If you’re just tuning in, over the last month we’ve been discussing what makes for a Fat Loss program that actually works. There are FOUR components that we deem are absolutely necessary in a fat loss program, but there is also a BONUS #5 (at the bottom of this blog post) that we also felt compelled to include, as it’s actually where most people FAIL if they’re not careful. (Don’t let this happen to you)
We’re now discussing our fourth and final component that must be included in a well-designed fat loss program. These are programs that will set you up for success (and not a scheme for you to spend hundreds of dollars and end up failing forward).
Believe it or not, most fat loss program’s #1 goal? To take your money. To give you enough results that you see something happening, but to keep you from your FULL potential so that you continuously open your wallet for them.
While this is an ongoing problem in the health industry, not ALL programs are like this. Deciphering between them can be difficult with the number of “shocking claims” that many seem to purport. This is why we’re outlining the components that you should definitely see being addressed in any fat loss program you partake in. Whether you’re joining us for our IRON 4-Week SHRED or doing something else, you want to make sure you’re doing something that will give you the platform to succeed so you don’t waste your time and money.
IRON is committed to bringing you the best possible information so that you don’t have to sift through the garbage. So let’s get to it!
Our final Fat Loss Program Essential Component is:
This is probably not what you were expecting, right? You’ll soon see why this is a very important topic to discuss and why it’s part of a fat loss program that works.
You’ve probably all heard that your diet shouldn’t be a diet at all, but rather a LIFESTYLE CHANGE right? While we whole-heartedly agree with this (sustainability is KING), there is an aspect of this that needs to be addressed.
When you’ve found an eating style that works well for you, meaning you don’t feel deprived, you enjoy the foods you’re eating, you feel good, and you’re able to obtain (or work to obtain) the body you desire, you’re in a GOOD PLACE.
In fact, that’s the ultimate goal as a fitness professional: To help our clients find the workout, eating, sleeping, and hydration habits that work well with their lifestyle and also give them the results they’re looking for. You could view us almost as your Sherpa. We aren’t going to carry you on our back, but we know these paths very well and we want to guide you into your goals by supporting you and helping you as much as we can.
Here’s where having focus comes into play. You can’t be super-focused on any one thing for too long. For example, if you are in a caloric deficit ALL year long, you’ll run into some problems. If you were able to actually stay in a caloric deficit for an entire year, your metabolism would likely have slowed to a crawl or could even be damaged. This isn’t unfixable, but because of the prolonged dietary restriction, it will take quite a bit of work to bring your metabolism back to a normal speed. You’ll also run the risk of other health problems due to the fact that your body was basically hungry for an entire year. Hair loss, mental fog, sleep problems, and energy problems are all very possible and harmful effects. This is assuming you have the mental capacity to stay in a caloric deficit all year. The more common scenario is that mentally you plan to stay in a caloric deficit all year in order to lose fat. But as your metabolism slows down and your body realizes it was being underfed, your hunger will start to increase and your willpower will start to decrease. This is your body’s response to not having the food that it wants/needs to function optimally.
This can lead to binge-eating, purging, over-exercising, and other reactions that stem from feeling out of control. Those behaviors can lead to all kinds of health issues in and of themselves.
Your body is hungry and it starts sending emergency signals to get you to feed it. It’s not pretty. It’s recommended to take “diet breaks” when your goal is to lose fat. This could be 4,6,8, or 12 weeks of dieting followed by 4-6 weeks of eating at maintenance so your metabolism can “catch up” and your body can get what it needs. You could then go back into a fat loss diet for another short-duration period of time. This is something you’d want to discuss with a coach based on past dieting and health history.
Alternatively, if you’ve found a way of eating that works well for you and you don’t have an end-goal with a date, it becomes much easier to let things slide here and there. For example, let’s say that you have a goal of losing 20lbs. You don’t really have a timeline for it, but it’s something you want to do. You’ve seen some progress with your current way of eating and so you continue to do that in conjunction with an exercise routine. Since you don’t have an end goal, you tend to eat out a few times per week and don’t really watch what you’re eating. No biggie. Then it’s your son’s birthday, so you have extra treats lying around the house, but you allow yourself to indulge a little bit. Again, nothing big, just a little bit here and there. You do this a few times per week and you start realizing that while you’re not necessarily taking steps backwards, you’re also not really progressing either. This is where FOCUS comes into play.
When you have a goal and you set aside a focused time period with a beginning and end date, you are far more likely to achieve that goal. You’ll notice that we aren’t saying you have to be strict and extreme during this time period, because you do still want to eat and workout in a sustainable way, but you are now focused on reaching a goal. It doesn’t mean your goal is PERFECTION, it just means that for this specific time period, you’re going to be focused on your goal. It’s the different between having 1 square of chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth or having half the chocolate bar because you’re not working towards any specific date, so you can be easier on yourself. In general, you’ll know that you don’t always have to pass on dessert, but maybe for the next 4-weeks you will do that. Maybe sometimes you decide to just go home and relax instead of hitting the gym (nothing wrong with that), but since you’ve got a focused goal, you don’t skip the gym for the next 4 weeks. It’s all about keeping your goal in front of you and allowing yourself to stay focused on it for a finite period in order to maximize your returns.
With this said, a fat loss program that is ON-GOING and does not have a start and end date is probably not the program you want, except for this one caveat. If you don’t have a timeline and don’t care how long it takes you to reach your goal? Then absolutely stick with making lifestyle changes and habit changes so that you can eventually reach your goal and then continue to live that way. It is effective, but only if you realize that it could take several months or years to be where you want.
If you DO want to achieve greater results in a shorter time, then having a short-term, focused goal is necessary. It gives you the changes that you’ll start seeing on a daily basis that will help to keep you pushing forward when things get tough.
As anyone who has been through a fat loss program will tell you, there are several stages that you will face as you work through your program. The changes that you see AND feel are what keep you going, along with the support and accountability provided by your coaches and teammates in the program.
BONUS Fat Loss Program Component #5
I know we said there 4, but we felt it was important to talk about something that tends to be missing with a lot of really good programs.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the ACTUAL program, but this missing piece actually has the ability to COMPLETELY reverse all of the results you’ve achieved in your fat loss program.
NOBODY wants to work their butts off only to find that all their hard work has been for naught.
So what is that component? The AFTER-CARE.
You went through a 4-week fat loss program, crushed your workouts, got stronger, lost weight, lost inches, you’re feeling awesome……and then the program ends. You don’t know what to do, your coaches gave you your big award for finishing and getting great results and you haven’t heard from them since, and while you intended on continuing most of your healthy habits, you kind of start to fall back into your old ways. Slowly but surely, the inches you lost have come back, the weight starts to creep up on the scale, you’re missing more workouts than you’d planned to, and now? You’re pretty much back to square 1. In some cases, you may even be in worse shape than before you started. This is because you exhausted all of your efforts in your program and now you’re just tired. Your motivation is gone, willpower is gone, and you’ve just thrown in the towel at this point.
A GOOD program will have a plan for you starting on the very next day after it ends.
Your coaches will show you where to go from that point and will help you to decide what your next steps are. For some, that might be to just maintain the results they’ve achieved. For others, it might be to do a different program to allow them to work on another goal. It varies from person to person, but the one common ground is that EVERYONE needs to have a plan for what happens AFTER their program ends.
Alright, so now we’ve covered it all. The 4 (+1!) Essential Components that should be included in a successful Fat Loss Program! We hope this was helpful to you and that you’ll take this knowledge with you wherever you go.
As always, you can refer back to it right here on the IRON Blog, you can schedule a strategy session with one of our IRON Trainers to discuss your goals and your best course of action, or you can join in on our very own fat loss program. You can be sure we’ve included all 5 elements in this 😀
IRON 4-Week SHRED
Our 4-Week SHRED program is the PERFECT solution for anyone trying to lose unwanted pounds and inches before the real summer hits (although it sure does feel like summer now!).
This program is designed to help you SHRED up, lose body fat, and be able to walk out on the beach with confidence this summer.
Here’s what’s included:
-3 AMAZING Full-Body Workouts Every Week
-4 Week Meal Plan (Simple, easy to follow and prepare, NO gimmicky cleanses or crazy restrictions!)
-REAL Results based on a Proven Scientific Approach
-Body Composition Analysis (No guesswork, just facts!)
-Access to our Private Facebook Group for ALL the Support you could EVER NEED (you’ll never have to do this alone)