Why Fat Loss Isn’t Easy
Most new clients contact us having already tried different methods to produce fat loss results (diets, workout programmes etc) that have ultimately fallen short. Therefore, we typically work with people who require a more considered approach. The best programme for each new client is not always obvious. It’s our job to find the cause of their problem and solve it, fast.
There is no single ‘best method’ we can concisely summarise in a sentence to tell you how to lose body fat. Your body is a fascinatingly complexed biological machine. There any many factors to consider and variables to control to have it run efficiently and look amazing! However, we can list and correct some common misconceptions.
This article aims to wade through some of the most common reasons that you are not losing body fat and offers ‘first-stop’ solutions. Some of the solutions are not simple, and often involve seeking guidance. However, we are passionate about finding and implementing the most effective methods and the best method is rarely the most simple.
You’re using incorrect technique
Great technique is essential. Performed incorrectly, almost any exercise can lead to injury and will certainly reduce the effectiveness of your workout programme. Make sure you seek proper guidance on how to perform each exercise correctly and maximise your return. The better your understanding of great technique, the more effective your workouts become and the faster you’ll see results. The fundamental principle of great technique is to engage the targeted muscle group to its full potential. This will always require more concentration, effort and is a fantastic way to prevent half-hearted workouts after a busy day at the office.
As an example, when performing a deep squat with great technique, you engage not just your thighs and knees, but your entire core, back and muscles throughout your legs and glutes. By improving your technique we can increase the extent of muscle mass recruited and the fat loss potential of the exercise. As a side note, deep squats have been heavily criticized for being damaging to your knees but, when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue.
You are not sleeping
Few (if any) of our new clients get great quality sleep when we first meet them. Lack of sleep has tremendous impact on various hormones that ultimately affect our metabolism. Poor sleep affects neurotransmitters that govern our ability to make decisions and maintain willpower when challenged. Poor sleep also has obvious negative effects on our ability to workout with intensity and improve out body composition (which does not happen easily). A fascinating paper presented for The Study of Obesity demonstrated that individuals who achieved less than 4-hours of sleep per night were 73 percent more likely to be obese than those who achieved the recommended 7- to 9-hours.
Most know that sleep is important but too few realise the true impact of consistently bad sleep. The effect of consistently low-quality sleep on our ability to lose fat is significant. As our team deals in producing rapid physical change, we understand the impact that improving our clients’ sleep quality can have. However, the list of concerning health implications associated with poor sleep is growing more terrifying. Whilst our clients typically have demanding careers and family responsibilities, when we find problematic sleep habits we focus much of our efforts on gradual improvements whilst mitigating the potential negative effects.
You are cutting out food groups
A dietary programme that requires you to completely remove any one food group (fats, proteins or carbs, for example) is less sustainable. At Embody, we often ask people to sustain short-periods of restriction if we suspect/learn of a food sensitivity or issue controlling blood sugar. However, long-term restriction in this manner often leads to reduced performance in the gym and impairs your potential.
It’s human nature to search for a single, concise solution to our challenges. For example, many have fallen prey to the idea that we should remove carbohydrate from our diet altogether. Whilst our nutrition team often suggest periods of reduced starch and sugar intake (and this demonstrates highly successful), long-term restriction impairs your ability to workout at the intensity we require. It might be beneficial to begin your programme with a period of carbohydrate restriction. However, in terms of fat loss, we find no additional benefit to our clients’ progress after the first few weeks in a lower-carb dietary phase. There is nothing at all ‘bad’ about carbohydrates (provided you choose healthful sources) and low-carb is not the solution to a great physique.
Your job is sedentary
If you have a wearable fitness tech devise, such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit, you may quickly become tired of the buzzing reminder to get up and move throughout your working day. In our experience, this movement goal is rarely realistic. However, there is a good reason behind this ‘reminder’ function.
Lifting weights for one-hour at the gym, several times each week, is a fantastic workout schedule but it rarely has significant impact on the total amount of food you should seek to consume to maintain a great physique. You can’t out-train a sedentary lifestyle.
One of the most common issues we find with new clients is over estimating how much food they need to fuel their daily activity. We now spend an average of 9.5 hours each day sitting down. If you add to this the time you are asleep, we only have a few hours of movement (let alone ‘activity’) left in an average day. As we are standing and moving for relatively minute periods of time, there is little need for significant amounts of energy to be consumed. Many are simply eating for beyond what their body requires. As our work habits evolve, we require less and less energy.
Fat loss and maintaining an athletic frame is not easy. Our opinion is that losing fat is becoming increasingly more difficult due to the ‘obesogenic’ environment developing around us.
However, education is king. We hope this article makes clear some of the more common misconceptions and the extent to which various lifestyle factors can impair your progress. Understanding the requirements your body has to function optimally and how to effectively ‘fuel your machine’ is not only empowering, but the best method we have found to improve motivation. The more control you have, the more confidence you gain that sticking to the process will yield the results you deserve.
To see these principles in practice, watch Gary’s Story.
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