How to Train for Weight Loss

It’s true, training for weight loss isn’t the most enjoyable part of any fitness or bodybuilding journey but it is one we will all tackle at some point. There are millions of complex diets and fad products preying on those with weight loss goals but, truth is, the core drivers of weight loss are fairly straightforward.

So, to help you along the way, and keep you away from the fit teas, here are some tips on how to train for weight loss…

Lower the Calories

Weight loss will be achieved through creation of a calorie deficit – the bigger the deficit, the more drastic the weight loss. Initially, you should aim to eat at around 300-500 calories under your maintenance requirements per day as a starting point. Anything more than this will risk muscle loss alongside the fat.

Increase the Cardio and Up the Volume

Another way to maintain a calorie deficit, particularly if you enjoy your food (and don’t we all!) is through an increase in cardio work. Coupling this with your diet is the most sustainable plan and the one most likely to deliver results. Just keep in mind that it’ll take you 20 minutes on the treadmill to burn off that bar of chocolate!

An unfortunate by-product of training on a calorie deficit is that you will notice a decline in strength. It’s inevitable and almost impossible to overcome for natural lifters. You’ll need to accept this and may benefit from focusing more on volume rather than strength during your workouts.

Maintain Consistency and Continually Adjust Macros 

This might seem like an obvious point but weight doesn’t fall off in even measures and you might go some time without any noticeable drop in the scale. Remember, as you lose weight, you will need to keep on top of your daily calories and macros as they will drop as your weight does. For example, if 1,800 calories took you from 170 – 160 pounds and your goal is to lose more, you’ll need to recalculate, and lower to account for your new weight.

Keep your Protein Intake High

Maintaining muscle through cutting weight is the most difficult element for those not partaking in questionable substances. Your best chance of keeping the gains is by sticking with a protein intake of around 1g per pound of body weight.

So, those are some tips on how to train for weight loss. Do you equate minutes of cardio with chocolate bars? How do you deal with declining strength on a calorie deficit??

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

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Protein Tips For Veggies

Having been on a primarily veg-based diet for a couple of years now, I’ve learned loads about maximizing protein intake without the need for meat. I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy and requires some careful planning and consideration to make sure you hit your goal on a daily basis.

So, here are some protein tips for veggies and, don’t worry, they don’t revolve around an unmanageable intake of beans…

First off, you MUST track your macros. I thought my protein intake was fairly good but quickly realised how wrong I was! If we take it that 0.8g to 1g of protein per pound of body weight is ideal for muscle growth (there is TONS of competing research on this and we will cover that another time), I should be consuming between 144g and 180g of protein per day. On starting to track my macros, I found that I was hitting an average of only 70g per day – less than half of what I needed! No wonder the gains were slow!!

So, how do you increase your daily protein consumption? You’ll have seen a million Instagram graphics from passionate veggies and vegans letting you know that there is more protein in 100 calories of spinach than 100 calories of ground beef – and that’s true. But, the problem is, 100 calories worth of spinach is a hell of a lot to consume for a mere 12g of protein.

To hit upwards of 180g per day, you will need to supplement your diet with things like protein powders, yoghurt, bars and snacks. Protein powders are generally quite low in calories but make sure to keep an eye on sugar levels in the others. My current favourites are the protein yoghurts from Arla which come in at only 130kcal for 20g of protein.

Some other really simple tips are to add cheese to meals, giving an extra protein hit for veggies, and a seed / nut mix to salads for vegans – just be careful with the calorie count as a small amount of either can have a massive impact on your daily allowance.

My last tip is to add a Leucine supplement to your diet. One of three branched-chain amino acids, Leucine has been shown to stimulate protein synthesis meaning that this amino is especially important for those struggling to hit their recommended daily levels. Make sure to add around 3g per day for an extra boost.

Are you tracking your macros? What tips do you have for increasing protein intake??

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

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Five Essential Vitamins to Boost Your Wellbeing

I switched to a primarily veg-based diet around 2 and a half years ago and, ever since, have supplemented my diet with added vitamins and minerals to make sure I’m always running at my best.

It is almost certainly possible for the average person to get everything they need from a healthy, balanced diet but I see vitamins as a plug to ensure all gaps are filled on a daily basis and push us towards optimisation. So, let’s have a look at five essential vitamins to boost your wellbeing.

Omega 3

At the top of almost every nutritionists list of recommendations, Omega 3 fish oil has been shown to benefit heart health, reduce inflammation and even boost your memory.

Omega 3 is found in fatty fish like mackerel or trout but if you don’t consume these a couple of times a week, or you find their calorie content a little high, consider adding a supplement to make sure you get the benefits!

Vitamin D3

Being Scottish, it is extremely difficult to see the sun and near impossible to get enough to hit the ideal level of vitamin D. And it’s not just us who have a problem – it has been reported that over 1 billion people worldwide have a deficiency! Vitamin D is crucial in your bodies effort to support bone and muscle health while also being linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Look for a supplement that provides upwards of 2000 IU per day.

Calcium

Most of us were brought up to believe that calcium is a prerequisite for healthy bones. Drinking gallons of milk will not make you indestructible but calcium is a contributor to muscle function and it’s definitely worth making sure you are getting a decent daily intake – 800mg will do it.

Pro Tip – pair calcium with Vitamin D3 to increase your bodies ability to absorb the goodness.

Glucosamine Sulphate

Glucosamine is naturally occurring, found in cartilage and helps to repair damaged tissue around the joints. I started taking this following some shoulder pain caused by heavy lifting (and probably a little bad form to be honest!) and found it helped quickly.

There are no strong food sources of glucosamine so this one needs to be supplemented – look to hit around 1000mg per day.

Multivitamin with Iron

I’ve heard the chat about expensive pee and sure, some of a multivitamin will undoubtedly end up in the toilet, but it’s a really inexpensive way to top up levels of anything lagging or missing on a specific day. I make sure to pick one with added iron, a common deficiency in vegetarian diets and an absolute necessity to ensure a healthy red blood cell count.

Which of these form part of your daily routine? Are you lucky enough to get 15 minutes of sun a day??

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below…

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