There is so much information regarding fat-loss in the public domain, so much so that people are often confused as to what road to take for their fat-loss journey. With all the clever marketing around certain pieces of fitness equipment, alongside the supplement industry pushing pills and potions to help you lose weight 'faster', it's hard not to get swept up with all the hype around certain products. My view is that if these products worked, we would all be using them!
When we pick up the newspaper or switch on the TV, one week Fat is ‘the enemy’, the next week it is ‘the saviour’. Carbohydrates have now switched roles; they were set to replace fats a few years back, but now Carbohydrates are frowned upon! We have recently seen the rise in popularity of the 5:2 and Paleo diet. Two of just a few diets that pop up, all supposedly offering you the solution you've been looking for!
Does fat-loss need to be that confusing? No. Fundamentally it's a two-pronged attack. Increase your movement and decrease your calories. So where does this go so wrong? Because as a human race we want instant results! So we often slash calories to an unsustainable amount and train harder in the gym (with less calories in the system), often to a point that isn't realistic or in conjunction with our lifestyle. This is why diets fail. They aren't based on what is right for you. The same applies to exercise. If training just twice a week allows you to be consistent over a period of months or even years, this is much better than training five days a week, only to burn out after a month and never to return.
Two simple measures to swing fat-loss in the right direction are to use a pedometer and to download and use the app My Fitness Pal. The recommended daily step count on a pedometer is 10,000. You can pick one of these up for just over £1 online! Some of you will be shocked at the limited amount of activity that you do, especially if you drive a lot and work in an office. 10,000 steps is the absolute minimum too! As soon as you are aware of this, it forces you to take the stairs, go for a walk on your lunch break and get to the gym.
My Fitness Pal is probably the best app for fat-loss that I have ever seen. Gone are the days of using a book to calorie count. It's never been so easy and there really is no excuse. An easy way to work out the number of calories you should be consuming each day is to multiply your bodyweight in pounds by anywhere between 13 and 16 (depending on your activity levels). To calculate your weight in pounds, multiply your weight in kilos by 2.2. So for a 60kg female this would equate to 132pounds. You then multiply this number by the following:
13 x Calculated weight if you are inactive – (no structured exercise and a sedentary job)
14 x Calculated weight if you are moderately active - (sport/gym 1-3 times a week)
15 x Calculated weight if you are active – (sport/gym 3-5 times a week)
16 x Calculated weight if you are very active – (gym 5 times a week and a manual job)
So if you are inactive it would be 13 x 132 pounds = 1,716 calories. For weight loss you then remove 300-500 calories. So somewhere between 1,216 – 1,416 calories a day would be your target. I would always start at the top end. If you can lose weight on more calories this is a good thing. Not only does this mean you can consume more to keep your energy levels up, but if your weight-loss starts to slow, you know you can drop another 100-200 calories a day and still be within your weight loss 'zone'. This should then reignite the fat loss. On the other hand, if you go too far below this, your metabolism drops and the process slows down. So be sensible and patient. Add in exercise to keep the fat-burning process in full flow. This can be in the gym or by hitting those 10,000 steps a day!
Remember, MY FINTESS PAL and a PEDOMETER!! Simple but hugely affective.