The internet contains a wealth of fitness and nutrition knowledge. Unfortunately, for every piece of gold that you find you will have to dig through mountains of scrap. Here are the top five strategies to help you drop those unwanted pounds, as well as four commonly touted hacks that will cost you time and money but do nothing for your waistline.
DO...CONSUME FEWER CALORIES THAN YOU BURN
It is an undeniable, scientifically-proven, fact when you are in a consistent calorie deficit, you will lose weight. How many calories should you be eating? Check out my calculator to get you started. Already eating less calories than you burn but still not seeing results? You may have a damaged metabolism. Send me a message to find out how to get your metabolism firing again.
DON'T...FOLLOW FAD DIETS
Can you imagine never eating vegetables again? Only eating cabbage soup? Living off diet shakes or putting butter in your coffee? Never again tasting bread or chips? Neither can I. Whilst it's true that some diets will result in weight loss, it's invariably short-lived due to the unsustainability of the eating protocol, with the inevitable situation that the weight goes back on, right before you search for the next magic pill (literally and figuratively). Rinse, wash, repeat. You are now a yo-yo dieter! A simple rule to follow: if you can't envisage yourself eating a certain way forever, don't consider doing it temporarily.
Resistance training is great for building muscle, but did you know it's also the most efficient and sustainable way to burn bodyfat? By increasing your muscle mass your metabolism speeds up. Not just while working out, but every minute that you continue to hold that muscle on your body. Bonus, you'll be able to eat more while still stripping fat! Aim for 3-4 sessions per week, for about 45 minutes each session.
OK, a small amount of cardio won't hurt, but if your strategy for losing your belly is to jump on a treadmill for 45 minutes each day, I have some bad news for you. Whilst cardio will burn some fat, you'll also be depleting muscle. A lot of muscle! Remember what happens when you increase your muscle mass in the previous point? Well, the exact opposite happens when that muscle packs it's bags and leaves. Bye bye speedy metabolism, hello endless cardio and ever-decreasing meal sizes for the rest of your days. Keep the amount of time you do low-intensity cardio each week to 25% of the time you spend lifting weights. For high-intensity cardio like HIIT or bootcamps, reduce that to 10%.
DO...GET MORE SLEEP
Good sleep is a major contributor to muscle recovery and growth between workouts. If you find yourself tired, sore and irritable during the day, chances are your sleep in sub-optimal. Aim for a solid eight hours per night and reap the benefits. Trouble falling asleep? No more screen time at least an hour before bed.
DON'T...TAKE ADVICE FROM INSTAGRAM INFLUENCERS
Yeah they have impressive bodies. But here's the secret: they are young, have great genetics, have unlimited time to train, and work with talented photographers who could make anyone look like a model (usually with a big dose of Photoshopping!). Remember, influencers present only a very small, highly-edited version of their lives. And they probably didn't get to where they are by doing their latest shitty 10 minute bodyweight workout or ingesting the rubbish fat burner supplement they are trying to sell you. Stop comparing yourselves to strangers online, and put in the work required to get to your goals. No shortcuts!
DO...EAT PLENTY OF PROTEIN
As a general rule, 1g of protein per pound of body weight per day is the goal if you're lifting weights. For those who are obese, pull that number back to 1g per pound of your goal weight. Try to get the majority of your protein from lean meat, seafood and low fat dairy, and supplement with a quality whey protein isolate if you can't quite get to your target number. If anyone tells you this is too much, especially a dietician or doctor, walk away and never go back! The only exception to this is if you have a specific medical condition where protein consumption may be a contributing factor. Plant-based sources, often touted as "high protein", are inferior in terms of both quantity and availability of essential amino acids. If you're vegan or vegetarian go for it, just know your task is a more difficult one. Give collagen protein supplements a wide berth.
DON'T...FALL FOR FAT BURNERS OR BCAAs.
They don't work. Fat burners are nothing more that caffeine-laden appetite suppressors. Another expensive get thin quick scheme. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein. Selling them taps into the notion that adding more BCAAs on top of that which is derived from protein must be better. Not so fast. They are an expensive supplement (unlike whey protein) with almost zero nutritional benefit (again, unlike whey protein). If you're vegan or vegetarian, they will provide some value since you're protein intake is likely insufficient.
DO...SUPPLEMENT WITH CREATINE
Unlike most dietary supplements, creatine has the proof of scientific research to back up it's claims. In a nutshell, creatine helps muscle cells produce more energy, improves high intensity exercise performance, and helps build muscle. There are also other health benefits, such as fighting neurological disease and helping lower blood sugar levels. Only opt for creatine monohydrate - all other variants are marketing (and profit) driven, with no noticeable performance benefit.
Ben Goodbrand is a lifelong student of the health, fitness and nutrition game. As a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, his knowledge is tested and proven on a daily basis, having helped over 730 people improve their lives through his unique and effective methods.