When people try to start losing weight they normally change one or two things to kick start the transformation. But there is so much more to it. Cover all the bases and your chance of success will sky rocket. Here are 10 absolute essentials if you want to blast the fat and lose weight for good – it is time for a full on strike against an expanding waistline.

TAKE YOUR TIME – Fad diets, starvation and binges of intense exercise are not the way to go. It might create impressive results over a short period of time, but it simply is not sustainable. Make some changes, integrate them into your lifestyle, see the scales gradually start to register positive figures, and then look for the next changes to maintain your progress. 0.5kg per week is a realistic and sustainable target.  Sustainability is vital.

LIFT WEIGHTS – Cardio is great when it comes to burning calories, but sub maximal cardio will not see you keep burning calories after you have finished. Lift weights to build muscle and raise your metabolism as a result. Increase your lean body mass and you will become more athletic with an improved body shape.

HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING – HIIT cardio is the most efficient and generates EPOC. The best way to access the fat stores is to ramp up the intensity with interval training. This could be running intervals or a body weight circuit, but is a far more efficient way of mobilising fat stores. If you train hard enough you will also generate EPOC or “Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption” which will keep you burning an increased number of calories long after your training has finished for the day. Find out more about interval training here.

DRINK PLENTY OF WATER – Water is useful when it keep to keeping hunger at bay as at it helps maintain that full feeling. It is also zero calorie and good hydration is beneficial when it comes to burning fat and losing weight.  Don’t drink your calories!

COUNT CALORIES – Most people significantly underestimate the number of calories they are consuming. Using a food tracker like MyFitnessPal helps re-educate yourself on exactly how much is going in, it helps you set goals and can lead to more positive food choices.

EAT QUALITY FOOD – point 5 tells you to take control of the total amount of energy you are putting into your body. This focuses on the quality of the fueling process. Is a calorie really a calorie? The debate is ongoing with this one, but there seems to be a fair assumption that 100 kcals of chicken, has a very different effect on the body, to 100 kcals of chocolate ice cream. The message is to get control of your macro-nutrients. High protein low carbohydrate diets have been seen to favour weight loss.

SLEEP FOR EIGHT HOURS A NIGHT – most people love a good kip. Late nights, early mornings and broken sleep take there toll. Reduced sleep leads to an increase in cortisol (the stress hormone). Increased stress levels are linked to increased fat storage.

CONTROL ALCOHOL INTAKE – total avoidance, or at the very least, control your alcohol intake. Not only is it high calorie but it can result in a spike in Ghrelin – the hunger hormone! A heavy session will likely mean stuffing you face with some high calorie foods. Not good for weight loss.

GET A TRAINING PROGRAMME – consistency is the key. You do not need to exercise every day. But regular planned exercise is vital when it comes to changing your body shape, developing fat free mass and burning energy. Rest is also important to allow your body to recover and adapt. 2 hour exercise sessions 7 days a week are not needed. Three to four sessions a week for 45 mins to an hour will definitely give you results.  Just make sure when you train you make it count. Struggling for time? Something is better than nothing so check out our Fast Blast sessions for fitness in 15 minutes or less.

TRAIN WITH A FRIEND AND ENTER AN EVENT – people become accountable and more likely to stick at it if they are working towards something. Training with a friend who is also looking to lose weight is useful. When you are demotivated and just don’t feel like it, accountability to your friend can be the shove you need to get out the door. Both deciding to build towards an event – a 5K, a Tough Mudder, a marathon could be the kick you need to get out and train. Finishing the event will give you such a feel good that you will start looking for the next big fitness challenge – more training, a love of fitness and a bulging waist a thing if the past!

There are loads of website to find out about events:

Runner World Events

Marathon Runners Diary

Tough Mudder Obstacle Races

British Triathlon

Marathon Des Sables – if you are really reaching for the stars

A quick Google search and the world is your oyster when it comes to finding out about global events.  Good luck!