Getting lean in lockdown

Being lockdown you may have decided that you would like to work on getting leaner. You see it as an opportunity to make a positive change and you want something focus on durin g uncertain times. This is awesome! Welldone on wanting to make a change taking that first step is never easy. When it comes to your physiology no much has changed (maybe some more cortisol from anxiety and stress), so the same principals still apply. It still comes down to energy balance (which is multifactorial and not just calories in vs calories out).


If you want to stay the same weight you need energy balance, which works as an average over time. Think of it like your bank account you can’t just save up your money all week and blow it all on the weekend. You can spend it when you like just make sure your not spending MORE than what your saving. If you spend the same amount you save, your bank balance will stay the same. If you want to get leaner, shift to a slight calorie deficiet, 200-300 cals/day is a good place to start.


3 Kick start strategies

It’s all great saying just eat less but it doesn’t really tell you how. You could download a calorie tracking app, weigh your food and count your calories, however it doesn’t need to be that hard. Instead try the 3 strategies below which seem easy enough yet can lead to you eating less and getting yourself into a deficiet.

  1. Eating at a regular times: Eating at the same time each day means you will be less likely to skip a meal (and potentially binge eat afterwards), and less likely to add in excessive picking/snacking where it’s hard to really know how much you’ve eaten.
  2. Slow down your eating: Slow down your eating, by slowing down you are giving your stomach a chance to let your brain know you’ve eaten enough. The next time you buy a pizza or burger eat it as slowly as possible (put a timer on your phone for 20 minutes), and let’s see if you still finished that pizza/burger.
  3. Check in on your hunger/fullness: Check in how hungry are you before you eat and how full are you after you eat. What you might notice is the longer the gap between your meals (i.e. 5hrs+) the hungier you’ll be which can lead to over eating and feeling sick and full afterwards.


Increase your NEAT 

NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, which is the activity you do during the day without thinking about it too much. NEAT can account for 15-30% of daily energy expenditure where as a 1hour workout might just tickle 10%, that’s pretty good return on investment.

Here’s how you can increase your NEAT;
– Get up and go for a walk around your house every hour on the hour, for 2 mins.
– Take your pet or loved one for a walk :).
– If your still at work, walk or ride bike into work or just park further away.

Focus on what you take in (food) first, then add exercise

Exercise without a calorie deficiet will not result in fat loss, if your intake is still higher thatn your output you’ll still gain weight. Having said that exercise definitely contributes to fat loss but inadvertently. It can help increase your basal metabolic rate leading to more daily energy expenditure, it can increase insulin sensitivity leading to better energy utilisation, it can do many more positive things but exercise by it’s self is not enough.  Keep exercising for other reasons like strength, mobility, wellbeing. Focus on your eating habits first as this has the greatest impact on fat loss, once you’ve got a routine with your eating start to add in structured training to help.