Ways to Create a Calorie Deficit- Part Five – Move

The Fifth and final blog in my series about different was you could create a calorie deficit.

So far I’ve focused on what you put in your mouth and when you put it there – identifying different systems you could use to eat less than you burn each day.

Another way to create a calorie deficit is via exercise.

Very simply, if you change nothing about your current diet and eat the same amount of calories as you normally do but move more than you currently do you COULD create a deficit.

Now this only works at this most simplest of levels if the number of calories you currently consume is the same as the number of calories you currently burn.

If this is the case by adding extra exercise into your day you will be burning more than you did but consuming the same number of calories as normal which will allow you to create a calorie deficit.

This is probably highly unlikely to be the case (life is rarely that simple!)

If you currently consume more than you burn (you are in a calorie surplus) and wanted to keep your calorie intake the same then you would need to increase the number of calories burnt via exercise in order to both cover the surplus and then create a deficit.

In this situation you may find increasing your activity levels enough to create a deficit difficult and so a mixture of eating a bit less and moving a bit more is a better option.

So how do you set a plan of action for yourself?

Firstly you need to work out your TDEE and deduct 20% – this is the number of calories you need to aim for daily (or weekly).  Next work out roughly how many calories you currently eat a day (check my previous blog on calorie counting for how to do all of this).  Now work out the difference between these two figures.  Can you burn this number of calories per week via exercise?  If you can you can continue to eat the same as long as you are willing to move more.  If you cannot you will need to work out how much you can burn via exercise and then reduce your calorie allowance to make up the difference.

For instance:

TDEE 2,000 a day (14,000 per week)

Minus 20% to create a deficit = 1,600 a day (11,200 per week)

You currently eat 1,800 calories a day (12,600 per week)

This creates a surplus of 1,400 calories a week

So what could you do?

You could:

= 5 exercise sessions where you burn approx 300 calories per session would allow you to remain in a calorie deficit without eating less.

But perhaps 5 training sessions a week is not practical for you.

So you could

= 3 exercise sessions where you burn approx 300 calories per session, which would burn 900 calories and you would then need to reduce your calories intake by 500 calories a week (about 70 calories a day) to reach a deficit

There are so many ways you can create a calorie deficit.  Hopefully the last five blogs have demonstrated that all the various ‘diets’ and ‘plans’ out there effectively do the same thing (create a calorie deficit) just in different ways.  How you achieve such a deficit is up to you and it will depend on your lifestyle and personality whats does and doesn’t work for you.

If you have any questions resulting from these blogs please drop me a message or comment and let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

Ways to Create a Calorie Deficit – Part Four- Count Calories

As I explained in my last blog I decided this month I’d cover some ways you can create a calorie deficit.  So far I’ve covered Paleo and Intermittent Fasting and The Hand Job Diet.

Today something that in a world full of so many different methods for loosing body fat sounds to obvious and simple to cover.

Calorie Counting.

Obvious really.

But how many times have people decided they need to make changes and looked for some magic method.

Put simply work out your TDEE

Use a TDEE calculator such this TDEE Calculator

Deduct 20% from this figure.

Eat this many calories.

Any foods.

You will have created a calorie deficit.

Just track what you eat.

The easiest way to do this is using My Fitness Pal.

This app is free.

Pros- You can eat what you want when you want as long as you stay within that number of calories

Cons- You have to keep track (at least for a while until you get into a habit).

Calorie deficit level basic.

Basic is often best for success.

Ways to Create a Calorie Deficit- Part Three – The Hand Job Diet

I spent much of December preaching that if you want to lose body fat you need to create a calorie deficit.  Then it occurred to me that’s fine as long as you know how to do that.  I’ve pretty much always gone by the school of thought that people know what thy should do it’s just hard to actually do it.   I have had lots of conversations recently however which have suggested that actually people are confused.  There are so many different fads around, plus products advertised like Skinny Coffee, Fat Loss shots, magic fat busing pills, ideas that you should only eat fruit before 11 or not carbs after 6 that a lot of people are genuinely confused.

So I decided this month I’d cover some ways you can create a calorie deficit.  So far I’ve covered Paleo and Intermittent Fasting.

Here’s what I see as the difference between a fad and these systems.  A fad requires you do things like cut out food groups completely, eat them in silly combinations, supplement what you eat with products that really just tend to act as a laxative.  They are plans that are not sustainable and are likely to cause binges at some point.

Paleo and Intermittent Fasting are simple systems of eating that help you control calories (obviously people have other reasons for doing them and they can have additional benefits on top of calorie control but for my purpose here I’m only thinking in terms of calorie deficits).  They have rules, yes,  and will not suit everyone, but they don’t require cutting out whole food groups, are safe and, if someone finds they suit their lifestyle, are perfectly sustainable long term.  They can also be done part time (as I do Paleo just four days a week) and still help create a calorie deficit.

Esssentially, if you want to create a new lifestyle habit the easiest way to do this is create a system that allows you to implement this habit into your life.

Now so far I have covered quite specific methods.  You can however create a calorie deficit with much more simple systems and today I want to cover ‘The Hand Job Diet’.

This method invented and named by a coach I’ve worked with a lot over recent years, Ricky Long.  Ricky favours training and eating to live, not being overly restrictive and not being a slave to counting calories and tracking macros when you don’t have to.

He recommends to client’s a simple method of having three meals a day consisting of:

  • One handful of protein
  • Two handfuls of veg (at least two colours)
  • Once a day add in one handful of a big carb such as rice, pasta, bread
  • Add in some snacks each day as need
  • If you feel hungry you need more food so consider adding in another meal
  • If you feel tired you have eaten too much

This allows for no restriction, you could snack on low calorie foods such as fruit but also allow some snacks to be your favourite foods (cake, chocolate, crisps).

You can adjust depending on results – so if you aren’t getting the results you want you may need to be honest about how many snacks you are having and how many calories each one contains.

It could also stop you craving certain foods as no food is off limits, thus reducing the urge to binge.

If your diet is not brilliant at the moment, these small changes will probably create a big difference and easily create a calorie deficit.

If you like food though, such relaxed rules may be hard to follow.  I’m the kind of person who needs some structure to my daily meals or I could just eat constantly for 8 hours each day, so again this won’t work for everyone but it is a way of creating a calorie deficit with minimal thinking or rules to follow.

I’ll repeat, the fundamental characteristic of all fat loss methods is creating a calorie deficit.  The Hand Job Diet is another way to manage portion control thus help keep you within a calorie deficit (without actually counting calories).

I have to credit Ricky Long on this method – if you like the idea and want to have a look into some of his other fitness and nutrition advice check him out on instagram @Rickylong42, Facebook (Ricky Long) or at his website here

 

 

Ways to Create a Calorie Deficit- Part Two – Intermittent Fasting

I wrote last week about how I tend to use a Paleo based diet to help me remain within my calorie allowance for the week (whether that be calorie deficit or maintenance).  Restricting certain foods is not for everyone – another way some people control their calorie intake is Intermittent Fasting (IM Fasting).

IM Fasting in a nut shell is only eating during an 8 hour window each day (e.g. 10 am-6 pm / 12-8 pm) and fasting the rest of the time (consuming only water and perhaps black coffee).

Now this naturally restricts your calorie intake each day because it’s hard to eat THAT many calories in only 8 hours.  The plus side is you can eat relatively freely in terms of what you eat knowing that the time window will assist in preventing over eating.

Like Paleo, this is also not for everyone.

I tried it for a while and liked some things about it but ultimately struggled to stick to it- largely because I’m very active across two jobs most days of the week.  This being said I do know some people who regularly use this as a tool.

For me the Pro’s were:

  • Being able to eat all food types freely during the 8 hour window.
  • Eating larger meals (I like big plates of food!).

Ultimately the Con’s outweighed this for me though:

  • Having to teach at 7 am and then wait until mid morning to eat.
  • My eating window closing and having to teach an evening class and then not eat afterwards.
  • It takes planning – you need to have a good meal ready for when you break the fast. That’s hard in an office.
  • I found that in actual fact I was creating a massive calorie deficit on many days because I didn’t want to eat as many calories as I needed in such a short space of time.  FYI- A massive deficit is not ideal / sustainable over time and I need to be adequately fueled to do my job(s).
  • It made social occasions difficult.

As I concluded last week.  The fundamental characteristic of all fat loss methods is creating a calorie deficit.  IM Fasting is another option which will assist in eating less than you burn if used correctly, although probably only genuinely suits a small proportion of people.

 

 

 

Ways to Create a Calorie Deficit – Paleo

I’ve written before about my own nutrition and how I mainly eat a Paleo based diet.

I say Paleo based because I don’t follow Paleo eating at all in the strict sense or all the time and I adjust it to suit my own needs.

Essentially Paleo is eating what cavemen ate so basing your diet on meats, veg, nuts and seeds.   It’s high protein and fats and low in carbs and dairy free.   I eat largely like this with some exceptions (I include potatoes and often some chocolate milk after my classes in the evening).  This is largely because my job means I’m very active so it wouldn’t be sensible to stay low carb.  I try and do this 4 days a week with three days where I eat freely (although often along the same lines just with the addition of some bread and maybe pasta or rice and some sweet treats).  If there is a social occasion on one of the days I’d normally eat Paleo I just don’t do it for that period of the day / that meal.  Some months I just keep a check on my calories because that’s how the mood takes me.

So if I’m not strict about it that begs the question why do I bother.

Quite simply it is a way of keeping myself within my calorie requirements that suits my lifestyle and reduces the need for me to count calories.

I know I eat more at the weekend.  I’m not in the office and more likely to go out for food or get a takeaway and eat chocolate whilst I’m sat on the sofa etc.  By slightly reducing my calorie intake Monday – Thursday whilst still filling up on lots of protein I leave myself room for three more calorie dense days.  This happens without even thinking about what I’ve eaten and how many calories is in it.

My message here is Paleo is one method of eating – it can have many benefits (and equally some drawbacks depending on your activity levels and lifestyle) but whatever way you look at it, it is one way you can reach a calorie deficit.  So if you lose weight with it this isn’t because of a magic combination of food just a general reduction in your calorie intake.

For me personally it’s still the best way of eating most of the time as it reduces how often I think about food and encourages me to eat more homemade and less shop bought.  Sometimes the idea of banning certain foods (even though it’s just foods and not food groups and even though it’s only ever for a few days each week!) is bad for my mindset so I will have periods where I don’t follow this and just eat to a bog standard calorie deficit.  Not getting hung up on what foods you do or don’t eat is more beneficial to your long term health than cutting out bread to feel less bloated will ever be.

So it might suit you, it may not, but the habits of eating less processed foods and getting enough protein whilst keeping in a calorie deficit are all positives however you chose to eat.

First Day Back Pain

Today was my first time teaching a group exercise class for over 3 weeks.

Group Cycle.

I have trained over those thee weeks of course, but with much less intensity and frequency than normal.

Everyone in the class was in pretty much the same boat.  Everyone trains several times a week and did some exercise over Christmas but took their foot off the gas for a bit and had a well deserved rest.

We all hurt during hat class today!

Physically and mentally it felt tough great to be back but definitely a shock to the system.

To be honest by next week we will all probably be back to normal and whilst classes always feel hard we won’t feel like we did today (basically we all were pretty much ready to stop by the half way point!), because you don’t loose your fitness with a three week recovery.

My point.

If you are a regular class / gym goer heading back after the Christmas break don’t stress.  A break (whether it was total or a reduction to your normal routine) is good for you every now and then.  It can reignite your enjoyment and let your body recover and whilst the first couple of sessions back might feel hard ultimately performance can improve when you allow yourself adequate recovery time.  We all had a laugh today about how knackered e felt and adjusted our intensity to alow us to get the session done.

If you are new.  Hopefully what I’ve just said above will help you relax.  Those people you see in classes or the gym who know what they are doing – I can almost guarantee they will be struggling to get back to it after Christmas – so if you are exhausted 10 minutes into a class that’s ok – at this time of year you are honestly not on your own with that – even the instructors are feeling the same as you!

The other good bit of news is that just as getting back into the swing of things happens quicker than you think it will, so can starting to feel results when you first start.  Of course I am not suggesting that you’ll reach your goal within weeks – it does not work like that but will the things that at first make you feel impossible start to feel a bit more manageable within a few weeks? With a consistent approach yes.

To everyone coming back to classes / gym sessions / their normal routine this week do not beat yourself up about taking that break or feeling more knackered than normal in the first few sessions.

What to Expect from a Spin Class – Reblog

A blog from back in April last year but hopefully still useful for anyone thinking of starting these classes in 2019.

Group Cycle, often known as spin. There are other variations such as Les Millls RPM too.

One of the most inclusive classes in a gym.

Also the one that in my experience people are most scared to try.

I can see why- it looks tough (for good reason – it is) and everyone looks like they know what they’re doing (they don’t, honest) and it looks technical (you have to set up a bike – this was my biggest fear at first).

So if you’ve ever wondered about trying a class but aren’t sure if it’s for you here’s the low down (from my perspective) for first timers on how to get the most out of the class.

  • Everyone is welcome- all fitness levels. Yes it will be hard but you really can go at your own pace
  • Every instructor’s class is different. So if you don’t like mine try someone elses – there will be a style you like / format you enjoy / class with music you love out there- shop around! I sometimes teach rides where we work along to the music other times I teach HIIT style tabatta, some people do races and competitions. I won’t be offended if you try my class then I see you at someone elses next week!
  • One thing to note, trade marked classes such as Les Mills RPM will be similar in every gym / with every instructor. They are pre- choreographed and so you will always get the same format – even if you go to a class in a different country. This really suits some people, especially if you like routine.
  • Get there 10 minutes early and say hi to the instructor. Tell them you are new, tell them you are nervous. They will be nice, they will look out for you and they will show you how to set up your bike.
  • There will normally be modifications or different levels you can work at and the instructor will always offer these different options throughout the class- take the ones that suit you. Never tell yourself you are doing the easy option. They are just different and people take different options for all sorts of different reasons.
  • Put some resistance on the bike – going too light sounds like a good idea (especially when you feel like you are going to die half way through!) but it will mean you bounce – this will hurt your bottom, believe me. After my first class I walked like a cowboy for a week.
  • Always make sure your feet are strapped in – loose straps are dangerous. Dangerous is bad.
  • There is normally a brake on the resistance button. Normally by pressing down on it you can stop the feet dead. It’s useful to remember just in case! The instructor will tell you about the bike if you introduce yourself at the start.
  • Don’t be afraid to add resistance when asked to. If you add too much you can always take it off. You’re there to get fitter – challenging yourself is the way to do this. Noone will laugh if you get stuck!
  • Take water – you will sweat, you will get thirsty.
  • Maybe take a towel- I refer you back to the sweat!
  • Taking recoveries is fine. You are meant to work hard- if you push so hard you need to take a moment then well done. The instructor won’t shout at you – just sit on the bike, keep the legs spinning and come back in when you are ready.
  • When you are new it can seem like everyone else is faster and fitter than you. Remember they may have been doing this a long time and have conditioned themselves to last the full class. They will not have been like that in their first class so don’t beat yourself up. Try your best, try and enjoy it and just focus on giving your best effort. Nobody is there to compete with anyone else so just work at a level right for you. Nobody is going to judge you.
  • Cycle classes are meant to be hard- the great thing is as you get fitter you can go faster and heavier so it stays effective and never gets to the point it feels ‘easy’
  • Above all Group exercise is meant to be fun so relax and smile – the music and other people make it more interesting than just sitting on a bike in the gym!