Just because you work hard at the gym, sweat profusely, lack oxygen, experience all the post-workout soreness, and see your weight drop dramatically, doesn’t it does not mean you are burning fat. Yes, the truth really hurts, even more than your muscles after a week at the gym.

I’ve been a personal trainer, online health coach, and fitness influencer for 8 years, helping tens of thousands of people achieve their goals. Time and time again people tell me they’ve tried miracle pills, the latest fad diets, and extreme courses, and guess what – no matter how much money you throw at the problem, these quick fixes never deliver. .

In my first article for Forbes, I’ll reveal why a simple, scientifically proven protocol holds the key to success, and how you can achieve it in 5 simple steps.

So how can you specifically promote fat loss, while simultaneously maintaining or increasing lean muscle mass for a fit and toned lean body? Science states that 1 lb of fat equals 3,500 calories and keeping in mind that a calorie is a unit of energy, so 1 lb of fat equals 3,500 calories of stored energy.

It is important that you understand what a calorie is because it will give you a better appreciation of the foods you eat and how easy it is to be in a calorie surplus and inevitably gain weight. Along with the difficulty in then burning off those excess stored calories, hence our growing epidemic of obesity and health care.

To lose 1 kg of fat, you have to create a calorie deficit equal to 3500 calories and for 2 kg of fat, you guessed it, a deficit of 7000 calories. This is where training smart and eating smarter will help you achieve a healthy, sustainable, and above all safe calorie deficit to get the body you’ve always dreamed of.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen people train close to death, only to undo all their hard work by gorging on this handy sandwich that hides over 500 calories underneath its set of health claims. People just don’t understand or appreciate that a calorie is a unit of energy and no matter how many times you kill yourself in the gym, if you don’t watch your calorie intake you won’t lose weight under form of body fat.

  • How many calories do you need?

The most important part of losing fat is following the rule of thermodynamics, or simply put, calories in versus calories out; you need to create a calorie deficit, ideally by combining diet and exercise. Before we even try to figure this out, we first need to calculate how many calories you need based on your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure), so dust off your calculator, get out your pen and forget about Pythagoras and pi, I am about to give you the most important equation of your life.

The Harris Benedict equation is made up of two parts, the first being that you are BMR (basal metabolic rate), simply the number of calories you burn each day to support both your current weight and the maintenance functions of life if you were to just lay down. bed all day.

Gentlemen, you need to complete this equation:

BMR = 66.5 + (13.75 × weight in kg) + (5.003 × height in cm) – (6.755 × age in years)

Women, you need to complete this equation:

BMR = 655.1 + (9.563 × weight in kg) + (1.850 × height in cm) – (4.676 × age in years)

Now that we have your BMR, we now need to calculate your TDEE based on your daily activity levels. Using the activity multiplier below, choose the description that best describes you and complete your equation.

Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (little or no exercise, office work)

Slightly active = BMR x 1.375 (light exercise/sport 1-3 days/week)

Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 6-7 days/week)

Very active = BMR x 1.725 (intense exercise every day or exercise 2x/day)

Extra active = BMR x 1.9 (intense exercise 2 or more times a day, or training for marathon, or triathlon, etc.

Now that you have your calorie needs to support your BMR again, we need to create a conservative calorie deficit which I would recommend to be 20%.

Example:

TDEE = 2500 calories – 20% = 2000 calories

If you stick to your calorie deficit, you can expect to promote fat loss each week; That being said, your macronutrient breakdown (protein, fat, and carbs) is also extremely important, which leads me nicely to point 2.

  1. Macronutrients

Let’s keep it simple, take a 30% protein, 50% carb, and 20% fat breakdown for your TDEE calories following your 20% deficit, keeping in mind that 1g of protein and carbs equals 4 calories and 1g of fat being equal to 9 calories.

Example:

2000 calories

150g of protein = 600 calories

250g of carbohydrates = 1000 calories

44g of fat = 400 calories

The reason I always encourage my clients to adopt this macronutrient breakdown when following a strength training program is simply to provide adequate amounts of protein to support muscle repair, recovery and growth, carbohydrates to fuel your workouts, replenish muscle glycogen and keep you fit. fuller for longer, and finally healthy fats to nourish our bodies and support hormonal processes.

If you can stick to your daily calorie needs to promote fat loss and maintain/grow lean muscle and stick to the 30/50/20 macronutrient breakdown, you can be sure to completely transform your body composition when It’s combined with a periodized weight training program, again leading me nicely to point 3.

Forget what you saw on the ‘gram’, we’re going to keep it simple and focus on compound (multi-joint) exercises to maximize the recruitment of multiple muscle groups, allowing you to move more load/weight and therefore increase energy expenditure (burn more calories). You must perform at least 3 resistance sessions per week to provide the body with adequate external stimulus to promote adaptation. So I would recommend either 3 full body sessions with a rest day in between, or 2 high and 2 low with a rest day in between, by all means including active recovery in the form of cardio on the rest days provided it is of relatively low intensity. I’ll share a suggested weight program in a future post and explain why you don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars for an expensive weight kit.

NEAT stands for ‘Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis’ and refers to anything that will increase energy expenditure (calories burned) but is not directly considered exercise.

Example of how to increase your NEAT:

  • Carry a basket rather than a trolley.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Even chewing gum (just make sure you dispose of it properly, save the planet and all that).

By changing your daily habits to move more or force your body to work a little more, you will unconsciously increase energy expenditure and thus promote a greater caloric deficit; even if you only increase your NEAT by 50-100 calories per day, that’s still 350-700 calories per week and gets you a little closer to the 3500-7000 calorie requirement to burn 1-2 pounds of stored body fat. It’s the little daily habits that really add up.

In addition to the above, by simply changing your daily habits to encourage more movement, you can still promote fat loss and save yourself the cost of a gym membership.

One of the most frustrating things I see on a daily basis is people killing themselves on the treadmill, watching the calories pile up, sweating like a pig, and gasping like a fish out of water, thinking that their undeniably hard efforts will promote fat loss; weight loss certainly but again weight is made up of a number of factors and once people have used up their stores of available carbs which probably won’t be much as they are probably on a poor diet carbs, because of course carbs make you fat (eye roll) they will need an alternate fuel source and that is when they will burn muscle.

Now I’m sure you’ve heard of the apparent HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) fat loss phenomenon, in fact whether you’ve bought the likes of Joe Wicks AKA ‘The Body Coach’ or shelled out a small fortune on boutique fitness classes, then you’ve probably been knee deep in the above and have been a member of the HIIT occult for some time now. But have you heard of LISS?

If you perform at high intensity for prolonged durations, you will inevitably reduce your ability to primarily burn fat as a fuel source, because your body simply cannot break down and convert stored body fat into energy fast enough to support exercise intensity greater than approx. 70% of your MHR (maximum heart rate).

Provided you train at an intensity of 60-70% of your MHR, you will perform at the high end of an intensity low enough for your body to convert the stored body and use it to fuel that cardio LISS (state stable at low intensity).

That’s why it’s so important that your calorie intake is based on your TDEE and on-point macronutrient breakdown, to ensure you’re getting enough protein to maintain lean body mass and enough carbs to fuel and replenish healthy levels. energy, while maintaining a caloric deficit. to promote your body using stored body fat as an energy source.

  • Train smarter, eat smarter

When it comes to the foods you actually put in your mouth, try to stick to whole foods, they are both calorie and nutrient dense and will naturally increase satiety levels, keeping you full longer and reducing therefore the likelihood that you will overeat or experience food cravings. .

  • The frequency of meals depends solely on your personal preferences. however, based on recent studiesI would recommend eating smaller meals every few hours and aiming for 20-30g of protein per meal and 30-60g of carbs made up of starches and fiber. Of course, if you’d rather eat 3 large meals a day, that’s also okay, as long as you stick to your daily calorie needs and macronutrient breakdown again.