From the number of clients who I have trained and advised it always bugged me that there currently is not one way of training or diet that is better than the other when considering fat loss. It is funny that I admit this now in the opening days of the New Year but consider the number of diet and exercise books, guides and DVD’s available for this topic.

What is displayedon thiks blog is what I believe current science supports as good advice and most importantly what has worked well for the people that I train. That is not to say this is a cutting edge approach or the newest sensation but this is a collection of science, practice and common sense applied in a useable format. The posts are to be read all the way through for a full understanding of the points.

Why you may ask? I feel as my primary role as a coach is to give you advice and guidance on your exercise and nutrition plan while helping you understand why you do something and the implications this will have upon your results. This topic is vast and I have added detail where necessary as fat metabolism and energy utilization is still a rapidly expanding area of research. If you are an experienced or motivated exerciser this provides a resource to design your own nutrition programmes. For all new readers and beginners to trying toi acheive the physique they want this will set out an approach to fat loss underpinned by the science.

An adage that someone said to me about giving training and nutrition advice which I feel will always hold true is that if you lose someone body fat, make them stronger or take their pain away they will train with you for life. As a trainer these are fundamentals to be adhered to as no one wants to always train fat, weak and injured clients (as it means your clients are not acheiving their goals) and in turn no trainee wants to be overweight, weak or suffering from injuries. This to a point explains my motivation for developing this text as a “go to” resource.

American trends commonly are repeated in the westernised world as you can see from talk of an “obesity epidemic.” In 2007 it was been estimated that Americans spent over $40 billion on diet and weight loss related supplements and products. The supplement industry generated $16.1billion in sales with over 20,000 different products consumed by up to 100 million people. There are now more obese people in the world than starving people. With an aging population and therefore a higher mortality rate the well documented effects of the slowing of metabolism with age highlights that strategies to promote healthy levels of body fat are important in obesity prevention. Twinned with a decrease in activity levels at school and with sedentary occupations elevating the chances of gaining weight it is clear that fat loss is a growing market.

Fat loss is an unregulated industry both in advice for exercise and nutrition filled with what could be considered bad science- just because a compound, food supplement or exercise intervention is involved in the metabolism of fat, supplementing with it massively or doing just one mode of exercise does not necessarily bring about long term sustainable results. This could be considered bad science as of thesed processes/ supplements are unproven- we may not understand the potential problems that may arise by their usage.

So why do we want to lose body fat? Usually it is for three reasons:

Aesthetics        

Simply to look good and show muscle definition. Society norms currently indicate that a low level of body fat is considered attractive in the westernised world so this is an evolutionary mechanism.

Performance     

Body fat is excess weight. More body fat equals a lower strength/ power to weight ratio which is undesirable for most sports persons unless weight plays an integral part of their sport- in this case it needs to be balanced.

Health              

The evidence is now overwhelming that obesity (defined as excessive storage of energy in the form of adipose tissue/ fat) has adverse effects on health. Obesity is associated with hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), excess of certain cancers and a host of other medical problems. Thirty-four million adult Americans have a body mass index greater than 27.8 (men) or 27.3 (women) which is very close to a weight increase of 20 percent above desirable. When diabetes, hypertension, or a family history for these diseases is present, treatment will lead to benefits even when lesser degrees of obesity are present.

With a society gaining in body fat and the health implications related to this the fitness industry and its professionals are at the front line of this epidemic. By the time doctors pick up the problem often the damage has all ready been done and the health services are not equipped currently to deal with this issue. Doctors treat the problem but currently have their hands tied to deal with prevention- by the time someone gets to the doctors surgery the damage is already done. 

Science has been simplified in our consumer society by the media and other authorities in order to provide information to the masses. It can be a complex thing for a lot of people- it is not as simple as calories in and out.  

A health professional’s role in fat loss is to be outcome or result focussed for their clients goals. The achievements of the client should be behaviour and processed focussed- fat loss is as much a lifestyle goal as a training goal as this will promote long term adherence to dietary and exercise interventions which is at the core of the principles I believe in.

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