Six fat loss mistakes you might be making
Most of us have been guilty of launching into a fitness regime and then quitting when we fail to see results quickly enough. It can be disheartening to feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, but before you throw in the towel, check you aren’t making any of the common mistakes below. A few simple tweaks might be all it takes to kickstart your metabolism for lasting fat loss and fitness gains!
Setting unrealistic goals
You’ve thrown away the treats from your cupboard, vowed to never eat a Krispy Crème again and signed yourself up for six gym sessions a week. While sensible goal setting is a vital part of any fitness programme, aiming too high too soon will only result in a feeling of failure if you can’t keep up the strict rules you’ve set for yourself. Instead, break your end goal down into small, manageable mini goals such as dropping 1% body fat or saving a treat for a Saturday night, and you’re much likely to stick to your plan long-term.
Overdoing the Cardio
Cardio is no longer King. Although cardio may burn more calories during exercise than weight training, lifting heavy weights can help you burn more calories all day, even when you’re enjoying an evening Netflix binge, thanks to the increase in your resting metabolism after a lifting session. (Some studies suggest resting metabolism stays elevated for up to 38 hours after weight training, with little to no increase recorded after steady state cardio). Another benefit of weight based training is that when you increase your lean muscle mass you will also increase your basal metabolic rate, meaning your body will burn more calories even at rest.
Not eating enough protein
Protein is a key macronutrient and provides the body with everything it needs to build lean muscle and repair tissues. Many of us don’t eat enough, and it’s recommended that we should be aiming for 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight per day (so around 50g for a 65kg woman), although if you are also training at a high intensity you should double this amount. It’s best to get your protein from a variety of animal and plant sources, but vegetarians and vegans can still hit their daily needs with a mix of nuts, pulses, grains and tofu.
Eating too little
Although a calorie deficit is required to lose weight, if you restrict yourself too much you may find yourself struggling to achieve your goals. Excessive calorie restriction and the elimination of food groups (carbohydrate in particular) can lead to fatigue and even the loss of muscle mass, leaving you feeling weak and unable to train. Fuelling your body properly with a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrate and healthy fats and staying in a mild calorie deficit will provide much better, sustainable results over the long-term.
Not tracking food & overestimating calorie expenditure
It’s easy to underestimate how much you are eating, and if you’re working hard at the gym but not seeing results it may be worth tracking your calorie intake for a while to see if that’s where you may be going wrong. There are plenty of apps available, such as MyFitnessPal, and it’s quick and easy to input your daily food intake for a realistic view of how many calories you are actually consuming. Don’t forget that exercise, while fantastic for health and fitness, often doesn’t burn as many calories as we may think and it’s easy to eat them back without realising!
Not enough rest/sleep
Rest days and sufficient sleep are key elements of a healthy training regime, and without these in place you may be selling yourself short in the gym. It’s tempting to throw yourself into a fitness plan and want to work out every day, but rest days are just as important for your body to repair and create that lean muscle that you are looking to build. Sleep is also key, with a recommended amount of 8 hours the ideal time to ensure you are performing at your best and not giving in to those mid-afternoon munchies when you run out of steam!
Want to know more? Speak to one of our expert Personal Trainers in the gym who will be happy to advise you on any aspect of health, training and nutrition.