Eat less or move more?

Hey everyone!

Yesterday on facebook I posted a question: In your opinion what is the most important thing you can do to lose fat?

I loved reading your comments so thank you all for contributing. From the research I have read, I thought I’d give you all some of my thoughts.

Silhouette of man in yoga positionYou will never out-train a bad diet

The average training time a week is about 3hrs (1hr training, 3xweek). Most sessions will burn 400-600 calories (kcal) an hour if you work mod-hard.

So if you burn roughly 600kcal a session 3x a week that's 1800kcal a week burnt.

Do you know how easy it is to put on 1800kcal? Well to generalise there are around 250-300kcal in a chocolate bar. 100-250kcal in a pint, 89kcal small glass of wine, 60-80kcal in a shot, 180kcal in crisps, 300-500kcal in a fast food burger and approx 370kcal in Kelloggs Special K.

So for example if you had one bag of crisps, one chocolate bar, one bag of sweets, 3 pints or glasses of wine a week you're consuming about 1200-1300kcal a week.

Therefore almost your entire weeks training is negated in this example, from a weight loss point of view.

This isn’t taking into account many, many other toxic foods which are part of most people's daily lifestyle. I would hazard a guess that many of you have more chocolate, alcohol etc that’s stated above! In many cases people consume enough energy from non-nutritious foods to negate or even put fat mass on instead of maintaining your weight or losing it!

IMPORTANT: In the above example you would be consuming 1200-1300kcal of nothing nutritious- that is the primary problem. Calories counting isn’t  often necessary and can be downright dangerous. Think about  WHAT your eating as well as how much.

There are many, many, many benefits of exercise of health, wellbeing and body composition- far too many to cover here. Despite this however if you continue to exercise quite hard- hard a few times a week and yet don’t change your eating habits, however healthy they may be, you are very very unlikely to lose weight.

So what should we be doing?

It’s not rocket science.

Eat unrefined, unprocessed foods. Use your common sense - do you really think that some freeze dried piece of berry in a biscuit bar is good for you? Don’t be naive  there’s next to nothing in terms of nutrition left.

Drink more water - the body is made up predominantly of water, practically every biochemical reaction in the body takes place in water or using water. If you don’t drink enough your metabolism will slow down and weight gain will be waiting for you! Have a water bottle where you work and sip little and often if you find it hard to drink more. Again don’t be naive - the liquid from your costa coffee isn’t pure unadulterated water so don’t count it!

Fresh eggsNow IT ISN’T ABOUT EATING LESS! In fact you probably want to eat more, just of the right foods: beans and pulses, fruit and vegetables with loads of fibre in and meat in moderation. You want protein from sources where you get the least saturated fat.

It isn't always about moving more

The Key to successful weight loss alongside changing long term lifestyle and dietary habits is effective exercise.

Jogging on the treadmill for an hour is fine if you’re training for a marathon but for weight loss it is not a very effective form of exercise.

Short, intense bursts of exercise that dramatically increase your metabolic rate are what really help you lose weight. You want to increase the ‘Afterburn’ (or EPOC for the scientific ones out there) whereby your metabolism is raised as high as possible for as long as possible after the session. This can be done in sessions lasting 20-30 mins! Not enough time to exercise you say? Hmm - where there is a will… Intense circuits, metabolic resistance training and HIIT training all achieve this.

My tutor Dax Moy does frequent SHORT bouts of INTENSE exercise. Why? because this is the most effective way to increase your metabolic rate and thus burn unwanted calories and fat. The bonus? It takes little time and keeps ramping up your metabolism.

Single rowerSo to summarise the best way to lose fat is to alter your diet for the better and this does not necessarily mean eat less. Furthermore do short, INTENSE bursts of exercise that will produce the ‘afterburn’ effect and will burn off far more than your 500-600kcal you burn in your session. Remember it's the calories you burn AFTER your session that will enable you to succeed with your fitness goals not necessarily the calories you burn IN the session!

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it.

I will be starting a weight loss nutrition course In July for any of you that are interested - just leave a comment and let me know or contact NL Fitness on facebook.

Be Well!