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YOUR BLUEPRINT GUIDE FOR GETTING FIT AFTER LOCKDOWN 2020

Hi! My name is Sam Cully and I am a qualified personal trainer from Widnes, nice to meet you (virtually 😊). 

blue print to weight loss during lockdown


As I am sure all of you are aware, it is within recent news that gyms around the UK are now opening. Although this is great news as it can spark some activity into a previously encouraged inactive lifestyle, the last thing we want is for you to walk into a gym and be overwhelmed not knowing where to start! This is why I have put together my top 5 key tips (and the science behind them) on how you can get rid of that extra bit of un-wanted weight to get you back feeling and looking fitter than ever! 

NOTE – As you can see from the title, this article is strictly about weight loss; however, when it comes to weight loss we are actually aiming to promote FAT loss. This is because when losing weight, there can be a possibility of losing a significant amount of muscle as well, but this is NOT what we want as muscle provides us with the ability to carry out exercise and general daily activity effectively and efficiently. Not to mention that muscle also contributes to the breakdown of fat cells within the body, as having more lean muscle tissue allows for stronger muscular contractions when exercising. This therefore enhances their fat burning ability.

See the tips below:

  • SET YOURSELF A CALORIE DEFICIT
  • This is without a doubt the most important factor when it comes to boosting your fat loss process, because at the end of the day, burning fat comes down to what your energy balance looks like. Our bodies receive this energy from calories in food/drink and in order to strip off that extra bit of fat, you NEED to ensure that you are consuming fewer calories than your body requires to put it into a deficit. If your calorie consumption is above your calorie expenditure this will NOT help you lose fat and you will end up reversing the process and gaining weight.

    Although you are required to eat less than your calorie maintenance (what you need to eat to stay the same weight), this does not mean that you should set unrealistic eating habits. What I mean by this is DON’T STARVE YOURSELF; your calorie deficit needs to be at a level which is sustainable and works for you and your body. A deficit which I personally would recommend, is subtracting 500 calories a day from your maintenance calorie number (this can be worked out using BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate calculators on the internet or by messaging me @samcullypt and I will do it for you). In addition, from this reduced number of calories in your diet, an average of 0.5kg/1.1lb can be lost each week if you commit to your new calorie goal. 

  • KEEP A FOOD DIARY 
  • When it comes to adhering to a new way of eating, consistency will be the main factor that will drive your weight loss process and keep them lbs flying off! Therefore, to keep this consistency high, you need to ensure that you are hitting your new calorie goal each day to keep that weight coming off. However, keeping track of everything you eat can be a challenging thing to do; luckily for you, there is an app which makes this process super simple and easy to understand. This app is called MyFitnessPal and it enables you to effectively track your eating habits to ensure that you hit your new calorie goal on a daily basis – allowing you stay on track and get closer to your weight loss goal every day.

  • EAT MORE WHOLESOME FOODS
  • When introducing a lower calorie intake on your body, it is self- explanatory that you will therefore be reducing your daily energy intake. As a result of this, it is SO IMPORTANT that the energy that you do consume (in the form of food), needs to be high in quality and provide you with enough good quality macro/micro nutrients to give your body the fuel it needs when on a new eating plan. Therefore, eating the more calorie dense macronutrients is essential to keep your body satisfied on lower calories; below you can find the 3 macronutrients and the types of macronutrients you should be consuming to keep things running smoothly:

  • Carbohydrates – This macronutrient (4kcal per gram) is the main nutrient that your body will use for energy and to carry out its chemical reactions – including the breakdown of fat cells. However, a lot of people will be mistaken to cut these down too drastically as they think that they are the biggest contributor to weight gain. Although this is true to an extent, if carbohydrates are consumed at the right number and quality, the opposite of this process will occur. This is because within carbohydrates, there is a substance called glucose which muscles use for energy to contract; therefore, if muscles have more energy to contract, this means that exercise will become easier and fat loss will become greater. 

  • Choosing the high - quality carbohydrates over the poor quality – Imagine your body being a car and carbohydrates being the petrol to fuel your car. If you put poor quality petrol into your car, it is more than likely that your car will not run smoothly and will eventually end up breaking down. This is the same for putting carbohydrates into your body and is therefore essential that you choose the right sources so that your body can work effectively and efficiently. 

  • In saying this, carbohydrates have a ranking known as a GLYCAEMIC INDEX (GI) which is based on the effect that they give to your blood glucose levels. In addition, this index is categorised into a HIGH and LOW glycaemic index. 

  • Carbohydrates that have a HIGH GI are ones that are broken down very quickly during digestion – which causes quick spikes in blood sugar levels; this can therefore be bad as you will become hungrier quicker and crave more sugary foods such as biscuits, sweets and chocolate etc… so try and consume as few of these as possible!

  • Carbohydrates that have a LOW GI however, break down more slowly and release glucose from food gradually into the bloodstream. Therefore, compared to fast releasing carbohydrates (HIGH GI), the rise in blood sugar from LOW GI carbohydrates is lower and slower. This as a result indicates that you will be fuller and more satisfied for longer, which is what we are aiming for when on lower calories than we usually would be! This is because it reduces our cravings and keeps things sustainable. 

  • How many carbohydrates should you have a day? – The amount of carbohydrate a person requires depends on what their energy expenditure looks like (if you are more active your body will need more carbohydrates). For the majority of the population an average figure of 50% of your total calories should be a sufficient amount; however this may be slightly reduced when in a calorie deficit.

  • So what type of carbohydrates should we have more of? – To reduce hunger levels and cravings you should aim to consume more LOW GI, complex carbohydrates and fewer HIGH GI, simple/refined carbohydrates. BUT, this does not mean you should NEVER have HIGH GI carbohydrates however because who doesn’t love a cup of tea and a biscuit every now and then? My point is, flexibility can be applied to your diet, but you need to make sure it is of the right levels in order to encourage weight loss. 

  • LOW GI carbohydrates

    HIGH GI carbohydrates

    Wholegrain/wholemeal – brown bread/pasta

    Fruit - this is an exception however as essential micronutrients (vitamins/minerals) are obtained from fruit

    Oats

    Sweets

    Potatoes – sweet or normal

    Energy drinks

    Rice – basmati/brown

    Sugary cereals

    Beans

    Biscuits

    Chickpeas/lentils

    Chocolate

  • Examples of these carbohydrates can be found below:

  • Fats – This macronutrient is primarily responsible for insulation but is also involved with providing energy stores for the body as well as secretion of the body’s hormones. However being the most calorific macronutrient at 9kcal per gram, it is important to be conscious of our fat intake and watch how much of it we consume, as too much fat could be detrimental to your weight loss journey. In addition, there are different types of fat which have different functions; these can be found below:

  • Saturated fats These types of fats are the unhealthier types which can include foods such as: chocolate, fat on meat, butter, cream etc. You should aim to consume as few of these fats as possible, as a high saturated fat diet has been linked to the formation of plaque on the artery walls. If this process continues and more saturated fat is consumed, a build of this plaque will begin to interrupt natural blood flow – resulting in increased chances of developing coronary heart disease. Furthermore, as well as this, if excessive amounts of fat are consumed, the body can only utilise so much fat for fuel until it starts to build up and store unnecessary fat cells; this will therefore contribute to obesity and weight gain.

  • Unsaturated fats These are the healthier types of fats which will be beneficial for your heart and overall health meaning you should consume more of these. In addition, these fats are further divided into monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats which both help reduce your LDL cholesterol levels (unhealthy cholesterol). Expanding on polyunsaturated fats – foods high in these contain a substance called Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential fats that are not manufactured in the body and must therefore be obtained from your diet. I would recommend intaking 1.0-1.5g of omega 3 fatty acids per day which could consist of 2 portions of fish per week for example. 

  • How will these Omega 3 fatty acids benefit you???

  • Protection against heart disease (control of blood pressure)
  • Prevention of blood clots
  • Reduction of inflammation in arthritis 
  • Enhanced transport of oxygen by red blood cells
  • Enhanced immune response 

  • How much fat should you have a day? – For the majority of the population, you should be having no more than 35% of you total calorie intake when it comes to fat consumption.

  • So what types of fats should we have more of? – To maintain a healthy diet and make your weight loss journey as effective and efficient as possible, most of the fat sources you will consume should be coming from healthy unsaturated fats for optimal results. This is because not only will they offer the benefits above, but they will also be more likely to be less calorific and aid your weight loss. That being said, as I have previously mentioned with HIGH GI carbohydrates, you should not feel restricted when it comes to consuming unhealthy saturated fats, but you NEED to both of these in moderation and be smart about your food choices. Below are just a few examples of unhealthy and healthy fat sources to give you an idea of what you should be consuming more and less of:

  •  

    Fat sources to eat less of - Saturated

    Healthy fat sources to incorporate into your diet - Unsaturated

    Chocolate

    Fatty fish

    Butter

    Soybeans

    Cream

    Avocados

    Any fats on meats

    Many nuts and seeds

    Cheese

    Coconut oil and nut oils



  • Proteins – This macronutrient (valued at 4kcal per gram alike carbohydrates) is used for building and repairing lean muscle tissue within the body. In addition, it is crucial that we consume a sufficient amount of protein when we are in a calorie deficit, as we need to maintain as much muscle as possible when losing weight. This is because the ultimate goal when losing weight is to lose excess fat whilst retaining as much muscle as you can; however, if not enough protein is ingested, muscle catabolism can take place. Muscle catabolism involves the breaking down of lean muscle tissue in order to produce energy. Therefore there may be a possibility of this happening during a calorie deficit as the body will be consuming a reduced number of carbohydrates than normal; as a result of this, the body may start to break down lean muscle tissue in order to release energy to fuel your body. 
  • Expanding on this, this emphasises why a sufficient protein intake is required when in a calorie deficit, as not only will it reduce the chance of lean muscle loss, but it will also enhance the process of fat burning. This is because, as more lean muscle tissue grows from an increased consumption of protein, your body’s ability to burn calories through physical activity will become more efficient and effective – increasing your basal metabolic rate (BMR). When this occurs, the body’s excess fat stores can be broken down much more quickly – hence speeding up your weight loss journey. 


  • How much protein should you have a day? – This number will be different for everybody, as everyone has different body compositions and different amounts of muscle. Therefore, it is recommended that you consume around 0.8-1g of protein per lb of bodyweight to receive  a sufficient amount for your body.

  • What foods should you have to meet your protein intake? – There are numerous foods that you can consume in your diet to meet your protein intake – therefore it comes down to a matter of your preference; some examples which you could choose from can include the following:

    • Fish – tuna, cod, mackerel, salmon, shrimp, swordfish, skippers etc (some of these are also high in essential fatty acids too 😊)
    • Meat – Chicken breast, pork, beef, steak, turkey breast, chorizo sausage
    • Eggs 
    • Peanut butter
    • Greek style yoghurt
    • Whey protein (lots of different brands to buy from – my favourite are myprotein and Optimum Nutrition)

    • What protein sources can I go to if I am vegan? – Below, I have included a list of the top 9 vegan protein sources you can implement into your diet if you are vegan and trying to maintain a calorie deficit:

    • Quinoa
    • Soy
    • Beans
    • Hempseed
    • Nuts
    • Chickpeas
    • Green peas
    • Vegan/ supplements/protein shakes

  • INCREASE YOUR DAILY ACTIVITY / ENERGY EXPENDITURE

  • Firstly, just so you know, physical activity is not a necessity when it comes to losing weight as if you can manage to maintain a calorie deficit without being active/exercising you will still lose weight. However, it is much more encouraged to implement physical activity when in a calorie deficit, as it will increase your energy expenditure – meaning you will burn more calories and boost the process of fat loss. REMEMBER in order to lose weight, your calorie expenditure MUST be greater than your calorie consumption. Furthermore, there are numerous methods of physical activity you can implement into your lifestyle to boost the process of fat loss; these methods can be found below:


  • Increasing NEAT activity (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) – Now I know you are probably thinking ‘WOW that sounds complicated’, but it is in fact the opposite. All it basically involves is the burning of calories through movement, BUT outside of structured exercise; for example: standing, walking, fidgeting and just generally being more active. However, NEAT is often neglected nowadays due to increasing number of sedentary/desktop jobs and more methods of transport – both of these as of which will not help when it comes to burning calories and being more active to increase our TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). Therefore, to mitigate against this, you can choose the small things such as: walking to the shops instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the escalator etc. To conclude, the more NEAT activity you can get in on your daily routine, the more it will contribute to achieving your calorie deficit goal and losing weight.  

  • Performing structured cardiovascular exercise – Now there are numerous options when it comes to performing cardiovascular exercise so I would recommend trying different types of cardio and seeing which one you like the most. REMEMBER, training will be easier to stick to if you enjoy it more – so pick do you what like the most. Here are 2 types of cardiovascular exercise you can choose from:

  • High intensity cardio – This will involve performing cardiovascular activity for a shorter period of time at a higher work rate/intensity. To get an idea for how long this method of cardio would be, high intensity workouts would last between 20-45 minutes – with short bursts of 30-90 seconds of work followed by 20-120 seconds rest. You can use this type of training on a cardio machine of your choice (treadmill, rower, bike) or by making a circuit for example. These workouts will usually burn more calories in a reduced time and can therefore be more convenient for some people with time restrictions.

  • Low intensity cardio - This will involve performing cardiovascular activity for a longer period of time at a lower-moderate work rate/intensity. It is a continuous form of training which will have reduced impact and stress on your body compared that of high intensity. Some low intensity cardio examples could include going for a bike ride, hiking, slow-paced run and a few others. However, this method of cardio will take longer to burn more calories than that of high intensity cardio.

  • Performing resistance/strength training – Although strength training may not burn as many calories as a high intensity cardio workout would, it can still contribute to fat loss more than you think! This is because lifting weights is proven to stimulate lean muscle growth better than any other type of training. Furthermore, it has been proven that increased lean muscle is linked with to the ability of elevating your metabolism. This basically means that, the more of it you have, the more effective your body will be in burning fat and calories whenever you take part in physical activity (this will MASSIVELY help you achieve your calorie deficit). To get an idea of how long your strength training would look like, typical sessions usually last 60-90 minutes.

  • GET YOUR SLEEP
  • How important is sleep? – Personally, I believe a lot of people nowadays neglect the importance of sleep and the various benefits it can provide us with. This is because not only is it the most effective rejuvenating tool we have to let our bodies recover, but it can also contribute to weight loss more than you think and here’s how:

    • Sleep is responsible for the releasing of the body’s ‘hunger hormones’ – Leptin and Ghrelin 

    • Leptin has been proven to control the body’s appetite and cravings by telling our brains when we are full and happy. Therefore, the more sleep we get, the higher our leptin levels and the more control we will have over our appetites. This will make it MUCH easier to stick to your calorie deficit.

    • Ghrelin however is responsible for alerting our brains of whether we are hungry or not. It is commonly known that ghrelin is linked with sparking an increase in your hunger levels – making you demolish the biscuit tin when you really don’t need to. The less sleep you get, the higher the spikes in your body’s ghrelin levels – automatically making you crave more sugary foods. This will make it MUCH harder to stick to your calorie deficit.

    This therefore demonstrates how sleep can affect our ability to remain in a calorie deficit and lose weight, so make sure you stay off your phone of a night and get to bed earlier if you want to lose them extra lbs!!! 😊


    So, there you have it guys! My BLUEPRINT GUIDE and top 5 tips to BOOST your weight loss process after lockdown. Ultimately these tips are the core principles you will need to stick to if you want to see them lbs coming off in no time - looking and feeling better than ever. HOWEVER, these tips will be useless, if you are not consistent with them. This is because fat loss can take time and can be a difficult process – posing adversity. Therefore, to combat this, consistency will be you main weapon to keep you in the game and achieve your goal weight in 2020.


    Thanks for reading! If you would like to view more helpful content or require any help with your fitness needs, feel free to follow my Instagram @samcullypt or email me at samcully1@icloud.com

     

     

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