocktail will set you back over 300 calories! Whilst a simple gin & slimline tonic is just 60 calories…you do the math!
Here are the most IMPORTANT things to remember
Your training, your diet and your goals all have to be realistic, sustainable and enjoyable or you are setting yourself up for failure. Take small steps; lots of big, impactful lifestyle changes all at once will not be sustainable and will cause both physical and mental stress.
a. If you train once a week, don’t jump to 4 sessions a week straight away; you’ll be juggling around other commitments, stress levels will rise and motivation will drop. Take it easy, increase workout volume gradually and add in more sessions when you feel comfortable.
b. Evading all ‘junk food’ is a mistake, especially if you’re someone who enjoys it. Removing it totally from your diet will lead to cravings and ultimately result in you binging uncontrollably. So treat yourself, a few squares of dark chocolate or a naughty brownie once in a while will keep you sane and, let’s be honest, will have little to no impact on your progress if you’re eating healthy and nutritious foods 80% of the time.
c. Setting realistic goals is SO important to help stay on track and keep motivation levels high; work in small steps and don’t rush the process, learn to enjoy it and track your progress in a variety of ways; athletic performance, weight, body measurements and photos can all be used to track your progress effectively.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day or even a bad week; go back to the drawing board and remind yourself of what you’re trying to achieve and why to get yourself back on track.