Okay, so you want to drop a few kg and feel amazing in your body again, but you don't know how or where to start - look no further! This guide will teach you exactly how to burn fat while maintaining strength and energy with just a few adjustments to your workouts and nutrition.
Scroll down to read the guide and get the answers to all your questions 👇🏼
Are you ready?
Personal trainer & Founder of trainn
Step 1: Your workouts
#1 Focus on strength training 🏋️♀️
It's easy to think you have to do non-stop cardio if you want to lose weight. And while it definitely is amazing and for sure feels great sweating everything out, you're actually going to see much better results in the long run if you focus on strength training (and only add cardio as a supplement). But why is that?
Firstly, strength training is the number one ingredient to building muscle and burns calories, not only during the workout, but also for up to 24 hours after when your body is recovering from the workout.
Secondly, it's also a lot less energy-draining than cardio, and can be more motivating because you feel yourself getting stronger and stronger each week. And finally, once you've reached the your weight loss goal, you'll not just look like a smaller version of yourself, but you'll have built a strong body and toned muscle.
Now, you should definitely still do cardio, but to avoid it draining all your energy aim to do it as an addition to your strength workouts. To maintain as much energy as possible, do it for 15-30 mins after a strength session or for 30-60 mins on a separate day.
How to do it:
Aim to strength train 2-4 times per week and start with a total of 90 mins low intensity cardio per week. For best results, do cardio after your strength workouts or on a separate day.
If your weight loss stalls for a few weeks, you can either manage your nutrition a bit more, or add a little extra cardio.
#2 Set a realistic training frequency 📈
I know, it's week 1 of your weight loss journey and all you want to do is go to the gym every day while you're feeling motivated and high on endorphins. But the truth is, you'll be able to stick to your training routine for much longer if you don't go every day. Something I always tell my clients is to see if their current routine is maintainable is: "if you can't see yourself doing it in 5 years, it's not sustainable".
It's also a good idea to spread your workouts out throughout the week with rest days in between. Rest days are where your body recovers from your workouts and builds itself stronger for the next one.
How to do it:
Set a workout routine that you see yourself maintaining, not only for a few months, but for years to come. For many people this is 2-4 workouts per week. If possible, spread the out throughout the week with rest days in between.
It's also helpful to write your workouts in your calendar so it becomes more of a habit and a part of your daily/weekly routine.
#3 Keep cardio low intensity 🏃🏼♀️
When our goal is to lose weight and implement cardio, we tend to think to do lots of high intensity workouts with burpees, jump squats and intervals. This gets your heart rate fired up and it feels like the calorie counter on your smart watch is higher than ever.
However, a much smarter way to go about it, is to keep all your cardio at a low- to moderate intensity.
This will first of all not drain all your energy (like we mentioned in tip #1) meaning you won't be lying horizontal on the couch for the rest of the day. And second of all, low intensity cardio doesn't put as much strain on the joints, meaning you will stay injury free.
So instead of including lots of HIIT workouts, sprints and jumps, opt for low intensity cardio. This is usually done on a cardio machine or by going for a run. Aim for a steady heart rate (usually around 120-140) where you build a sweat after some time.
How to do it:
Opt for low- to moderate intensity cardio instead of HIIT workouts. This is easier on your body and will maintain your energy for the rest of the day. It often also means you'll be bale to stick yo your fitness journey for much longer, because you're not "maxing out" on cardio every week.
Go for a run or stand on a cardio machine for 15-50 minutes and maintain a steady heart rate where you build up a sweat.
Step 2: Your nutrition
#1 Know what a calorie deficit feels like 🍛
To burn fat we need to be in a calorie deficit, which means we need to eat less calories than we burn during the day. Once you're in a calorie deficit the energy stores in your body won't be all the way full, which means your body will need to look for other sources to get energy. This is where it starts burning fat as fuel.
However, it's important to know that a bigger calorie deficit doesn't always equal quicker weight loss. If we cut our calories too drastically it firstly won't be maintainable in the long run - we'll end up having no energy (food = fuel) and we will get so hungry it will often lead to drastically overeating. Secondly, your body will be more likely to burn muscle instead of fat. Therefore, aim for a moderate deficit which is around 200-500 calories below your calorie maintenance.
Your calorie maintenance depends on factors like your activity level, age, gender & current muscle mass. It's built up of the essential calories your body needs to function properly, as well as the extra calories you burn by moving around or exercising. Therefore, someone who is very active burns more calories than someone who isn't.
For women, calorie maintenance is typically 1800 - 2300 cals. A moderate deficit will therefore be 1600 - 1900 calories.
For men calorie maintenance is typically around 2300 - 2800 cals. A moderate deficit will therefore be 2100 - 2400 calories.
How to do it:
To burn fat we need to be in a calorie deficit. This means we're giving our body slightly less fuel than it needs, but still eating enough to have energy for your workouts and rest of the day. Aim to eat 200-500 calories below your calorie maintenance and keep and eye on your weight progress.
Your weight should go down slightly every other week. If you’re not seeing any progress in fat loss, lower your food intake with another 100-200 cals.
#2 Don't forget protein & carbs 🥯
As well as managing our calories, we also want to make sure most of our calories come from protein and carbs. They both play an important role in a weight loss journey.
Protein will help repair muscle tissue after every workout and build them stronger for the next session. It's ideal that we get protein spread out throughout the all of our meals in the day instead of getting it all in 1 or 2 meals. There's only so much protein our body can absorb in one sitting. A high protein diet will also give you all the nutrients and building blocks your body needs to build muscle. It will also help you feel full for longer and avoid big dips in blood sugar or energy.
Carbs are important, as they are what give you energy for your day. They are what give you energy to have great workouts, to squeeze in a few extra reps, go for a longer walk or generally be on your feet a little more
How to do it:
Aim to get in 15-30g of protein for your 3 main meals. This could for example be 180g tofu, 200g of cooked chickpeas, 2.5 eggs or 120g chicken or soy mince substitute.
Furthermore, aim to include whole grain carbs for at least 2 of your main meals. Great carb sources could be oats, brown rice, potatoes, wholegrain pasta or bread.
Step 3: Tracking your progress
No matter our goal, it's helpful to track our progress to make sure we stay on track. Losing weight can sometimes feel like a slower process, but the reward for all your hard work and consistency is amazing! When losing weight, here's how we recommend you track your progress 👇🏼
📸 Take pictures. It's no secret that your body is going to change. But it can be hard to notice the weekly progress when you look yourself in the mirror every day. Set a reminder to take pictures once a week or month.You'll be amazed by the progress and the boost of motivation you get from it!
⚖️ Weigh yourself. It goes without saying, that if we want to lose weight, our weight should go down, and monitoring your weight is a good way to make sure it's going down - not too slow and not too fast either.
📏 Take measurements. Grab a measuring tape and measure around your stomach, hips and legs. Set a reminder to do this every 8 weeks. It's super motivating to see the numbers go down!
💪 Monitor your strength. If you're following a personalised training plan or otherwise tracking your workouts, you will notice the difference in your strength. Not only will you be able to lift heavier and heavier, but you will build a strong body, core and joints so you avoid injuries, niggles and pains. Goodbye lower back pain. Goodbye not being able to carry the groceries home. Goodbye low energy. Time to feel amazing in our body!
Get workout advice, high-protein recipes & healthy habits
straight to your inbox ✉️
Hi, I'm Sarah Louise 👋🏼
I'll be your personal trainer when you join trainn. If you are anything like me, you really just want to live a healthy lifestyle with a workout routine you enjoy and a body you feel amazing in.
But how do you achieve this? Which exercises should you do? What is good to eat? How do you find time to workout with your busy lifestyle? And how do you manage to stay consistent with it all?
Well, I'm here to teach you all the secrets!
I created trainn to help more people reach their fitness goals with the expertise from a personal trainer (me) but without the cost that comes with it. Everything in the app - workouts, advice, support - is personalised to you, so you can finally get the results you want.
Ready to start your fitness journey?