Disclaimer

I am not a doctor, nutritionist or personal trainer. I am simply outlining what has worked for me.

If you wish to make any drastic changes to your diet or exercise regime then you should discuss it with your doctor.

Intro

I’ve always been pretty happy with my weight, however, in June 2018 I realised that dropping some pounds and becoming slightly lighter on my feet could be advantageous for running, boxing and for my overall health.

Before researching weight loss techniques I needed to decide how I’d set my challenge and what metrics I’d measure. Rather than just aiming to lose a certain amount of weight I chose to use body fat percentage as my prime metric.

The reason for this is that measuring your weight alone will tell you very little, two people can weigh the same but have totally different body compositions & health risks. A prime example of this is Anthony Joshua, he weighs 17 stone and would be classed as obese based on his height and weight alone (BMI).

Your body fat percentage tells you how much of your body is made up of fat. Maintaining an ideal body fat percentage can prevent a range of health risks associated with obesity such as diabetes, stroke & heart problems.

I then began researching what the ideal body fat percentage is, I went with the figures below which are from the American Council on Exercise:

Ideal Body Fat Percentage Chart

(American Council on Exercise)

After seeing these figures I set myself the challenge of getting below 14% (Athlete).

In June I weighed 83.5kg and had a body fat percentage of 21.4%.

By November I weighed 73.3kg and was 13.6% body fat.

This meant that I had lost one and a half stone and completed my body fat challenge. Below are some photos and stats/charts from my smart scale to show my progress:

June 2018 VS November 2018

I weighed in this morning (27th of January, the day this blog is being published) at 72.6kg and 12.8% body fat:

I’m now in the process of attempting to gain strength and bulk up while maintaining a body fat range of 12-14%.

I’ll write a blog on my progress over the coming months.

Now, onto the techniques & changes which are responsible for my fat loss!

Measuring and tracking

After setting myself the challenge of getting below 14% body fat the first step I took was setting benchmarks. I weighed myself on my Garmin smart scale which measures your weight, body fat percentage, body water percentage and other health metrics.

The data is then pushed into an app with charts to show your progress. When I take on any challenge I find it essential to set clear goals and to have an accurate way of measuring them. This applies to most challenges whether they’re to do with health, business or finances.

The smart scale is also connected to my Garmin smartwatch which provides additional data and insights into my workouts.

I found that checking my weight/body fat stats on a daily basis was essential. People seem to love to overcomplicate weight loss & dieting but I found that all I needed to do was make some tweaks to my eating & exercise habits to ensure that I was burning more calories than I was consuming.

Once my weight started dropping I then ensured that I kept the downward trend going. If I found that my weight was sticking then I’d simply increase the amount of exercise & decrease the number of calories I was taking in.

Measuring my progress helped keep me accountable and it was encouraging, recording the data on a daily basis and seeing small improvements would show me that I’m on the right track.

Those re-affirmations would cause a small ping of dopamine similar to the satisfying feeling you get when you tick something off of your to-do list. Patience and consistency is the key with weight loss, even if you only lose a pound a month then you’ll still lose a stone over the course of a year if you remain consistent.

Intermittent Fasting

There’s a lot of hype around intermittent fasting, however, I have found the hype to be justified. I accredit a fair amount of my fat loss success to my consistency with intermittent fasting.

 

So let’s start with exactly what intermittent fasting is; Intermittent fasting is simply alternate cycles of eating and not eating. Most people fast every day while they sleep, that’s why your first meal in the morning is called Break-Fast. Intermittent fasting simply extends this period of not eating slightly further.

“We fast every day while we sleep, that’s why your first meal in the morning is called Break-Fast.”

I found Intermittent fasting far less restrictive than typical diets as you don’t necessarily need to alter what you eat you just alter when you eat.

Why intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting has a huge number of benefits, if someone was able to put all the benefits into an easy to swallow pill then they would make billions.

The main reason I started intermittent fasting was to aid fat loss. Fasting has an impact on your hormones, it lowers insulin levels, increases growth hormone levels and boosts your norepinephrine all of which help with the breakdown of body fat. (1)

As well as fat loss there are two other reasons why I have made intermittent fasting a permanent habit.

Firstly it improves cognitive function, Professor Mattson the current chief of Laboratory of Neuroscience at the national institute on ageing has outlined that the brain reacts similarly to fasting as it does with regular exercise. Both activities affect increasing protein production in the brain, which then promotes the growth and connection of neurons and strengthens synapses.

This is all sounds great in theory but I have found that I genuinely am sharper while fasted. For this reason, I tend to shift my demanding workloads or writing to around 11am-1pm while at the peak of my fast.

Secondly, it causes you to go into a state of autophagy, the word autophagy comes from the Greek auto (self) and phagein (to eat). So the word literally means to eat oneself. Autophagy is the body’s natural way of healing itself: your cells create membranes that hunt out scraps of dead, diseased, or worn-out cells; absorb them and use the resulting molecules for energy or to make new parts.

A simpler way to look at this is that fasting allows your body to take a rest from constantly digesting and begin working on other areas of the body instead.

My chosen intermittent fasting method:

There are various fasting cycles and techniques to choose from, my cycle of choice was 16/8. Doing a 16/8 fast means that you fast for 16 hours then have an 8-hour eating window throughout the day.

My approach to it is that I skip breakfast, begin my eating window at around 1 pm then stop eating at 9 pm.

During my fasting period, I only drink water and black coffee, the rule of thumb is that if you ingest any calories during your fasting window then you will break your fast. This includes juice, coffee/tea with milk or sugar, protein shakes etc.

There seems to be some confusion out there as to whether 0-calorie energy drinks fit will break your fast or not, however rather than risk ruining my progress I keep things simple and just stick with water & black coffee.

During my eating window, I tend to eat two meals (Lunch & dinner) I make these two meals as nutritious and high in protein as possible. By doing this it makes my fasting periods far more bearable. I was also careful not to overdo it within my eating window as that would reverse the metabolic effects of fasting.

It took a little while to adapt to intermittent fasting initially, but after the first month, it became enjoyable. I spent some time in Italy in August 2018 and planned to not fast while on holiday, but eating breakfast just didn’t feel right! Intermittent fasting has become a daily ritual for me & the benefits are incredible.

If you need any further convincing that it’s the real deal; Terry Crews swears by intermittent fasting (Google it).

High intensity interval training

To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume. I’d already slightly lowered my calorific intake by fasting, I then increased the number of calories I was burning through exercise.

I set a target of burning 1000 calories every time I set foot in the gym, I measured this through my smartwatch.

Having tried various types of exercise routines within the gym such as long distance treadmill running & weight training workouts I found that I burnt calories at the fastest rate when doing High-Intensity Interval training.

What is high-intensity interval training?

High-intensity interval training or HIIT is essentially high-intensity bursts of speed from 10 seconds to 3 minutes followed by a recovery phase.

The whole point of HIIT training is that you are working your body to its limit, when you do this you boost your endurance, increase metabolism, regulate your insulin levels and increase the rate of which you burn fat.

There are a huge range of exercises you can do as part of your intervals, I built up a range of workouts which combined 30 second – 3-minute intervals such as boxing (Bag work or sparring), Treadmill sprints & bodyweight exercises (Push-ups, squats, burpees, sit ups etc)

 

I also used my smartwatch to keep an eye on my heart rate during workouts, according to mayoclinic.org The Vigorous exercise intensity range is when your heart rate is between 70-85%. (When exercising in this range your body uses the most calories and burns the most fat)

On average I’d do around 3-5 HIIT workouts per week, they aren’t particularly pleasant but it’s worth it, as HIIT burn 25-30% more calories than other forms of exercise (3). However the benefits don’t end there, several studies have shown that HIIT increases your metabolism for hours after exercise (4).

HIIT also has an incredible effect on the heart. All exercise is good for the heart as it can lower cholesterol, decrease the risk of blood clots and even reverse heart disease however according to recent studies HIIT is particularly effective as it builds heart strength by increasing your hearts pumping capacity. “In order to increase the strength of any muscle, you have to stress it,” says Paul Robbins, a metabolic specialist with Athletes’

Cut Out Alcohol

Cutting out alcohol has a huge range of benefits and it played a big part in my weight loss. The benefits have bled into other areas of my life and for this reason, I’m currently into my 5th alcohol-free month, and I’m considering doing a full year alcohol-free.

Drinking was never a big part of my life but cutting it out for a period of time has still been difficult. I found the physical act of giving it up fairly easy, what’s been difficult is resisting the social pressure to drink; Initially, I heard the phrase “Why can’t you just have one beer” multiple times per month.

The Christmas period & New Year’s Eve were particularly difficult and at times I felt like I was just being lame but early on I decided that the only way I’d really cut down on alcohol was by cutting it out altogether, if I gave in and had “just one beer” every time I went out then I wouldn’t have cut down at all.

In terms of weight loss, I found that it wasn’t just the lack of high-calorie alcoholic drinks (Your average pint of beer has 200 calories which is the equivalent to a slice of pizza). I also found that the additional benefits played a role and compounded together to help with my fat loss challenge.

Benefits of cutting out alcohol:

Deeper sleep:

Alcohol affects the quality of your sleep. When you drink too much you spend less of the night in REM sleep which is highly restorative. Cutting out alcohol all together meant that I would consistently sleep better, wake up earlier/more refreshed.

This meant that I would consistently smash my Sunday morning gym session rather than having those occasional hungover Sundays where instead of hitting the gym I’d rather lay around eating rubbish and feeling sorry for myself.

Improved mood:

We hear many different things about how alcohol affects our brain, most notably that it is a depressant. Alcohol affects your brain chemistry by altering levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine.

Alcohol increases the amount of dopamine released into your “reward centre”. The reward centre is the combination of brain areas which are affected by virtually all pleasurable activities, including everything from spending time with your friends, or going on holiday, to ingesting drugs like cocaine & meth. (5)

By increasing the levels of dopamine in your brain, alcohol tricks you into thinking that it’s making you feel great. The effect is that you keep drinking to get more dopamine release but at the same time you’re altering other brain chemicals that are increasing feelings of depression. The full force of this can be felt the next morning when you wake up feeling anxious, regretful & guilty due to the withdrawal from alcohol. (6)

Cutting out alcohol prevents me from having any days where I’m irritable due to being hungover and helps prevent those days where I just don’t feel like going to the gym.

Improved cognitive ability:

Alcohol has both short term and long term effects on memory and concentration. For occasional to moderate drinkers it can cause memory impairment, blackouts, recklessness and impaired decision making. (7)

If I ever had a particularly heavy night on a Saturday night I’d find that I’d be less sharp the day after and sometimes even the day after that!

 

I was never a particularly heavy drinker but I’d still say that cutting out alcohol has helped not only with weight loss but it also helps me be more effective while running my business & more importantly it positively affects my Family Life.

December 2019 Update:

Since publishing this post I have now completed over one-year alcohol-free. I recently published a full post on the subject, to read about the benefits of giving up alcohol in full and my experiences click here.

Join an Accountability Group

Whether it’s losing weight, giving up alcohol or starting a business; you are far more likely to succeed with your goals when you have people to encourage you and hold you accountable.

If you’re thinking of setting yourself a weight loss challenge or taking on any sort of challenge and would like to be held accountable then click here to join the Oshoko Tribe. 

This will give you the opportunity to share your progress with other individuals from the UK who are on similar paths. (and it’s free)

Recommended Tools

Throughout this blog, I’ve mentioned two Garmin products which have been imperative for tracking my fat loss and for providing me with workout insights.

 

Click the product images below to view them on Amazon.

Garmin Vivosmart HR Activity Tracker

Garmin Index Smart Scale

Conclusion & Action Points

My goal with my content will always be to be as straightforward, pragmatic & informative as possible.

I hope I’ve made the techniques I used to lose fat sound simple, the process was simple but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was easy. There were times where I sat in early morning meetings watching my business partners & clients dig into their full English breakfasts while I sat there with my black coffee.

There were evenings where I’d crave a beer or a glass of wine with my girlfriend. There were times in the gym where I didn’t feel like pushing myself to my limit with sprint intervals.

However, I found that It was all worth it for the satisfaction of crushing a challenge. There’s also something quite empowering about changing your body composition at will.

If you feel that you could do with losing a few pounds I do urge you to take action and set yourself a challenge to drop some fat & improve your health but I need to emphasise some final points:

1. Your body is an incredibly complicated biological machine, if you’re going to make drastic changes to your diet or exercise regime then you need to talk to your doctor first.

2. If you have any question regarding my personal fat loss drop me an email on Elliott@oshoko.co.uk.

3. If you found this blog helpful then leave a comment at the bottom of this page to let me know.

4. If you would like to read my future blog posts click here to subscribe.

5. If you set yourself a fat loss challenge there may be moments when it gets tough, but embrace the struggle and push on – you can do it.

The Next Blog

My next blog is based on a subject which is easy to disregard and avoid; The Next Recession.

  • I’ll show you the mounting evidence which points to us being on the edge of the next recession.
  • I’ll explain why recessions are inevitable and how they can actually be healthy for long term economic growth.
  • I’ll then tell you exactly what steps I’m taking now in order to prepare for it.

Click here to read it now!

If you enjoyed this blog feel free to check out the previous one: Proof That Talent Is a Myth.

Thanks for reading!

References

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