1. Sleep- Probably not what you were expecting, but if you’re not getting adequate sleep, your body is not going to respond by dropping fat. Sleep deprivation stimulates all the wrong hormones and causes your body to function in survival mode. Stress gets tougher to maintain with less sleep, and problems build on one another. As an example, I had a client (we’ll call him J.P.) who was having trouble dropping any kind of weight. He was working hard with his training and doing the right things with nutrition but just couldn’t seem to drop any weight. J.P. is an entrepreneur and works an insane amount of hours each week, and averaged about 4 hours of sleep each night. My advice to J.P., since he was absolutely serious about losing the weight, was to take a week off from work and sleep. Nothing else. No stress from work, no working out, just rest. He went to on a family trip and ended up losing 15 lbs. Didn’t workout at all besides walking around the parks and ate ok. What was different? He was sleeping 8+ hours a night, which was hugely overdue. Many of us have obligations in our lives that we need to attend to, but if you are serious about your fat loss goals, sleep needs to be a priority. Shoot for 8, but anything less than 7 a night and you’re going to start working against yourself.
2. Nutrition- 60-80% of your fat loss goals are determined by nutrition. The famous saying, “You can never out train poor nutrition” rings true. I’m not going to recommend a specific diet because I think everyone is different and finds success through different avenues. But, I will recommend tracking your nutrition through some type of app. I prefer myfitnesspal, but other options are sparkpeople and cronometer. All of the apps are really easy to use. Track your nutrition for a week or two to get a good idea of how much you’re consuming on a daily basis. If you find it helpful, keep tracking. If not, you’ll at least know about what you’re consuming a day and what tweaks you need to make in order to reach your goals. If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing!
3. Training- Note that I didn’t say working out here. Your quest for fat-loss must be more carefully put together than a myriad of random workouts. There should be exercise progressions, recovery days, increased resistance, and other aspects built into your training program. If you’re lacking this stuff, find yourself a better coach! Good fat-loss programs involve resistance training and high intensity work. If your fat loss training involves steady-state cardio, you probably aren’t going to get the results you’re looking for. If you need ideas on how to implement this, email me and I’d be happy to help.
4. Recovery- Mobility, injury prevention, and rest are no one’s favorite things to talk about when discussing fat loss programs. They’re boring, time consuming, and most people just don’t realize how big of a role they play in overall success. Many would rather spend thirty minutes training then rolling around on a foam roller or working on hamstring length. The reason recovery is so important is because it gives you longevity. In 5 or 10 years, you’re going to still want to be able to train the way you do now. No one wants a bad back or sore knees to inhibit their training ability. Do your future self a favor and take some time to do the boring stuff now. Also, having recovery built into your program is going to keep you from being sidelined with an injury that will set your goals back a few weeks or months. Not only will a great recovery plan keep you healthy, it’ll also improve strength and performance in your training. Be proactive and your dedication will pay big dividends down the line.
5. Supplementation- If fat loss were an outfit, supplementation would be a watch, or a necklace, bracelet, or hat. An accessory that’s nice to have, but won’t kill you if its not there. Some people try to add some fancy supplements to their routine and expect magic to happen without changing anything else. Start with great training and phenomenal nutrition before worrying about supplementation. You don’t go to work with a watch and hat on but leave your pants and shirt at home do you? Worry about working hard and eating right first. If you need to fill in some holes in your diet after that, then you’ve earned the right to do so. But by all means, please put your pants on first!