Shedding fat is not an overnight process. Sometimes you've been working like mad and the scale still isn't budging. It is hard to stay focused when you've been doing everything right and nothing seems to be working. Don't give up yet, founder and CEO of Athletic Edge, Sebastian Balcombe (who also has a degree in exercise physiology) has some advice for you!
Here Balcombe has a look at the most common mistakes you may be making and the ways you can fix them ASAP!
Mistake 1: Your cardio isn't geared toward maximum fat burning.
When it comes to cardio, more is not necessarily better. It can actually be counterproductive as it can lead to you depleting your muscle mass without ever even burning fat for energy. Basically, what you'll want to do is cut down the duration of your cardio session and amp up the intensity. "If somebody really wants to drop and burn body fat in the quickest, most efficient way possible, and they have the drive to undergo it, there's nothing better than high-intensity interval training," Balcombe explains. "Nothing is as effective as HIIT. There's no exercise protocol I would recommend more to someone who wants to get lean." HIIT involves alternating short periods of high intensity with short periods of lower intensity. Balcombe says. "Of all exercise protocols, HIIT just annihilates all others in terms of how much fat you burn, both during your workout and afterward."
Mistake 2: Your eating is out of proportion.
Exercise has a very small impact on fat loss compared to dietary changes," Balcombe says, "More than any training or supplementation changes you make, diet has by far the most major effect on weight loss. And the biggest mistake I've seen people make nutritionally is [eating] portion sizes [that] are so out of whack... People may think they're eating a normal portion, but in reality they're eating 3-4 times what they should be." But don't worry, there is a simple solution. Balcombe suggests using measuring cups and measuring spoons. "You don't need to actually weigh all your food, just put it in a measuring cup before plating it. Over the course of a few weeks, you'll start to get a real feel for what a proper portion is, and eventually you'll no longer need the measuring devices to know what you're doing."
Mistake 3: You're not minding your ratios.
"Once you have portion control down, you can start experimenting with macronutrient ratios," Balcombe says. He recommends 15-20% of your overall calories come from fat, with the rest coming from protein and carbohydrates. He suggests a 2:1 carb to protein ratio if you are on a HIIT program with your carbs being slow digesting carbs. "I don't use the terms 'complex' or 'simple' carbs, because they don't really mean much," he says. "You have complex carbs like maltodextrin that break down fast and behave just like a simple sugar, for instance. So forget about simple and complex, and just rely on slow-digesting carbs as your main source." These slow digesting carbs include sweet potatoes, brown rice, green leafy vegetables, and steel-cut oatmeal.
Mistake 4: You're not taking full advantage of scientific advancements.
When you are looking for a fat burning supplement, look for one that contains research supported ingredients like green tea extract, caffeine and yohimbine. All of these ingredients have been shown to increase energy expenditure and speed up fat loss. "Green tea extract—specifically its level of epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG—has an impact on caloric expenditure, while caffeine improves energy and alertness," Balcombe explains.
Have you managed to work your way through a fat loss plateau? What methods did you use?