Training for Fat Loss: The Basics
Fat loss is almost without exception the No 1 goal for clients when they start at New Image. No surprises there!
While we want all our clients to pursue other fitness related goals during their time with us, getting lean if you’re carrying too much body fat is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Weight loss and fat loss are NOT the same thing! When someone is obsessed about the number on the scales, you have to consider: at what expense? Weight loss can be achieved in many different ways including loss of muscle, dehydration, decreasing bone mass and of course, fat loss. What we’re looking for when helping clients achieve a body composition goal that helps you look great AND be fit and strong is FAT LOSS and muscle preservation.
At New Image, we really hone down on the basics and make sure we’re doing that correctly.
How do we lose body fat?
- Boost metabolism (energy expenditure)
- Create a favourable energy balance (energy in VS energy out)
- Build more lean tissue (muscle)
Ultimately, fat loss boils down to number 2. In order to lose fat, you must expend more energy than you take in. But by manipulating all three of these factors, you can lose fat and preserve muscle without too much suffering!
YES, you can lose fat with diet alone, but this is not ideal for preserving muscle. Also, on the “energy in” component of the equation, you ultimately need to continue to reduce the amount of food you eat in order to continue to get results. Working on the “energy out” side of things allows you to lose fat without feeling too hungry, which will help you stay compliant with your plan.
Today we’ll focus on the training/movement aspect of the three strategies mentioned above.
1. Boost metabolism (or the sum of reactions that take place to build up and break down the body)
You always hear people talk about their slow metabolism and their friend’s fast metabolism. Yes, some people do naturally metabolise energy more efficiently than others BUT, you DO have control of your metabolism. Our bodies are using fuel all day and night whether we’re sitting down, sleeping, walking, talking, running or working at a desk.
Each of these activities with have different metabolic effects, but the bottom line is this: the more active you are, the more energy you’ll metabolise (use as fuel).
Look for opportunities to move EVERYWHERE. That means walking as much as possible, but also standing instead of sitting, sitting instead of lounging, and even learning to enjoy household tasks that get your body moving and expending energy. You may notice that your friends that appear to be “naturally thin” or have fast metabolisms are constantly on the move – they even tend to be the most fidgety!
2. Improve energy balance (energy in VS energy out)
I’m not going to focus on the “energy in” aspect of this. All you need to know about energy in is everything you put in your mouth contains energy, some types of food are more energy dense (contain more calories) than others. Be mindful.
Let’s work on increasing how we can use the energy. As well as improving our metabolism by moving more and moving often (see above), we can increase calorie expenditure through structured EXERCISE. Dedicate 20-60 minutes every day to exercise for an enormous impact on fat loss.
FAT LOSS TIP #1: Move more and move often. This is the best, easiest, cheapest fat loss tip you will ever hear.
The more you move, the more energy you’ll use.
There are a variety of types of exercise I recommend for fat loss. I’d love you to complete them all if you can as they all have such a wonderful mix of benefits.
- Brisk walking for 30 – 60 minutes. This can used as a daily foundation to keep that fat burning consistent.
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I recommend 2-3 sessions at the most per week.
- Strength Training. Lift weights (body weight included) 2-5 times per week.
- Aerobic Conditioning (cardio). Walking might fall into this space for you however dedicated aerobic work using the cross trainer, rower, treadmill, pool, bicycle and air dyne bike (there are plenty more) gets your heart rate into an aerobic zone and assists to mobilise lips (fats) to be used as energy. I recommend at least two sessions per week at a minimum of 30 minutes per session. The intensity should be 6-7/10 (60-70% effort).
3. Build more lean tissue (muscle)
Let me make this simple. The bigger the muscle = more and bigger mitochondria (organelles that supply the cell’s energy). That means, the more muscle we have, the more energy we use which means we METABOLISE more energy and improve FAT LOSS.
Building muscle will increase strength and improve your body composition (ie the amount of muscle you have vs fat) making you look toned, defined, healthy and a lot better naked!
As mentioned above, to increase muscle size, lift weights 2-5 times per week and focus on rep ranges between 6-12 reps per set with the intention of fatiguing towards the last rep of each set.
EG: WEEK ONE: 3 x 12 reps, WEEK TWO: 3 X 10 REPS, WEEK THREE: 3 X 8 REPS, WEEK FOUR: 3 X 10 REPS, REPEAT!
Overwhelmed? Start where you are, and build from there
Does this sound like a lot of training to you? What I’ve described above is the optimal formula for maximising energy output for fat loss while preserving muscle. However, if you’re fairly sedentary right now, just adding in the daily walking will make a HUGE difference and you WILL lose fat. Even just increasing your daily, unstructured activity through the ideas mentioned in Step 1 will have an impact.
As you become more advanced in your efforts to lose fat, and closer to your ideal body composition, that’s when we really need to add in those other components to get results.
So as always, with any habit change, my advice is to start with small changes that you can make STICK, and then incrementally build more movement into your routine.