06 Jul 2022

Carlow Health: Fat loss cheat sheet

Jack Saunders, Carlow Live's Fitness Guru and trainer at énergie Fitness Carlow

Carlow Carlow Carlow

Hi guys, here is my cheat sheet on how to lose fat and look good! Follow these steps and make progress!

Calorie deficit

In order for you to lose weight the first thing you need to nail down is your nutrition. You can do all the training in the world but if you are eating too many calories, your weight will go nowhere.

The amount of calories that you must take in is different for each person. It depends on your height, weight, age and the amount that you train each week.

Even your job can affect how many calories you must eat as someone with a more physical job such as a builder will need more calories than someone with an office job such as a secretary. Now, you don’t have to be 100% strict on yourself and count every single calorie that you intake.

This will of course help you if you are more dedicated to it and count calories but you can also get great results from managing portion sizes. A general rule of thumb with portion sizes is:

Carbs – A half cup portion/half a fist size. Roughly a cup of rice is equal to 45g of carbohydrates and so if you are looking to lose weight scale this according to how many carbohydrates you are eating. A half cup is equal to about 20-25g of carbohydrates so keep this in mind when cooking your rice.

Protein – A palm size/85-100g. 100g of chicken breast is about 31g of protein and a palm size of protein (Chicken, beef, turkey, fish) is equal to a portion size. When trying to lose weight keep your protein high so you stand a chance at maintaining muscle mass.

Fats – Tip of your thumb/one teaspoon. Fats such as peanut butter and mayonnaise are good ways of getting in your fat intake for the day. A serving size of peanut butter contains between 3-5g of fat.

These serving sizes are a general rule of thumb so use them as a guide rather than a rule. I would recommend finding out how many calories you should intake each day/week if you are serious about losing weight. Remember, all diets that are popular work because of a calorie deficit!

That includes ketogenic diets, the atkins diet and all those quick-slim diets. We offer personal training and each trainer will work your calories out for you and advise you on what and when to eat once you start working with them.

To be honest, I could talk about calories and diets and carbs/proteins/fats until the cows come home so I'll keep it simple. Eat less (within reason), lose weight!

Increased exercise

The next tip is to increase the amount of exercise that you are doing each day. This one is fairly self-explanatory, if you are not active then get active.

You should be taking part in good exercise that challenges you three times a week as a beginner. Three full body workouts in the gym is enough as a beginner and after that you should progress on from this.

A combination of training styles will help you to improve all aspects of fitness and keep you interested. A focus should be put on resistance training! Don’t be scared of lifting weights, it is by far the most effective way of building muscle and burning fat.

As well as this, just because you go to the gym once a day does not mean that the rest of the day should be spent sitting down!

People generally don’t move enough, not just gym or training wise, but in their everyday lives. Many people sit behind a desk for 8 hours a day then go home and park themselves on a couch.

Thinking about it logically, that is at least 8-10 hours of the day sitting down and being inactive when really a lot of the day should be spent moving around. Now I know that if your job means that you have to sit down and work that this may be hard to do but there are ways around everything. Get up and walk around the office every hour for 5 minutes.

As well as getting in extra steps it will also help you to reset and give you a bit of a break from the computer. In any case, aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps each day as a base line and get moving!

High protein and build muscle

Keep the protein in your diet high. Protein is one of the keys to building muscle and this is important if you want to lose weight and look good!

Taking on a gram of protein per lb of lean body mass is a good rule of thumb to follow as it gives the body sufficient protein to build muscle while you are training.

A lack of protein in your diet will result in you not building as much muscle as you want and if you are a beginner this time is the time when you should be focused on building muscle.

Each extra lb of muscle that you have burns an extra 50 calories a day just by sitting around. So in theory if you have an extra 10 lbs of muscle, you will burn 500 extra calories a day.

You build muscle by lifting weights, simple! Focus on building muscle because the more muscle you have the better you look and the easier it will be to maintain the progress that you have made. Look good and feel good by building up your muscle level!

Don’t starve yourself

Now, I know I said to be in a good calorie deficit in my first point but at the same time DON’T STARVE YOURSELF! Just because you eat less and lose weight does not mean it is healthy for you! By starving yourself you lose muscle that is much harder to put back on than fat.

It becomes a vicious cycle where you starve yourself, lose weight and muscle, then start eating again and put on weight so you start to starve yourself again. We want to preserve muscle as much as possible when following a diet and losing weight so don’t starve yourself.

If you feel that you have no energy, are tired and hungry all the time then chances are that you are eating too few calories. Up your calories by even 300 and see how much of a difference that it makes.

On the same topic, forget about fad diets! The juice cleanse, detox diets, starvation diets and any diet where you are only eating one kind of food should be thrown in the bin. On these diets you will lose weight but they are not one bit sustainable!

They focus on putting you in a very large calorie deficit and this is not sustainable for more than a few weeks. On top of this you will not feel at the top of your game and you will suffer a lot on the vast majority of them!

Find a diet that you enjoy, can stick to and you could see yourself doing for a long period of time! Dieting does not have to be horrible and you will enjoy it much more if you follow these steps!

énergie Fitness - Carlow's Fitness Club - is opening this Friday in Carlow Town and will offer everything from spinning classes to a huge range of equipment, catering for both cardio, strength and functional training. 

For more, go to their website by clicking here. 

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