Let me keep it simple for you…..
It is such a tough industry and there are so many mixed messages out there. It is such a worry for me as a Personal Trainer, trying to make a difference in this world to get heard and share my knowledge. There are an awful lot of non-qualified ‘nutritionists’ and ‘influencers’ who are promoting products and giving their take on what you ‘should’ or shouldn’t be doing and this makes it incredibly hard for people to distinguish the good from the bad advice.
I like to keep things really simple. If you aren’t seeing results in your efforts, then take a look at the following:
- You may think you are on a calorie deficit but you may not be achieving it in practice (you can’t go by what Google says). Track your calories consumed through a free app such as MyFitnessPal. Make sure you set it right for your metabolism. Going by a device such as a Garmin or FitBit to calculate your calories burned is not always accurate and doesn’t always take into account the activities that you are doing, or not doing. For calculating your calories burned, it is generally best to go by the TDEE formula (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).
- ‘Trial & Error’ is my motto when it comes to calorie deficit and macro’s – having something sustainable is the key to long-term success and results. Start small, and you can always adjust it. There is also no point in setting your protein intake so high that it’s an epic struggle to hit it each day and end up making your life a misery. Set a reasonable deficit – 15% to start with then see how you get on. One thing to point out – you want to ideally go for around 0.8g to 1.5g per kilo of body weight – I weigh 56kg and stick to a split of 50% carbs, 20% protein and 30% fat and this works for me – I have tried lots of varied splits but I have found my happy place at this. This gives me 60g of protein – which is slightly over 1g per kg. You may see many tools suggesting a 40/40/20 split (protein, fats, carbs) for fat loss. This would give me 120g of protein more than 2g per kg and for me and the majority of people, this can be difficult to stick to. Excess protein is normally stored as fat while the surplus amino acids are excreted. Additionally, consuming excess protein may result in you eating too many calories, especially if you’re opting for more calorie-dense sources of protein like high-fat meat and nuts. Remember you want this to be sustainable for long-term results – not a quick fix.
- Expectations – you may need to adjust these. I had a recent email from someone desperate to lose 5lbs of weight to get a visible 6 pack but nothing was working. That was because they were not prepared to change their whole life to make this happen. Do you really want to give up your social life and live to the extreme when it comes to fitness and eating? Do you have the patience to food prep, to eat clean, to live that kind of life – in order to get ripped? If the answer is no – then adjust your expectations and embrace where you are right now – accept it and move on to something more interesting to focus on.
- For those who want to drop body fat % but don’t need to lose weight, make sure you’re eating enough to sustain your weight and not wasting muscle away with cardio in a bid to reduce body fat % – it won’t work.
- The ‘calories are not equal’ debacle – calories are equal. It’s like saying an inch is not always an inch, a pint is not always a pint. If you are on a calorie deficit – you will still lose weight, regardless of what you eat. BUT it does matter what you eat! For example, I have stuck to the same calorie intake consistently since October. But there are times when I have been bloated and gained a couple of lbs but stuck to the same calorie intake. Yes, water retention, time of the month etc can come into play, but the main reason is that I have been eating crap (but the same amount of calories) and too much alcohol as well! Thus, my energy levels are low, my workouts not as effective, I am not getting the most out of them as my energy levels are not as high, my sleeping is worse, my NEAT is reduced and so on. My NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) decreases massively when I have a hangover. So yes, calories are equal, but it can make a difference to everything else that you do and NEAT is one the most important things, as well as sticking to a healthy diet (the majority of the time that is). This goes for most of us – if we are eating healthily, it’s kind of like a placebo effect really – it makes us automatically want to improve in everything else that we do – well it certainly does for me anyhow. When I eat well, I move more and moving more results in more calories burnt, which leads to great results.
Do you think that you’re falling into any of the above traps?