You still need a calorie deficit but here's 6 things that can help fat loss.
All you tend to hear nowadays is ‘create a calorie deficit’ from fat loss coaches.
Since it became sexy to be ‘team science’ the calorie deficit hashtag has been used to death by anyone trying to sell diet plans.
It is the one thing you absolutely must have in place for an effective weight loss program. No body fat is going to be shifted without a deficit.
Despite this fact there are plenty of people trying to tell you that their superfood, maximal fat burning diet will melt fat off you in 2 minutes.
Here’s some free advice, just ignore those people. You need to keep to a calorie deficit. However that can be a task in itself. That’s a topic for another post but here’s some other things you may want to consider adding to help you.
This is not a ‘Top 6’ list, it’s just a list of things to consider to get those extra 1-5% results.
Eat a High Protein Diet for Improved Body Composition and Lower Body Fat Levels
Latest research into higher protein diets always shows one trend – the people improved their body composition.
This means that they didn’t necessarily lose weight but they did increase their ratio of muscle to fat, or conversely, reduced their level of body fat to muscle. Higher protein seems to help fat loss happen more esily.
How can this happen without losing weight? Well if you were to gain 1kg of muscle and lose 1kg of fat at the same time your body weight would be the same but your composition would be different.
You may still be 90kg, but now 1kg more is muscle and 1kg less is fat. This is why weight is not a major indicator of body fat levels and why you should never just go on body weight as the determining factor for progress.
I’ve worked with many clients who have seen this happen. I’ve also worked with clients where we have hit a brick wall in terms of progress and actually increased their total calories by adding in more protein with the result being an improved body composition.
Therefore I would highly recommend keeping a high level of protein in your diet. Not just any protein though, protein that is rich in all of the amino acids, especially the essential amino acids. Foods like
- Protein Coffee
- Protein Breakfast Cereal
- Protein Chocolate bars eg Snickers
- Protein Crisps
are all very poor sources of quality protein and just cost loads more money for little to no extra protein in the product.
Instead choose sources like
- Lean Beef
- Salmon (be careful of fat pushing up calories)
Vegan and Vegetarian sources such as
Are all good choices but you may need to supplement with a BCAA or EAA drink to make sure you get the optimal amount of Leucine (an amino acid responsible for muscle growth)
Supplement with Creatine for Increased Energy Output in the Gym Creating More of a Calorie Deficit
Creatine is fast becoming a sort of super supplement. Not only it is referenced in thousands of studies as a potent performance improver in strength and power sports, it is also now becoming more used in brain studies.
Recently a study showed that creatine reduced instances of depression in women who had a higher level of dietary creatine.
It’s also been shown to help with reducing muscle wastage in people with immobilised limbs for example after an accident.
However it’s main use remains as a performance enhancer and it provides a valuable source of explosive energy for the body to use during weights and HIT cardio.
Having more energy means that you fatigue later and therefore you may be able to output more calories in the gym. Ultimately this may translate into a bigger calorie deficit and as a result help fat loss to occur.
This may or may not provide a huge benefit but there’s very little to no risk from using creatine and the benefits it provides to health and the now mental aspect make it a no brainer for me.
Creatine Monohydrate is fine to use. There are other forms but this is the cheapest and there’s been no real solid evidence that others are better. 5g a day is enough.
Add L Carnitine L Tartrate to Your Daily Supplements for Long Term Benefits
Carnitine has long been a supplement linked with fat loss and it’s in most fat loss products.
However the specific form of carnitine I have found most useful in clients to help fat loss has been L Carnitine L Tartrate at 2g per day.
This isn’t a quick fix product but if taken over 6 months will start to show better body composition results. I’ve used this product with clients who have had a history of stubborn weight loss to get them their ideal body. However it must be taken every day and do not take with protein shakes. Ideally with a carb snack.
Improve Your Sleep Protocols to Prevent Bad Decisions With Food in the Day
Many of us have poor sleep protocols. Lack of sleep itself isn’t a cause of weight gain but tiredness can cause poor decisions and possibly increase your chances of snacking.
Follow these ideas for better sleep
Reduce blue light exposure from LED screens such as phones in the evening.
You can turn most phones to ‘night mode’ now.
I have my phone set on ‘night mode’ after 7pm and until 7am.
Don’t go on social media within 1 hour of bedtime.
It’s not just the blue light but social media ‘likes’ are set up to give us little dopamine hits so that we keep coming back. This can keep you awake.
Only eat small meals in the evening.
In terms of calories, it doesn’t really matter when you eat but how much you eat to gain or lose fat. However eating a bigger meal in the evening may not be the best option long term.
Work on chrononutrition (time related eating) has shown slightly better results in bigger meals early in the day and smaller meals later on to help fat loss. You still need a calorie deficit though.
Have a night time routine
Setting up positive anchors and habits such as a sequence of events leading up to bed can help prepare the mind for that activity.
An example of a bed time sequence or anchor could be
- Read a book with a cup of hot milk
- Writing a journal
- Putting on a night time skin cream
- Listening to a meditation podcast
Only sleep or (the other activity) in your bed
Things such as
- Watching TV
- Surfing social media XXXXX
While in bed, confuses the brain as to what that location is for. Having an anchor to a location helps greatly with performing that action. Think of how unusual it would be to have a business meeting on the phone while talking in the shower. Make the location fit the activity. You can do all those other activities in other locations before bed.
Take a 20 Minute Walk but NOT for Fat Burning
A staple of my day, 90%. of the time I’ll take a 20 minute walk a day. It burns calories yes but its more about the activity of doing a positive thing for your health.
Start the day with a 20 minute walk and you’ll start the day on a positive. End the day with a 20 minute walk and you’ll end on a positive even if your day has been utter rubbish.
Focusing the mind with a 20 minute walk, preferably in nature, really makes a difference. To help fat loss along, make sure your mind is focussed on that task.