If you want to lose body fat, do so in a slow and tactful manner. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, whether you want to shred fat for holidays, a wedding or you plan to compete for the first time as a diabetic bodybuilder.
Going too hard too soon with massive food drops, crazy amounts of cardio and training is unsustainable and will most likely backfire – killing your attempts to get lean(er).
More Is Better, Right?
How many times have you heard someone start out with the following intentions?
‘I’m cutting out all carbs.’
‘I’m going to the gym x7 nights a week.’
‘I’m cutting out all alcohol.’
‘I’m going for a walk every night.’
While all the above may be necessary at some stage in your fat loss efforts, they do not need to be conducted all at once. The harder you go, the greater the shock to body and mind.
The Body Doesn’t Like Sudden Changes
Changing 101 behaviours at once can prove stressful, leaving you miserable and overwhelmed.
The human body can sense steep drops in energy. As a result, the body does everything it can to protect itself (preserve energy)
Fatigue, irritability, reduced performance, muscle loss and major appetite issues are typical of a diet and training regime that’s too extreme.
From a diabetic perspective, sudden increases in activity and reductions in food intake may create havoc with blood glucose control resulting in more hypos/hypers than ever before.
You must measure and review key factors like body weight, physical performance and visual appearance before adjusting your diet and training regime. You want to get away with the minimal amount of calorie drops, exercise and physical activity before adding more in or taking more away.
You want to get away with the minimal amount of effort, so employ slow tactful manipulation of food, exercise and physical activity. I’ve outlined what I consider ideal weight loss targets at the end of the article.
The three most important factors to adjust for on-going fat loss are:
1. Energy Intake
Once fat loss slows food (calories) may need to be reduced to create a deficit. The only time calories should be brought back to balance or into a surplus is during a diet break or scheduled re-feeds.
2. Strength Training
Lifting weights serves one main purpose, and that is to stimulate muscle growth. Your body’s ability to burn fat is much more reliant on the 23 hours of eating, physical activity and sleep to burn body fat. Training volume and exercise selection are adjusted to accommodate recovery needs, prevent staleness of training (boredom) and avoid/work around injury.
3. Physical Activity
This has a massive impact on energy balance. As your fat loss slows, physical activity will need to be increased. Remember as the body gets lighter – it burns fewer calories moving throughout the day.
How Much Weight Can I Lose Safely?
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect the greatest body weight losses during the first few weeks of a fat loss diet and training regime.
It’s normal to lose between 2-4% of total body weight in the first or second weeks, especially if you are transitioning out of an extremely poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. Don’t panic this is usually a shift in fluid and bowel contents.
Obese Individuals – 2-4% total body weight (2.5-5lbs per week)
Lean Individuals – 0.5-1% total body weight (0.25-2lbs per week)
Super lean individuals may not lose weight between weigh-ins. The reality is, they mightn’t have any to lose. If you’re super lean and body weight stays the same, your main progress marker will be strength (it should be up or constant) and/or an improvement in physical appearance.
Individuals using creatine and other sports performance supplements need to be mindful that water retention can mask weight loss. Visual appearance, feedback from a friend or looser clothing are solid gauges that you’ve lost body fat.
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