If your body composition goal is fat loss... here are 5 focus points!
But first, let's differentiate between WEIGHT loss and FAT loss.
Weight Loss- your scale weight goes down. The weight you lose is a combination of muscle and fat. This can be done effectively through cardio and a calorie deficit.
Fat Loss- you are transforming your physique! The focus shifts away from just the numbers on the scale and more on maintaining muscle mass, improving lean body composition, prioritizing strength training, and adequate daily protein intake. Your body composition goal is more about achieving that "sculpted, lean look" vs. slimming down a few pounds.
Let's dive into the 5 points!
1. Aim to be in a Calorie Deficit
Tracking daily calorie intake and putting yourself in a calorie deficit- consuming fewer calories than your body has burned
You do not NEED to count calories to reach your goals... But it can be a valuable tool to learn exactly what you're consuming, understand how much you need to eat to achieve goals such as fat loss or muscle gain, and many find it helpful to make adjustments and manage their progress.
To calculate your daily caloric needs according to your goal (lose, maintain, or gain) you can use an online calculator or you can seek more individualized assistance from a qualified health professional such as a dietician or nutritionist.
2. Lift Weights Consistently
Prioritize lifting weights 3-4 + times/week to maintain muscle mass. This encourages the body to hold on to muscle mass while reducing fat mass.
As mentioned previously, there is a difference between FAT loss and WEIGHT loss.
Fat loss = getting lean and transforming your physique by building muscle and losing fat.
Losing weight simply involves seeing the number on the scale go down which can be achieved through just cardio + a calorie deficit.
If your goal is fat loss and developing a more lean body composition, you need to follow a consistent, structured strength training program.
3. Consume an adequate amount of Protein
Total daily protein intake is the most important.
Daily protein intake is individualized but generally in the range of 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (for strength+conditioning individuals)
*your weight in lb/2.205 = your weight in kg*
Spreading protein intake out across the day is also a good idea to help optimize muscle protein synthesis.
Protein preserves lean mass and out of all the macronutrients it 1. keeps you the most satiated and 2. burns the most amount of calories during the digestive process.
Sources of protein include- lean meats, fish, eggs, tofu, dairy, etc.
4. Prioritize Daily Movement
Working out and following a training program is great, but tends to only be an hour of your day.
The activity or LACK of activity you do for the remainder of the day can have a huge impact on your weight and progress.
Increase your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) = the energy you expend from anything other than eating, sleeping, or planned exercise by:
Taking the stairs
Parking further away
Getting your steps in
Playing with kids
Doing household chores
5. Optimize your Sleep
How much sleep you need is individualized. Recommendations for adults sit at 7–9 hours of sleep per night, however, athletes tend to need more for optimal performance.
Lack of sleep negatively impacts your hormonal health. Hunger hormones get sent out when you are sleep deprived because your body understands it needs more energy.
Sleep is the best supplement and recovery mechanism.