Burn Fat & Get Lean
“What would you like to achieve from exercise and nutrition?”
This is the first thing I ask anyone I have a nutrition consultation with; the answers vary in response but can always be summarised to: lose fat & get lean.
In the journey towards reaching this goal I have come up with some tips and suggestions that can help shred unwanted fat and help promote muscle growth. Depending how committed you are to your goal will depend on how successful you are in achieving it.
Below are ideas you can add to your already existing exercise and what I hope is a healthy eating plan. If you are not already doing so, yes, these tips will help but you will need to get on the health train to really reach your potential.
I could start every blog with DRINK MORE WATER. It plays such a vital role in being healthy, burning fat and building muscle and we are lucky enough that it is always available and (almost) free!
How much should you drink?
The average person should have between 2.5 – 3.5 litres a day; someone who is exercising regularly and wants to burn fat and or get leaner should drink around 4.5+ litres a day.
So why is it so important?
The body requires 3g of water to metabolise 1g of carbohydrates to energy, if not it is likely to be stored as fat. A common side effect of dehydration is an increased appetite instead of the feeling of thirst, making sticking to a healthy plan harder.
When you are properly hydrated the liver metabolises stored body fat to be used as energy – winner! When dehydrated the kidneys struggle to process toxins, so the liver stops metabolising fat and helps the kidneys. There are many other roles that water plays; this is just to name a few.
The truth is 5-a-day is not enough for anyone but is deemed as a barely achievable target by the government for the general population, one of the reasons being an underestimate of how much a portion actually is and no, the slice of tomato and 5 lettuce leaves in a packaged sandwich do not count as two portions!!
You should be striving for closer to – or even over – ten. I know this can sound daunting, however if you are still cutting fat then replacing some starchy foods such as potatoes rice etc. with extra veggies at each meal, it makes it easy to keep full and hit all those vital nutrients your body needs to get stronger and healthier.
Try and get a wide range of colours and always plenty of the green stuff as this will help ensure getting the full variety of all the different nutrients out there and keep your palate satisfied with loads of flavour.
A lot of people fall into a trap when they are trying to burn fat or build muscle, those trying to get leaner stop the cardio and fat-burning exercises and swap it for more strength-based mixed with eating more as they are “building muscle”. And those trying to lose weight tend to neglect the strength training and focus solely on LSD (long slow duration) cardio.
This is a common misconception of what is needed for the specific task. If definition is your goal then you still need to burn fat as well as build muscle or it will not show your hard-earned gains. And if weight loss is the goal then bear in mind muscle burns calories more than fat.
A great way to get around this is to mix HIIT (high intensity interval training) with resistance exercises. This style of training requires you to push yourself to a maximum effort level for a short period followed by a short rest or active rest, and repeat. A simple example would be a “tabata” which could consist of 20 seconds of jumping squats followed by 10 seconds of rest or jogging on the spot and repeat x8. Legs should be burning and you will be fighting for breath in just four minutes. It also gives you a very satisfying feeling when you finish and will raise metabolism for up to 24 hours afterwards, depending on the session.
Rest is a must; it gives your body time to recover and rebuild.
So how much rest should you have?
As with everything there is no strict measurement for this and everyone and their needs are different. You must listen to your body as it will tell you if you are overdoing it. The kind of exercise you do will play a factor, for example if you are doing heavy weight lifting sessions and HIIT you will need more rest than if you were doing more bodyweight and cardio sessions. Using a Personal Trainer will make this a lot easier as they will plan appropriate sessions according to your needs with the adequate rest days.
Get enough sleep!!!
This is prime recovery and building time, 30 minutes extra sleep is more important than finding out who cheated on who in the soap you are staying up to watch 😉
On rest days this does not mean have a day where you don’t walk more than 100 steps; active rest days will be a big benefit – go for a swim, leisurely bike ride or play outdoors with the kids.
So what is a cheat meal and when should you have them?
As always, this will depend on your goals and determination to reach them. When on a fairly strict eating/exercise regime it is common to have a cheat meal once a week which probably contains all your favourite things you have restricted, such as a takeaway or a desert.
This is usually a good motivational tool as it gives you some thing to look forward to as a reward for all the hard work you have done in that week.
Just remember this is a once a week deal; if you start rewarding yourself with a treat after every workout or hit the pub hard all weekend all this will do is undo a lot of your hard work, and yes doing the exercise is better than not, but exercise is not an excuse for poor nutrition. Abs are made in the kitchen.
This is a subject I will go into detail on in my next blog as it has many benefits and can help with losing weight as well as getting lean. This is a style of eating where you have windows of time in which you fast and the rest when you can eat, for example the most common is 16 hours fasting with an 8 hour eating window.
This style of eating will not suit everyone’s lifestyle and does carry rules with it but for others it could make a big difference and be very convenient.
For more details on intermittent fasting or other specifics on getting leaner to burning fat, get in touch with Potential Personal Training where every membership includes tailor-made nutrition advice targeted to your personal goals and lifestyle.