Weight Loss & Toning = 80% Diet & 20% Training
You are probably hearing it more and more often that what you eat will help you further your fat loss goals more significantly than how often you work out.
"You can't out train a bad diet".
This is due to a number of reasons, including the fact that we burn far fewer calories than expected during a workout, and it’s incredibly easy to eat those calories right back after the gym. So is the 80% diet, 20% exercise really the way for fat loss?
Absolutely with no exceptions.
To lose 1lb (0.45kg), you need to achieve a 3,500-calorie deficit. If you’re following the 80/20 rule, you ideally want to burn about 750 calories through exercise within the week and the rest comes from dietary changes.
To put this whole 80/20 rule into perspective you would need to run about 7-10 miles a day (depending on the individual) to burn that 1lb of fat. This is, not time practical for most of us, the average person can’t keep up this pace without suffering injury and significantly increasing their caloric intake in order to fuel them through the run and this amount of running is not going to be helpful when your looking to get that toned look. Follow the link for why just cardio wont make you toned. The Secret To a Toned Look.
This doesn't mean you just cut out exercise it offers so many health benefits and if looking toned or putting on some serious muscle is the ultimate goal it is essential.
Those Treats & Your Weight Loss
I always have people contact me asking for advice regarding to weight loss (or more accurately losing body fat) and how they have been struggling despite them exercising at least 2 hours a week. Now that may not seem a lot but it’s a dam good start and 2 hours more than they normally would. I reviewed their diets, made recommendations to their exercise but it was one major thing that stood out. So I went on to explain the following:
Losing body fat and slimming down is all about the calories as am sure you already know, therefore it is just as much about your diet as it is about the exercise and it’s always a challenge to out exercise excessive calorie intake.
40 minutes of hard exercise, the hardest you have ever done in your life can be trumped by 10 minutes of bad eating no matter who you are.
A McDonalds Cheeseburger is 300 calories which roughly equates to 34 minutes of jogging depending on the person and that’s not including the fries and soft drink you get along with the meal.
One glass of wine is 159 calories and this is 17 minutes of jogging again depending on the person. So you hit the treadmill for 40 minutes you felt great you worked up a sweat and really pushed yourself and you also managed this another 2 times in the week thumbs up that’s a great start! You have made some major changes to your diet and are eating healthier and have included a modest calorie deficit!
The week having gone so well you decide to treat yourself…. You decide to go out for a bit of social, you end up have 4 glasses of wine over the evening and a burger on the trip home.
Simple sums, what you have just done is cancelled out all but 18 minutes of that hard work on the treadmill, it’s that one evening that undid pretty much all of your hard work. You have to evaluate those food and drink treats and choices in your life, have you considering the impact one evening of indulgence has on your calorie consumption. Despite you having made all positive changes to your regular eating patterns, one big evening is more than likely going to counter all your hard work and effort for the week, making reaching your weight goals an uphill battle from the start.
Exercise - How Much Protein Do You Need?
How much protein do you require for your training and exercise? Simply, it varies from person to person and what type of training you are doing however there are guidelines which you can follow without having to calculate your macros.
Below is a useful starting point for calculating your protein requirements based on your body weight and training type.
So if you are a 75kg Power Lifter, you should be getting in between 120-150g of protein a day.
This is a starting point for those of you who are unsure and can vary with different macro requirements for different goals.
Is It Possible to Build Muscle and Lose Fat?
Simply put it is possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, countless scientific studies have shown this. (See one study here)
Having said that, muscle growth certainly slows down during a fat loss phase. The stimulus of muscle growth during your training is still present, but you are not consuming enough calories to optimally support this process. So, if you are a more advanced lifter, you may not always notice the little amount of muscle you gain during weeks of dieting/cutting. This does not take away from the fact that muscles can grow while body fat is being reduced. You can get more out of a fat loss phase than just muscle maintenance.
The more experienced athletes can gain a little bit of muscle during a fat loss phase. (See one study here). However if you are very lean and/or close to your genetic muscular potential, it is very hard/almost impossible to do this.
Should you do Cardio Before or After Weights?
For those of you who have mixed it up over the years you would have realised that cardio before weight training reduces the amount of training volume you can perform in your sets. Several studies have also been done to support this and show that weight training before cardio may not even negatively affect improvements in endurance to a significant degree. (See Research Here)
In one particular study, cardio before weight training resulted in a 9.1–18.6% decrease in total reps performed: (See Study Here)
Training volume (Reps*Sets*Weight and TUT) is the main driver of muscle growth, so a significant reduction in reps performed often appears to decrease muscle growth which is not ideal if you are trying to tone or bulk.
Basically, if you regularly lift weights and perform cardio in one training session, weights should come first. By doing this, you'll be able to train with sufficient volume and effectively improve endurance.