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How to structure cardio and calories during a fat loss diet

Posted by Ben Disseldorp in Weight Loss

Estimated reading time: 6mins

How to structure cardio and calories during a fat loss diet

Don’t play all your cards at once

I see fat loss as a ‘deck of cards’.

Too often we’re so desperate to see results straight away that we play all our cards at once and by that, I mean cutting calories too quickly and taking on more activity than needed.

Common Weightloss Mistakes

The most common mistakes I see and have made myself include…

  1. A huge calorie deficit
  2. Dropping all carbohydrates
  3. Excessive cardio that cannot be maintained

Sure, everyone will see instant results and will see kg’s fall off the scale but that will soon come to a halt as your metabolism will have dropped significantly prior to starting a diet.

Most will not see further results and this will see a small percentage of people completely throw their diet away and give up.

But hold up!

It’s very simple to set up a structured fat loss plan to help you achieve your goals and burn fat.

It's important to have a plan of action when it comes to fat loss to avoid plateaus.
It's important to have a plan of action when it comes to fat loss to avoid plateaus.

Play one weight loss card at a time

Like I mentioned before fat loss should be played like a deck of cards, slow and measured and one at a time.

Let's jump into the weight loss first card to play when it comes to fat loss…

Weight Loss Card One: Slowly reduce calories

The best place to start is by reducing your daily calorie intake by about 300 calories. I find it best cutting these calories from fats and carbohydrates keeping protein the same.

Protein is great for recovery and muscle growth and it also keeps you feeling fuller for longer which is ideal on a fat loss diet.

Aim for 1.7g of protein per kg of body weight for the best results (Source). These 300 calories are taken from your baseline maintenance calories (you can find out your maintenance calories here).

The aim is to lose between 0.5kg and 0.8kg per week buts it’s important to note that fat loss is not only determined by scale weight. Take photos, measurements or get a DEXA scan done to better track your progress. Once your weight and progress stall after this reduction it is time to play card number two.

Weight Loss Card Two: Slowly Add Cardio

Yes, you probably guessed this next card. But when it comes to cardio, use this card to your advantage and don’t abuse it.

I like to add in cardio at 15-minute intervals at a time (slowly does it!) and my go-to is the stepper or treadmill on an incline. The 15 minutes is to be done in addition to normal daily activities.

Through each phase, you will eventually stop losing weight and will have to readjust. You can either reduce food or add in cardio.

I like to add in cardio and keep food as high as possible for energy to get through the day.

Slowly add extra cardio into your plan to keep on burning fat and losing weight as you move through your plan.
Slowly add extra cardio into your plan to keep on burning fat and losing weight as you move through your plan.

Moving through the weight loss phases

Okay so now you're probably wondering how this plan looks in action. Here is how I structure calories cuts and cardio during a fat loss phase...

Ben’s maintenance calories intake is 2800 calories.

Weight Loss Phase 1: 2500 calories

  • 300 calorie deficit
  • 15 min cardio per training day

Weight Loss Phase 2: 2500 calories

  • 300 calorie deficit
  • 30 min cardio per training day

Weight Loss Phase 3: 2500 calories

  • 300 calorie deficit
  • 30 min cardio per training day + additional cardio session of 60 min

As cardio is getting longer your session may be creeping up over 90 min if weight training is done alongside. This is where an extra (bonus) cardio session comes in on a rest day from training or during any spare moment you get. You are to do a 60 min cardio session of your choice during this phase keeping the same calories as previous phases.

Weight Loss Phase 4: 2200 calories

  • 600 calorie deficit
  • 30 min cardio per training day +bonus cardio session of 60 min

Still maintaining the current cardio sessions, you might want to now reduce food slightly.

Weight Loss Phase 5: 2200 calories

  • 600 calorie deficit
  • 30 min cardio per training day + 2x bonus cardio session of 60 min and 45 min

Same calories as the last phase just add in another cardio day of 45 min on another rest day.

Weight Loss Phase 6: Reduce calories to 2000 calories and maintain the same cardio regimen.

  • 800 calorie deficit
  • 30 min cardio per training day + 2x bonus cardio session of 60 min and 45 min.

Structured Cardio & Calories Summary

There you go, you should now get the gist of how to structure your plan!

Of course, this isn’t the only way, but I have seen great results with this plan plus it’s easy to follow which is a bonus.

Hold onto your cards (cardio and food) for as long as you can as this will optimise progress in the long run.

Extra Weight Loss Help with Supplements

Once you have the structure of your weight loss plan into action.

I recommend tracking food intake and your exercise with one of the great smartphone apps as doing this gives you a great record which you can look back on to see what's working and what's not.

If you're struggling to meet your food intake goals, Bulk Nutrients has a great range of online Weight Loss supplements that can help.

And of course, if you're ever unsure of what the best product is for your needs, they have the friendliest customer service team who are waiting to give you free advice.

References:

  1. Examine.com. 2021. Optimal Protein Intake Guide. [online] Available at: https://examine.com/guides/protein-intake/.
group of product images for proteins
group of product images for proteins

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