- Losing fat requires eating in a calorie deficit, but not falling too far below your maintenance level.
- Eating regularly and consuming plenty of protein and fiber will help you stick to the muscles.
- A personal trainer told Insider that up to 15 weeks of fat loss should not significantly affect performance.
- Read more work here.
I have a goal to lose fat but I also like working out to get leaner and stronger. I know I need to be in calorie deficit to lose fat, but I’m nervous about losing strength and performing struggles in workouts. How do I eat the right amount to lose fat while continuing to exercise hard five days a week?
– Jim Junki
Dear Gym Junkie,
It’s great to hear that you enjoy getting stronger and fitter. I’ve always found that this is the best way to exercise, rather than focus on burning calories.
Losing fat is a perfectly valid goal as well, and you are right that the way to do it is through the calorie deficit caused by your diet.
Rachel Butcher, Personal Trainer and Registered Dietitian at natural fitness foodsHe told me that whether your goal is strength, endurance, fat loss, or all of the above, setting performance goals — like doing five push-ups or running a 5K in under 30 minutes — can keep you motivated and help maintain a healthy relationship. with fitness.
Don’t drop your calories too low
Butcher says Brianna SiegertCertified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach at CrossFit Kinesis.
This leads to energy dips and poor recovery, Siegert said. It can also lead to poor nutrition, lethargy, fatigue, constipation, headaches, dizziness, cramps, dry mouth, and thinning or hair loss, dietitian Tai Ipetui previously told Insider.
Butcher recommends eating 15% less maintenance calories than you can estimate online calculator.
“This will see you progress without the struggles of your workouts and also allow you to eat food that you enjoy,” she said.
I try to listen to my body when I’m in the fat loss phase – if all my workouts feel like a total struggle, I’ll try increasing my calories a bit (maybe in the form of a pre-workout snack) to see if it makes a difference without stopping my progress.
I know I probably won’t be breaking PBs every week due to lack of energy, but that doesn’t mean I won’t make any progress.
Butcher said that eating regularly, ideally every three hours, can help with fat loss, too.
“Try to make sure you don’t let hours go by without eating when you’re in deficit or if your energy expenditure increases, because once that hunger hits, there can be a struggle,” she said.
I’ve always found that avoiding overeating makes it easier to stay on track and make nutritious food choices. If you can, preparing meals in advance can really come in handy.
Eat plenty of protein and fiber
For fat loss, having a calorie deficit is king, but it’s not all that matters – the composition of what you eat also matters.
Make sure you eat a balanced diet that doesn’t neglect carbohydrates or fats, but especially prioritizes protein and fiber, Butcher said.
“Protein and fiber are satiating (keep you full for longer), so it will be easy to stick to the calorie deficit — plus the added health benefits in terms of lean tissue (muscle) protein and fiber that contributes to gut health,” she said. .
Our bodies are all different, so they respond best to different ratios of protein, carbs, and fats, but eating a high-protein diet helped me achieve my fitness and fat loss goals.
If you lift weights, eat enough protein, and aren’t severely deficient in calories, you’ll have the best chance of holding on to muscle while losing fat.
It worked for me when I reduced my body fat percentage from 30% to 17%.
A short-term disability shouldn’t affect your performance much
Siegert said that assuming you lift weights and exercise for no more than 60-90 minutes five days a week, you won’t experience a significant reduction in performance from short-term calorie deficits.
“For most people, if we approach disability properly and spend a lot of time maintaining and building muscle, short-term disability shouldn’t affect your strength and recovery that much,” she said.
However, you don’t want to be in the fat loss phase for more than 12-15 weeks at a time, twice a year, Siegert said. A calorie deficit can lead to mental and physical exhaustion, which is why some fitness experts recommend rest periods in the diet.
“Remember, this is short-term for a long-term benefit,” she said.
Track progress with photos
Track your progress in the gym and from an aesthetic point of view – do not rely on a scale, because weight can fluctuate for a variety of reasons.
I have a healthy relationship with the scale and see the number as data, so I actually like to weigh myself every day and then take a weekly average, but you may find a monthly weight, or no weight at all, that works best for you.
Butcher recommends taking pictures every week, front, side, and back, ideally at the same time of day, in the same clothes, and in the same place, to ensure consistency and a fair comparison.
I’ve got this!
wishing you good luck,
As a senior health reporter on Insider and a self-described fitness fanatic with a Nutrition Association-certified nutrition course under her belt, Rachel Howsey is immersed in the wellness scene and is here to answer all of your burning questions. Whether you’re struggling to find the motivation to go for a run, confused about light versus heavyweight, or if you’re not sure if you should worry about how much sugar is in mangoes, Rachel is here to give you answers that don’t make sense. The advice you need, with no diet in sight.
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