We’ve got a few members who are keen to get lean at the moment (like what I did there?) so here are a few tips that I recommend to everyone who wants to lose a bit of fat.
1.Build some lean muscle
We always meet ladies (and guys too) who say they don’t want to be big and muscly they just want to “tone-up” but what they don’t realise is what they mean by ‘toned’ is actually lean muscle. I’ve gotta a lot of muscle tone – unfortunately it’s covered in a layer of fat! If I want to look toned, muscles aren’t my problem, it’s the fat covering them that’s the issue here. In a nutshell muscles burn calories (fat is just a storage facility) and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest – which is when we burn most of our calories – even though it feels like it’s when we are pounding the pavement in our joggers. Add to that the benefits of becoming stronger, which not only makes life easier and therefore more fun, it means that during your HIIT session or the other workouts you do, you’ll be able to pick up the heavier weight, work harder and burn more calories.
2. Get Enough Sleep
How does sleep help with fat-loss? Imagine you’re tired, what do you want? Instant energy, some kind of pick-me-up? That’s right, so if you’re lacking sleep ie. less than 7 hours of quality sleep per night then what you crave most is sugar and carbs. I know this is true, I’ve had two children, who as tiny babies kept me awake a LOT and I look back on those days as the muffin months, I ate a lot of muffins and I was kind of shaped like one too! Not only do you feel groggy when you’re sleep deprived, so does your metabolism. With four successive days of reduced sleep your body’s insulin sensitivity levels decrease by as much as 30%. When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from your blood stream and prevent storage, but when it doesn’t do its job, it ends up storing fat in all the wrong places! Hormones are also affected by lack of sleep. Leptin and ghrelin are produced by fat cells and the regulation of them can help or hinder weigh-loss. Sleeping less than 6 hours effects the production of leptin and makes you feel more hungry! Lack of sleep also increases cortisol levels – the stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain. It’s time to forget about setting an alarm to wake up and set yourself an alarm to go to bed! Make a time that you turn off all technology and wind down. Exercise usually helps with a good night’s sleep too – so make sure you get that done.
3. Don’t confuse thirst for hunger
This is a really common problem – maybe you’re already past it – but then again maybe not. Whenever you get hungry and reach for something to eat, why not try having a glass of water first? Wait ten minutes and see if the feeling of hunger is still there, if it is, then grab yourself something to eat. It doesn’t hurt to wait ten minutes and we all know how good water is for us so an extra glass isn’t going to hurt. Perhaps you won’t feel hungry after the ten minute wait and then you’ll know that it was your mind playing tricks on you. While we’re on the topic of thirst, I’d like to add, don’t drink your calories! You should know this by now but just in case…
4. Be prepared
This is the most boring tip and the one I find I have the most problem with, but get this right and you are sure to succeed. Clean out your cupboard and fridge so there’s nothing left to tempt you and fill it with some good healthy snacks so that if you really want to munch on something you can. On any healthy eating plan you can pretty much stock up on things like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, celery, pickles (but make sure you read the label and get the ones without sugar in them). I believe however, there’s only so much lettuce one can eat… but at least you have something to chew, which tends to help. Plan your meals, do your shopping, read the labels – if you are organised, believe me, you will not fail!
5. Stick to your guns…most of the time
Let’s be realistic here – no-one wants to live only on lettuce and say ‘no’ every time someone offers to buy them a drink! We don’t want you becoming a social recluse because you’re trying to watch your waistline. You need to plan to fail, just one day a week. In terms of dieting, you’re much better off having a night or day out than you are cheating a little bit every day. You might’ve heard of ‘cheat meals’ or ‘cheat days’ and that’s essentially what we’re talking about here. Don’t go absolutely crazy on these days as it sets you up with a bad mentality around being ‘good’ and ‘naughty’ and you don’t want to get into that kind of relationship with your dinner. Think about your week ahead, pick a day when you know you’ve got something fun planned or you are going to let a bit loose and let yourself off your diet for that meal or that day – but for that day only!
So there you have it – those are my best tips to help you stick with your diet – the rest is up to you!
See you in the gym