How many people have you seen in January who have joined the gym for a health kick, and headed straight for the treadmill? They power away on it, day after day, and though they will be getting fitter, if they want to lose fat, they are going about it the wrong way. It’s all to do with something called VO2 max. This is the rate of oxygen absorption during exercise. For fat loss, or to put it more accurately, tissue metabolism you want to target a 60% VO2 max level, about the same as going on a treadmill for 60 minutes. A much better technique however, is to maintain an increased heart rate for around 30 minutes, using interval breaks. This puts your body into an oxygen deficit, meaning that for a while after you finish your HIIT session, your VO2 will still be high. It might not be at the optimal level of 60% but it will be higher, for longer, and thus better for fat loss. The fix: Either ignore the treadmill completely, or use it as part of an HIIT programme. If jogging in the street, add in sprints where possible.
3Relying on steady state cardio
A professional athlete, whether that’s Andy Murray, The Rock or Brian Shaw, can get away with eating calorie dense foods on the basis that they will use that fuel. If you are someone who is actively looking to burn fat, then you won’t be able to do this. Doing 30 minutes of HIIT does not “entitle” you to a cake. Remember, the key to any kind of fat loss, is being in a safe calorie deficit. The wrong foods will also have an adverse impact on your training. Eating lots of sugar before a workout for example, is a bad idea. This may give you a big OOMPH but that will soon turn into a trough, and your workout will become a lot less fun. The fix: As a rule of thumb, cut out as much sugar as possible If you want a treat, workout if it is in your macros, and keep it low on the calorie scale.
2Compensating for bad food with exercise
We may have just alluded to calorie control, and in fat loss’ most basic realm, that is what you need to go for. But if you ever see a diet where the calorie content is very low, then you need to avoid it. Knowing what is low is not only a case of common sense, but also a case of what doesn’t make you feel ill. Not only is starving yourself dangerous, but it isn’t really as effective as you would think. When you don’t eat, your metabolism will slow down in order to conserve energy. Obviously if you starved yourself over a week, you would lose a lot of weight, but you’d feel terrible, look terrible and have no energy to do anything. The same is true to a lesser extreme, of very low calorie diets, and that is why you should ignore them. You should also be wary of any fad diets. (Place: Dukan, Atkins, CERT, Cabbage Soup, Mushroom, etc here ______). While they may work in some cases, and may give you a useful framework to create a healthy eating plan, you shouldn't rely on them. These diets are often restrictive, and in examples like the “clay cleanse” diet, clearly very stupid. The fix: Instead of focusing on dieting, focus on eating healthier as a whole. Make your own food, plan your meals, and keep an eye on your macronutrients. If you are struggling, use protein shakes to help you stay within your food plan. Got any more tips for cutting fat? Let us know!