Questions On My 2019 Fat Loss Journey
I’ve had a few questions about how my own personal fat loss progress is going which I will happily answer today for you.
This should hopefully give you a cheeky insight into what to expect for your own personal journey and how I would (typically) structure my clients system for radical change.
Saying that; please don’t just blindly follow my own strategy. Everyone is different, has different lifestyles and preferences and other idiosyncrasies that are individual to the individual.
The last thing I would expect is for an overworked 40 something CEO single-parent to have to start doing the same thing as me!
Quick note on context: started this at the end of February with a starting weight of around 92 kg. Now currently sitting at 83 kg. I will end the fat-loss phase by about the middle of September and start eating more food again which is an exciting prospect.
Enough rambling, let’s get into it.
1) What exercises are you doing during your fat-loss phase?
Your aim during this phase isn’t really to gain muscle (unless you are a beginner, are overweight, are an overweight beginner, or use steroids) and so the mission is to retain as much muscle as possible whilst desperately trying to keep hold of any strength gains.
I’ve been basically doing the exact same programme I followed during my muscle gaining phase. So a squat, hip hinge movement (Romanian Deadlift is win), vertical push / vertical pull, and horizontal push / horizontal pull. Of course with a smattering of isolation exercises (biceps, triceps, calf raises, ab work and the occasional single-leg movement like a Bulgarian split squat.
What I have found to work best was condensing my initial four sessions into three, and this has turned out to be a productivity life-saver. I usually train Monday, Wednesday and Friday and use the upper/lower/full body split to full effect.
I tried 3x full body days but found out I was becoming fatigued very quickly.
In terms of total volume. I have dropped the total amount of sets and reps back by about 15-20% because the volume was killing my recovery.
I’ve also been dealing with a runners knee issue, so the squat has been taken out and has been replaced with the lovely leg press for reps and reps and reps.
2) How much cardio have you been doing?
Alongside a weekly game of five-a-side football I started out with 2x 30 minute runs for the first week.
Then runners knee happened.
Sine then, the traditional steady state cardio has been reduced to zero, which isn’t a problem because I know that cardio is such a small piece of the fat-loss puzzle so it’s been ok to manage this.
To ensure I haven’t become gassed out when using a flight of stairs I have kept in some conditioning work at the end of my gym sessions, i.e. boxing pad work and skipping.
Other than that, daily walks have been an absolute win, combined with some lengthy weekend hikes in preparation for a future challenge I have signed-up for (more on this in a minute.)
3) What have been some of the changes you have made to your nutrition?
There’s been two major changes to my diet since starting this fat-loss phase.
The first is that I’m now (kind of) fasting. Before I would typically eat breakfast at around 8:00 am and fit in another three meals throughout the day, however I found that trying to have four meals was not helping my hunger levels, and if I ate breakfast at 8:00 am I was just as hungry again by midday.
But if I just had a black coffee with a protein shake I felt exactly the same as I did without the early meal. So I typically have meals at around 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm with one day a week where I can increase calories slightly for adherence and training performance purposes. What we like to call a re-feed day.
In terms of food choice, I’ve reduced the easy to get rid of fats like oils and butter and ditched most of my liquid calories (apart from shakes.) I’ve also upped my protein intake to around 180-200 grams per day as this will help to keep hold of as much muscle as possible.
4) Is your training going to change at all?
It will now that I’ve signed up to complete the Three-peaks Challenge - yes, the surprise I mentioned earlier!
I’ll go down to twice per week in the gym and mainly train using compound movements. I’ll also be doing 60-120 minutes of cardio per week which will rotate between 5-a-side football, swimming and the cross trainer (blerrrgggh).
I’ll finish the week off with a 2-4 hour hike which is the most sport specific thing I can do for this challenge.
This will run for 12-weeks and I’ll be starting this at the end of June 2019.
5) Are you training abs?
Most of my ab/core work comes from the compound movements I’m training, i.e. deadlifts and pull-ups. But I do throw in a few sets of reverse crunches and sit ups twice per week for funzy.
Doing loads of ab work and crunches for days will do zero to help you lose body fat. You’ll just create an extremely strong core (which isn’t a bad thing by any means.)
6) How much extra activity have you been doing?
To be honest It’s really been the walking everyday for 20-40 minutes. Apart from that and making sure I get off my squishy office chair every now and then I haven’t done much else in terms of ‘non-exericse’ activity.
Because I have been vigilant of my macros and calories it’s been totally fine maintaining my current levels of activity.
So I’m nearly 10 kg down and probably have another 3-6 kg in me. I’ll probably do a run-down at the end and give my feedback on how thing’s went overall, so stay tuned for that!