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Some words of wisdom from the world’s foremost personal trainer, Charles Poliquin. (Although please note; do not go to your GP asking for blood tests without the presence of symptoms. This article was not written with NHS funding in mind!)

Fat Loss Mistakes

Mistake No. 1

“You Aren’t Restricting Carbohydrates Enough”

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It is a scientific fact that low-carb, high-protein diets are effective for fat loss. But low-carb is a vague term, and the optimal carb intake will vary bared on genetics and activity levels.

In a recent review of low-carb diets, researchers suggested that a useful definition of low-carb is less than 50 grams a day for overweight people because this will lead the body to produce ketones and burn fat.

For the best results, those 50 grams of carbs should come from vegetables and selected fruits, such as berries, pomegranate, or kiwi. Grains should generally be avoided, especially processed grains.


Mistake No. 2

“You Are Under Too Much Stress”

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This is a big one! The effect of stress is often under-appreciated for its role on metabolism. Chronic stress is one of the most important issues to address if you are not loosing fat.

The reason is that persistent stress leads to cortisol secretion and cortisol’s primary function is to increase blood sugar (bringing with it an insulin spike) so you have enough energy to get through a stressful situation.

When this becomes chronic it produces inflammation and alters the hypothalamic pituitary axis, which means the body is not working right any more. Everything is out of balance in the body and fat loss simply wont happen.

Meditation, psychological therapy, or going to a functional medicine doctor and all things that might help, if you are having trouble truly de-stressing your life. On a related note, if you are stressed, you probably aren’t sleeping enough, exacerbating your lack of progress.


Mistake No. 3

“You Are Deficient In Vitamin D”

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A Vitamin D deficiency is associated with greater fat mass in all ages, races and both genders. Raising Vitamin D levels to the adequate range can lead to fat loss.

For example, a recent study found that women who took vitamin D for 12 weeks lost 2.7 kg of fat compared to a placebo group that lost nothing. This study did not modify diet or include training; the only thing different between the groups was that one took vitamin D.

During the winter and spring, surveys show that the vast majority of people develop vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight, whilst darker skinned individuals are particularly susceptible. Be aware that low vitamin D is prevalent even in the summer because the body doesn’t effectively make Vitamin D if you’re wearing sunscreen and sunglasses.

Get your levels tested by your doctor with a simple blood test. Health organisations don’t agree on the minimal vitamin D level for wellness, but most experts recommend levels above 40 ng/ml to be ideal.


Mistake No. 4

“Training Errors Or Simply Too Much Cardio”

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Doing steady-state cardio produces diminishing returns when it comes to fat loss.

In addition, both over-training and under-training are common obstacles to fat loss. If you’ve been lifting two-a-day in the hope of triggering fat loss, or just training too much volume for too long, you may need to back off and reset the body and let your adrenals recover so that fat loss can occur.

On the other hand, if your workouts are casual, have long rest periods, aren’t particularly challenging, or don’t make you sweat, you probably are not giving it all you could in the gym.

In general, for fat loss you should use 30- to 60- seconds rest periods. Try a sprint interval program or strongman training to accelerate fat loss.


Mistake No. 5

“A Food Intolerance – Gluten & Dairy Are Common”

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A food intolerance can impede fat loss because it leads to inflammation in the gut- a critical part of metabolism in the body. Gluten and dairy are common food intolerances, that when eliminated, result in fat loss.

You can test for a food intolerance by getting a blood test, but a simpler way is to eliminate the suspected food in question for a whole week. If you are intolerant to that food, you will likely feel better quickly. Once the gut is able to heal, you’ll find that fat loss beings to occur if you tighten up your efforts and give it all you’ve got.




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