1. MORE MUSCLE = LESS FAT
Contrary to popular myth, you won’t burn significantly more calories at rest simply by increasing your composition of muscle. You burn five to six calories per day at rest for every 500g of muscle you gain – a relatively negligible amount. But more muscle equals more strength, so you can push harder in workouts and use up more calories to synthesise muscle protein rather than store fat.
2. HARDER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER
Nobody can go hard all the time, whatever that guy in the office who just started CrossFit says. Intense activity raises your levels of adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol, with the effect of shutting down some of the body’s major functions, including digestion. That’s fine if you’re running from a tiger, but less so if you’re in the gym trying to lose fat. That’s why it’s important to have at least one rest day each week. Use rest days for stretching and recovery, or try some yoga to help unwind both your mind and body.
3. EATING ISN’T CHEATING
There’s some science to suggest ‘cheat meals’ can help keep your metabolism functioning properly when your body fat is low, but their main purpose is to let you recharge, have some fun and reward you for sticking to the plan. Here’s how to use them:
● Your cheat meal replaces one meal option on any given day.
● Typically, that will be dinner when you’re out with friends, but if you’d rather have a huge breakfast on a Monday, that’s fine.
● Where possible, plan them around training when they can help with glycogen replacement and recovery, so you store less as fat.
● If you stray off your nutrition plan at any other point during the week, don’t declare the rest of the day a write-off. Just forgive yourself and go back to eating sensibly.
4. DON’T SACRIFICE A SOCIAL LIFE
Don’t feel you need to hide your fat-loss ambitions from your friends. Letting them know you’re taking on this plan will hopefully make them more understanding when you bow out of post-work pints. They can also serve as your support team, asking you how you’re finding it and keeping you honest if you let your standards slip.
5. ENJOY YOURSELF
Most people don’t like doing things they’re bad at, but by setting simple fitness goals and aiming to improve in small increments, you’ll soon find that you look forward to training more than you dread it. If there’s ever a day you can’t face getting to grips with the TRX Trainer, just do something simple instead, such as a quick set of press-ups, a 30-second plank, or whatever you fancy. It’s the little fixes that will make a big difference to your overall health in the long run and, once you feel that endorphin rush, you may want to continue getting a sweat on.