1) Set realistic expectations
First things first, fat loss is not a linear process. Now I don’t know how long it’s taken you to gain the additional kilos you now wish to shed, but I can assure you it will take longer than 2-4 weeks.
Too many people expect miracles within the first month of applying a new diet and training plan when in reality sustainable fat loss will be a relatively slow and healthy process.
If you want to make positive changes that are maintainable then you have to be prepared for a long haul, there will be highs and almost certainly there will be lows.
2) Monitor your progress.
In order to evaluate your progress it’s vitally important to monitor it.
Once you have your calorific intake set along with your training program I recommend you use several key methods every 2 weeks to assess how your body is responding.
The key methods I use with all my clients are:
- Taking photos – front, side and back pictures. It can be hard to see changes when you look in the mirror every day, so comparing your images side by side is a great way to see these subtle changes.
- Measurements – chest / bust, umbilical / waist, hips, mid thigh and mid upper arm. Using a tape measure to assess changes in these areas of your body will help you see numerical changes that the weighting scales may not show.
- Body fat and weight – Possibly the 2 most popular measuring variables people get hung up on when in reality, for me they are the least important. Yes, we can use them to help monitor changes, but we should never get too hung up on chasing figures. How you look, function and feel should be of the up most importance.
- Mood diary – recording your energy levels throughout the day, during training, how’s the quality and quantity of your sleep, how’s your digestion and bowel movement. Use all this information collectively to decide on how you’re progressing. If things aren’t moving in the right direction, then maybe changes need to be made. Likewise, if changes are occurring but you feel like utter shit then something needs to be tweaked.
2) Making Changes
Based on the previous 5 steps in an earlier post and by using the steps above you should start to see changes to your physique, both visually and statically. If you aren’t then something maybe a miss and things may need to be adjusted.
If fat loss is your goal, one thing you can do is drop your calories a little more.
If you’re currently having a large amount of carbs then it may be wise for you to drop these down a little, as in my experience this can help elicit greater rates of fat loss due to better digestive assimilation and utilisation. I wouldn’t go lower than 50g per day and that includes carbs you get from your veg intake.
You can also increase your energy expenditure and typically speaking if you already have a training plan in place this could be the introduction of cardio. Whether it’s HIIT or LISS it doesn’t really matter, do what you prefer and have time to do, as again it’s calories in versus calories out.
Speaking of training, potentially you’re not training hard enough. I hate to say it, but I see this all the time. People not applying the basic principles of training to not stimulate and force adaptation of the body and the muscle being worked.
4) Control Your Training Variables
Now when it comes to training there is no such thing as an ultimate training plan.
Any training program if utilised effectively and consistently will have a benefit. Where most people go wrong is that:
- They don’t stick to something long enough.
- As mentioned above they just don’t work hard enough.
There are few basic principles you must apply to any program you use, which are;
Tension refers to the act of flexing or squeezing your muscles during the range of the movement in hand. Doing so recruits more motor units, contracting more muscle fibres, potentially leading to greater results.
Tension is control via tempo and tempo is one of the most important factors when it comes to lifting / moving a weight effectively. It basically refers to the speed a weight is moved during different phases of the lift. A controlled tempo leads to better form, reduces the risk of injury by improving joint health and increases protein synthesis when combined with tension.
Progression Through Overload
In order for a muscle to adapt they must be subjected to a new stimulus or a new amount of stimulus. Without this they see no need to change, you need to continually increase / change the demands of the musculoskeletal system to continually make progress both in muscle size, strength and endurance.
This can be done by increasing resistance, sets, reps, frequency, exercises or intensity.
However, whatever variable you change you must not sacrifice form!
Sets, reps and rest periods.
As a general rule of thumb to save over-complication you can use the following rep ranges, sets and rest periods.
- 8-12 reps for more compound-based movements such as a chest press / lat pull etc
- 12-15 reps for more isolated exercises such a bicep curl or tricep ext.
- 3-4 sets per exercises with no more than 3-4 exercises per muscle group for larger muscle groups such as the chest and back 2-3 sets per exercises with no more than 2-3 sets per muscle group for smaller muscles such as the biceps and triceps.
- Rest periods can vary anywhere between 30-60 seconds.
If you don’t have a training plan and are confused by the above, click this link below to download an example of a full body workout as this maybe a perfect start point for you.
5) Accept responsibility
Understand that unless you have a genuine medical condition (which is rare) you are responsible for where you are right now.
If you constantly blame external factors for your situation, you won’t be able make healthy sustainable changes.
Your attitude, consistency and willingness to make positive changes will determine your success no matter what training plan / diet you follow.