Summer is just around the corner! Bring on the barbeques, beach days, board shorts, and chilled beverages with the lads. If you’re looking to lean out and tighten up before hitting the pool, we’ve got you covered with a our tips to help ditch the dad bod (and even though June is Men’s Health Month, this info pertains to the ladies also!).
No matter how you slice it, the number one influence in body composition is diet; specifically what you eat, and how much you eat. It has been seen time and time again that there is not one magic way of eating that trumps the rest. Keto, Low Fat, IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and Vegan are some of the most popular diet trends. Yes, you can lose fat on all of these diets; however, it is also possible to gain weight while following the principles of these diets. The most ideal diet is the one that you can best adhere to. What we need to recognize is that fat loss comes down to a simple equation of calories in vs calories out. If you are in a calorie deficit, you will lose fat. Likewise, if you are in a calorie surplus, you will gain weight.
Now that we can agree that a caloric deficit is the most important factor in fat loss, how do we create one? Great question. First, you will need to know what your maintenance calories are. Simply put, this is the number of calories that you would eat on a daily basis to maintain the weight you are currently at. Activity levels, body composition and NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) all influence your maintenance calories. You can use a calorie calculator online to get a rough idea of your maintenance calories, and from there test and adjust as needed. For the most accurate representation of your maintenance calories, we recommend tracking your food intake for a week without making any changes to your current diet. From this, you will be able to average out what your daily maintenance calories are, assuming your weight remains the same.
The most sustainable fat loss is done methodically, and at a moderate pace. Although this may take more time than you originally hoped, it also reduces the risk of muscle loss, or yo-yo dieting (periods of excessive restriction followed by binging behaviours).
Example: Mark wants to lose 10 pounds of body fat, at the rate of 1 pound per week. Seeing as a pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories, he will need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories each week (500 calories/day) in order to meet his goal. Mark has tracked his food intake, weight, and activity levels for a week and is aware that his maintenance calories are 2,800. When it comes to creating a deficit, there are two factors that he can adjust: food intake and activity level. Mark can continue eating 2,800 calories each day, as long as he expends an additional 500 calories through activities such as running, walking, cycling, etc. Alternatively, Mark could choose to eat 2,300 calories per day, or he could combine any amount of moving more and eating less to create the necessary daily deficit of 500 calories.
Tracking your food is going to be the most reliable way to stay accountable to your goals. Apps such as MyFitnessPal, MyPlate, and MyNetDiary are all useful tools that can help you stay on track. When you know exactly what’s going into your body, it is easy to make adjustments to get you to where you want to be, instead of wasting time guessing.
However, perhaps tracking your food seems like it’s too big of an undertaking, or you’re not that serious about a particular weight loss goal. If that’s the case, here are 3 tips that can help you get lean without tracking your macros or following a specific diet:
Summer is just around the corner and we want to help you look and feel your best! If you’re looking to ditch the dad bod, we hope that you find these tips useful. For more resources, stop by your local Reflex Supplements and have a chat with our experts. Tag us on Instagram or Facebook. We are #ReflexNation.
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