So the first week of January has passed, I’ve started to see a lot more people return to the gym as well as seeing a lot of new members joining, a busy time for gym instructors and personal trainers in Swansea. I have also heard a lot of people talking about beginning healthy eating. This is great, but will it last?
Sadly many of these people who have started the New Year with new fitness hopes and health aspirations will be back on the couch with a big bar of chocolate before February is upon us.
To make real changes you need to do it right!
I think we can all agree that the majority of the New Year resolution group have set themselves the goal of losing weight, or fat … what’s the difference?
Well the difference is massive actually.
Someone who has lost 8kg of fat compared to 8kg of weight will have massively different results. Most people who say they want to lose weight probably do mean that they wish to lose their fat.
When people start dieting, I’m talking about the kind of diets which will promise you that you will lose 7 pounds in 7 days, you know the ones. Initially the weight will come off, this is mainly because your food intake has been dramatically reduced. You are probably not much closer to your ideal body shape because you haven’t just been losing fat you have been losing muscle as well.
As well as loose looking arms and legs another problem with this dieting approach is if you returned to your old ways the weight would come straight back on, this time with extra body fat though!
This is known as yo-yo dieting and is a very unhealthy cycle to be stuck in.
People will say they would like to lose weight because that is all that most scales will tell you, if the scales say you have lost 3kg then you have lost 3kg, it doesn’t say how much fat vs muscle you have lost.
Purchasing a slightly better scale (bioelectrical impendence if possible) which can measure body fat is a great idea. You can then use your body fat percentage as a way of tracking your progress as your body fat goes down. Doing it this way gives you the best opportunity to have the toned arms, legs and stomach that you wish for.
Average body fat measures for males are between 12-18% and for females 16-25%. Females have a higher percentage as women need fat in certain places for reproductive activity. A minimum level which people should not go below is 4% for males and 12% for women.
So I would just like to summarise how losing fat compared to losing weight would affect our body:
- Losing fat would help to boost our metabolism and protect our muscles. Losing weight would mean you lose mostly muscle.
- Losing a lot of weight can leave you feeling weak and unwell where as losing fat makes you feel healthier and energised.
- You can lose weight without exercising; you will need to exercise to lose fat.
- Fat takes up a lot more space than muscle so by losing fat you will take more inches off your body.
- Muscle is firm, fat jiggles. Losing the fat will give you the best body you can hope for. Losing weight will only make good reading on an average set of scales.
The best way to lose fat
The best way you can go about this really is fairly straight forward on paper. Nutrition is crucial and regular exercise is important. Here are a few tips to keep you on the right track:
- Eat good quality protein with most of your meals
- Cut out bloating refined carbs such as white bread, white rice etc.
- Eat a small portion of high quality carbohydrates like brown rice with each meal
- Eat as many vegetables as possible with each meal
- Eat fruit and nuts for breakfast and sometimes as a healthy desert
- Eat 4-5 smaller meals each day instead of 2 big ones
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise regularly through challenging cardio training as well as strength building training
I don’t think there was anything there that you won’t be able to do. The foods you eat need to be sufficient enough to preserve and build your muscles but not so much that it increases body fat. Following the rules above should maximise your chances of losing body fat at a steady pace whilst keeping your muscle.
This applies to both males and females, we all need muscle to function in our everyday lives so a loss of this will make even the simplest of tasks tough.
Adopt these tactics and follow the advice above to help you to get the toned body you’ve always wanted and ensure that the weight stays off for good!
Thanks for reading,