It’s no secret that here at Fitter Food we prefer the simple life, we don’t like to cause ourselves unnecessary stress and overcomplicate things. This applies to our training, nutrition and lifestyle choices. Often this approach to fat loss may fall on deaf ears because many people believe fat loss can’t be simple and needs to involve complicated formula’s and fancy products to get results.
The truth is fat loss can be as simple or as complicated as you wish to make it. Just keep in mind the easier the steps involved are the more likely you can sustain them. We know there is no one size fits all but here we detail some initial steps we often suggest to people as a staring point. Each on can be easily implemented after which you can reflect and adapt based upon the outcome.
1) Eat a Protein and Fat Based Breakfast
We are not anti-carb, far from it in fact but we do find many people feel better starting their day with protein and fat over a carb-rich breakfast. It’s more satiating and keeps you fuller for longer, it also helps keep blood sugar stable which means you avoid that mid morning slump from the drop in blood sugar and end up reaching for more sugar rich foods or caffeine. This breakfast is not a miracle worker in itself but will likely exert a positive effect on the choices you make for the rest of the day. If you exercise first thing in the morning by all means add some post workout carbohydrates.
2) Be NEAT
Neat stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, which means the energy you burn when not sleeping, eating or exercising or playing sport. Good examples would be gardening, the weekly shop, household chores, walking here and there, taking the stairs where possible etc. It’s basically an opportunity to be more active, burn more calories and speed up results all whilst improving health. Sitting is now being referred to as the new smoking so get on up off that thing and start dancing 🙂
The key is to do these daily, nothing crazy and not just once. Spread movement out across your day with some squats here, some stairs there and jamming to some tunes whilst cleaning the house or cooking dinner. Just move as much as possible, it is what we were designed to do. Start by making an effort to walk a little more and do 100 air squats in sets of 10 across your day, always take the stairs and use a basket to do your food shopping. You do a big shop? Try buying smaller amounts more often to necessitate more movement.
A good friend of ours Rannoch Donald runs the 100 Rep Challenge which is a great way of inspiring people to move. We highly recommend you check out the website and the Facebook page for ideas.
3) Do 2 HIIT Sessions a Week
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great way to burn a ton of calories in a short space of time as well as boosting your metabolism for hours after meaning you burn more calories at rest. Whilst there are some people we may not recommend this to (stressed individuals or those with joint problems) it offers great benefits to most. HIIT involves going between high intensity bursts of exercise with lower intensity rest periods. You should be aiming to perform close to maximal effort during the “on” part, then simply recover at a much slower pace. A good ratio to start with is a 2:1 rest to work ratio so if you go all out for 30 seconds you will then rest for at least 60 seconds. Due to the high intensity nature of this don’t always choose impact based exercise such as sprinting or jump squats, low impact exercise including the rowing machine or exercise bike are just as effective. If you are new to HIIT try 30 seconds maximal effort on the exercise bike followed by 60-90 seconds recovery at a slower pace and aim to do 6-10 sets. Two sessions a week will not burn you out and is enough to get you great results. If you feel you can add a third or more then do, but make sure it doesn’t effect your other training. My three current favourite forms of HIIT are:
- Bike intervals – 20 seconds maximum effert, level 14, rpm 120+ and 40 seconds recovery x 10 sets. Select a level that allows you to just keep speed above 120 rpm.
- Rowing machine – 150m as fast as you can, level 6, rest 60 seconds x 10 sets. Really focus on the power of each stroke and aim to get your average 500m split time as low as possible.
- Incline treadmill sprints – Set inline to 3-5% and sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds, walk for 90 seconds and repeat for 8-10 sets.
4) Get More Sleep
Okay, an obvious one but so many people do not implement due to work, family or social commitments. There is a good reason we keep recommending sleep, it’s been tried and tested for years and it works 😉 Aim to switch off from work/’To Do’ list between 8-9pm and read a book, take an Epsom salts bath, watch some comedy or a light hearted film. Try and get to bed for 10pm and have 7-8 hours sleep.
How does it help burn fat?
From a body composition perspective not getting enough sleep will seriously hinder your long term results and even short term and here’s why.
- Lack of sleep decreases insulin compromising your metabolism.
- Sleep deprivation upregulates ghrelin, your hunger hormone so you will naturally want to eat more.
Essentially get more sleep to support fat loss. It’s awesome, free and you will feel great, what’s not to love? Now before you list off all the excuses as to why you can’t get more sleep (new parents are exempt) bring me solutions not problems 🙂 Instead list ways you can improve the quality and duration of your sleep (eye masks, ear plugs, cotton bedding, etc). Even if you take steps to get a few early nights a week that’s a great start, you deserve to look after yourself.
5) Make Sure You’re Eating Enough
This may sound strange, me suggesting that you may need to eat more to burn more bodyfat, yet in our experience many folks are so intent on losing weight they drop calories far too low and risk nutrient deficiencies. They often couple this with more exercise, placing a greater demand on their body, breaking down muscle tissue and not consuming enough to fuel this training and aid recovery.
At this point your body is pretty saying “wha gwan?” It may even attempt to buffer the situation by actively storing more fat in an attempt to hold on to what’s on offer. Plus your performance will suffer, you will lose lean muscle, become weaker, your resting metabolism may slow down and ultimately you feel like crap all the time, whilst not achieving your goals. Make sure you’re eating enough to fuel your goals and remember this is also about long term success, continual progression and being in a continuous calorie deficit will not do you any favours.
If you are getting weaker, taking longer to recover and have less energy, there is a chance you need to consume more energy. Nothing fancy, just add more carbs to your post workout meal or another meal across the day. Increase protein to around 1.2 -1.5g per kilo of body weight too. Feel like you need more? Go for it and gauge how your body responds.
Of course there are other ways to burn body fat but I wanted to share with you some of the more simple advice I give to my clients. Often people are skipping breakfast or limiting carbs and virtually do not move outside of their gym sessions, even in the gym they spend a lot of time just farting around because they don’t have structure and their sessions lack intensity. Most commonly clients are not getting nearly enough sleep and I more likely to increase a clients calorie intake as oppose to reducing it.
So there you have it, give these a bash and let me know how you get on. Remember doing the basics really well is often all it takes, once you get these nailed you can be a little more adventurous but as the saying goes don’t run before you can walk.
Matt “keeping shizzle simple” Whitmore