Most people will at some point step on the scale and freak out as the needle lands on what seems like an impossibly high number, or have looked in the mirror and wondered where their abs went. And with summer closing in quickly, here's 13 things to keep in mind when you try and bring that body fat back down.
1) Weight change relates to calories in - to calories out.
Putting all of your knowledge of macros to one side for a minute, in the grand scheme of things, if you consume fewer calories than you body requires, regardless of the form they're in, your body will have to find energy from somewhere to compensate for this which will be body tissue, and yes this does mean that you can lose weight eating pizza and junk food, but keep in mind...
2) Body composition is determined by your macros.
If you're on the site reading this I'm assuming that preserving muscle mass is fairly high on your list of priorities whilst dieting. And whilst you can still lose weight eating nothing but junk food, you will retain considerably more muscle mass and look better if you keep your diet clean.
3) Prioritise protein.
When you're dieting, protein is your friend, protein helps you recover from your training, it reduces your appetite, it helps to build muscle and preserve the muscle you already have as well as a plethora of other things. When you're dieting, you should aim for somewhere between 1.5-3 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight depending on how frequently and intensely you're training, this will help you hold onto the muscle mass you've already gained.
4) Don't demonize fats.
Fats have spent the last 30 years or so being hated on by the media for being the reason for the gradually growing levels of obesity. More recently though, numerous studies have shown that this isn't really the case. Admittedly fat is a calorie dense macronutrient, packing 9 calories per gram compared to the 4 calories that you get from the same mass of proteins or carbs. However to put it bluntly, you need fats in your diet. Fats are used by your body to produce hormones such as testosterone, they help you absorb fat soluble micronutrients from your food, they also affect recovery, skin and hair quality, and joint health, I'd recommend that a minimum of 20% of your daily calories should come from fats.
5) Most of your carbs should come from fibrous vegetables.
Carbs are where you should be cutting most of your calories from when you diet. I'm not saying you need to go full keto, but especially when you're dieting, carbs are the least important of the three main macronutrients, that being said, non starchy vegetables are generally nutritional powerhouses, high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and low in calories. To put this in perspective 100g of potatoes contains 21g of carbohydrates 100g of spinach contains 3g of carbohydrates, the spinach is also considerably higher in essential minerals and vitamins which your body needs to function correctly.
6) Cut out processed sugars.
I can't emphasize it enough, if you're trying to lose weight sugar is not something you need in your diet, the only exception being natural sugars in fruit, which should still be limited. Processed sugars are 'empty calories', they spike your insulin which then comes crashing down later on resulting in you craving more. Some people argue that you need simple sugars post workout to restore glycogen levels and aid recovery, this is useful if you're trying to gain muscle mass, but studies show that even without post workout carbohydrates your glycogen levels return to normal after around 24 hours.
7) Cut out alcohol.
Alcohol, like sugar is something you should avoid, it's calorie dense, it lowers testosterone, it reduces fatty acid oxidation, and plays around with your oestrogen levels which if you're man can result in...unpleasant side effects. If you end up in a situation where you have to drink, go for vodka and soda water.
8) Focus on compound lifts.
To put it bluntly, compound lifts require far more energy than isolation movements, because you're using more muscles to move a larger weight through a greater distance. So by focusing on these movements you'll burn through more calories than if you spent an hour doing curls.
9) Increase training intensity.
How many calories you burn is far more dependent on the intensity of your workout than its duration. There are a lot of ways you can increase your workout intensity, such as reducing rest periods, supersetting exercises and doing dropsets. Also there is kind of strange satisfaction to barely being able to walk out of the gym drenched in sweat.
10) Recover properly.
This is a harsh reality for some people who are really motivated, but if you go from training 3 times a week to suddenly training maybe once a day at a much higher intensity, whilst only sleeping 5 hours a night, I don't care how much caffeine you pump into yourself, at some point you will crash and burn. Sleep is so important when you're training hard, it's when you're sleeping that your body is repairing itself, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and if you're in the situation where you're so sore you can barely move, don't be afraid of taking a day off or doing light cardio so you can hit it hard the day after
After nutrition, training, and recovery, supplements should be next on your list of priorities, there's a lot of supplements out there that can help with weight loss, as a bare minimum I'd recommend you have a multivitamin, omega 3, and whey protein. After this I would look at investing in a fat burner, a good fat burner usually contains most of the following:
These ingredients have different roles from appetite suppression to stimulants to regulating blood sugar to raising your body temperature, but they all make losing weight that little bit easier and can be bought fairly cheaply.
12) Know your body.
For the most part of this I avoided saying things like how many calories you should be eating or exactly what your macro breakdown should be because everybody is different, you should have an idea of how quickly you recover and eventually you should try and find out what sort of dieting method works best for you, because in the long term it will make it a lot easier to reach your fitness goals.
13) don't sweat the small stuff.
There's going to be points where you slip up, you'll cheat on your diet of miss a workout or something like that, it happens, we've all been there, just continue where you left off and take some precautions to make sure it doesn't happen again.
This post was brought to you by GN Academy member Matthew Chivers. If you’d like to find out more about the GN Academy or apply to join then you can do so here.