This is not a get ripped quick scheme! It’s the guidance that was provided to a client who has been more than willing to share his personal fat loss journey.
Losing 10lbs in 14 days is entirely feasible, some may say this is too much too quick, however, it really does depend on your starting point. Ash is 39 years old, has been sedentary for a few years after stopping football. A success in his career and a real family man, married for 19 years, with 3 children.
Ash found that he was completely unable to participate in any real physical activity, due to the time it would take, and the work pressures he was already under. Constant back aches and niggles in joints, had further cemented his mental block towards exercise. He had recently become increasingly worried that a series of friends and family around his age had been diagnosed with a form of cardio vascular disease and diabetes. With 3 young children, he also found that he was less confident in taking them to sporting occasions and struggled to keep up with them when playing in the garden. Swimming, his daughters favourite activity, was a complete no go as his low confidence and body image prevented him from getting into the pool.
After careful consideration and a fairly lengthy consultation process, I started working with Ash on the basis that he would not need 5-6 meals a day, 5 sessions a week in the gym and a cardio plan that would put even the most avid bodybuilders off. We took it all back to basics, here are the 5 key factors that allowed him to drop an incredible 10lbs in 14 days, without feeling hungry, bored or tired!
Many of you will have heard, you must create an energy deficit to lose body fat. Whilst this is entirely accurate, not many people know where to start a plan from and many people are looking for a quick fix.
Set yourself up for a two week period prior to your fat loss plan, where you spend time assessing key components that make up your current physique. This should include your current food intake, your training and other forms of output from work or leisure activities. It would be beneficial to closely monitor your weight, body composition measurements and take photos during this time. This methodology will develop a more holistic approach to your fat loss phase and you will highlight your pitfalls and strengths, which will help you create a structure better suited to you.
From experience, most people are trying to run their diets with a low calorie intake approach, which will result in dysfunction within your response to food and training and although initial weight loss
may be quite high, ultimately you will plateau quicker, reduce sleep quality, increase irritability and prevent recovery from training.
If you spend the time to monitor your intake closely you may struggle to see your pitfalls straight away. For some of you it will be as simple as cutting down on processed foods, reducing high sugar/ salt snacks and making better choices when it comes to eating out or a slightly lower calorie dense beverage!
Others will already have transitioned to eating single ingredient foods, home cooked meals, snacking on ‘clean foods’ and opting for water or an americano over a can of fanta or a chocolate, syrup and marshmallow covered creation masquerading as a coffee!
It is important to remember that even if a snack is considered a healthy food choice, for example, having a handful of cashew nuts between meals, the calorie intake can soon start to add up. If you were to have a handful of cashew nuts, approximately 20-30g of them between each meal, you could be intaking an extra 115-175 calories, 2 or 3 times a day. Over the course of the week this may mean your healthy snack has actually amounted to the region of 2000kcals!
If you struggle with hunger quite quickly into your diet, you can try to utilise less calorie dense foods, such as butternut squash instead of sweet potato or increase your vegetable and fibre intake. Fibre has the benefit of increasing satiety, slowing the process of gastric emptying and controlling blood sugar levels.
One sure fire way to induce a feeling of satiety is to control your potion sizes, by choosing smaller plates. A simple and strange as it sounds, a study from the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, found that people ate 30% less when provided with smaller plates and given the option to self serve food. If the bowl looks full, you will actually feel like you are consuming more!
Ultimately you need to be on top of your weekly macronutrient intake, whether you use less calorie dense foods so you can eat more volume, use smaller plates or increase fibre intake… If you are not in a calorie deficit, then you will find yourself struggling to lose weight.
A consistent supply of water during a weight loss phase is key when aiding the feeling of satiety, improving your bodies physiology to aid fat catabolism and preventing the effects of dehydration and the associated reduced rate of metabolism.
Aside from the science, adequate water intake can help you feel fuller between meals and reduce the feeling of hunger that is associated with dehydration. Try consuming 500ml of water before each meal and sipping on water throughout the day.
When people start a transformation process or a weight loss phase, they seem to try and fire on all cylinders at once, not giving much thought to the fact they have been inactive for several years and have certainly not fuelled their training with anything that resembles a quality nutrition plan. This can lead to a poor recovery from exercise, an overworked central nervous system and ultimately poor sleep and irritability.
Sleep is essential to muscular recovery, hormonal balance and mental health. A lack of sleep can impair your bodies ability to release hormones that regular hunger, whilst increasing the response to the reward receptors when consuming high sugar foods.
Developing a routine with your sleep is essential. I advised Ash to try a few techniques to improve sleep quality. I reduced his overall caffeine intake, advised to take Epsom salt baths 3 times a week and also took a magnesium supplement before bed. He also installed black out blinds in his room, to ensure he was not awoken early by natural day light and stopped working on his phone and laptop 2 hours before bed.
I would advise you to keep a diary on your phone to assess what you are doing at what times of the day. Logging your daily activities can often give you an insight into just how much time is being wasted on unimportant activities!
Ash contended with time daily and had long before settled for the ‘I have not got time for the gym’ line. After logging his daily activities and agreeing a schedule with his wife, he soon found that he could train and eat before his children woke up for school, allowing him time to drop them off before starting work. Through improvements to his nutritional intake and a few recommended supplements, such as, Reflex Nutrition’s CoQ10, Omega 3 and Vitamin D3, Ash’s concentration nd productivity improved dramatically, allowing him to work smarter and reduce his working hours. A knock on effect of this meant he had the time to cook and prepare his daily meals in the evenings!
I implemented higher carbohydrate meals in the evening, alongside a quality protein source and vegetables. Typically by consuming marinated turkey breast with quinoa, he was able to increase his intake of typtophan, magnesium and melatonin, which coincided with improved sleep quality.
Ash knew that training in the evening would not be possible and on some weeks whilst away with work he would not be able to complete his sessions. Rather than avoid the sessions, he utilised the mornings and weekends to get the sessions done, with very little impact upon the families routine. The times he struggled to get three sessions in, he increased the amount of sets in the sessions he could do and upped his non exercise activity thermogenesis, by walking a lot more, taking breaks from his desk to be more active and using the stairs rather than the lift at work. At the end of a day, it is important to remember in a weight loss phase, you need balance!
Ash utilised weight training as his main session and increased his daily output by going for walks at lunch breaks or taking the family out to the park in the evening. Weight training provided a great deal of physiological adaptations and improved his metabolism. Better posture had a positive effect on the aches and pains he had felt for years in his back. More lean mass, meant more calories were utilised, even at rest!
It is often the case that clients must learn to walk before they can run. With Ash brand new to the gym his workouts were not as strenuous as a more experienced gym goer. Focusing each session on learning technique and the ability to contract a muscle was far more important in the initial stages than lifting lots of weight! This is why it was imperative increased daily output was monitored, to ensure he was a in a calorie deficit.
Developing a holistic approach to your weight loss journey, with these simple steps, you too could drop 14lbs in 10 days! If you have any questions regarding setting up your plan or how you can use this information and apply it to your journey, please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org