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A guide to weight loss

If you’re looking to lose weight but don’t know where to start, we’re here to help break things down for you to get you started on your journey. Achieving weight loss can seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach and mindset, it's absolutely achievable. 


Nutrition for weight loss

Setting a baseline

A great place to start with weight loss is tracking your current lifestyle, from your calorie intake to your daily movement. You can do this in a notebook, or through the use of an app such as MyFitnessPal, or if you’re one of our clients, you’ll have full access to My PT Hub where you can track your nutrition in full. As a personal trainer, it’s really helpful to have an understanding of what your typical eating patterns look like, as well as an average day of movement to build a custom plan that is going to work for your lifestyle. Tracking your daily habits allows you to identify areas where you can make positive changes to support your weight loss goals.


Daily Movement

Incorporating daily movement into your routine is essential for weight loss. This doesn't necessarily mean hitting the gym for intense workouts every day, although that can be beneficial too. It can be as simple as increasing your average daily steps by going for a walk during your lunch break or turning a coffee morning at your local cafe into a walk along the beach with a friend. Finding ways to stay active throughout the day helps boost your overall calorie expenditure and supports your weight loss efforts. This daily movement includes trips to the gym, runs, cleaning your house and running errands, it doesn’t have to specifically be time you’ve dedicated to exercise.


Cardio for weight loss

Cardio for Weight Loss

Cardiovascular exercise, commonly known as cardio, is the key thing people tend to think about when they think of weight loss. Cardio workouts elevate your heart rate, increase calorie burn, and improve cardiovascular health. Activities such as running, cycling, swimming, and dancing are excellent choices for burning calories and can be highly beneficial for weight loss. If that’s the right path for you. It is recommended that you aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio, spread out over several days. Consistency is key, so find activities you enjoy and make them a regular part of your routine. That might be trampolining, a dance class, martial arts, roller hockey, football or any other sporting activity that gets your heart going.


Strength Training for Weight Loss

Strength training is another crucial component of a comprehensive weight loss plan, and something that is often overlooked as a tool for weight loss. While cardio helps burn calories during the workout, strength training builds lean muscle mass, which boosts your metabolism and increases calorie burn even at rest in the long term. Incorporating strength training exercises, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and weightlifting, helps sculpt your body, improve strength and endurance, and promote fat loss. We recommend you aim for at least two to three strength training sessions per week focused on different areas of the body for optimal results. If you want to learn more about strength training, we’ve got a complete guide to help you understand what this means and how it can help you.


Nutrition for Weight Loss

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in weight loss success. While exercise is essential, you can't out-train a poor diet. Ultimately, you need to be burning more calories than you are eating or eating less calories than you are moving to lose weight. Focus on making healthy, balanced food choices that support your goals whether that's increasing muscle mass, losing weight or reaching a new PB at the gym. Fill your plate with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats paying particular attention to the macronutrients. If you don’t know much about nutrition, we’ve got a guide that breaks down the key components ready and waiting for you. Be mindful of portion sizes and practice moderation with high-calorie or processed foods. You might even want to consider working with an online nutrition coach to help pave the way for a healthier, more consistent way of eating. 


Nutrition for weight loss

Diets explained

There are thousands of diets out there, easily accessed through the internet, but we’re not here to tell you which ones are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, simply to explain some of the core foundations of certain diets which we’re asked about a lot. Ultimately, your diet refers to your overall pattern of food and drink consumption, regardless of what you're eating and whether it’s healthy, balanced, restrictive or otherwise. A ‘good’ diet is one that works with your lifestyle, helps to fuel your body to achieve your goals and benefits both your mental and physical health.


Intermittent fasting 

Intermittent fasting is a way of setting windows where you eat, and windows where you don’t eat. Overall it is a diet which is not focused on how much or what you’re eating, simply when. The idea being that by setting yourself a smaller window to eat within, you will naturally eat less. For example, the 18/6 diet allows for an 8 hour eating window, whilst you have 16 hours food free. 


Keto

Keto, otherwise known as the Ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate diet typically involving around 5-10%carbs per day. It tends to be paired with a moderate protein intake, 20-25% and around 70-75% of your calories coming from healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and fatty fishes. This shifts your body into a state called ‘ketosis’ where your body primarily uses fat for fuel, rather than carbs.


Paleo

The Paleo diet, also known as the Palaeolithic diet or ‘caveman’ diet, is a dietary approach that aims to mimic the eating habits of our ancestors during the Palaeolithic era, around 10,000 years ago. The core principle of the Paleo diet is to consume foods that were available to humans during this pre-agricultural period which involves whole, unprocessed foods such as high quality meats and vegetables without any refined grains, sugars, vegetable oils or artificial additives. 


Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern inspired by the traditional eating habits of people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and southern France. It's characterised by an abundance of fresh or dried fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, along with moderate consumption of fish, poultry, dairy products, and, surprisingly, red wine.


Tracking nutrition for weight loss

Tracking your progress 

When looking at your health and fitness goals, it doesn’t always need to be about changing the number on the scales. Often you can go through a complete change of both physical and mental health and not see a difference on the scales - primarily because muscle weighs the same as fat yet takes up far less space. Here are a few other options on how you can track your progress without stepping on the weighing scales.


Progress photos:

By taking photographs of your body before and during a new phase of health and fitness can be incredibly motivational. You may see your body shape change entirely, see parts of your body slim down and become more sculpted, and see changes that are hard to notice day to day. 


Ability level:

Weight loss isn’t always the answer to becoming a ‘healthier’ version of you, and that might not be your goal at all. Perhaps you want to feel stronger, be able to run for longer, or improve your mobility, and these are all goals you can work towards. It’s good to set yourself targets to keep momentum, whether that’s being able to lift a certain weight on a barbell, running a certain distance, doing a handstand or simply being able to walk up the stairs without being out of breath. Your goals need to be set based on your own personal circumstances, and a personal trainer can help you to set these goals if you get stuck.


Measurements: 

Taking measurements from your arms, legs, hips, waist etc. is a great way of tracking your progress without the scales. You can choose to take this very seriously with a tailor's measure, or simply track the way your clothes fit you, whether they’re too tight, too loose or just right. Perhaps there is a pair of jeans you’d love to fit you better which you can try on monthly to see how your body is changing. 


Tracking weight loss on the scales

Embarking on a weight loss journey can be both exciting and challenging, but with the right strategies and support, you can achieve your goals. Start by tracking your progress, incorporating daily movement, and prioritising both cardio and strength training exercises. Remember to fuel your body with nutritious foods that support your overall health and weight loss efforts. Stay committed, stay consistent, and celebrate your progress along the way. With dedication and perseverance, you can reach your desired weight and live a healthier, happier life.


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