The world is idolizing shredded males and females, thanks to their glamorous portrayal in TV and movies. Instagram is filled with Gymaholics who flaunt their abs and biceps in style. So it’s irresistible not to yearn for a similar physique.
That’s one of the main motivations for people who take up physical exercise. Because they’ve heard somewhere that by working out, you lose weight, and the abs show up. While that’s not entirely false, that isn’t the entire picture either.
The path to losing weight is more than just working out. Routine, diet, sleep, character, all of these play a vital role. But for beginners, the most important thing is figuring out where to start.
If you’re damn serious about losing weight, then we have a complete guide for you. This is developed with years of expertise in helping people lose weight successfully. So learn everything there is to know about fat loss as a beginner in this article.
Understanding Fat Types
If you’re asking how to lose fat, then you’re asking the wrong question. This is because there are two different types of fats. Those are Visceral fat and Subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is those fats that surround your body organs. Touch your belly, and then that’s Visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat that lies directly beneath the skin. You can feel it by simply pinching your skin.
So the question you should be asking is, “Should I lose Visceral fat or Subcutaneous fat and how?”
The answer is, as a beginner, you should always aim for Visceral fat. These fat make you look fat, and you should get rid of them first. Subcutaneous fat is harder to shift and is actually beneficial in some ways.
The sections that follow discuss how to lose Visceral fat.
Starting the Fat Loss Journey
The number one reason why people become obese is because of their diet. Junk food, processed food, soft drinks, beers, little to no vegetables. If this kind of diet sounds familiar, then perhaps you’ve put on some weight too.
So to fix this issue, people reverse their diet, join a Zumba class, and think they’ve got everything covered to shed some weight. But this a mistake too.
That’s because there’s no such thing as the best fat loss diet. That’s hard to understand and accept some people who’ve come to believe in it. Researchers at Yale proved it and found no conclusive evidence that skipping or adopting a particular diet will aid weight loss.
Skipping carbs and following a protein-rich diet won’t necessarily make you slim. Avoiding sodas won’t either.
The only metric to consider for losing fat is “Calorie deficit.” Are you burning more calories than you’re consuming? You’re on the right path. Is it equal? You might stay the same. If you’re burning fewer calories than you’re consuming, then that’s a calorie surplus.
To create a calorie deficit, you need to balance your diet with exercise.
3 Golden Rules of Fat Loss
There are tons of different ways to reach a calorie deficit, which will lead to fat loss. But three rules stay the same for each method. And since rules cannot be broken, you must stick to them throughout your fat loss journey.
Make changes to the diet
The most common order you’ll receive from trainers is to watch your diet. And that’s true to any type of training program you take up. You have to cut off the calorie-dense foods first. These include junk foods, burgers, soda drinks, and things along those lines. Since you’re just getting started, you cannot afford to have a high-calorie diet. Simply because you won’t be training harder to create a calorie deficit.
As a beginner, you must maintain a low-calorie diet that includes vegetables, whole grains, dairy, eggs, nuts, cereals, legumes, etc.
Take up strength training
Lowering your calorie intake isn’t enough. You need to couple it up with the physical workout. The level and intensity of your exercises also dictate how successful your fat loss efforts will be.
There are two types of training available to you. One is cardio training, and the other is strength training. Cardio training burns more calories than strength training per session.
So we recommending strength over cardio might seem contradictory, but there’s a reason behind it. Strength training increases metabolism, which helps you burn more calories in total. By metabolism, we mean the body consumes more calories to keep function. Strength training targets the muscles. And muscles consume calories even when you’re at rest. So the effects of calorie consumption go beyond the regular training session. This is called “afterburn.”
So as a beginner, you should take up strength training for fat loss.
Sleep early, wake up early
The concept of “sleep” gets left behind at discussions on fat loss. Diet and proper training get all the mention. But without proper sleep, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
One reason for that is mid-night hunger. If you’re waking up till midnight, you’re left with an empty stomach (assuming you have a light dinner). This mid-night hunger attracts craving and desire for a bigger portion. So you grab a slice of leftover pizza from the fridge and eat it with great pleasure.
But the problem is they add up to the total calories for the day and imbalances the diet.
Also, by not sleeping enough, you’re not allowing your muscles to repair themselves. So you’re going to the gym with a group of tired muscles, which will lower your training efficiency. So train hard, but sleep harder. As a general rule, you should get 7-8 hours of sleep on intense workout days. You can afford to have 6-7 hours on non-workout days.
Once you’ve ticked the three rules, you’ve laid the foundation for fat loss. It’ll make your task easier.
Create a Calorie Deficit Diet (that’s sustainable)
Fat loss starts with a proper diet. But to succeed, you need to create a diet that’s sustainable, i.e., that you can follow for a long time. When searching for a proper diet plan for weight, beginners get bombarded with options available.
People subscribe to a particular diet plan and then fail to maintain it. Without even inspecting what caused the problem, they quit altogether and return back to their usual lifestyle.
The reason why people fail is that they choose a diet they can’t follow for a long period of time. Research like this one has shown that the best diet for weight loss is the one you can stick to for a significant period of time. In other words, you’re in high compliance with the diet.
So you’re following the diet plan 80-90% of the time.
Types of Diet You Can Follow
There are different types of diet to choose from for weight loss. You need to choose the one that matches your personality, lifestyle, and preference. Without the correct choice, you’re going to find it difficult to stick to it.
A Keto diet is made synonymous with weight loss. This is because it allows low carb intake and is high in fat. Because of the low carb content, your body doesn’t get many calories. The fat, which breaks down slowly, provides the required calories for the body to function.
When you’re on a keto diet, you’ll primarily eat foods like avocado, nuts, seeds, salmons, cheese, and other vegetables.
The problem with the keto diet restricts you from essential nutrients that are found in restricted foods like grains and tropical fruits. Without grain, you might feel weaker. If you’re exercising with intensity, the keto diet is definitely not for you.
Another popular diet for weight loss is the paleo diet. One benefit of this diet over keto is it is more balanced. In a paleo diet, your aim is to eliminate processed food, preservatives, and chemical impurities.
Lean meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beef, and pork are included in a paleo diet. The diet is rich in protein and other vital macronutrients.
In paleo, you’ll have to avoid grains and carb-rich food. So if you’re a gym person, you will see a reduction in performance because your body will not receive a quick source of energy.
Marco Counting Diet
A Macro counting diet is closer to your current lifestyle if you’re eating as per your choices. In this form of the diet, there are no restrictions on what you can and cannot eat. The philosophy is that rather than restricting certain food items, you should include everything in your diet in a controlled manner.
So you can have those cheeseburgers and beers along with salad and salmon. This flexibility allows you to get access to every vitamin and nutrient. Your body isn’t deprived of anything.
The problem with the macro counting diet is it can easily lead you to unhealthy foods. Balancing calories is another concern for beginners.
Meal Plan Diet
With a meal plan diet, you’re no in control of your diet. It’s someone else, most probably a nutritionist. Based on your lifestyle, workout habits, and goals, she devises a diet plan for you. You’re just supposed to follow it religiously.
You’ll literally get to eat all types of food. The nutritionist might be kind enough to allow you a few cones of ice cream or a few slices of double cheese pizza.
But a few days can be restrictive, so going through those days will be tough. Since experts create the diet for you, you’re going to have to pay the fees.
The vegetarian diet restricts all forms of meat and poultry products. Your diet consists of vegetables, grains, fruits, dairy, and cakes, and cookies too. So basically everything that’s not meat.
When followed properly, a vegetarian diet will not only help you lose weight but also lower blood pressure and diabetes.
As a downside, you must be in control emotionally since a vegetarian diet keeps the door open to soda, beers, and highly processed food.
This diet is recognized by American Dietary Guidelines as an all-around healthy diet plan. You get access to various types of foods without restrictions. Since Mediterranean foods are moderately processed and delicious at the same time, you’re going to find it easy to stick to the diet.
The majority of the food items are vegetable-based, accompanied by lean meat and fish. Salads are almost regular. Whole grains, legumes, potatoes, bread, and virgin olive oil are encouraged in this diet.
Picking the diet plan is entirely your choice. You need to select the one you’re comfortable with. If there’s little to no physical activity, then consider going with the keto or paleo diet. If you’re working out regularly, diets like the Mediterranean, meal plan, a macro might suit your case.
How to Track Calories?
Once you commit to a diet plan and start exercising, it’s compelling to know how many calories you’re burning each day.
For this, you can take the help of a calorie tracking app. There are many apps available for this purpose, like MyFitnessPal, Lifesum, Fitbit, Lose It, etc. These apps make it incredibly easy to track the food you eat every day.
Another option is to manually log down the calorie content of the food you eat. Look into the food label and note down the total calories. Add up the calories for all food items, and you get the total calorie intake for the day.
For food items that do not come with labels like fresh fruits and vegetables, you can make rough estimates available on the internet.
Fat Loss Workouts
The type of workout you do determine the calories you’ll be burning per day.
Some workouts simply burn more calories than others. These provide that metabolic stress that forces your body to burn more calories. Those are Kettlebell Deadlift, push-ups, split squat, goblet squat, dumbbell Row, seated leg curl, suitcase carry, planks, step-up, farmer’s Carry, among others.
You’re going to perform a mix of the above workouts. Pick the workouts that complete a full-body workout. For example, here’s what a single session would look like:
- KB Deadlift – 8 X 2 (8 reps and 2 cycle)
- Push-ups – 8 X 2
- Split Squat – 8 X 2
- Dumbbell Row – 8 X 2
- Seated Leg Curl – 8 X 2
- Suitcase Carry – 8 X 2
After each cycle, you should take a 45 seconds break and move to the next set.
Prepare a 4-week plan and gradually increase intensity and reps.
You should also incorporate cardio workouts into your sessions. This includes running, sprinting, stair climbing, lunges, etc.
Alternating between the two is best. So you can hit the gym on Monday and tracks on Tuesday. This ensures different parts muscles of your body are engaged.
Since you’re just starting out, it’s recommended not to go too hard too soon. This will, otherwise, lead to fatigue and injuries. Four days of training per week is an ideal frequency.
So your final workout routine for the first couple of weeks may look something like this:
- Monday – Full-body workout session (the one mentioned above)
- Tuesday – Walking or jogging
- Wednesday – Off day
- Thursday – Full-body workout session
- Friday – Off day
- Saturday – HIIT training
- Sunday – Off day
You’re giving ample time to your body for rest and recovery. This way, you can avoid injuries.
Measuring Fat Loss Results
You’ve put in all the work, now it’s time to check the results. So how do you exactly check them? Incorrect results might put you off track or discourage you from moving any further. Correct results will reveal if you’re training is balanced with your diet.
The best way is to measure progress is by taking snapshots of yourself every single day. Try being in the same place and in the same pose for every snapshot. Losing fat isn’t going to be a one-week or one-month affair. You’ll likely have to take snapshots for a couple of months or more.
Along with that, measure your weight with a weight machine. Again, you should maintain regularity. Measure the weight immediately after waking up. This will ensure there’s nothing that’d add up to your body weight.
To Sum up
Losing fat isn’t going to happen overnight. You’d have to consistent and dedicated to getting to the other end. To keep you on track, you need to have strong personal reasons and motivations. Identify them and use them to your advantage.
Last but not least, do not complicate things and keep them as simple as possible. Over time, you’ll see a reduction in your tummy size and weight.