Dina is two months into her three month body transformation and has now lost over 20 pounds. This week she reveals the weight loss secrets that have helped
It’s been two whole months since I started my 10 week weight loss transformation with Terry Fairclough, Luisa Valenti and their Your Body Programme – I can’t believe I only have one month left.
Time does fly when you are having fun, and I can honestly say so far it has been just that – so much fun. I enjoy going to the gym, I enjoy all of my healthy meals and I am enjoying the all new me in general.
This week I lost another 1.8 kilos – that’s nearly four pounds in just one week! I’m just as amazed as you are trust me. But I feel I am on a roll.
This week I thought I would share some in-house secrets with you all that my PT Terry has told me, and here’s the catch – many PTs don’t even tell their clients these things…
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Weight loss secret #1:
Compound exercises make a flat stomach, not crunches
Newsflash, we all have a six pack but in most cases it’s hidden underneath a layer of fat.
You can do 100 crunches all day every day – ab curls, crunches, abs this, abs that, leg raises, sit ups – but if you aren’t burning off the fat that is providing that little cushion layer on top of your abs, you’ll never see the six pack you so desperately want and are trying to achieve.
Any exercise routine that only focuses on abs and crunches won’t only leave you struggling to cough without being in pain, but will also waste precious time, you could be using to burn fat and build muscle.
On saying that though, exercising your core is still vital as it will improve posture and balance, prevent injury and allow you to lift heavier weights (and therefore burn more fat and calories and get rid of the cushion layer).
My trainer Terry says that you need to target the entire core – and crunches still aren’t the answer here – think planks, mountain climbers, leg raises, woodchops and of course, compound exercises.
Compound exercises are those that use more than one muscle group at a time, squats, deadlifts, lunges, and rows are all good examples.
Doing this will burn more calories and therefore increase your metabolism and this will help get rid of that layer of fat that your abs are hiding under. Remember, the more muscle we have the faster we will burn fat, even when we are at rest.
Take away tip? Don’t waste time on sit ups and crunches to get a flat stomach, it’s the last thing you need to do. Lift heavy weights and focus on compound exercises, you’ll still get your abs this way.
Weight loss secret #2:
Focus on calorie consistency not just calorie deficit
Recently there has been so much emphasis on calorie deficit being the only thing people need to do in order to lose weight or fat – that means you need to burn more calories than you consume.
And yes, generally a calorie deficit is required for weight loss. But, there are also other factors to consider such as body type, metabolism and your activity level.
For many years, it was believed that a decrease of 3,500 calories per week for anyone, would result in losing one pound of fat per week – does that sound familiar?
And although this may still be accurate in some cases, most of us have a tendency to underestimate or overestimate the amount of calories we eat per day or the amount of calories we need to eat per day.
For example, just because you went for a 5k run this morning doesn’t mean you’ll need to eat an extra 1,000 calories.
After that run, do you then sit at a desk all day? Do you have a slow metabolism due to your body type? These aspects will probably override the fact that you went for a 5km run and will mean that you won’t need as many calories as you think you do.
Most of us have a tendency to underestimate or overestimate the amount of calories we eat per day
You could also be consuming foods you think are healthy but they actually contain many calories, such as avocado, nuts or cheese. Or your portion sizes may be too large, or you may be eating too many calories in one meal rather than spreading your calories consistently throughout the day.
All these factors need to be considered – which is why focusing on a calorie deficit won’t necessarily work on its own.
On the other hand, you may not be eating enough either, as decreasing your calorie intake too much can also be counterproductive to your weight loss goals.
Many studies on very low calorie diets providing less than 1,000 calories per day show they can lead to muscle loss and significantly slow down metabolism.
This is why fad diets are simply out of the question when it comes to long-term weight loss, and again proves that weight loss shouldn’t only focus on a calorie deficit.
‘Not eating enough stops people losing weight. My clients often eat more food than they ever have before and they still lose weight,’ explains Terry.
‘One of the biggest factors in weight loss isn’t calorie deficit, it’s making sure you are consistent with your calories and macros on a daily basis.
‘There’s no point in having 1,000 calories one day and 3,000 the other, or 2,500 calories one day and 1,900 the other day. You need to be as consistent as possible with your calorie consumption or your body won’t be able to balance itself and its metabolism,’ explains Terry.
So basically, overeating will lead to weight gain, and undereating will slow down metabolism. That’s why there’s no point having a blow out day of 3,000 calories followed by a strict day of just 1,000 calories.
This may mean your weekly calories are at a deficit, but your metabolism will be screaming ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’
You need to be as consistent as possible with your calorie consumption or your body won’t be able to balance itself and its metabolism
‘Everyday I get my clients to send me screenshots from their MyFitnessPal app,’ continues Terry.
MyFitnessPal shows you how many calories and macro-nutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) you have consumed that day. Take a look at the screenshots below that I have to send Terry on the daily…
‘Seeing these screenshots, I can see exactly what they have eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner and how many calories they have eaten at each meal,’ says Terry.
‘This helps me to keep a track of their progress and the consistency of their meals – by doing this, I will also be able to watch their portion sizes.
‘If I know what exercise they are doing every day but I don’t know what and how much they are eating, how can I know what is affecting their successes or their failures when it comes to taking their measurements?
‘So that’s my secret, it isn’t all about calorie deficit. It’s about being consistent when consuming calories’.
Take away tip? You need to be consistent with a) how much exercise you are doing and b) how many calories you are having. That equals c) your results and measurements.
Whatever exercise you do and what you eat will determine your results. If you want different results, you’ll then know what you need to change, be that eating more or less or working out more or less.
Weight loss secret #3:
Stress levels can have a huge impact on weight loss
Stress also plays a huge part in weight loss (or lack of it), and it’s a part of life that many trainers and programmes never seem to cover or care about.
Instead, they have frustrated clients exhausting themselves at the gym and eating very little calories to try and lose the weight, which only puts an individual under even more stress – I mean that sounds like absolute hell, right?
‘A stressed body will cause a person to store fat around their middle and the reason for this is cortisol, the stress hormone released when we are stressed,’ explains Terry.
‘When we are under stress, our bodies go into flight or fight mode as it believes we are in danger. The body will then release sugar into our system for our body to use as energy (to run or fight this stressful situation that we are under).
‘The thing is, we aren’t actually in danger in everyday modern life like we were way back when, and the stressful situations no longer require a physical response (such as running away).
‘Because of this the body stores the unused sugar (that we would have used for energy to run away) in and around our liver, which causes us to gain weight around our middle.
‘So it’s all very well exercising consistently and having a healthy diet, but if you don’t address reasons for added stress or pressures in your every day life, you’ll struggle to lose the extra weight,’ Terry asserts.
To limit stress, why not try meditation or yoga, get a massage, have a hot bath, listen to music, read a book or take a stroll – I myself find that cooking a healthy meal or watching some TV helps me to zone out of my stressful thoughts.
Take away tip? If you think you are doing everything right but still not seeing results, check your stress levels before you up the diet or fitness antei, because you may only end up causing yourself more stress.
Weight loss secret #4:
Sometimes all people need is some tough love and a reality check
This is something that I totally agree with, because tough love was something I needed to help me kick start this journey, and it’s something that Terry has proven to me actually works in the long run.
‘To be honest, sometimes you have to just say to people, ‘This is how it is’ and ‘this is how it’s going to go’. If you want to lose weight you need to toughen up and realise what it is that you need to do in order to make a change,’ says Terry.
‘In the world we live in nowadays where things happen fast and quickly, we’re always looking for quick fixes and trying to keep people happy.
‘We avoid saying things that people would actually benefit from hearing. People are worried to tell someone if they are overweight or that they need to give up their weekly take away, when in reality they may just need to hear that.
sometimes you have to just say to people ‘this is how it is’ and ‘this is how it’s going to go’
‘You just have to toughen up and be disciplined when it comes to looking after your fitness and your diet,’ Terry continues. ‘It’s like everything in life, you want to be clever? Read books. You want to be amazing at basketball? Practice day in day out. You want to be in shape? You have to look after your diet and fitness.
‘I know it’s not what people will want to hear and it isn’t really a secret, but my approach is a bit more tough love I’m afraid.
‘Having said that, my clients have been with me for 15 years – so at least I know it works, and they all agree tough love is best. It may not be a nice option, but it’s a tough option that works and it keeps people consistent.’
Take away tip? Be real with yourself. If you know what could be stunting your weight loss efforts, stop making excuses and do something to change it.
Weight loss secret #5:
Too much or too little of anything is bad, but we do need everything
Low-carb this, low-fat that, high-sugar this high-fibre that. Too much or too little of anything is bad, and instead of listening to fad diet trends we all need to adopt the good old fashioned advice of ‘everything in moderation’.
‘Too much or too little of anything isn’t great, I believe that we need to eat everything but in the right amounts,’ says Terry.
‘I certainly don’t agree with these fad diets that claim we should have no carbs or no fat. We all need carbs, fats and protein we just need to be eating the correct amounts, depending on your goals and body type.
‘You can overeat any type of food, be that carbs, fats or protein,’ says Terry. ‘So, it’s important to get the correct amounts of calories and macros for your body type and your activity level.
‘For example, if you work on a construction site and train five times a week, your nutritional needs are going to be far different from someone who has a desk job and trains five times a week.
‘Both of these people will need different amounts of fuel from different types of foods, even if you have the same body type and same goal, the construction site person is going to need more carbohydrates in their diet as they will need more energy.
‘But if the person working in the office was to eat the same amount of carbs as the construction worker they are far more likely to gain fat as they won’t be using this up in energy.
You can over eat on any type of food, be that carbs, fats or protein
‘In general, absolutely everyone needs to be eating protein sources such as lean meats, fish and soy, healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds and low glycaemic whole-grain carbs such as brown pasta, brown rice and pulses, as well as an abundance of veggies and fruits.
‘The only thing that will change from person to person is the amount and the ratio of these different foods, depending on your body type and body goals’.
You can work out your calories and macros using this online calculater.
Take away tip? Don’t limit or eat too much of anything, instead eat everything in moderation and work out how much you need of each macro-nutrient using this calculator.
Come back every week to read Dina’s week by week diary of her weight loss transformation with Terry and Luisa from Your Body Programme, with tips and advice from the experts.
Your Body Programme was founded by Terry Fairclough and Luisa Valenti.
The idea came about after Terry and Luisa saw other personal trainers regularly offering the same generic plan to every client, regardless of gender, goal or body type.
Terry and Luisa are passionate about the need to train everyone as an individual to achieve maximum results, and therefore don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach.