We all make mistakes… But when it comes to fat loss, you don’t have too!
Regardless of whether your goal is to trim up for summer, lose a few kg’s or pounds before a special event or even step on stage as a physique athlete, make sure you aren’t making these 5 fat loss mistakes.
#1 Not Giving Yourself Enough Time
A ‘4 week shred’ is not the optimal approach to losing body fat. Don’t get caught in the trap of not giving yourself enough time to achieve the desired outcome. The faster you lose the weight, the more lean muscle mass you lose. This is the last thing you want! Remember; the more lean muscle mass you hold, the more calories your body burns at rest (AKA allowing you to eat more).
Give yourself at least 10-16 weeks to reach your goal weight and/or look. Not only will this allow you to maintain as much lean muscle mass as possible, but it will also give you the chance to keep your calorie intake a little higher and allow for enough time to make up for any mishaps along the way.
#2 Not Tracking Your Calorie Intake
If you aren’t tracking your calorie intake, then you should be. Why? It’s like driving a car with no speed gauge, you’re guessing your way through the whole process. Inconsistency with your nutrition will likely lead to inconsistent results with your fat loss. To lose body fat, you need to be eating in a slight calorie deficit, meaning you are burning more energy than you are taking in by eating below your maintenance calorie intake level.
The easiest way to ensure you are ticking this box off, is to track your calorie intake using an app on your phone such as ‘myfitnesspal’. It only takes a few minutes each day to plug in what you’re eating, yet it could be the difference between whether or not you’re losing fat.
#3 Performing Cardio As If It’s Going Out Of Fashion
Cardio is not a necessity for fat loss… Instead it should be used as a tool. Losing weight requires a negative energy balance. Whether or not this is created by eating in a calorie deficit, expending energy from your strength training, expending energy from cardio or a mixture of the 3 is irrelevant.
The biggest mistake people make when trying to lose fat is starting out with too much cardio. The problem with this is that when fat loss stalls, you’re only left with a few options, even more cardio or less food, which is not a sustainable way to go about things.
Start out your fat loss journey performing minimal cardio per week (10-15 minutes 1-2 times) and only increase that when you reach a plateau.
#4 Heavily Relying On Supplements
Unless your nutrition and training habits are in check, supplements will not give you the results you’re after. It’s important to understand that supplements will only provide you with a very mild boost, if any at all.
Don't be fooled by the marketing tactics of supplement companies promising unrealistic results. Imagine a pyramid of importance when it comes to fat loss, nutrition and training are of top priority whereas supplements should be right at the bottom, the least important aspect.
#5 Not Doing Heavy Compound Lifts In The Gym
Multi-joint compound movements such as; squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, rows, pull ups etc. are the exercises that will give you the most bang for your buck, burning the largest amount of calories. When in a fat loss phase, maintaining, if not gaining strength should be the goal for your resistance training.
Focus on progressively overloading (in the way of more sets, reps, weight etc.) on all compound movements in the gym before worrying about isolation work
Losing fat CAN be a difficult task, although it doesn’t have to be. Make sure you aren’t making these 5 mistakes above and you’ll be well on your way to the lean physique you’re after.