Whilst fat-loss is ‘simple’ once you understand how it works, it certainly isn’t easy.
It takes commitment, hard work, and the determination to set goals and follow through with them until they’re hit.
And with the misinformation and dishonest marketing tactics the fitness and health industry is rife with? It’s very easy to think you’re doing all the right things, only to find your faith and efforts were woefully misplaced.
It can be frustrating.
Here at Luke Bremner Fitness we pride ourselves on taking the mystery out of fat loss. We aim to give you the actionable guidance that cuts through the BS you’re bombarded with, and make sure you can hit the goals you set yourself.
Which is the exact topic we’re covering in our blog today: because if you’re making an effort to get healthier and leaner? You deserve to avoid any and all pitfalls that commonly slow, and even stop, progress towards your target.
Common Weight Loss Mistake Number One
Doing Only Cardio
Whilst it certainly isn’t the only factor to consider (as we discuss in more depth here: Warning: Calorie Deficits Are Not Always The Answer To Weight Loss) expending a larger amount of calories than you’re consuming will trigger weight loss.
And, because of this, the obvious jump to make would be to increase the amount of calories expended in order to cause this response.
The most frequently chosen method of doing so?
Grabbing a pair of running shoes is peoples’ go-to when they say they’ll ‘get in shape’. We can at least partially blame Rocky for that one…
And don’t take this as me saying cardio doesn’t have it’s place- it does.
It can improve cardiovascular health, increase longevity, brain function and (as touched upon) contribute to fat loss.
But, as a sole method of training? It’s missing out on a number of key components that will result in long-term fat-loss (and building the physique you’re after).
Relying only upon cardiovascular exercise, as opposed to combining it with resistance training, can cause decreased metabolic rate and muscle tissue.
Meaning you’ll have lower muscle mass, which in the long-term will decrease mobility, functionality, strength AND your ability to burn body fat.
Weight loss can be achieved by watching your diet and doing cardio.
Note the ‘weight’. Not only ‘fat’. Weight loss is great… but if it’s only a result of jogging? It often refers to the loss of both fat and muscle. Muscle that boasts numerous health benefits (and causes an impressive physique).
Don’t fall prey to only jogging or biking for your exercise. If long term health and fat-loss is your goal? Combine cardio with resistance training.
Common Weight Loss Mistake Number Two
Thinking ONLY about food quality, not quantity (or vice-versa)
Often there are two schools of thought when it comes to approaching a fat-loss diet.
The first school tends to lean towards a calorie balance being the be-all-and-end-all of fat-loss; if you’re eating in a calorie deficit, you’ll drop weight.
The second group focuses more on food quality; if you’re eating whole, nutrient dense foods, you’ll lose weight.
Both are correct- but I most often see the latter of the two fail in their weight loss attempts if they pay no attention whatsoever to the amount of the ‘clean food’ they’re eating.
Yes, avocados are full of fibre, vitamins and healthy fats. But eat four of them in a day? It’s going to be hard to lose weight.
And on the flip side, yes, you could eat in a 300 calorie deficit and lose weight, but if all your calories are coming by way of processed meats and sugary snacks?
You’ll drop muscle mass, have poor digestive function, energy, and general health.
Both factors need to be considered for a successful fat-loss journey.
Whole foods will need to make up the bulk of your nutrition intake- I have most clients eat over 80% from real, unprocessed sources (vegetables, meats, natural grains etc).
BUT, you need to consider the amount. This can be done through calorie counting, or a combination of portion control and listening to your hunger and fullness cues.
The latter I have found to be more successful for most.
Make sure every meal contains a serving of whole protein and vegetables (a serving being a palm and fist respectively), and eat slowly with no distractions until satisfied, but not stuffed.
Just that as a simple method of eating alone will kickstart fat-loss for a number of people who’ve allowed themselves to fall too deeply into the quality vs quantity debate.
Both are important, address each of them and your journey to your goal will be successful.
Common Weight Loss Mistake Number Three
Thinking Short Term
Short term goals are great.
Hell, just having a goal in mind puts your shoulders above the majority of people that approach their training and nutrition (which we discuss more here: Start With The End In Mind – A Powerful ‘Mind Technique’ To Achieve Your Fitness Goals)
But, when you think short term? You can get awesome short term results.
So maybe you’ll look great for that holiday, or for the big event.
But in the weeks and months following?
Did you set yourself up for long-term progression, or even maintenance after the initial results you achieved?
If you goals only go as far as “Fit into my suit for Andy’s wedding in three months” and you don’t reassess where you want to go after that goal is hit?
90% of the time, it would have been a short lived victory.
Thinking short term often results in you behaving in a way you can’t sustain. Going ‘all-or-nothing’ if you will.
If you went to the gym 4 times a week, watched your diet and cut out booze for the 6 weeks leading up to needing to fit into that suit, but had to really force yourself to take that action, are you likely to keep going once that looming target date has passed?
Probably not, no.
Old habits come back into play, and before you know it, the weight has piled back on.
Always get short AND long term goals: time specific (e.g the wedding or Christmas) AND more lifestyle (staying at a specific weight, jeans size or above a certain strength level).
If you aim to lose the weight in 6 weeks for the wedding by going fairly ‘extreme’, put a plan in place to ensure you don’t lose all the hard work you’ve put in once that period of time has passed.
Maybe you’ll cut the weights down to twice a week instead of four times, and start walking instead of running.
Maybe you’ll start having a few drinks at the weekend again, but not go all the way back to binging as you were before the wedding-fat-loss goal.
Quite often it takes a lot of changes in a short amount of time to hit a short term goal.
A better approach? The slow accumulation of habits so it’s a lifestyle change, not a sprint.
But if it has to be a sprint? Put a plan in place so you can go back to a jog after the date/goal is reached, instead of going from inactive, to athlete, back to inactive.
Life, and fat-loss isn’t about the short term. It’s about long term health and wellbeing. So yes, work towards an celebrate the short motivators. But remember you’re living in your body whether there’s a wedding looming or not- and you’ll get to live in it, with a lot more energy, for longer, if you take your health and fitness seriously after the date is over, instead of only within the build up.
In this day and age, it’s good to remind ourselves that things like improving our health and fitness and adopting new habits should be approached in a way that feels good to you. Here at Luke Bremner Fitness we specialise in working with busy professionals and business owners, so we understand the importance of time efficient health and fitness solutions.
We designed our core programmes – the 12 Week Transformation and the 4 Week Jumpstart with that in mind. To help you, the busy professional look, feel and perform better without sacrificing the previous little time you have available.
We offer a complimentary consultation so you can find out more about these programmes and how we can help you achieve your goals.