February 14, 2017

6 key steps for dropping body fat

OVER THE LAST 10 years of working in the fitness industry I have seen many fat-loss fads and myths lead people down the wrong path.

However, I’ve also seen a lot of things that have worked and below I have highlighted SIX key points to help you out.

In last week’s article, I mentioned core work, abs and fat loss. I highlighted some of the best core drills and mentioned a couple of tips for getting leaner.

If you want to get leaner, drop some body fat or even chase those abs, yes, you need to do core work along with a structured training session, but a lot of the time it’s going to come down to what you are eating as it’s a drop in body fat which will help those abs stand out.

The bottom line is that there are no magic pills, quick-fixes or special training programmes out there that will have you dropping body fat within a week or two.

The truth is you need to be consistent with the work and hit some of these goals that I have listed below.

Nothing worth having comes easy. If you are persistent, you will achieve your goals. If you are consistent, you will hold on to those goals.

1. Nutrition

If you’re serious about stripping off body fat, you must make time for proper nutrition.

I have talked about nutrition before in a previous article and have laid out the best, realistic approach that works for myself and clients I have worked with.

Nutrition is the most important starting block for your fat-loss goals. Your activity level and training are important but it all starts with the food and fuel you are putting into your body.

I have mentioned things like calories, macronutrient breakdown and the best approach on supplements in a previous article.

There will come a point where you really need to assess numbers. Daily calories, macro numbers, water intake and the hours of sleep you are getting are all important when it comes to reaching your goal.

You need to assess, not guess. People often get to know their numbers with calories and macros needed in the early stages, along with weighing and prepping their food, and there then comes a point they know exactly what a typical day’s consumption looks like over time.

Guessing macronutirents and eating what you like with the hope that all the training you’re doing is sufficient, or even cutting out carbs, are areas I have seen people try but not sustain over a period of time.

2. Exercise selection

Picking the right exercises is very important and I feel that doing bigger compound movements like squats, deadlifts, pressing, pulling and carrying are the most efficient for building strength.

Improve your movement, assess and work on your mobility, put an emphasis on strength training, and add a good mix of conditioning work for best results.

I have mentioned the top five exercises you need in your programme before.

I try to get people to exercise at least four times per week, aiming to cover some of the points mentioned below. Keeping it varied yet relative is essential and the best way for achieving your goal.

My clients see fantastic results from following a sensible eating plan, and doing resistance training and conditioning work three to four times per week. It always works.

3. Strength training

Strength training is important for building muscle and improving performance but it also has an important role to play when it comes to fat loss.

To achieve fat loss, many people solely focus on a programme of cardio and dieting, but adding strength training into the mix is a much better approach.

Strength training will encourage muscle growth. Studies show that a well-designed strength programme can elevate your metabolism after the workout. In other words, you continue to burn calories long after your training session.

Having a good emphasis on strength training will in turn make you far more adaptable when bringing in some HIIT-style (high intensity interval training) conditioning sessions.

4. Interval training

Prioritise training your anaerobic system at least twice per week.

Doing high-intensity, 60-second sprint intervals with 2-3 mins rest for a number of rounds is a great example of this and can be brought in after the strength portion of your workout.

Having said that, LSD (low slow distance) is also something I encourage people to do a least once a week.

Getting out a for a long walk, cycle or hike for 60 minutes is something that can only complement your three or four gym sessions.

5. Hypertrophy training

Try to bring a hypertrophy session into your weekly training plan.

This is where you can aim for a little more volume/reps to do isolation exercises on one body part at around 60-80% of your 1rm (one-rep max).

Exercises like dips, push-ups, curls and raises are good examples.Vary tempo, rest periods and loads for the exercise over a four-six-week period.

6. Stay in control

Stress and sleep are really important areas that need to be looked after.

This is perhaps the most important thing to manage before you start to look at other areas such as mobility and strength.

I have seen stress levels being the primary factor in halting clients’ fat-loss goals.

Stress throws metabolic hormones out of whack, alters sleep and triggers sugar cravings. I have previously mentioned meditation, yoga and many other areas people should focus on every now and then.

Sleep: Shooting for eight hours per night is a good start.

Stress: Invest at least 15 minutes each day to yourself; slow down, breathe, stretch and just switch off. It could just be doing some yoga poses, going for a walk or playing with your kids.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

You can also get more advice on my social media pages, which are also linked below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.