We all have seen the common fitness magazines. DO THIS to break down belly fat today! Do this to lose those stubborn love handles! The list goes on and on and on, and sadly those are the headlines that grab your attention, make you buy the magazine, and then spend the next X# of weeks doing those exercises to little or no avail. This is what we call spot training. I want to lose fat “here” or “here”. Sadly that’s not how it works. When looking at the body we are looking at body fat percentage, the amount of fat weight you have compared to your overall body weight. Now, all tissues in the body store and hold fat, but based on gender and body type, fat is stored in specific areas for certain people. Predominantly, fat is stored in the legs and hip areas for women and men store fat in the stomach and torso. Think apple shape compared to pear shape. So what is the plan for losing that stubborn fat in those areas? When looking at body fat we have to see it as a storage system for energy. Fat, when broken down, yields the most amount of energy per gram when compared to protein and carbohydrate. Now it would be awesome if we could target an area of fat storage and just blast it, but instead we need to look at a full body fat loss. So for losing fat we have to look at 2 major factors: Exercise and nutrition.

Exercise is a gimme. Its easy to figure out, you burn calories exercising,  calories brought in by what you eat or what you have stored in you body in the form of carbohydrate, proteins and fats. The more strenuous and hard the exercise program, the more calories burned. Hence why you can see elite athletes that practice and train multiple hours a day taking in thousands of calories daily to keep energy levels high. Just like Michael Phelps did. But also think about how much training he was doing every day.

Now when we start to look at the nutrition side we really can start to hammer things down in multiple important ways, but two of the easiest ones to focus on are calorie count and macronutrient counts. Lets break both down a bit.

Calories

Your daily caloric intake is what we really want to examine with calories. Now here is where things can get a little tricky on this. In order to factor and figure out how many calories you can take in on a daily basis we need to know a few things. One is your Basal Metabolic rate or BMR, which is the number of calories you burn on a daily basis whether you do any activity or not. then you can go and add in the number of calories you burn throughout activity and normal daily functions and al a kazam you have how many calories you burn. The challenge is to balance those calories with how many you intake. If looking to lose weight then it just becomes a simple step of cutting those intake calories to being below the number you burn on a daily basis, normally by about 400-500 calories. So where do those extra calories you need to use throughout the day come from? Your fat stores as we work on reducing your body fat and abrakadabra those pesky fatty areas start to get smaller and your start to look a bit more like that magazine cover model.

The second major aspect is macronutrients.

Macronutrients

Macronutrients are the big 3 that we look at for energy sources. We are looking at carbs, proteins, and fats.  Most individuals don’t have any clue how much they are eating and taking in until they start a food journal or start counting those calories. After that we need to do a proper assessment on what kind of exercise you are doing in order to properly plan where we need to go for macronutrient intake amounts. For example, a college baseball player prepping for the season and looking to lose weight, but not muscle or strength would focus on a higher protein diet with adequate but not massive amounts of carbohydrate to fuel anaerobic exercise and low levels of fat. A cross country runner on the other hand would once again be different as we would look for a diet plan something more along the lines of  the Michael Phelps diet above. So once again, we start to look at the fats and carbohydrates in the diet for weight loss and lean gains in body mass.

 

So Andrew, where do we go from here?

Well, start looking at your current nutrition levels and then start checking your intake levels, run some numbers and start keeping a running log of what you eat on a normal basis. Then talk to someone if you need guidance! Come in and set up a comp session or run some questions by us and get pointed in the right direction before you end up like you were with the magazine articles and just wasting your time doing the wrong thing.