Top tips to leanness
Go hard or go home:
Strength training is a must. Do not be afraid to work hard by doing intense weight training. This will increase fat loss as well as maintain/increasing strength and muscle mass.
Many people make the mistake of reducing calories and cutting back on training in the hopes that fat will reduce. In fact all this will do is put your body into a catabolic state, muscle mass will reduce and result in a reduction in your metabolic state. Endurance training will increase this negative state also.
High intensity training sessions (HIT) are the way forward:
Sprint intervals, Super/compound sets, strong man training etc each week will boost calorie expenditure in recovery, activating protein synthesis.
Research shows males take advantage from shorter and more intense sessions (30seconds all out, rest, repeat) whilst women benefit longer intense intervals (30–60second all out, rest, repeat)
All HIT sessions should be 30minutes or less and performed separately to strength training, preferably on a separate day.
Protein within the diet should be kept high to preserve lean mass. This keeps the metabolism raised due to the body burning more calories to break it down within the digestive system – in comparison to carbs and fats.
Eating a protein rich diet is also very satisfying leading to people generally eating much fewer calories over the course of the day.
How much Protein should I eat daily then I hear you ask. The amount purely depends on what your goal is. However the majority of literature advises between 1.5–2g per kg of body weight / per day.
The dreaded word – CARBS!
Moderately low carb and high protein diets are useful for fat loss, if you are overweight and lead a sedentary lifestyle. However this is a different story for those who are lean and active whilst also lifting weights.
If you are already relatively lean, low carb diets reduce the production of the thyroid hormone, as a result lowering body temperature and so the amount of calories we burn at rest.
When carb intake is reduced, cortisol is released to free some stored energy providing glucose to help keep you moving. However over period of time combined with intense training, the cortisol curve becomes elevated creating a plateau in fat loss and hindering your metabolism.
Carbs are essential for replenishing glycogen stores, especially when training intensely. The total amount of carbs you should be eating purely depends on your activity levels, intensity and lifestyle.
If however you feel you would prefer to be on low carb diet which many clients do say to myself, I would suggest carb cycling. This can be done by following a low carb diet 3–4 days followed by 1–2 days of high carbs, repeat. This can improve metabolic hormone sensitivity in comparison to a straight low carb diet every day.
Get off the scales:
Muscle is your best friend when trying to lose fat, but with muscle weighing more than fat it is hard to see and track your progress effectively just by measurement on the scales.
All in all, your goal should not be to lose weight per say but to maintain or increase muscle mass, and lose fat. The only way to effectively and accurately measure this is with a DEXA scan. Skinfold and electrical handheld body fat devices are ineffective and a waste of time (excuse the bluntness!)
Enjoy your sleep:
Making sure you have good quality sleep each night is essential for improving fat loss.
Over a period of time, a lack of sleep can lead to a lower amount of testosterone, growth hormone and thyroid hormone, however an elevated amount of cortisol. As a combination under these circumstances fat loss will become impossible.
Make it part of your fat loss plan to get regular good quality sleep.
De stress yourself :
When we are stressed our cortisol level raises leading to cravings for high fat, high sugar foods whilst also shutting off the rationale part of our brain and all will power.
There are ways to help balance this raise in cortisol:
Eat balanced meals at regular intervals. Try not to go any longer than 4 hours without eating.
High protein diets with moderate carbs can help to maintain blood sugar levels and so helping to keep cortisol levels under control.
Meditation can help to balance cortisol as well as testosterone levels and growth hormones, all of which are key components to body composition.
There are many more areas in which I could touch on when it comes to body composition and trying to get ‘shredded’ however these personally are my top tips.