1. Calorie deficit
First things first you need to be in a calorie deficit to achieve fat loss. This is fundamental. You can do all the cardio and training you like but unless you hit that deficit consistently you simply won’t achieve your fat loss goals. How much of deficit? This depends on where you are starting out and how quickly you want to drop weight. But a generalised suggestion for solid progress is 20% below maintenance calories, this will make muscle maintenance and even muscle building possible (for some people) whilst in a deficit.
2. High protein diet
High protein diets promote muscle growth and muscle maintenance, protein also has the highest thermic effect of all the macros, meaning it takes a lot of energy to digest and utilise. Protein is also great for satiety, so you stay fuller for longer on a high protein diet. The percentage of calories from protein you need will vary depending on a number of individual factors but around 40% of calories from protein is a good starting point.
3. Making adjustments
As our weight changes and our exercise levels vary so do our calorie needs. If you think you can run with the same calories forever and continually make progress, I have news, you will plateau. Aim to get your calories recalculated at least once a month to ensure you stay on track.
4. Balance your training
Training more doesn’t always mean better results. People often use exercise as an excuse to eat more calories than needed. A lot of people now use fitness tracker apps and gadgets, but they are notoriously unreliable, and commonly overestimate the number of calories burned considerably, often by around 50%.
My suggestion would be to focus on quality of training over quantity and let the calculated nutrition take care of the rest.
5. Be consistent
Results don’t happen overnight. Adding body fat requires a consistent calorie surplus over time so there shouldn’t too much surprise when I say losing it requires a long term consistent calorie deficit.
It’s remarkably easy to counteract a day or even a week of your hard work and dedication with a blow out meal, day or weekend. For a week to be successful you need the whole week to deliver a calorie deficit, not just a few days or even just Monday to Friday.
Get your numbers right. Be consistent. Work hard. Get results.