Although a lot of our programming is built around strength principles and preparation for strength training the vast majority of our members come to us with fat loss or body composition goals in mind.
Although traditionally fat loss is viewed as calorie deprivation and strength work, calorie surplus with little option to progress either goal without these parameters. For most people there is much more flexibility to their approach than initially thought.
Keeping in mind this is not aimed at the competitive powerlifter or strength athlete that is more concerned with adding mass to cope with maximal strength- rather geared towards 90% of people looking to drop unwanted body fat and start to feel well, while strength improvements are an exciting bi-product.
Lets address the elephant in the room before getting stuck in- if you’re coming into the gym to lose 10kg but are on a strength program- you have an abundance of stored energy sitting around the belly and hips. There really isn’t any need to be in a calorie surplus- in fact you will find if you’re eating quality foods and training well, you will drop body fat even at maintenance calories.
Once you have cleaned up the mud from around the middle and are sitting at a leaner physique, you’re more receptive to carbohydrates through better insulin sensitivity and then you can start moving into a calorie surplus, a surplus of calories feeding straight into muscle rather than adding to stored adipose tissue.
We often have the discussion with clients when entering a strength program who have nutrition questions, that it is incredibly important they are clear on what is goal number one. Is it maximal strength, or dropping some fat.
Make the main thing, the main thing. One at a time.
In fact for a beginner through to intermediate lifter there is no doubt in my mind that while eating with a fat loss focus (either slight deficit or maintenance like previously mentioned) you are still able to add weight to all of your major lifts, reps to gymnastic movements and time under tension in strength position holds while losing body fat AND getting healthier.
Provided you are not being unnecessarily drastic or venturing towards unsafe territory with your calorie deficit your performance should continue to improve. When it starts to slow that’s when we look at recovery and perhaps make a slight increase in calories.
In next weeks article we will go a little further into just how beneficial, for most people “cleaning up” your nutrition can be without having to worry about counting calories and keeping it simple- which, for most of you is exactly what you’re looking for. Results made simple.
The key takeaway today is this- never forget that your training program is merely the vehicle taking you towards your overall goal. Minor tweaks here and there to combat weaknesses and capitalize on strengths are essential to getting you there.
Believe me when I say regardless of your training goal, to achieve it you will have to work. Just make sure you are always working towards goal number one. The top priority. Strength, movement, S&C, HIIT aren’t necessarily the answer but a tool to contribute to getting you there.
The Hybrid Team