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.
Body Fat Percentage - Overall Health
It's well known that preventing excessive fat gain and being relatively lean is beneficial for your health. But there eventually is a point where "lean" becomes "too lean." To provide more clarity on this matter, a study was done to develop general guidelines on healthy body fat percentage ranges (See Study Here).
This study indicates that for males a body fat percentage of about 8-20% can be considered "healthy." For females, this was about 20-32%. (As the lower limit for competitive athletes).
With that said, it's worth mentioning that the tools commonly used in research (and real-life) to predict body fat levels can be quite inaccurate think BMI. So don't think its black-and-white when it comes to your body fat percentage.
These numbers are nothing more than general guidelines. It's not necessarily a bad thing if your prediction of your body fat percentage slightly deviates from this guideline.
The Secret To a Toned Look
Achieving a toned look is a goal many people have. But it's important to realise that your muscles cannot "tone" by training with very high-rep ranges and limited load or doing more cardio.
So there are no special training or nutrition techniques that will directly make your muscles look toned. Achieving more defined muscles basically comes down to slightly increasing muscle size and reducing your body fat percentage so you can showcase your muscles.
This is done through consistent strength/hypertrophy training, controlling your food intake, and being patient. The sooner you accept this and stop looking for the next "8 week faddy transformation", the less frustrated you will be.
How To Lose Stubborn Belly Fat.
If you want to lose stubborn belly fat, performing more sit-ups (not exactly useful) or taking faddy supplements (can even be dangerous to your health) is not the right way to do it. Consistency and patience is the name of the game here.
A 2011 study examined the effects of abdominal training on abdominal fat in young adults over a 6-week period. The researchers found no significant decrease in belly fat, so doing more crunches won't give you abs. Current evidence also doesn't seem to support that there is a supplement that will burn fat from your belly.
Basically, there is no magic answer here. It simply comes down to consistently hitting a healthy long term caloric deficit. When you reduce your overall body fat percentage, there eventually needs to be a drop in fat in the stubborn areas.
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.