By UK Personal Trainer
As a Personal Trainer, I hear this quote quite often: “I just can’t lose that last bit of fat to get into the shape that I really want to be in!” It is a question that so many people ponder and rarely actually find the solution or answer to.
Usually the work prior to needing to lose that last bit of body fat hasn’t been efficient and invariably all your ‘tools’ have been used up all at once.
3 Fat Loss Tools
Your diet is the number 1 importance when training for any goal
In this case, we are discussing fat loss. To lose fat, there are a few different techniques that can be used in order to shift body fat. However, they all lead to the same end result; the diet plan you are on must be keeping you in a slight calorific deficit (a reduction in calories needed at rest).
This means that the amount of calories in which you are putting out, you must not eat more than that figure. For example, if you find that your calorie output is 2800k/cals you should look to be eating around 2400-2600k/cals per day to ensure of a slight deficit.
To have this tested, I use metabolic testing for clients to ensure a scientific and accurate figure. If you have no access to this, then look at the Harris-Benedict Formula and that will give you a reasonably close idea of how much you are burning in terms of your output of calories.
Fat Loss Techniques
There are some great techniques to shift body fat, all been found to work for people striving to achieve fat loss. In the initial phase of dieting, I often opt for a ketogenic diet and take a lot of the paleoithic methods. I do however try to keep my clients away from dairy which is usually used in aiming for ketosis.
I will ask my clients to stick with fats from coconut oil, olives, avocado, fish and others such as extra virgin olive oil. After around 4-6 weeks, they usually drop a lot of body fat and weight, often muscle mass can also be compromised.
✓ At this point, I will begin to introduce carbohydrates into the diet plan, invariably post-workout (in a normal healthy adult) and also adapt calories due to weight loss.
✓ Always remember every 2-4 weeks weight will drop, therefore to ensure you are in a calorie deficit you should re-test your calorie output to modify your calorie input.
Now, once you have added carbohydrates into your diet you still have more tools in the bag when it comes to nutrition. To lose that last 5-10lbs of weight, you can go back to cutting out certain foods.
Often we eat the same sources of proteins, carbs and fats. We should begin to rotate foods to avoid any intolerance build up to certain foods. Personally, I had a tolerance test completed and it revealed an intolerance to almonds, and that was due to the fact that I was primarily eating those most days for my fat content.
Cutting out foods that we have an intolerance to is a great tool to lose that last bit of body fat. However, don’t do one of the big mistakes in modern nutrition and cut out things in your diet that you aren’t intolerant to, such as gluten.
Often, people aren’t intolerant to gluten, it is usually the sugars that go with it that makes you feel bloated or prevents someone from reaching their goal. I have a lot of people who are celiac and can’t eat gluten, however not all people are the same. I find most people struggle more with dairy and find that when people reduce dairy intake they tend lose more weight – but it’s finding out what works best for you!
When training for fat loss you should consider 3 different types of training…
1) Resistance Training
2) High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
3) Low Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS)
Resistance training should always be a staple in your programming. It should take priority as weight training for fat loss ensures a reduced rate of muscular atrophy (breakdown).
Often referred to as weight training, creating an anabolic response will maintain the body’s ability to lose body fat and gain lean muscle mass.
✓ In the initial phases of trying to lose body fat, I would stick solely to resistance training as my first ‘tool’. For around 4-6 weeks doing this will make enough impact on your body and your goal when trained and programmed efficiently and effectively.
✓ Once your body begins to adapt to the training, adding some high intensity interval training (HIIT) into your workouts would be ideal. Usually you would do this after your resistance training sessions, or have a few specific days where you are only doing HIIT.
For example: a weekly programme could look like the following:
Each HIIT workout could last from 20-30 mins long, incorporating both upper and lower body exercises followed by a sprint of some kind. Simple.
|Monday||Quads, Hamstrings and Calves|
|Wednesday||Chest, Back and Shoulders|
|Saturday||Upper and Lower Body Split|
Following this, to lose those last few pounds, you can use your final training tool.
Steady state cardio
Steady state cardio begins to increase the output of calories therefore you must be very wise to the problems with such a high workload in terms of training. You should always be wary about the calorific output of your body.
For example, if you perform a steady state cardio session in the morning, followed by an afternoon session of resistance training and HIIT – your calorie output will be very high. Due to this, it’s important to increase food intake slightly to – 1) ensure there is still a calorie deficit but 2) that it’s enough to make sure the body doesn’t go into starvation mode – which will result in high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and a spike insulin (the hormone that regulates the sugars in the body).
This is also is a psychological aid as, when you are going into final stages of trying to lose stubborn body fat, you are actually increasing what you were eating in the previous weeks.
✓ Steady state cardio can include a high gradient walk on a treadmill or even outside on a mountain side. It may mean you want to get on a stair master in the gym and sweat it out on there.
✓ Or it could be a simple steady state swimming session. As long as your heart rate is elevated slightly and you can maintain that for 20-40 minutes!
Supplements are a phenomenal tool for assisting fitness goals
Being able to supplement your nutrition and training with the perfect dosages of certain products can make a huge difference.
In the initial phase of a fat loss journey, I recommend the following supplements to my clients and request for them to stick to stated dosages:
✓ Omega 3 Fish Oil Capsules (3 capsules per day)
✓ Zinc – 1 tablet per day
✓ Magnesium Citrate – 4g once daily
✓ Total Nutri Greens – 3 shakes a day with 3 main meals.
✓ Whey Protein – 1 scoop post-workout
Further into the journey I would recommend taking L-Carnitine as an aid to fat loss. Taking from 1-3g per day for the average healthy adult.
To help with the final areas of stubborn fat, it may be worth supplementing with ThermoPure to take prior to a workout. It consists of caffeine, green tea extract and black pepper extract alongside L-Tyrosine – a great combination to aid in your final attempts to shift body fat.
Take Home Message
Always consider your long term plan before you get to that point of losing the last bits of fat at the end of your dieting phase. Not using all your tools up at once will ensure your body can continually be shocked into action every time you add in something new whether it be weight training, cardio, nutrition techniques or supplementation.
If you have the plan in place from day one, losing that last 5-10lbs should be easy and without the stress of thinking you’ve done everything you possibly could of, just not in the right order.
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