ONE OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS I AM ASKED, BY CLIENTS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY IS: HOW DO YOU LOSE FAT?
Surely It should be simple?
You eat less food and become more active, right?
Well I am afraid to say it is not that easy. With so much conflicting advice out there, I wanted to put together a blog post giving my personally tested 3 steps to fat loss.
I am a huge fan of carb cycling for fat loss..
Why? Because it works.
When you begin cycling carbs you give yourself one of THE most effective methods to burning body fat - but without the lethargic, zombie feeling of a full low carb diet.
Through the process of cycling your intake of carbohydrates, you can manipulate the consumption and maximise hypertrophy and fat loss while minimising the negative effects that heavy consumption of carbohydrates can have. The key here is when you choose to eat them - this can drastically alter the way in which your body responds to carbs.
To make it successful, you cycle from high-carbs to low carbs over the course of a week. Not only is it a fantastic, effective method of leaning out - it will allow you to have a weekly cheat meal. This means you are able to stay fully committed to your personal physique goals while enjoying a social meal with your friends, family or co-workers.
CARB CYCLING - HOW IT WORKS
When cycling carbs you should divide your week into three types of days, no carb day, low carb day and high carb day.
NO CARB DAY
On your no carb days you should eat primarily lean meat, cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli and cauliflower as well as a serving of fat per meal. Your consumption of carbohydrates should be limited to as little as 20 grams, personally I believe the less the better.
LOW CARB DAY
On this day you should aim to consume as much as 75 grams of carbohydrates. Again follow the guidelines above, consume plenty of cruciferous vegetables, but add in small servings of brown rice, sweet potatoes and quinoa. These three are just an example of highly fibrous carbohydrates but you do have room for manoeuvre, just ensure your chosen carbohydrates are packed with fibre.
HIGH CARB DAY
The amount of carbohydrates you consume on this day differs from person to person and is calculated based upon your given recommended calorie intake. If you know what this is then on a high carb day 50% of the calories you intake should come from carbohydrates. Women tend to consume between 150 - 200 grams while men can go as high as 300 grams. Today is the day that you are best to have that cheat meal, ensure it fits within your set calorie intake and keep it small, try not to gorge on fast food!
Just make sure on this day you continue to consume plenty of lean protein, do not neglect protein on anyone of the above days.
So with this all in mind a typical week cycling carbs could look like the following:
Monday: No carb day
Tuesday: Low carb day
Wednesday: High carb day
Thursday: No carb day
Friday: No carb day
Saturday: Low carb day
Sunday: High carb day
This way of doing it always worked best for me, it allowed myself to enjoy certain foods over the weekend making the diet far more social.
When it comes to fat loss protein is fundamental, there are multiple reasons why you must make your intake of protein both high and consistent.
First off, and most importantly protein is filling - it is one of the most satiating macronutrients, and that will help reduce cravings. The reason being your stomach takes longer to break down proteins to be digested, thus keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
This leads on to my next point, 'TEF' - known also as 'thermic effect of food'. Protein actually needs extra energy to be broken down because it is harder for the body to digest. It has been reported that a small portion of the calories in a rich protein meal are actually burned during the digestive process.
My final point is that protein is crucial for your well-being. It will enable your body to maintain, repair and rebuild cells. This is especially important for anyone routinely training, your body needs the building blocks of protein (known as amino acids) to elicit muscle growth.
Related Reading: Protein: Your Muscles' Fuel
HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING & FAT METABOLISM
High-intensity exercise and fat metabolism are totally synonymous, therefore I will give you three reasons why HIIT should be part of your fat loss regimen.
Firstly, when you do a single high-intensity exercise session the rate you break down fat deposits dramatically increase, causing an increase in available fatty acids. These fatty acids can be taken up into skeletal muscle and converted by the mitochondria into adenosine triphosphate (energy). As the skeletal muscle is exercising it requires a large amount of fuel which means all the fuel reserves will be used to some extent. The length of the high-intensity sprint or the number of repetitions in a training session will determine the magnitude of fat use during the session. So remember while doing HIIT, in order to elicit the full benefits it is vital you push yourself.
Secondly and also very importantly is that two of the hormones that control fat breakdown, adrenaline and noradrenaline, are hugely elevated following during a high-intensity training session. The size of this response is much bigger than is seen with steady state exercise such as jogging or cycling.
Finally the visceral fat around the abdomen following high-intensity training has been known to decrease dramatically in as little as 12 weeks. This is a consistently bigger loss in abdomen fat mass than is seen with traditional steady, continuous exercise.
If you are looking for some HIIT inspiration check out our videos section we have plenty of workouts that are high-intensity.