Fundamentals of Fat Loss
Fat loss is one of the main goals that most people have when it comes to working out. However, finding a good strategy for fat loss can be a stressful experience considering how many fad diets and quick fixes are out there. So what is the best approach when it comes to fat loss? What are some things you should know before beginning your fat loss journey?
#1: Count your Calories
Let’s be honest, some of us let this step slide a little more than we should. When it comes to fat loss, calorie counting is essential. Obviously proper calorie intake varies from person to person, so the amount you need may differ from others. There are many ways to keep track of your calories, however one of the best methods is through calorie counting apps. A few notable ones are: My Fitness Pal and Fat Secret. First calculate your body fat percentage. Next, calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (the daily number of calories your body currently requires to stay the same weight), and then consume 200-300 less calories than that base number.
#2: Prioritize Strength Training
Strength training builds muscle; muscle burns fat, plain and simple. The more muscle you have, the more calories and fat you will burn. Honestly when it comes to fat loss, strength training should be your main focus. Strength training and cardio make a great fat loss team, and doing them together can get you some nice results. Here is a good strength training routine to get you started:
- One-Arm Kettlebell Swings: 1 set, 20 reps
- Front Barbell Squat: 3 set, 8-10 reps
- Barbell Hack Squat: 4 sets, 10-12 reps
- Pullups: 4 sets
- Pushups: 3 sets
- Preacher Curl: 3 sets, 10-12 reps
- Side Lateral Raise: 4 sets, 15-20 reps
- Calf Press: 1 set, 50 reps
You may have to slowly work your way up till you can fully do this routine, so feel free to adjust it a bit. You shouldn’t try to go straight into an intense workout routine right away, instead you should build a solid foundation and work up from there. Remember as well that there always needs to be progressive overload present in your strength training program.
In addition to calorie counting, you are gonna want to add in a good exercise routine. Cardio is a good place to start, however you shouldn’t overdo it. Too much cardio can throw off the balance of things and slow your progress. Excessive cardio elevates the stress hormone cortisol, which can eat up hard earned muscle and impact your metabolism, as well as impact your recovery from strength training, among other things. Rather than jumping into a vigorous cardio routine straight away, slowly introduce it into your routine. Start with a few 20-30 minute sessions a week and work your way up from there. Make sure you don’t overdo it!
#4: Protein, Protein, Protein
Regardless of what your goal is, protein consumption is key. Protein helps keep you fuller for longer, feeds your muscles, and keeps those pesky cravings away. Protein is the building block of your muscles. It helps your muscles repair themselves after they’ve been damaged during your workout.
This process of tearing and rebuilding is what creates muscle, and protein is essential to this process. Make sure to eat a variety of proteins in order to ensure you are getting all the various amino acids. Some good sources of protein are: lean steaks, chicken breasts, milk, and fish. However, don’t believe the hype about how much protein you actually need, as this number has been elevated by the supplement industry. Research shows that between .55-1 gram/lb of lean bodyweight should be adequate for most people. If you include a lean source of protein at every meal, your daily protein intake will be easily met.
#5: Get a Good Nights Sleep
You would be surprised how much of a difference a good nights sleep can make. Lack of sleep will boost a the cortisol production in your body. Cortisol is a stress hormone and it can wreak havoc on your body when its levels are too high. Lack of sleep causes:
- More cravings
- Can lessen the effectiveness of your diet
- Causes lack of energy and lethargy
- Lessen your workout progress
This is just a few of the effects that lack of sleep can cause. None of these conditions are good for fat loss, or any activity for that matter. Make sure a good nights sleep is one of your top priorities!
While the road to fat loss can be a stressful process, having an understanding of the basics can make it a bit easier to handle. In the end it all comes down to calories, exercise, and your diet.
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