There are many things to consider when panning a fat loss programme. Obviously the main thing that requires attention and change is your diet. You will need to look at your calorie intake, what nutrients you are getting your calories from, what foods you get these nutrients from etc. all of this is planned on a daily basis. You may change your diet day to day to keep things interesting and to stop you getting particular cravings.
The next thing you will need to consider is your training routine. Most people will have a weight training routine with a body part split that suits them and will then add in some cardio if they are trying to drop body fat. This usually consists of walking on a treadmill for a short while after their weight training is done.
A lot of people when dieting will work off a calorie deficit principle so will aim to burn more calories than they intake. If the right nutrients are consumed then this principle is an excellent way of determining fat loss. However with this principle if you are looking at daily calorie deficit then your calorie deficit will be different every day based on what activities you do or how much you train. If you train on one day but not on another do you change your diet on those days to achieve the same calorie deficit? Some people do. To me that leads to inconsistencies and confusion in the diet. If the diet is not constant it is far easier to slip up and start eating things you shouldn’t.
My solution to this problem is to plan your diet and training programme weekly. This requires you to look at the weekly calorie expenditure and keep the diet the same every day. The diet you are on shall be the same every single day without fail. That is nutritionally not necessarily the food as that would get very repetitive. Diets and training programmes must be progressive and this is where the weekly progressions come in.
If you are doing an 8 week diet for example you will have a starting level of calories and calorie expenditure. I look at this as a weekly total. As the 8 weeks progress I would lower the weekly total of calorie intake and increase the weekly total calorie expenditure as necessary. This means that diet remains relatively constant and you can fit training in to suit you. I will explain the diet first.
To reduce weekly calories is easy. If you are eating 2000 calories per day then you are eating 14000 calories per week (excluding a cheat meal). So if your fat loss stalls and you need to progress your diet you could reduce this to 13000 calories per week. This simply means you can drop 130 calories per day or you could reduce the diet by 200 calories, 5 days per week. It is far more flexible and allows for more planning and certainty with what you are doing.
As for calorie expenditure, that is far easier to plan. If you are aiming to maintain muscle mass I recommend you keep your weight training the same as it is in your mass building phase. Keep the body part split and the training style identical. The difference is that you will have weekly cardio or additional calorie expenditure targets. For example in week 1 you may have 1 hour of cardio to do. As the weeks progress you will increase this to a possible 4 hours of cardio to do in week 8. Because it is weekly calorie expenditure it doesn’t matter when you do this cardio. You could split 4 hours into 30 minutes every day for 6 days then 1 hour on the 7th. Or you could do 2 hours cardio, twice per week. It is totally up to you. The point is that you have to complete this weekly target.
Planning weekly allows for better observation and planning with the structure of your fat loss plan.
So if your fat loss has stalled or you are about to embark on a fat loss plan I urge you to try a weekly plan structure. You will find it very beneficial.