Weight loss means nothing if you’re not losing fat. This can be proven by answering the following question: Would you rather lose, 3lbs or 3 inches? Which one do you think you, and everyone else, will notice more? It’s going to be the 3 inches all day long! So why are so many still caught up with a number on a scale that nobody sees!?
Tracking your weight should be ONE method you use to determine progression/success, it shouldn’t be the only thing. Weight fluctuates daily, some people even report HUGE fluctuations—up to 6-7lbs so weighing yourself once per week isn’t going to be accurate is it?
Start concentrating on fat loss instead (you’ll still lose wieght as a result). You’ll also lose inches and tone up more!
DON’T FORGET: Fat loss over weight loss!
How exactly do you lose fat though? Well, as you know from the title, we’re about to explain but first…
How To Measure Body Fat
This is where it starts to get a bit tricky. There’s the old-school calliper test, which involves pinching fat at certain points of the body and follow fat maths, which according to many health professionals, is an inaccurate, error-prone method. Then there are high-tech read (expensive) machines such as bio-electrical impedance, DEXA and 3D body scanners. If you’re lucky, your gym might have access to one.
Need an at-home alternative? You can try those body composition scales, you can buy on the High Street. Think of these like measuring cups though; they’re best used as a rough guide, but don’t rely on the actual number being 100% accurate. However, if you’re consistently using the same machine then it’s absolutley fine!
How To Lose Body Fat
The secret is to find that sweet spot where you’re losing fat. You can slash calories and lose a lot of weight but to lose fat, it’s always a much slower process – and one best addressed through both diet and exercise.
If you want to tone – and stay there – you need to follow a healthy fat loss plan.
Ready to get started?
Begin by taking note of your weight, body fat percentage and muscle mass using one of the above methods. Watch how these figures change over a few days – is your weight and muscle mass dropping, but your body fat increasing, despite regular workouts, for example? That could mean you’re eating too many carbs and not enough protein to sustain your muscle. Tweak your regime accordingly and monitor the numbers again. Repeat until it’s solely fat coming off.
The best type of workouts for fat loss? Those you can consistently commit to. Whether that’s sweating it out every day or a couple of times a week, it’s more important to focus on the quality of your workouts over their quantity.
Sounds like a win-win, right? Save time, gain more. But how to make sure your sessions are of gold star standards?
To lose body fat, HIIT workouts, which include some weight-bearing exercises using either body weight or dumbbells and kettlebells, work best. Aim for compound exercises (squats, lunges, press ups), these are exercises that use close to, if not, your whole body.
The more time you spend working out at around 75% of your maximum heart rate, the greater the afterburn effect – which basically means the longer you’ll be burning calories after you’ve exeercised.
All well and good, but what does that look like? You can download 5 free workouts here. They require no equipment and they’re suitable for any level!
When getting to grips with how to lose body fat there’s plenty of food for thought. Most women do perform better on a high protein, moderate fat and low carb diet. To maintain muscle, you typically need 0.5g protein per lb of body weight – this can be increased to 0.75g if you want to build more muscle (which will ultimately help to reduce body fat more quickly). For carbs, start with 1g per pound of body weight then reducing down, if necessary, until it’s only fat coming off, not muscle.
So best stock up on protein-enriched products then?
Supplements should only be used if you can’t meet your targets through a healthy, balanced diet alone. The more nutritious sources of energy you feed your body with, the more it will want to use them – meaning your training will improve, you’ll burn more calories and build more muscle, and you’ll lose more body fat.
It’s also a good idea to monitor your food intake using a calorie counting app. Add up what macros (Protein, carbohydrates and Fat) you’re currently eating. Don’t worry, the app you use will do this for you.
It’s much easier if you’re consistent – ie eating the same thing every day. It may be dull but remember, it’s only for a short period of time while you work out why you aren’t losing fat. Having this base will make adjusting your diet easier. Aim for a balance of lean meat, fish, complex carbs and lots of veg. And avoid eating too much fruit and juices, which are high in sugar.
And, lastly, drink water! Lots of it! If you’re dehydrated, your performance will suffer, so you won’t be able to push yourself as hard during training.
TAKE NOTE: it’s not just diet and exercise that are worth bearing in mind when it comes to maximising fat burn. Sleep quality and too much stress are the most underestimated lifestyle habits in relation to fat loss, so ensure you’re getting plenty of rest and chill time!