New Year is here! Silly season is over. And if you are like most others, you have some unwanted fat to shed. Here is a quick guide to supercharge your fat loss efforts this January: -
1) Schedule your training sessions in advance:
The reality is, anything important to us we schedule in advance and make time for it. It is a priority, therefore we build our day around these important events: meetings with the boss, anniversary dinner with your wife/husband, holidays away, dinner out with friends, dental appointment etc. So, if fat loss is the goal, make training your priority and block time out of your day to train. Once you have a set schedule for your training you minimise the chance of missing training due to 'something coming up'. So often what I recommend to clients is that when they aren't seeing me, they still make an appointment and they still block that time out. Try it - get out your diary and book your sessions for the month ahead.
2) Chuck out all the rubbish in your kitchen:
Post-Christmas we are always left with an abundance of cakes/cookies/cheese/biscuits/chocolates [INSERT OTHER HIGH CALORIE, HYPER-PALATABLE FOOD HERE]. Now, lets be absolutely clear here. IF YOU LEAVE THIS FOOD LYING AROUND, YOU WILL EAT IT EVENTUALLY. You can have all the willpower and best intentions not to touch the cheesecake in the fridge, but something will give. So the best option is to completely remove all temptations and rid yourself of any foods that aren't in alignment with your fat loss goal.
3) Go food shopping & replace the foods you just chucked out with foods better aligned to your goals (think lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds etc):
So, having trimmed the fat, excuse the pun, from your pantry and fridge, it's time to nourish your fridge with foods that ARE in alignment with your fat loss goals. Now, these foods will vary according to personal preference and taste etc, but will usually consist of foods such as: -
- Lean protein sources - chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, dairy products etc.
- LOTS of vegetables - try to source a variety. Try to shoot for 2 fist-sized servings per meal
- Healthy Fats - raw nuts, olive oils, coconut products, fatty cuts of meat, fatty fish, avocado
- Fresh fruit - avoid juices - eat the whole fruit
- Starchy sources of carbohydrate, such as potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, rice etc.
4) Keep a food diary/journal. Be honest. Note down every single thing you consume. Do this for a whole week. What do you notice? Are there things that jump out at you?
Do a food audit. How often are you eating? Are there any patterns you can spot? Is your diet lacking anything? Noting everything down is a great way to gauge your overall intake so you can make improvements. When keeping a food log/journal, it is important that you write food down as you eat it, rather than relying on memory re-call which can be an extremely unreliable way of keeping track (what Mars bar?!!). The key things I try to drill into clients on a very basic level is: -
- Consuming enough protein each day, and ensuring there is a good amount (20-30g) of protein in EVERY meal.
- Being consistent with meal times every day
- Making sure the diet is nutrient dense - this means lots of vegetables, fruit and healthy fats. Your body will never function optimally on processed foods
- A diet based predominantly on whole foods, not processed foods
- Lots of water (see below)
5) Buy a water bottle. Use this to gauge your intake each day. Drinking lots of water will be extremely important so start to make this a habit.
Increasing your water intake is a really easy way to improve hydration, boost cognitive function, perform better in the gym, and promote fat loss and detoxification. If you don't have a water bottle on you, buy one now and carry it with you at all times. Gauge your hydration status by the colour of your urine - it should run clear at all times.
6) Increase activity levels:
There are 2 sides to the energy balance equation - energy in on one side, and energy out on the other. Whilst restricting the number of calories we shove down our gullet is THE single most important thing we can do for fat loss, being more active and burning more energy throughout the day is also a crucial component of fat loss. Here are some nifty tricks you can try and implement:
1) Set yourself a daily step target: Everyone has a Fitbit these days. If you don't then you probably have an Apple Watch. Failing that surely you have a smartphone (if not then what century are you living in?!). These devices will automatically track your steps. Take a look at your past few weeks and see what your average is. 7,000 steps? Not bad. Whatever the figure is, add on another 1,000 steps and make that your immediate goal.
2) Try to find (more) active ways to commute: Can you get off the bus a little earlier and walk a few more blocks to the office? Could you ride your bike?
3) Start to work at a standing desk
4) Take up some active pursuits in your free time: Bush walking, surfing, running, cycling, martial arts, rock climbing
5) Shun escalators and lifts & take the stairs instead
So there you have it, 6 simple steps to super-charge your fat loss this year. In summary: -
1) Schedule your training - don't miss a session
2) Throw out the junk food left over from Christmas and...
3) Re-stock the kitchen with foods to aid your fat loss
4) Start to keep a food log and make improvements to your current eating habits
5) Buy a bottle of water and drink!
6) Try to be as active outside of training sessions as possible