Building Blocks Of Weight Loss
Weight Loss Basics
We wish we could tell you there’s a magic button for weight loss, one that you press, and you instantly drop 2 dress sizes or can start seeing some washboard abs. However, here at Flamin’ Fitness, we pride ourselves on being 100% transparent, and unfortunately, no such button exists. We’ve been in the fitness industry a number of years now, and the basic principles of weight loss seem to have been sugar-coated with quick fixes and detoxes. In the first Flamin’ Fitness blog, we will try to summarise the sheer foundations of weight loss, to help guide you through the sea of fad diets and weight loss pills. So, buckle up, and prepare to learn.
Before we begin, when we use the phrase weight loss, we are predominately talking about the loss of adipose (fat). The majority of clients will want to lose fat whilst holding onto as much muscle mass as possible. This will lead to the ‘toned’ look so many strive toward.
This is a term we have all seen thrown around, but what does it actually mean? First off, let me define what a ‘calorie’ actually is.
Calorie: ‘The energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1°C’
So being in a calorie deficit means that your body is burning more energy than it is consuming. Your energy expenditure (calories burned during the day) is greater than your food intake. Being in a calorie deficit will lead to weight loss.
Calories are used by your body throughout the day for just about everything. At rest, to keep you alive and functioning, also known as your BMR.
BMR: basal metabolic rate.
They are also burned during your daily activity such as walking around when you digest and store food as well as exercises and workout sessions.
Within the industry, a suitable daily calorie deficit to be in is around 500 calories. This means you’re roughly expending 500 more calories than you’re eating. This is based on an ideal healthy weight loss of 1lb (0.45kg) weekly. Because 1lb of fat is roughly 3500 calories. So, 7 X 500 = 3500.
It is also important to note, that calorie deficits greater than 500, may have harmful effects such as losing muscle mass and disrupting hormonal functions.
Now you’ve got your head around that, how do we create a calorie deficit for healthy weight loss? Well, there are two main options. Reduce calorie (food) intake or increase activity level. Doing one of these individually will be a great challenge. So, here at Flamin’ Fitness, we encourage you to utilise both methods. Having a well-planned workout routine along with a suitable diet plan.
To find out your own personal calorific needs based on your activity levels check out our calorie calculator on our website.
NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)
NEAT: Non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
NEAT is essentially the way you can increase energy expenditure outside of the gym. It’s the daily activities such as walking around, washing the dishes and even getting up to grab a snack. Good news for all of you that cannot sit still, fidgeting also contributes to NEAT.
There is a misconception within the health and fitness industry that your planned exercise routine, whether that be a heavyweight training session in a gym, a football training session or 30 minutes of yoga, is the pivotal factor when it comes to increasing calorie expenditure. However, people overestimate how many calories they tend to burn in such scenarios.
I’m sure most of you will have a sigh of relief when we tell you that there are much less strenuous ways to increase energy expenditure. That my friends, is through getting your NEAT fired up.
Here are a few simple ways you can consciously get your NEAT up to help promote weight loss:
- Take the stairs instead of the lift/escalator
- Park further away than you normally would from shops/work
- Walking around when on the phone
- DO YOUR CHORES (yes, making your bed burns calories)
One thing to bear in mind is that while weight loss occurs, the body tries to save energy as much as possible. Therefore, the subconscious fidgeting that you might be cursed for in the office, will more than likely decline. That is why it is important to make an active effort to fire up your NEAT to promote weight loss.
Workouts / Exercise
When training you should be focusing on fat loss and muscle retention. An easy way to do this is through hypertrophy training methods.
Hypertrophy: an increase and growth of muscle cells.
You may have also seen this referred to as weight training or bodybuilding.
So, hypertrophy-based training focuses on building/maintaining muscle mass. This is done through resistance training with a rep range of 8-12. The most common programmes will involve weights and resistance machines, but bodyweight exercises can be equally as effective. The whole body should be targeted to ensure optimal muscle mass retention. Routines will vary based on lifestyle, experience, age and timing. To find examples of workout routines used for weight loss, check out our workout plans.
Resistance training (during a calorie deficit) will allow for muscle mass to be maintained and sometimes to grow, whilst the calories burned during and after the sessions will add to your calorie deficit. Leading to efficient weight loss.
Eating sufficient amounts of protein will also help promote the maintenance of muscle mass. Hidden bonus, protein-dense foods keep you fuller for longer!
Another quick-fire nugget of knowledge you should be aware of is, having a higher amount of lean tissue will increase your BMR. This means that muscle mass requires more energy (calories) to maintain than fat does. So, having more muscle means you burn more calories at rest. Another reason why focusing on exercise/training to promote retention/increase of muscle mass is important for creating a calorie deficit, which will lead to that wonderful weight loss.
Alongside a well-structured resistance programme, cardio can be added in to ensure cardiovascular health is kept tip top. It will also help create that beautiful calorie deficit we keep banging on about.
Baring all that in mind, the exercise method you choose should be one you enjoy and can stick to. There’s no point in enduring 12 weeks of a grisly gym programme that send shivers down your spine at every thought of it. Do what you love, just keep an eye on your progress. Make sure it’s an effective enough workout to keep you in a calorie deficit to be losing weight and be mindful of losing lean tissue.
Again, we’d be lying if we said weight loss was an easy pursuit. Being in a calorie deficit is a physical and emotional stress on the body. That’s why it is so important to be within a healthy range of a calorie deficit. It is also important to see weight loss as a temporary stage. Being in a calorie deficit for a prolonged period of time is not an effective or healthy place to be in.
As we’ve previously mentioned about BMR. It is worth stating that as you continue to lose weight, your BMR will decrease as there is less of you to fuel. As well as your NEAT subconsciously going down. Therefore, in order to maintain constant weight loss, food intake may have to be gradually reduced or activity levels increased to counter these effects. Weight loss gets harder the longer it goes on for. At Flamin’ Fitness, we suggest a weight loss phase of no longer than 12 weeks, with a maintenance phase after to let your body fully recover and keep motivation from burning out.
Some of the physical stresses that need to be taken into consideration before entering a weight loss phase are:
- Feeling tired or having a lack of energy
- Trouble sleeping
- Disruptions to the menstrual cycle (normally when the deficit is too extreme or has been going on too long)
- Being hungry ALL the time
Some of the emotional stresses of weight loss can also be:
- Feeling grouchy, irritated
- Loss of motivation when weight loss isn’t going to plan
- Jealousy/resentment towards people that aren’t tracking food and exercise
Some of the social stresses that weight loss brings about are:
- Having to be cautious at social gatherings to make sure that you stay on track to your weight loss goal
- Being irritable may cause conflict among family and friends
- Annoyance at constantly justifying your choices to others
No one is forcing you to lose weight, it should be a personal decision with the right motivations behind it, you need to be aware of the stresses that losing weight can bring about so you can enter your weight loss journey in the right headspace.
During a weight-loss pursuit, you will have to make sacrifices. It will be a testing time for yourself and loved ones, so it is important that you have a strong, understanding support network around you. Flamin’ Fitness offers a range of services that guide and encourage you through whatever fitness journey you’re on.
We hope this blog has lit up the main blocks of weight loss for you and corrected a few misconceptions you may have had. So, the main takeaway points are:
- A calorie deficit is needed for weight loss
- Aim for fat loss over general weight loss
- Create a calorie deficit by reducing the amount you eat and increasing the amount you move
- Little changes in your day can make a big difference (taking the stairs)
- Try to hold onto as much muscle as possible
- Do whatever exercises you enjoy
- Consider the downsides of weight loss to see if you really are ready to start your weight loss journey
To take your first steps towards losing weight, check the services we offer. From our range of bespoke workout plans to online coaching and easy to follow recipes. Losing weight has never been so simple with Flamin’ Fitness.
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