The Brief is a weekly newsletter by Strength Matters on a Friday, that shares a potential life-changing topic or question. The goal: to help you become a more rounded everyday athlete.
Today we’re talking about fat loss over 30 and how to get started.
Never Miss a Beat: Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel
This is the million-dollar question. If there was a simple answer to this, I would be a multi-billionaire and would have solved the obesity epidemic and most illnesses in the western world… maybe. 😉
It’s important to remember there is no one best way to approach this, there are so many different methods and solutions, it’s about finding the right one, for the right person at the right time.
Saying that there are guiding principles we’ve learned and discovered over the years that can make the whole process a lot easier for people when starting on their fat loss journey.
Fat loss is hard work. It sucks. It’s going to take all the mental stamina and energy that you have and you’re going to want to feel like giving up repeatedly.
However, in terms of your health and longevity, it’s probably one of the most important things that you need to address and keep on top of.
So how do we approach fat loss here at Strength Matters? Spoiler alert, it doesn’t involve working out or nutrition.
Controversial right? That’s what everyone else on the planet keeps talking about and what you’ve probably tried and failed at repeatedly.
Fat loss for us starts with WWS: Walk, water, sleep.
This formula is so simple, you might dismiss it straight away, and I don’t blame you. We like to dismiss simple answers and solutions to complex problems.
Fat loss is a complex problem, despite the science behind it being relatively straightforward. There are too many moving parts and emotions that go with it. That’s why.
In our mind, the key to long-term weight loss success was to create a system that allowed people to develop and stick to healthy habits for the long haul.
You see, fat loss is the easy part, it’s keeping the weight off long term we need to address.Fat loss over 30 starts with WWS: Walk, water, sleep.Click To Tweet
People will go to great lengths to ensure that they have a smart exercise program and nutritional plan, but they often forget about or abandon their walking, drinking, and sleeping habits.
We can argue until the cows come home about what’s the best fat loss workout, and nobody will ever win. Likewise, it’s easier to change someone’s religion than change their diet sometimes.
The great thing about WWS is that most people can agree on the fact we need to move more, drink water, and sleep. How much, well that’s open to debate, but this is a start.
At Strength Matters, it’s these basics that we keep coming back to for beginners and advanced fat loss clients alike. If people aren’t losing body fat, the answer usually lies within WWS first. Not always, but most of the time.
You see a few years back when we surveyed our members, we found most fat loss clients were:
- Walking less than 3,000 steps per day
- Drinking less than 2 glasses of water a day
- Sleeping less than 6 hours a night
Habits are the small decisions we make and actions we perform every day. Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. What you repeatedly do ultimately forms the person you are.
WWS are the fundamental habits of human life. If we haven’t got these nailed down, we’re already setting ourselves up for failure and making the whole fat loss process that much harder than it needs to be.Fat loss is easy! The hard part is keeping it off!Click To Tweet
Walking and Fat Loss
Walking burns calories. It’s as simple as that. You need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. The issue is that most people only focus on the workout part of the day for burning calories. What about the other 23 hours in the day?
Modern living and work environments may mean that you spend large parts of your day sitting, especially if you have an office job or work from home.
Remember, the energy equation. The magic weight loss formula is calories in, calories out. You need to burn more calories than you consume.
Exercise and NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) make up approximately 30% of your ability to burn calories. Walking is a big part of NEAT. Move more, and walk more to burn more calories.
This will help you to lose weight faster, but more importantly, get you in the habit of moving more so that you are more likely to maintain your weight loss post-diet.
Furthermore, walking has been shown to boost your mood and decrease feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. Who doesn’t want that?
This will boost willpower and help you make better choices throughout the day, it’s a key component of the bigger weight loss picture. Feel better, and I promise you, you will start making better decisions automatically.
Water and Fat Loss
Water is necessary for human survival. It’s possible to survive up to 21 days without food, but only a matter of days without water. Your body needs to consume a significant amount of water each day to function properly.
Drinking water is essential for your body to effectively use the fat you eat as well as what your body has stored. Water is part of the chemical equation used to burn fat as fuel.
When the percentage of body water changes, it has significant effects throughout the body, including on athletic performance. Dehydration of just 1% of body weight is enough to reduce endurance, strength, and cognitive performance.
An estimated 75% of the western world is chronically dehydrated. Drinking an appropriate amount of water affects the quality of every hour in your day. Water is much more essential to your body than food. Yet, it can be a neglected aspect of a successful health and fitness plan, just like the importance of walking is often overlooked.
Funny thing is, you walk more, you naturally start to drink more.
And no, sadly coffee doesn’t count! 😊
Sleep and Fat Loss
Sleep and sleep quality are essential to health and survival. The average adult gets about 7 hours of sleep per night while 33% of the population gets fewer than 6.5 hours each night.
Studies suggest that people who sleep fewer than 7 hours per night gain almost twice as much weight over 6 years as people who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.
Sleep quality doesn’t just affect body fat. Studies also show that getting less than 6.5 hours of sleep each night means that you’re at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death.
In principle, lack of sleep affects all daily life functions: Mood, cognition, memory, athletic performance, and ability to lose weight.
Now let’s talk specifics about sleep. Shortened sleep affects the hunger and full hormones, ghrelin, and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry, and leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full.
Shortened sleep affects the balance of both. Sleeping less than 6 hours a night will decrease the full signaling hormone leptin and increase the hunger instigating hormone ghrelin. It’s a nightmare waiting to happen.
To be more specific, studies have shown that sleep-deprived individuals, in highly controlled environments consume 300 calories more per day when they’re sleep deprived. Over a year that’s over 100,000 extra calories.
Think about that for a moment.
What makes things worse, is that the less an individual sleeps, the less energy he or she feels they have, and the more sedentary and less willing to exercise and move they are in real-world settings.
Poor sleep is the perfect recipe for obesity: greater calorie intake, lower calorie expenditure.
But it doesn’t stop there, it also affects your food choices and what you binge eat too. Sleep-deprived individuals will have more cravings for sweets, chocolate, and ultra-processed food.
You ultimately have less willpower and crave and desire these foods more. Think about it? What do you sometimes do when you’ve been sleep-deprived? What types of foods do you reach for?
Just one final note on sleep and fat loss. Studies show that when you’re sleep-deprived more than 70% of lost weight could come from lean muscle mass, and not fat.
When the body is tired it is stingier about giving up fat. That’s the last thing we want as it makes our entire fat loss efforts that much harder.
To summarize, short sleep will increase hunger, reduce control within the brain, increase food consumption (particularly of processed foods), decrease feelings of food satisfaction after eating, and stop you from losing fat when dieting.
I’d say it’s pretty darn important to your fat loss goals. Yet, most choose to neglect this aspect completely.Poor sleep is the perfect recipe for obesity: greater calorie intake, lower calorie expenditure.Click To Tweet
WWS and 777 Rule
So how do we approach fat loss with our clients? Well it always starts with WWS
WWS was designed for all our clients to remember the fundamentals quickly. It is a daily reminder of what they can do to support their health and longevity.
To supplement WWS, we use the Triple Seven Rule. It’s a simple way to remember how much to do of each (at least!), each day:
Walk – 7 days a week, take 7,000 steps
Water – 7 days a week, drink 7 glasses of water
Sleep – 7 days a week, get 7 hours of sleep
Managing the WWS formula comes before any exercise or nutritional programming because, without it, success in reaching any fitness goal is inconsistent, slow, and temporary.
If any of these three things are off, we see problems across the board, be it with weight loss, athletic performance, or just the ability to cope with daily life.
WWS is the foundation of the Strength Matters Training System, and like any foundation, if there are cracks, performance will suffer.
Could you do more? Absolutely, and you may need to later down the line in your fat loss journey, but what I’m talking about here is the minimum to do each day and using numbers experts and studies have shown they can somewhat agree on.
Is it perfect? No, but it’s a start and a good baseline to work from.WWS and the 777 Rule is the magic formula for fat lossClick To Tweet
The more positive habits you develop, the more you will see your negative habits disappear. When you make positive progress in your life, you are also leaving behind negative hindrances.
We should always look for ways to increase our good actions and habits. As you add more and more positive aspects to your life, the negatives will start to decrease without you even thinking about them.
If you focus on increasing the positives, you are forcing a decrease in the negatives. By incorporating WWS, you’re adding small positive changes that have a significant carryover effect on other parts of your life.
The biggest change we see when all three WWS habits are maintained is that clients make healthier food choices naturally.
Without even discussing nutrition, clients tell us that they have cut down on candy, chocolate, and other processed food and replaced them with salads, vegetables, and smoothies.
They say that their bodies seem to just crave healthier food and that they no longer have the same desire for past food choices.
More importantly, they have more energy, feel better about themselves, and sets them up for long-term success.
Remember, the easy part is losing the weight here, the hard part is keeping it off, permanently.
Until next time,
P.S New to Strength Matters? Start here:
FREE Workouts: The 30:30 Blueprint
FREE Video Course: The Strength Matters Training System
FREE Download: The System of Athletic Development
FREE Chapter: Our Best Selling Print Book – Maximum Aerobic Power
P.P.S Want the VERY Best of Strength Matters? Start your 60-day trial myStrengthMatters