If you find yourself trying to lose that unwanted weight and not getting anywhere it could be because of a few important points which you could have overlooked. Take a look below and hopefully we can steer you on the right path.
You are eating too much
Your diet plays a huge role in whether you will lose fat or not. In order for you to drop the pounds you need to be eating less calories than you expend. The key is to drop your calories gradually and not just suddenly cut out say, half your calories.
There is no specific set number of calories that you have to eat, but rather it should be tailored individually to your body.
A good way to find out, is to eat a set number of calories each day, and assess your weight and bodyfat each week. If you are losing weight then keep everything the same and carry on. If not, then adjust your calories and decrease them slightly, then assess again after another week or two.
A big factor that you should be aware of is that you need to be consistent each day, each week, each month, and ensure you stick to the amount of calories. If you keep changing every day or month there is no way of telling what works best for you.
One simple food choice of cutting out sugar from your diet, for example can make a huge difference, one which you can feel and see rather quickly.
Hidden ingredients and calories
These days there are so many “low fat,” “fat free,” “sugar free” products that we think we are actually getting healthier, less calorie goods, but many cases something has been removed only to have it replaced with sugar or something worse. We as consumers must learn to read and understand food labels and nutritional information in order for us to know exactly what we are buying and putting into our bodies.
Endless hours of cardio
One of the biggest mistakes people make is, when they decide they want to start exercising and lose fat they immediately just jump on a treadmill and go for hours upon hours throughout the week doing cardio.
The best way to lose fat is a combination of weighted training, to help you build muscle, and cardio, which you gradually build up to.
Muscle needs nutrients for building and recovering and burns more calories at rest than fat does. So the more muscle you build the more calories you burn just standing there. This is the reason why people who have significant muscle mass and low bodyfat can usually get away with eating a lot more than someone with a high bodyfat and low muscle mass.
There are basically two types of cardio which you can do. Steady state cardio or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Steady state cardio is where you run at a steady pace for a set time keeping your heart rate relatively low. HIIT on the other hand is where you can jog for one minute, then sprint, or go all out for 40 seconds to a minute, raising your heart rate level quite high. You then go back to jogging and repeat the cycle a few times.
The thing with either types of cardio, is that you must gradually build them up over time, regardless of which you decide to do.
Try both and see which you prefer. For instance start off with doing 15 minutes of steady state cardio after your weighted sessions (one or two days per week) and each week try to increase your distance in that 15 minutes, or increase the resistance. Once you have done that for a few weeks, you can then increase the time to say 20 minutes or 25 minutes and so on. This gives you a lot more room and a lot more factors to play with, to prevent your body from getting used to it. There are many things you can add and change to make it more challenging for your body than if you just throw in an hour of cardio every single day of the week. How do you increase that, to 2 hours of cardio every day? I hope not.
Always be sure to keep challenging yourself each week, whether it be by beating your previous distance in the same time or by adding a bit of weight to each exercise. The only way to keep growing and progressing is to not get comfortable and avoid sticking to the same things every day and every week.
Not being consistent
This is one of the most important and often overlooked factors in doing anything in life. You cannot expect to achieve something if you only work at it when you feel like it or by putting in the effort for a few days and then ignoring it for a while. You have to, have to, HAVE TO, put in the work every day. It is this constant work over time which delivers results.
Not training heavy enough
The purpose of weight training is to promote muscle growth or to maintain your muscle mass. Without some form of constant resistance your muscles will slowly start to disappear.
The body is an astutely engineered machine which will shed unnecessary tissue if it does not have a stimulus or the need for it.
This is really a clever survival tactic. With that being said, when your calories are somewhat low, in order to keep shedding the fat, the first thing to go will be your muscle since the body wants to store whatever food that it can due to it not receiving sufficient calories. Thus the need for heavy weights arises. By keeping the weights relatively heavy you force your body to realise that it needs to keep that muscle because of the constant stimulus provided by the weights.
As the saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Setting unrealistic goals
A major aspect of losing fat, is your mindset.
You really need to be fixated on what you want to achieve and set your mind to it, regardless of the time frame that it will take.
If this is truly what you want then you have to understand that it will be tough, there will be many challenges, there will be days where you just want to give up and not care anymore. It’s those days that will define you and force you to learn more than you can ever imagine, about life and about yourself. So be aware of this from the start and ensure that you are focused and will not let anything derail you no matter what because this is what YOU want. This is YOUR choice and nobody else’s. Do this for yourself, for a future better you and not for anyone or anything else.
It always starts and ends with YOU.
Anything good takes time, patience and consistency. So you must be prepared to be in it for the long haul and not for a few weeks or days.