Maximising fat loss should be everyone's priority that wants to get fit and healthy, and over the years I have been asked nearly the same questions on a daily basis. I decided to give you my answers to 10 of the most common questions regarding fat loss.
1. How do I tone up?
This is one of the most frequent questions I am being asked. ‘Toning up’ generally means building muscle and losing fat at the same time, and although it is everyone’s dream to achieve this, it is not that easy. I will tell you why. Building muscle requires energy and you will need to eat more calories than you spend to have enough to spare for muscle growth. On the other hand, to lose body fat you will need to eat fewer calories so that your body use stored energy (i.e. fat) to function properly. I hope you are starting to understand what I am coming at. However, it does happen and I have seen it so many times in women who have been using my F.I.T. programs. These women are normally new to exercise and have a history of poor eating habits. By training regularly and eating healthy, these women have been able to see some amazing results. In general though, I would recommend for you to focus one thing at the time. If you believe that fat loss should be your main priority, make it so. Just ensure that you don’t crash diet so that you lose the muscle you already have.
2. How do I lose body fat?
To lose body fat you need to eat less than you spend. Although I am not a big fan of counting calories, it might be worth doing it for a week or so to see how much you are actually eating. When you are losing weight, you need to ensure that you do it slowly. You probably don’t like to read that, but the biggest disfavour you can do yourself is a rapid weight loss. If you lose weight too quickly it can result in a larger loss of muscle. This is not good at all as it will slow down your metabolism and increase your risk of weight regain. However, if you don’t feel like reducing the amount of food you eat, you can create the calorie deficit by increasing how much you train. Again, it is important not to overdo it.
3. How much cardio do I need to do?
There is no exact answer to this question as it depends on several factors. Cardio has got many health benefits, but you don’t need to do hours of cardio to see the benefits in body composition. I prefer high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to traditional cardio and that is what I recommend in my programs. The combination of HIIT and weight training will minimise muscle loss and maximise fat loss. These have been shown to stimulate your fat burning for up to 24 hours after you finish exercising compared to only 1 or 2 hours after traditional cardio.
Note: If you are new to training please remember that you have to start somewhere and always do what's safest and within your ability!
4. How many hours a day do I need to train?
Many women think that to lose weight they will need to train hours and hours on end on a daily basis. However, this is not the case. If you are not eating enough, training too much and not allowing your body to recover, you risk losing muscle and your body might actually start storing fat. If you are not seeing results despite eating like a pigeon and training hours on end you will need to rethink what you are doing.
5. Do I need to do weight training to lose fat?
I would recommend anyone wanting to improve their body composition to do weight training. In fact, I do mostly weight training myself, and I mix it up with HIIT. It will help shape and sculpt your body, and when you are in a calorie deficit, weight training will also help minimise muscle loss.
6. How much food do I need to eat?
This is highly individual as everyone is unique, and everyone has got a different requirement. You need to consider your age, weight, height, gender, amount of muscle, and also your physical activity level, to name a few. If you are already eating healthy food, but your body is not changing, you might want to reduce your food intake slightly. Again, remember to not crash diet.
7. What should I eat to lose fat?
Back in my modelling days, I thought all fats and carbs were the enemies, but, in fact, it’s silly to cut them out because your body needs them. It is important that you eat a healthy balance between protein, carbs, and fats as this will improve your body composition. The foods that you choose should also be in their most natural state as possible as this will maximise your nutrient intake. It will also boost your intake of other phytonutrients, such as antioxidants. Your body will not only look better, but you will feel better for it too.
8. Do I need to count calories to get results?
Initially, it might be good to see how much you are really eating. However, counting your calories can easily make you obsess about the food that you eat. Another thing to consider about your metabolism is that there are a lot of factors affecting the way you are taking in calories and burning them. Yes, the number of calories you eat does matter, however, the quality of the calories you eat is also important. You should focus on nutrient dense and less calorically dense foods. Eating unhealthy foods, not providing your body with what it needs, might cause an inflammatory response that alters your metabolism.
9. Do I need to do fasted cardio?
Many women believe that they will burn more calories from fat if they do fasted cardio. However, there is no evidence to support that fasted cardio is more effective at burning fat over the long term. However, if you like doing fasted cardio it is up to you.
10. Should I use fat burners?
A few years ago I obsessed about being as lean as possible, I took fat burners and lots of other supplements. I have now learned that you don’t need to take weight loss supplements, or fat burners, to lose fat effectively. You just need to ensure that you train smart and eat a healthy diet that includes all your nutritional needs.
Is there anything else you would like to know about fat loss? Ask me!