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First off, you might have noticed I have not put the word “diet” into the headline.

It’s one of my pet hates to see “fat loss diets” and “clean eating diets” all over the internet. To a lot of people the word “diet” means suffering and giving up something.

Why can’t the word diet stand for what it is? It’s your daily nutrition intake in the way that you chose and if you want to stay lean and healthy then you must eat a balanced intake of carbs, fats and protein washed down with water.

Simple, but those few line won’t sell books.

Dieting should NOT be complex, complicated or need insane amounts of willpower. In fact, one way to guarantee you fail is to base your plan solely on willpower.

Secondly the word Sustainable just doesn’t seem to grab the headlines such as “lose 25Ibls of weight in 6 days” etc. Sustainable means to be maintained or kept going which in the mind of that quick fix people doesn’t sit well.

This is a critical distinction between what I advise people on as opposed to the usual “rapid fat loss” diet protocols you’ve undoubtedly seen. You see, losing fat is actually amazingly easy. You or any “failed dieter” out there does not have a fat loss problem. You have a problem for sustaining that for any length of time. Virtually every dieter loses weight. The problem is, close to all of them will re-gain it, often surpassing their starting point in the process.

So in plain English, how the hell do you keep your fat loss and your metabolism firing?

Let’s start with Nutrition:

  1. Create a caloric deficit

This is listed as number one because it’s simply unavoidable. No matter what you do, it is an impossibility to lose fat if you are not in a calorie/energy deficit. In other words, your body must be using more energy than you expend.

 

So how do you work out what your calorie requirements are? There are endless places online to calculate an estimate of your required calorie intake.

 

A better method may be to track your calorie intake and bodyweight for 7 days. Average out the figures. If you are roughly around the same bodyweight than your average calorie intake (barring some crazy outliers messing up the average) over that week is equal to your maintenance calorie intake. In other words, on this average figure is how much you need to eat to stay the same weight. Once you know this figure then reduce it by 10-20% depending on how aggressive of a cut you want. 15% is as high as I usually go with clients initially, unless they are in an extreme scenario.

 

So, now some of you may be thinking “so low-calorie foods are good and high-calorie foods are bad”. Well… while calories DO matter, a good dieting program is not ONLY about calories. Food quality matters too.

  1. Eat non processed, whole foods 80% of the time

Just to clarify, I class “real food” as things like: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), dairy products and some grains (oats, buckwheat, but NOT wheat).

 

There is a lot to this that I won’t get into but what I will say is that when you focus more on whole real foods, not only does the nutrient-density of your diet go up but it also helps with your natural ability to regulate your intake.

We have all these internal mechanisms in our body via the gut-brain axis, HPA system and the communication between our brain and our fat cells (e.g. leptin circulation) that can prevent us from over-consuming and gaining fat.

However, when we find ways to override these mechanisms it becomes extremely difficult to naturally regulate our own intake. Without going into this complex area, one way we can bypass much of our own regulation is via high consumption of extremely palatable foods. Think of highly processed foods that combine low-protein, low-fibre, high-sugar, high-fat, salt, starch, smell, texture and crunch. They trigger off an amazing response in the brain without increasing satiety or satiation to the point where we can stop after a reasonable intake.

 

An unfair, yet simple, example would be to ask what is it easier to over-consume calories on: sitting down with a tube of Pringles or sitting down with an equivalent number of calories from chicken and potatoes. Which one are you likely to not want to finish?

  1. Hit adequate protein intake

You need a balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to survive but the one that falls down the most is protein. You should try and have 4 palms size portion a day of protein at least.

If your training 3-4 times per week you could increase that to 6 palm size portions a day or roughly 2.0- 2.5 g per KG bodyweight.

  1. Live life and eat 80% the right way.

We all live in a busy fast paced world so ignore the Instagram models who preach about eating “clean” 100% of the time. Plan ahead each week and look forward to having a cheat meal or some delicious favourite food. If I get my clients eating 80-85% of the week the way they should then that’s a success.

TRAINING:

  1. Lift, Push, Carry, sweat

In order to have sustainable fat loss you must build lean muscle. While walking and slow stated jogging has massive benefits to the body, strength training to burn body fat totally overwhelms it. When you build lean muscle, you increase your metabolism thus burning more body fat.

The best part?

Imagine your body is like a tall building. The lean muscle you build is the steel beams that keep the building together. That’s the same with lean toned muscle. No more yo yo weight loss due to your body been unsupported.

The worst type of training you can be doing is the “same training”! Your body is extremely smart so it will get used to your efforts very quickly and a stage called adaptation will take place. This is the point when you need to lift heavier, more reps and sets, change grip, sprint faster, sprint uphill or downhill or give yourself less rest. Whatever it is, you must shock your body in a way it didn’t see that coming.

That’s one of the reasons running a 5km every day, at the same pace, on the same terrain won’t get you the body fat burn we all crave.

CONSISTENCY:

Pick an approach/philosophy you can see yourself following for a LONG time. Years. Ideally for life.

A perfect diet for 4 weeks before your holiday followed by a return to “normal” eating is a recipe for disaster.

Joining a fitness club for 1 month and stopping isn’t going to give you long term success either.

You’ve got to play the long game. Make your journey a marathon and you’ll cross the line a champ. Make it a sprint and you’re going straight off the edge of a cliff.

SUMMARY:

  • Create a caloric deficit
  • Eat non processed, whole foods 80% of the time
  • Hit adequate protein intake
  • Lift, Push, Carry, sweat
  • Be Consistent and play the long game.

Brian Roache.

 

ps- if you wish to achieve sustainable fat loss with easy to follow food plans, tough but fun training sessions and make new friends at the same time then fill in your details below;

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