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Lose weight by beefing up

When it comes to weight loss, Equinox’s Jonathan Dick explains why cardio should actually be your last resort. Instead, balanced nutrition and compound exercises are the keys to your success

When embarking upon a weight loss journey ensure that you look carefully at both your nutrition and your training routine, for they are two sides of the same coin and you cannot have one without the other. If your training is off, the diet will only get you so far. If the diet is poor, the training will suffer and so will your results.

Cardio should be considered a last resort when it comes to your training – something that can be tagged on to your weight loss programme when you have exhausted all other variables. It is common to hear people rave about how cardio will burn more calories than weight training – this is only half true.

Yes, in a single session cardio is likely to burn more calories than a strength session. But what strength training will do for you, that cardio will not, is ramp up your metabolism for up to 36 hours while your body uses the protein, vitamins and minerals you have provided it with to repair the muscle damage from lifting heavy weights.

The breakdown of protein into smaller amino acid chains, and the repairing of muscle tissue increases your metabolic rate allowing you to burn more calories and ideally burn more fat, provided you are in a calorie deficit.

TRAIN REGULARITY

I recommend three to four strength training sessions a week when looking to lose weight, and that all of these sessions should contain one or two compound exercises. Focus on compound exercises that will target as much muscle as possible rather than endless cardio.

Compound exercises are those which involve more than one muscle group, examples include squats, deadlifts, bench press, standing shoulder press and pull ups.

The amount of muscle recruited during compound exercises is far greater than that in isolation exercises. They will challenge all major body parts, as well as your deeper-lying stabilisers and core.

NUTRITION – THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOUR

Protein will help maintain pre-existing muscle mass levels while trying to achieve weight loss goals; whereas the different colours of vegetables denote the vitamins and minerals they are abundant in, and all carry out different functions within our bodies. Fully optimised body function is the ultimate training weapon to help you see results.

There is a lot of crossover between the functions of the vitamins and minerals contained within most fruits and vegetables, but each colour has something specifically unique to offer us:

Whites

Immune support; gut health; heart health; and improve cholesterol levels.

Yellows/oranges

Support eyesight; joint health; heart health; fight cancers; and improve cholesterol levels.

Reds

Heart health; blood vessel health and general circulation; cell health and skin protection; and fight cancers.

Blues/purples

These contain high levels of anti-oxidants; they’re good for heart health; blood vessel health; and brain function.

Greens

Greens are ideal for detoxification; can improve cholesterol levels; bone health; immune support; and fight cancers.

Carbohydrates and fats should not be completely neglected either, as these will be required for energy to fuel performance in the gym. However, they should be monitored when you’re trying to lose weight.

BEWARE OF FADS

Do not follow trend headlines or fad-led diets that promise the quickest results. Nutrition and training adaptions should form the base of any weight-loss plan.

Jonathan Dick is a Tier X Coach at Equinox; Tier X at Equinox is London’s most advanced training programme consisting of lifestyle management, personal training, sleep and nutrition coaching. Equinox Bishopsgate is opening December 2019 offering high performance in the heart of the City.

For more information: equinox.com/bishopsgate

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