So first things first - it's not possible to 'spot burn' or 'target' belly fat, sorry to tell you. However good news is when you burn fat, some of it will come from your belly and over time you'll get where you want to be.
The road to transforming your health, fitness and body is a long one. Let’s not pretend it’ll be some 6 week walk in the park - although walks in the park will help!
Exercise is obviously necessary, and increasing training volume and intensity will be a must if you’re going to progress.
You can exercise every day but if your nutrition isn’t balanced then you’ll struggle reach your personal aspirations.
Nutrition needs 24/7 focus and will be you’re biggest challenge on the road to a new fitter, healthier you.
So lets break it down for you and make understanding nutrition simple, even if resisting that chocolate doughnut isn’t any easier.
Calories in must be less than Calories out (keep the deficit small at around 200-300 cals per day)
Balance your Macronutrients (Protein, Fat & Carbs)
Eat whole/unprocessed foods
Consider Nutritional timing (post workout meal & intermittent fasting)
Calories in must be less than calories out
In short this means you need to eat less than you burn off each day. Think of a weighing scale, you want to tip the balance towards calories out.
Creating this balance is simple enough. Calories in come from food and drinks, calories out comes from exercise and movement. You want the movement to outweigh/be greater than the calories.
Track your calorie intake using an app on your phone, and track your calorie expenditure using an activity tracker, smart watch or just logging it on a app that can estimate your calorie burn.
You only need a calorie deficit of around 200-300 calories per day. Don’t go beyond this as you will potentially damage your metabolism and do more harm than good.
Balance your Macronutrients
Foods can all be broken down into 3 main types - Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats.
You need enough of each to sustain your body’s balance.
Protein - provides the building blocks for recovery and maintenance of bones, joints, & skin and more
Fat - aids in the absorption of vitamins, minerals & proteins, regulates hormones and fights premature ageing.
Carbohydrates - provide energy for day to day living
So you need an amount of all of these nutrients in order to live a healthy life, and not getting enough of any one will have a negative effect on your body.
Any excess of any of these nutrients is converted to fat for storage and use at a later date, so balance is the key.
How much you need will depend on your activity levels, age, gender, body composition and weight. It’s best to have your macro profile tailored individually and not just for for a generic percentage - Something that we do for all our clients to ensure they have a healthy lifestyle.
Most calorie tracking apps will show you the balance of the nutrients in your foods and daily diet.
Eat whole/unprocessed foods
Processed, ready made, pre-packaged meals tend to contain additional ingredients to extend the shelf life of the product. Your body doesn’t need these extra ingredients and has to work them out of your system.
Anything ready made is also harder to balance into your daily macros, potentially leaving you with a surplus of one or more nutrients, normally fat or carbs.
Buying fresh foods and cooking at home is a learning process, it can be fun trying out new recipes and cooking with the family and friends.
Of course you won’t always want to do this, and a Friday night curry isn’t off the cards. Just do your best to go for whole, unprocessed foods as often as possible.
Here we get into the realms of high optimisation when it comes to healthy eating and living, and for most you won’t need to worry about this until you have mastered the basics.
Factors such as intermittent fasting (having an eating window of 8 hours and a fasting window of 16 hours) in order to optimise certain hormones and biochemical processes in the body.
Carb cycling based off activity levels to ensure effective use of energy.
These are topics for another post as they are too complex to go into detail here, however we will cover them in coming months so subscribe so you don’t miss them.