The Weight Loss ‘Hack’

Firstly, I hate the phrase ‘hack’… And this tip certainly isn’t hidden. The term hack makes it sound like the content provider is giving you some sort of magic trick to get ahead. When all a hack really is, is a more efficient and effective method to doing what you are already doing.

 

In fact, this magic trick has been sitting right in front of our noses for a long time. Heck, it is how we get our dogs to lose weight!

 

But for some reason the very simplest method for increasing our chances of losing weight is completely ignored, downplayed and brushed aside by the flashing lights of ‘super high fat burning interval training’, bs fat burners, skinny teas and the notion that MORE training sessions is the only answer.

 

So what is this ‘hack’ you speak of?

 

Now that you’re going to the gym a few times a week, now that you’re trying to eat better (preferably tracking your eating habits in some form and managing that intake to levels that promote weight loss). In order to achieve weight loss, I just want you to move a little more.

 

No, no over-commitment to at least 5 high intensity interval sessions a week, no double days in the gym, no extra cardio, no pushing through an injury because if you can’t train at an epic level of intensity EVERY day you fear you will get fat.

 

Just… move a bit more.

 

Yes The Biggest Loser might have convinced us all that smashing ourselves in the gym is the key to weight loss success, but TBL was also one of the key arseholes that convinced people to define their success purely based on the number on the scale, and that a loss of only 1-2kg in a week was a failure and must be answered for (que the ‘secret’ security cam house refrigerator footage of said competitor helping themselves to a couple scoops of ice-cream, as they try to justify their devious actions in front of the entire country)… what a bunch of soulless pricks.

 

But no. This is simply not the answer.

 

Just… move more.

 

The notion that we must endure a hectic number of gym sessions a week just to achieve general physical health and preparedness is false. In reality, for the majority of us, trying to juggle 5-7 gym classes (more if you squeeze in double days) while managing your kids school, sport and social lives, go to work, see friends and family, prep and eat meals and have down time… it causes more damaging stress on your body than it does relief.

 

Especially when you’re attempting to upheave your life from 0-1 sessions a week, right up to 6 in one hit. That’s one impossible habit to leap to.

 

Especially when you cannot allow yourself the adequate recovery time for your body effectively bounce back from those 6 hard workouts… which ultimately leads to soreness, injury and a drastic dive in motivation.

 

So how about… instead of that, in order to increase the amount of energy we expend in the day to ensure weight loss… we just move more?

 

This is how we burn energy throughout our day:

 

All of the energy we expend across our day is called our Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is broken up into four parts:

 

BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate – The energy required to function at rest: organ function, breathing, maintaining body temperature, heart and brain function etc.

This requires approximately 65% of our daily energy.

 

We can’t really manipulate our BMR. But think about this for a side thought… Every time you go on a heavily calorie restrictive diet requiring you to eat ½ of your daily maintenance calories, you are drastically reducing the amount of energy your BMR requires every day. So if you’re on an insane 1000 or less cal diet, cut it out. Because you are making it incredibly difficult for your body to go about its daily functions. Is drastic fat loss really worth sacrificing your overall health?

 

TEF – Thermic Effect of Food – Energy used in the digestion and absorption of food. This requires about 7% of our daily energy.

 

Something that is very tough to manipulate. We can achieve this through a higher protein diet as protein takes longer to break down and digest.  This is one of the avenues that blood sucking ‘diet’ companies take when they are trying to sell you ‘metabolism altering’ drinks and pills. Which is completely false. And even if you do, what is it going to achieve? An increase of energy expenditure to 8%? Whoopie! Not worth the effort.

 

EAT – Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – Energy used to get you through your workout. Squats, running, boxing, burpees. Depending on the exercise you pick, you will burn approximately between 10-12% via your EAT.

 

We can increase our EAT if we train harder, for longer. But at what cost? Just realise… If seeking fat loss you must consume less food in relation to how much you move daily. This means you are restricting yourself of carbohydrates for energy, fat for nutrient absorption and protein for muscle maintenance or growth. How do you think you are going to sustain 7 HIIT sessions a week as your body breaks down through soreness and most likely injury?

 

Yes you can increase your EAT, but we can only sustain higher stress exercise for so long per day (2 hours max, if you think you can go for longer than 2 hours a day, most days, while in a caloric deficit, you’re lying), which means we are probably only going to manage a maximum 3-5% increase.

 

This leads us to…

 

NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – The energy used in activity other than sleeping, eating or exercise: walking, gardening, cooking, cleaning, fidgeting. On average, we expend about 15-25% of our daily energy via our NEAT.

 

This is where the magic happens…

 

We’ve got low intensity movement, which means we can sustain it for very long periods.

We’ve got easily accessible movements, which can be done just about anywhere, anytime.

 

We have ourselves an energy burning category that we can highly manipulate in so many simple ways.

 

If we:

 

  • Stand more than sit
  • Walk around while talking on the phone rather than sit
  • Park at the furthest space from the shopping mall and walk in
  • Walk our dog more or further
  • Fidget while kicking back
  • Get up in the office and make coffee for 5-10 staff members each day
  • Always take the stairs
  • Get outside with our kids a little more

 

We increase our NEAT.

 

Here’s my tip.

 

Everybody has a smartphone. Every smartphone can track your steps.

 

  1. Check the ‘Health’ app on your iPhone or Samsung for your current average number of steps taken per day. I find most people hit around the 2000-4000 mark, with maybe just one bigger outlier a week. This number should not include you planned workout (EAT). So if you go for a run with your phone, look to subtract that number from your day.
  2. Keep your phone on you wherever you go (which is what we already do).
  3. Set a target for 10,000 steps a day, everyday.
  4. If you find this difficult to achieve early on, no biggie. As long as this weeks steps is an improvement on last weeks, that is a win. The 10k is just a target to work towards. 10k is not a massive task. It is big compared to 3000, but it is very achievable if you keep your NEAT on the forefront of your mind.
  5. Get creative. Gamify it. The more weird and wonderful ways you can find to increase your NEAT, the more enjoyment you will have along the way. Throughout the day when you are going about your routine things, ask yourself, “how can I move that little bit more?”

 

If you can increase your daily steps from 3000 to 10,000, every day, that is a 42,000 step increase! Through minimal extra effort and zero extra intensive physical demand, you have increased your daily NEAT exponentially.

 

Lastly, don’t forget to…

 

  1. Continue your regular gym classes, 3-4 per week is just fine for the regular person. But now you have removed all that extra soreness and guilt for not doing more, you will likely find yourself hitting it harder and enjoying these sessions more. Those days where you don’t go to the gym, aim to hit above 10k steps.
  2. Stick to a smart small calorie deficit and keep your protein intake up. Track your calories, use smaller plates, keep a food diary… whatever it is, don’t neglect this step or you are completely wasting your time. Head to www.theboxbag.thinkific.com for everything you need to know to nail your nutrition.

Shoot me a message if you have any more questions.

 

Now please! If some of these issues I discussed at the top are screaming ‘yep this is me’.

 

Do this!

 

Do not go, “ohh that sounds cool but I think I’ll just stick to extra gym, because I’m too fearful to change or else I’ll get fatter.”

 

Don’t be daft.

 

The reason you are stuck in this physical and mental loop is because of your current actions. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is insanity.

 

Do this, stick to it for longer than 2 weeks (hands up who quit something that would have been effective but gave up after 2 weeks because the scales didn’t move… yep… throw them out too).

 

Enjoy all the success it brings.

 

If it isn’t working come and see me, because it won’t be the system that is failing. It will be something you haven’t quite hit the mark on. And that is A-OK!

 

Stu.

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