Many are lead to believe that just by eating healthier foods and going to the gym a few times a week, that this is enough to make a change in their lives. Well, they would be right, but if you find yourself making SLOW or NO progress, here are the three main culprits.
REASON #1 – DIET, DIET, DIET!
The biggest mistake most people make when trying to lose weight is that they drastically cut down on their calorie intake for the day. This is a MAJOR problem and can result in massive muscle loss as well as extreme drops in your energy levels.
For example, if you are eating 2000 calories a day and suddenly drop to eating only 900 calories a day and are trying to curb your hunger by eating large portions of salads and rice cakes, this is only going to put your body into “starvation mode”. Salads and rice cakes do not contain the amounts of protein, carbs, and fat that you will need in order to reach your macronutrient goals for the day.
The problem with drastically dropping your calorie intake is that while in “starvation mode” you are more than likely going to hold onto MORE body fat. The only time your body will release body fat is if it is getting a steady supply of food. If your body feels like it is going to enter starvation mode, it will do everything it can to ensure it doesn’t die and this includes holding onto excess body fat for energy.
If you would like to safely lose body fat, all you need to do is figure out what your daily basal metabolic rate (BMR) is and eat about 250 – 500 calories below that number a day. It takes around 3500 calories burned to lose 1 pound of fat. So if you are in a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day, you can safely lose 1 pound of fat a week which equals 4 pounds of fat a month.
REASON #2 - NOT TRAINING THE SMART WAY!
To lose body fat, you need to MAXIMIZE the amount of calories you are burning in one day. However, you might find yourself having a very hard time accomplishing this task if exercising only 3 - 4 times a week with routines geared toward only training 1 – 2 muscle groups a day. Routines like this are used for muscle gain (hypertrophy training) so you can focus on putting more volume on the muscle to maximize its chances for growth.
If you are trying to lose weight and want to maximize your time while training, you should focus on total body training or circuit training. This type of training focuses on targeting as many muscles as possible during each session. It takes calories / energy to rebuild and repair muscle tissue so if you are breaking down your entire body, as opposed to just one or two muscle groups, you are going to burn WAY MORE CALORIES than if you were to exercise just one muscle group such a chest workout.
It would also be beneficial for you to incorporate some cardio into your weekly routine. When circuit training, you can choose to do cardio before or after your training session or on a separate day all together. Also keep in mind cardio doesn’t always have to be a grueling/intense session of running as fast as you possibly can. You can chose to do steady state cardio where you maintain a fast walk to brisk jog on an incline for 20-30 minutes or you can utilize methods like interval training where you run for 1 minute, walk for 2 minutes and repeat for 20 - 30 minutes. Just keep in mind that if you can read a book while you train, you are probably not working hard enough!
REASON #3 - RELYING ON SUPPLEMENTS TO DO THE WORK FOR YOU
When it comes to supplements like fat burners, keep in mind that a product like this is meant to give you an edge. It is not the cure-all for losing weight. Fat burners only work if you are eating and exercising properly. In fact, if you are not eating or exercising properly, the added fat burner will most likely do much more harm than good.
Remember that supplements are only there to SUPPLEMENT your nutrition plan. Even if you don’t currently have the time to eat healthy home-made meals, it’s much better to figure out a way to eat healthier and in a consistent way, rather than investing a bunch of money in supplements, in a futile attempt to outrun your bad diet.
So, let all the information above sink in, fix your diet, organize your training in a smart way and as always…get your mind right!