Fundamentals of Fat Loss Part V: Common Mistakes and Easy Fixes

Fundamentals of Fat Loss Part V – Common Mistakes and Easy Fixes


You have made it to the final chapter of the Fundamentals of Fat Loss!  Parts I-IV I covered the basics, general nutrition for fat loss, what is/isn’t strength training, and getting plenty of protein.  Today in Part V I will go over some common mistakes and the easy fixes.  


As a reminder, you need to consistently do 3 things to make your body burn fat:

  • Burn more calories than you take in
  • Strength train 3 days per week
  • Get plenty of protein

Lack of consistency:  This is the single most important advice I give as a personal trainer.  The perfect workout and the perfect meal plan will never survive a lack of consistency.  Move your body consistently, eat the right stuff consistently, and you’ll do well.  Workout inconsistency looks like skipping your workout every time something comes up or you get busy.  It could also be that you go too hard one day and then can’t bring yourself to train the next day.  


The fix:  Consistency is the most common issue.  Don’t feel bad, but recognize it.  You don’t need a new plan, a new diet, a new exercise, a new “miracle” supplement, or anything new.  You need to do what you need to do.  Your workouts need to be an appointment on your calendar that you keep.  Stop letting them be negotiable. You’re always going to be busy.  If being busy means you skip your workout, you will never get where you want to go.  If someone said their teeth rotted out of their head because they were always too busy to brush them you’d think their priorities were off.  Workouts are the same except it affects your entire body.  


Thinking more is more:  I am recommending 3 days of strength training and some form of active recovery on the off days because that is what I’ve seen work the best.  If I thought something else worked better, I’d just say that. More is not more.  Yeah you could add a 4th day of strength training, but odds are you won’t be able to recover from it without taking away from your other days.  Want to go hard every day?  I appreciate the (temporary) enthusiasm but you’re begging for an injury AND for poor results.  When you do too much volume, your body will have a stress response that will make you feel crummy and make your body fat even more stubborn.  


The fix: Rather than adding more workouts, focus on pushing yourself harder on those 3 strength days.  From there you can add stuff on your off days but make sure it’s active recovery, not high impact stuff.


Overcomplicating:  This is an extension of thinking more is more.  Overcomplicating workouts looks like doing a little bit of everything.  You like some of what I have to say, so you’ll do that a couple days a week.  You also saw a celebrity advertise a HIIT thing, so you’ll do that a couple days a week.  Spinning seems like a thing, so you’ll throw some of that in along with some kick boxing.  Sound complicated?  How about complicating nutrition?  This looks like jumping from buzzword to buzzword.  One week you’re gonna do intermittent fasting.  The next, low carb.  After that, vegan.  Besides the wild inconsistency that will cause, it is way. too. Complicated!


The fix:  Let’s not turn your fitness and nutrition scheme into something that requires a PHD and superhuman discipline to properly execute.  Trust the process and don’t mess with the recipe.  If I gave you a great recipe for cookies and you started adding random ingredients to it, you’d ruin the outcome.  Stick with the quantity focused approach, or the quality focused approach to nutrition I spelled out in Part II.  Keep it simple.  


Unrealistic nutrition: How you think you are eating can be very different from how you ARE eating.  You’re doing great on your workouts, you think you’re eating well, but you aren’t seeing the results.  Its nutrition.  It could be doing great all week and then not great all weekend.  With nutrition it is really easy to swing wildly from very on track to completely disinhibited eating.  That’s what happens when you catch a case of the “screw its” and you stress eat way too much of all the wrong things.  The worst part about this is we tend to block that disinhibited eating from our memory.  


The fix:  A couple times a year, be really strict with either of the nutrition methods I recommend.  4 weeks after the new year and 4 weeks in the fall is perfect.  This gets you some great results fast, establishes some momentum, and resets a healthy baseline.  You shouldn’t be strict every day year round, or never eat certain foods again, but brief periods of higher discipline will help reset your intuition.


Lack of progressive overload:  Short and sweet, you aren’t progressing your strength training.  You’re doing the same weights over and over on the same lifts.  You aren’t getting measurably stronger in a lift then moving on to more challenging progressions.  If your strength days seem easy, that’s a red flag.  You will also miss out on progressive overload if you are only doing HIIT style workouts.  In that format, speed and dealing with a bunch of people at the same time are the priorities.  Actually pushing your strength is not.  This means that even if the workout is “different every time” it’s probably roughly the same types of exercises, with the same light/medium weights, for roughly the same repetitions.  In reality those workouts are usually the same stuff in a different order.


The fix:  You should consistently progress most major lifts, most of the time.  This means more resistance over time as you get stronger and it also means you should progress to more challenging variations.  Goblet squats can get heavier with a heavier kettlebell.  Then they progress to 2KB front squats.  Then they progress to the barbell front squat.  Even when you circle back to a goblet squat, you can handle more weight than when you did it before.  What challenged you a month ago won’t challenge you the same way now.  Remember, bored muscles don’t burn fat : )


Focusing on the wrong things:  Yes, if weight loss is your goal, we want to see weight go down.  That said, if we only focus on the outcome you want, it can cause some problems.  Most of us don’t put weight on overnight, so it isn’t going to come off overnight.  If you are only focused on the outcome, you aren’t allowing yourself to feel happier until you achieve that outcome.  Even when you do, that happiness is fleeting.  


The fix:  Focus on the process and you’ll start feeling better immediately.  Within 1 week of cutting booze and sugar from your diet, you’ll feel way better and have more energy.  Within 3 weeks, you’ll see and feel noticeable progress on your lifts.  You’re getting stronger!  That makes you feel more confident.  Within a month you’re getting your first compliments from a friend or coworker that you look great.  You realize you look forward to group photos instead of dreading them.  You can still have a while to go on your fitness journey but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride.  


Going it alone:  When you don’t have someone guiding you every step of the way, and you don’t have anyone around you going through the same struggles, you simply won’t do as well.

The fix: Talk to me!  Request more information in the box above or below this article and I’ll take care of the rest!


Our first location serves Portsmouth, Kittery, and the broader Seacoast community.  Our new location serves Kingston and the broader southern New Hampshire community.   We help people strength train, walk daily, and eat real food.

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