1. You are restricting calories too much – We all know that we should eat a little bit less when trying to lose fat, especially if you have been gaining weight. Here’s how it usually goes, tomorrow I’m going to clean things up and get on the plan and lose my fat. Say for example you have been consuming roughly 2500 calories per day. Well Monday morning you start dieting and have a light breakfast, a salad for lunch and a smaller dinner. Now you might be at 1300 cals per day. After 3 days like this you want to eat everything in sight. Does it have to be like this? Not at all. You just dropped like 1200 calories per day when you might have needed to only slightly reduce your food intake, by say 300 calories, or perhaps not really at all. Making proper food selection choices, proper nutrient timing, eating enough protein with keeping your insulin under control, fat loss can start to occur without any drastic measures. The point is; don’t restrict food amounts right away. But do restrict junk food (refined carbs, grains, trans fats, cereals etc.) Choose from a selection of natural (meat, eggs, fish, veggies etc) with select carbs coming around your periods of highest activity i.e. training sessions. Do not over complicate things.
  2. Too much aerobic exercise– Most people associate muscle building with weight training and fat loss with cardio. This is a straight up fallacy. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn period. Too much aerobic exercise is catabolic (muscle wasting) and lowers your beneficial fat loss hormones. Prioritizing strength is a way faster way to lose fat. After your fat loss plateaus or you need to keep losing then yes, add some conditioning work. Sessions of less than 30 min are ok. Take home point: When you perform aerobic exercise your body wants to be more efficient at performing it. So you will begin to lose muscle in places that you don’t need to perform the activity. This leads to destroying your metabolic furnace i.e. your muscle mass. Strength training is your most valuable tool in your fat loss arsenal.
  3. Not enough strength training– This is the foundation of a great fat loss program. Train to maintain or increase strength and let your DIET take care of your fat loss. This will ensure that your body will look great as well, when the fat does come off. Building a body that is in balance muscular wise is the key to looking your best instead of looking smaller and skinny fat. This is how you build muscle tone. A few weight training workouts per week are all most people need to keep your metabolism elevated and fat burning hormones in full force.
  4. Not drinking enough water– Every cell in your body needs to be hydrated for optimum functioning and performance. You’d be surprised how many people do not drink enough water and then wonder why they don’t drop fat or get regular headaches. These are a couple of symptoms of being under hydrated, imagine what other systems are not functioning optimally. Being chronically dehydrated makes it very difficult to lose fat. A good guideline is 1 litre day per 60 lbs of bodyweight. A 180 pound person would therefore need about 3 litres to be optimally hydrated. There are also many toxins stored in your body fat; drinking plenty of water can neutralize and help flush these toxins out without becoming a burden on your body while your body fat is being reduced. Also drinking cold water can slightly increase you metabolism weight and drinking a cup before each meal can help you eat less; a double whammy for fat loss.
  5. Changing too many things at once- My philosophy is to start with one small change at a time.Usually each client will have one huge road block when it comes to fat loss. Some major ones are eating way to many junk/processed foods, not eating enough food in general, drinking too much alcohol, eating out too often, trying random new “fad diets” etc. the list goes on. Starting with changing just your one worst habit is essential to your success. Experts say that if you change one habit at a time your success will be 80% but if you change two habits at the same time you chances of success with those changes drops to 20%! Most tend to focus on minute details of food intake instead of the most obvious one that is likely holding you back.
  6. Performing workouts that are too tough- Losing fat is about adopting a clean, healthy, sustainable eating and activity patterns. Performing training sessions with a ton of sets/reps/volume is just not necessary. An hour long circuit training program, long bouts of running/ treadmill work, and endless amounts of cardiovascular activity are not necessary if your food intake is in order. Some brief aerobic sessions can definitely be part of your plan, but punishing yourself by making training unnecessarily tough isn’t the answer. While in a fat loss mode, your recovery ability is hampered because you are eating a little less than you need to. Why punish your body with unnecessary exercise volume, when it doesn’t need to be so tough. Losing is simple in the application but it isn’t easy. Follow a well-balanced training program that’s appropriate for your own fitness level. Become captivated by the wide array healthy natural whole foods and ways to construct healthy meals that nourish your body. Your food intake will take care of your fat loss. In other words you’ll have much greater progress by eating better and exercising moderately instead of a so nutrition plan with huge amounts of unnecessary exercise.
  7. Not staying on the plan long enough- One change at a time is all you need to begin your fat loss process. Now that you are on the plan things are rolling along. After 2 weeks and you haven’t lost 10 pounds you think that your plan isn’t working and start to change things and possibly look for another plan. This is not the right thing to do. Remember how long it took you to get fat? It was a lot longer than two weeks. So make your changes and continue along the way. You want to tweak your plan along the way but don’t make any drastic changes that are unnecessary. The most important point: Fat loss is not linear. Sometimes you will plateau but it doesn’t mean your plan isn’t working. For a week you might stay the same and then the next week you might drop another 2 pounds. Still progressing. If you would have changed strategies because of one week of perceived no or little progress, you are now setting yourself back by changing. So stay the course and tweak your plan along the way.
  8. Having a body that’s too acidic- Some experts believe that acidity in the body is the root of all disease and breakdown in the body. I would say they are on the right track. Your body needs and optimal PH zone to support proper metabolic function, resist disease, and to just feel good. Eating too many processed and refined foods, sugar, fried and non-living foods and alcohol take away your optimum health. Consuming fresh live whole foods are the way to combat this live draining process of acidification. There is a simple solution to creating an alkaline environment; eat some fresh veggies or fruit with every meal. This main thing along with other strategies will ensure you are alkaline. It’s very hard to lose fat when your body is overly acidic.
  9. Failing to plan your next meals- This is a major reason why most people fail when it comes to improving their body composition. You have to know what you are going to eat next. More importantly having some form of protein ready or available to make, is your cornerstone. For example if you have left over chicken left, it’s really easy to cut some up and toss it on a salad with olive oil/balsamic dressing with some avocado. If you were to walk in the kitchen and your next meal was say at least 30 min away, you are more prone to snacking on carb containing foods since it has been so long since your last meal. Mostly you would just grab whatever is easiest/ quickest snack to munch on to bring up your blood sugar, and before you know it you would have blown your food plan. On another note, it’s best not to even have snacks like this available if they are not part of your plan. So while it’s not necessary to have 5 meals cooked and carry them around with you, it is important to know what you are going to eat next. Two important reasons: 1. If it’s been too long since your last meal you will be prone to overeating and consuming too much food. 2. You will make a binge choice based on what is readily available or easy to grab. So in a nutshell, leave the house full on breakfast with your lunch on hand.
  10. Expecting to drop weight too quickly- Many people expect to lose fat too quickly, in a time frame that sometimes defies sounds scientific principles. 2-4 lbs of fat per week if you are really overweight and 1-2 pounds per week if you have a moderate amount of fat to lose are realistic figures. A question to ask yourself is “How long did it take me to get this fat?” If the answer is 5 years and you are expecting to lose all of your fat gained in 3 months is unrealistic for most. Gaining strength/increasing muscle mass, and losing fat does not happen overnight. Losing fat for many people turns into an “emotional issue”. Once you decide to lose fat, you want it gone yesterday. This is understandable because once you have made up your mind; you want it to be gone. However, having patience with the process will make the whole transition easier. Losing fat is a process, and care must be taken to start the process properly and then add new measures along the way as your progress stalls.
  11. Not eating enough protein- This is huge. Feeling full for longer, maintaining or increasing lean muscle mass, greater bone density, better brain function, and greater bone density. Tons of reasons to eat enough. A general recommendation is to aim for 1g of protein per lb of lean body mass. If you are 25% body-fat and 200lbs, then you have a lean body mass of 150 lbs. This is how many grams per day you should consume. Hit this number in your diet and then consume your other foods according to your fat loss goal. Most people do not get nearly enough and wonder why they have cravings and their body comp does not change. No point in going overboard with protein either. After hitting your personal amounts, base the rest of your food intake around this number.Michael Danis