Millions of people are working out every day in the gym in the hopes of losing fat, but with less than stellar results. If you are one of these people, it’s very likely you are doing some of the mistakes that we’ll go over in this article.
The majority of us spend countless years training in order to get slimmer and get rid of the extra body fat, but mostly in vain. Our weight fluctuates a lot and we can’t seem to maintain a steady weight. We can’t even maintain the target weight we have achieved after a prolonged fat-loss period and get back the lost pounds almost instantly. That is mostly due to us being undisciplined and inconsistent in regards to our food choices. Our motivation and enthusiasm to lose the extra fat can quickly fade away leading to unaccomplished New Year’s resolutions and disappointment. Fat-loss might be an universal goal for all people getting into fitness, but it is most certainly not an easy one.
If you’ve still been struggling to lose fat all these years and haven’t had much of a result, chances are you making some or all of the mistakes below. We are here to point out those mistakes and get you back on the path to getting your ideal physique.
Mistake #1 You simply eat too much
This might have given you a ‘duh’ moment, but it bears repeating since the majority of people have absolutely no clue as to how much calories they are consuming per day. A perfect example would be ordering a salad. Salad is healthy and nutritious, right? It is, but did you stop to consider how many calories might be in that salad? Some salads can pack 500-600 calories without you realizing it. Where do all those calories came from, you might ask. Well, what about the various dressings, sauces, ketchup and all kinds of oils. These products add up a significant amount of calories. This is especially true for those who eat don’t cook regularly, but dine in restaurants.
The simplest explanation on how to lose weight is simply eating fewer calories than you actually burn calories throughout the day. However, this explanation vastly simplifies the process, much to the detriment of those who have taken up the advice. That means that, hypothetically, this methodology would work if you consumed, for example, 1600 calories coming from cheesecake alone per day and burned 1800. But the human body doesn’t work that way. The type of macronutrients those calories come from is vital. For example, getting all your calories from carbohydrates won’t help you reach your weight-loss goals. The body needs a healthy ratio of protein, carbs and healthy fats in order to burn fat and build muscle.
The majority of people respond great to 40/40/20 ratio of proteins, carbs and fats respectively. When all your daily calories come from this ratio of macronutrients you will have created a base upon which you can start your fat-loss pursuit. This doesn’t mean that the ratio will apply to all body types and goals, it simply means that most people would benefit from it. It’s up to you to do the necessary research and find what ratio works best for you. Lots of people would need to drop their carb intake substantially in order to burn fat. In that case, you would need to make sure that you increase your fat consumption for at least a slight amount so that your body can use an alternative fuel for energy.
Mistake #2 You don’t consume enough protein
We all know that protein is the key nutrient when it comes to building and repairing muscle tissue. However, it appears it does more than that. A study published in “Journal of nutrition” followed two groups of overweight women who ingested the same amount of calories. One of the groups consumed twice as much protein as the other, and the group that did, lost a lot more weight than the group who didn’t consume much protein.
Protein is very satiating and helps you feel less hungry, which in turn makes you eat a lot less during the day. Being on diets rich in protein has been proven to have positive effects on blood lipids’ levels, glucose levels and muscle-to-fat ratio.
Even though protein is a great macronutrient for losing fat, simply adding some protein shakes into your diet is not going to cut it. To be able to lose fat at a consistent rate you would need discipline and dedication to a sound diet plan. The thing to remember is: always include high-protein foods in every meal throughout the day, whilst keeping the carbs moderate to low, and you will see results a lot faster.
Mistake #3 You drink alcoholic or sugary beverages
Water is the only liquid that is ever really needed by your body. Although coffee, milk and tea have become an ordinary thing in our modern lifestyles, they contain a lot of sugar which can seriously undermine your fat-loss efforts. Your latte that you order in the cafeteria every morning can have up to 300 calories per drink. Those are additional 300 calories per day that you wouldn’t want to be consuming unless you are serious about your fat-loss goals. Fat-loss is an arduous process, don’t make it any harder than it has to be.
It goes without saying that alcohol is very detrimental to your fat-loss pursuit. The occasional beer will not make a huge difference, of course, but drinking massive amounts during the weekends will definitely put the fat-loss process to a grind. Alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories that the body usually stores as fat, but they are also detrimental when it comes to the food choices you make when you are under the influence. A big plate of nachos or pizza will always seem like the best choice when you are intoxicated instead of some healthy option.
Mistake #4 You think that healthy foods are low on calories
No matter how “clean” or healthy you think a certain food is, if you eat it in large amounts, you will almost certainly consume more calories than you should, which will make your fat loss a lot harder. Choosing whole foods that are nutritious and healthy is certainly the right way to go, but overeating this kind of food still counts as overeating.
The two biggest healthy food examples that have huge amounts of calories are seeds and nuts. They are filled with Omega-3 fats, phytogens and all sorts of micronutrients which have been proven to be excellent for your health, but as any other food, if you eat too much you run the risk of ingesting too many calories. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid them altogether, it simply means that you should exercise moderation when it comes to their consumption.
It’s difficult to measure an ounce, so you should limit the amount to 10 almonds. Even though almonds are rich in quality fats, a better option would be to fill yourself up with foods that are rich in micronutrients, like green veggies, that don’t have that many calories.
Mistake #5 You don’t train with enough intensity
When beginners are introduced to resistance training they begin with lighter weights and progress in a slow and safe manner. As time goes by and they get more experienced and accustomed to the exercises, weights and the gym atmosphere, they need to push harder in order to keep progressing. This applies to everyone. You cannot allow to get comfortable or you will reach a plateau.
Too many times in the gym women especially, are exercising with weights that are too light or just go through the motions without so much as breaking a sweat. When asked why they didn’t use heavier weights, the answer you would most probably hear is that they wouldn’t want to get too muscular and bulky. But regardless of gender, there’s no escaping that you should be lifting hard and heavy.
If you want to lose fat, you need to create an extra demand of energy to your body so that it can adapt and change. If you keep lifting the same light weights you won’t stimulate your body to do anything and will keep you stagnant.
Mistake #6 You overdo the low-intensity cardio
At first, this might seem contradictory to the previous post where we advise you to train more intensely, but it is actually not. The key part is that cardio training is not actually resistance training. It is located on the other end of the fitness spectrum since it is concerned with a completely different aspect of fitness itself. You wouldn’t expect to get the same results from walking on the treadmill for two hours as you would get from an hour-long intense heavy lifting.
If you really want to reap the rewards of cardio training, do some full-body workouts involving multiple muscle groups and keep your rest intervals short. When you engage your entire body and shorten the rest intervals, not only will you challenge your muscular system, you will also challenge your cardiovascular system. That’s a concept some would call training economy.
Mistake #7 You’re way too stressed
You might have heard that stress is a silent killer. When responding to stressful situations or environments, your body releases cortisol that is way above and beyond the normal threshold. When cortisol levels are chronically elevated they can cause increased storage of body fat and multiple other unwanted outcomes. You can have both your training and diet and check but if you are subject to too much stress, your fat-loss goals will be far harder to achieve.
The simplest advice would be to try to relax. However, in most of the cases that is easier said than done. You could try various relaxation techniques that could make a huge difference in your overall health and a big impact on your body. Examples include yoga, reading a book, taking a relaxing bath, seeing a movie or just meditating for 20 minutes.
Mistake #8 You don’t get enough sleep
The same as stress, being deprived of sleep also raises your cortisol levels, which is another big fat-loss mistake. Also, when you don’t get enough sleep, your cells’ insulin sensitivity drops. When you combine both of these things, the environment in your body is becoming completely detrimental to fat-loss.
In order to achieve your fitness goals, you should put a high priority on getting enough sleep. A wild night out, filled with booze, passing out for a few hours, then going to work the next day isn’t exactly something your body will react positively to. You should aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Some helpful strategies you should utilize are turning off all your electronic devices before going to bed, avoid drinking caffeine in the late hours or just create an all-around relaxing atmosphere before hitting the sack.