The Student Room Group

Fat Loss Advice

Hi all,
Just looking for some advice on fat/weight loss. Been a pretty big guy all my life but also fairly tall. Never been bothered by it but I've got the sudden motivation to lose the fat. Just want to look and feel better I guess.
What are some tips/advice you can give me? I was thinking of going to gym once my exams are done (so in 3 weeks) and plan to go around 5 days a week. Don't know how realistic that is... In the meantime I take walks and watched what I eat more. Also realised that eating once a day is enough, never feel hungry after that, is that unhealthy?

Regarding gym, is treadmill more effective than say cycling? I've always been told treadmill is better since you're moving your whole body compared to just your legs when cycling but I'm not too sure.

Sorry for the long post! Any help is appreciated!
Original post by SS__
Hi all,
Just looking for some advice on fat/weight loss. Been a pretty big guy all my life but also fairly tall. Never been bothered by it but I've got the sudden motivation to lose the fat. Just want to look and feel better I guess.
What are some tips/advice you can give me? I was thinking of going to gym once my exams are done (so in 3 weeks) and plan to go around 5 days a week. Don't know how realistic that is... In the meantime I take walks and watched what I eat more. Also realised that eating once a day is enough, never feel hungry after that, is that unhealthy?

Regarding gym, is treadmill more effective than say cycling? I've always been told treadmill is better since you're moving your whole body compared to just your legs when cycling but I'm not too sure.

Sorry for the long post! Any help is appreciated!

I'm no expert but I've done some research into this stuff over the last three years as fitness is something I hold quite dear. Here's some basic advice I've picked up that I think you can't go wrong with (especially starting out)!

1. 5 days a week is a good start, but in the beginning I'd start by COMMITTING to 3/4 days, just so you can 100% do that no matter what and don't end up disappointing yourself by being unable to complete 5 days right off the bat (muscle soreness is realllll :biggrin:). You can still end up doing 5 days, I'm just saying to COMMIT to 3/4.

2. Treadmill and cycling are both good forms of cardio. The treadmill is lower impact than running outside, but depending on how much extra weight you're carrying, it might not be the best to START with. (I'd research that yourself though, I'm not an expert).

3. Eating once a day is perfectly fine! It's called intermittent fasting and a bunch of people do it, I think it's a personal preference thing. What's most important is the quality of the food that you're eating. Are you getting all of the protein that you should for your body in that one meal? Is it heavily processed foods or mainly natural, whole foods? Make sure to check in with yourself to make sure that it's really right for you.

4. Listen to your body and focus. There have been so many times where I would be doing a HIIT workout, jumping around and gradually tiring myself out, when my form would slip but I wouldn't acknowledge it in the moment. Days and weeks after that workout, I'd have issues with my ankle or calf and I wouldn't be able to work out like before until the area would properly heal. Yes, push yourself - just try not to push yourself to the point of injury.

Above anything else just enjoy the journey. Your body will thank you massively for improving its life like this and you should feel proud for wanting to make a change in the first place. :smile:
Related question....can you lose weight just by doing weights, say bench press, but with little or no cardio? I've heard you actually can, but it doesn't seem to make sense considering what I thought I think I know about Biology.
Reply 3
Original post by Bongo Bongo
Related question....can you lose weight just by doing weights, say bench press, but with little or no cardio? I've heard you actually can, but it doesn't seem to make sense considering what I thought I think I know about Biology.

I've also thought about this, I guess it's doable with the correct diet? I'm just guessing here as I don't know much about this but I always thought fat loss was a combination of cardio and weights. I thought of it as cardio to lose fat and weights to build muscle but I don't think it's that simple.
Reply 4
Original post by greenmean
I'm no expert but I've done some research into this stuff over the last three years as fitness is something I hold quite dear. Here's some basic advice I've picked up that I think you can't go wrong with (especially starting out)!

1. 5 days a week is a good start, but in the beginning I'd start by COMMITTING to 3/4 days, just so you can 100% do that no matter what and don't end up disappointing yourself by being unable to complete 5 days right off the bat (muscle soreness is realllll :biggrin:). You can still end up doing 5 days, I'm just saying to COMMIT to 3/4.

2. Treadmill and cycling are both good forms of cardio. The treadmill is lower impact than running outside, but depending on how much extra weight you're carrying, it might not be the best to START with. (I'd research that yourself though, I'm not an expert).

3. Eating once a day is perfectly fine! It's called intermittent fasting and a bunch of people do it, I think it's a personal preference thing. What's most important is the quality of the food that you're eating. Are you getting all of the protein that you should for your body in that one meal? Is it heavily processed foods or mainly natural, whole foods? Make sure to check in with yourself to make sure that it's really right for you.

4. Listen to your body and focus. There have been so many times where I would be doing a HIIT workout, jumping around and gradually tiring myself out, when my form would slip but I wouldn't acknowledge it in the moment. Days and weeks after that workout, I'd have issues with my ankle or calf and I wouldn't be able to work out like before until the area would properly heal. Yes, push yourself - just try not to push yourself to the point of injury.

Above anything else just enjoy the journey. Your body will thank you massively for improving its life like this and you should feel proud for wanting to make a change in the first place. :smile:

Thanks for the reply!
1. I definitely will start with 3/4 days just to get into the groove of things. When you say is 5 is a good start, do people who want to lose fat go 7 days? I thought of that but thought it'd be too much to put my body through?
2. I only ask about treadmill vs cycling because I figured it'd be better to do something I actually enjoy, so I'm more likely to keep doing it. I really enjoy cycling compared to running but I'm concerned that running is a LOT more effective. I don't have a time limit or anything but still want this to be as quick as possible (eager to see results i guess)
3. I usually have 2 meals (lunch and dinner) when I'm home with my family but after moving out for uni I tend to just have an early dinner and not feel hungry for the rest of the day. Of course I have snacks here and there but I've started cutting those out, and now I just have fruits instead. I haven't completely shut out the unhealthy lifestyle yet, but it's getting there. I'm not sure if I'm getting enough proteins and stuff tho... how do I keep up with this?
4. Is HIIT workout essential for fat loss? I want a workout plan but can't seem to find one to fit me.
Change your diet dude and consider that it is only temporary, it doesn't mean that you will never eat a cake or ice-cream, you will do but only once a week.
Doing exercises is very good but it is a paradox because after you are tired you want to eat later.....
If you eat less and poor (like eating many fruits and vegetables without red meat) like people in Somalia you can not be fat :-)
Reply 6
Original post by SS__
Hi all,
Just looking for some advice on fat/weight loss. Been a pretty big guy all my life but also fairly tall. Never been bothered by it but I've got the sudden motivation to lose the fat. Just want to look and feel better I guess.
What are some tips/advice you can give me? I was thinking of going to gym once my exams are done (so in 3 weeks) and plan to go around 5 days a week. Don't know how realistic that is... In the meantime I take walks and watched what I eat more. Also realised that eating once a day is enough, never feel hungry after that, is that unhealthy?

Regarding gym, is treadmill more effective than say cycling? I've always been told treadmill is better since you're moving your whole body compared to just your legs when cycling but I'm not too sure.

Sorry for the long post! Any help is appreciated!

In the end, the only thing that makes you lose weight is burning more calories than you consume. That includes both energy you use just to stay alive (basal metabolic rate) and the energy you use from activity. You have to eat less than the sum of those. There are a few strategies to do that. You can eat less, exercise more, or (probably most realistic) a combination of both.

For the eating less part, one meal per day is viable if that works for your lifestyle. You'd need to make sure you eat enough variety of foods to get all your macro and micronutrients in, just like if you eat multiple smaller meals per day. Meal timing has such a tiny effect it's not worth worrying about. What you eat, not when, is far more important.

As for activity, the thing you enjoy most is the most effective for you, since you're more likely to do more of it. You said you enjoy cycling, which is good, because for an overweight person it's much lower impact on your joints. Sure, running may use a tiny bit more energy from upper body movement but if you cycle longer because you enjoy it, you'll burn more energy overall. HIIT is not necessary. It's not more effective unless you enjoy it. It's more mentally draining for most people and carries a higher recovery cost if you're weight training too. Personally, I find it a cakewalk to cycle at a moderate pace for over an hour while watching TV, but 20 minutes of HIIT is really hard.

If you want to get into fitness for the long term I'd recommend doing some weight training too. Muscle burns calories even when not moving so it's easier to keep the weight off if you have more of it. Plus, from my completely biased point of view, getting bigger and stronger feels badass haha.

Original post by Bongo Bongo
Related question....can you lose weight just by doing weights, say bench press, but with little or no cardio? I've heard you actually can, but it doesn't seem to make sense considering what I thought I think I know about Biology.

Yes, this is possible, but you'd need to eat even less than you would if you did some cardio. Remember, it's calories in Vs calories out. Cardio is good for you though so I'd recommend doing some.
Reply 7
Original post by Kyri
In the end, the only thing that makes you lose weight is burning more calories than you consume. That includes both energy you use just to stay alive (basal metabolic rate) and the energy you use from activity. You have to eat less than the sum of those. There are a few strategies to do that. You can eat less, exercise more, or (probably most realistic) a combination of both.

For the eating less part, one meal per day is viable if that works for your lifestyle. You'd need to make sure you eat enough variety of foods to get all your macro and micronutrients in, just like if you eat multiple smaller meals per day. Meal timing has such a tiny effect it's not worth worrying about. What you eat, not when, is far more important.

As for activity, the thing you enjoy most is the most effective for you, since you're more likely to do more of it. You said you enjoy cycling, which is good, because for an overweight person it's much lower impact on your joints. Sure, running may use a tiny bit more energy from upper body movement but if you cycle longer because you enjoy it, you'll burn more energy overall. HIIT is not necessary. It's not more effective unless you enjoy it. It's more mentally draining for most people and carries a higher recovery cost if you're weight training too. Personally, I find it a cakewalk to cycle at a moderate pace for over an hour while watching TV, but 20 minutes of HIIT is really hard.

If you want to get into fitness for the long term I'd recommend doing some weight training too. Muscle burns calories even when not moving so it's easier to keep the weight off if you have more of it. Plus, from my completely biased point of view, getting bigger and stronger feels badass haha.


Yes, this is possible, but you'd need to eat even less than you would if you did some cardio. Remember, it's calories in Vs calories out. Cardio is good for you though so I'd recommend doing some.

So cycling is still fine even if I'm doing literally nothing with my upper body? Similar to you, I could probably cycle for hours. Naturally, weight training is something I want to include. I'm not looking to get massive or anything, just lose the fat I have and then get toned (be confident without a shirt etc.) How can I find a solid workout plan that has both cardio and weight?
Original post by SS__
So cycling is still fine even if I'm doing literally nothing with my upper body? Similar to you, I could probably cycle for hours. Naturally, weight training is something I want to include. I'm not looking to get massive or anything, just lose the fat I have and then get toned (be confident without a shirt etc.) How can I find a solid workout plan that has both cardio and weight?

Cycling is absolutely fine! When we burn calories, the fat is burnt across our whole bodies, so it's not like your arms would stay massive while your legs get skinny :biggrin: If you want to tone your arms though, it can really help to do exercise that targets the different muscles in your arms. Things like bicep curls for your biceps, and (depending on hand positioning) push-ups for your triceps. Ultimately, if you want a particular body part to get more toned, doing exercises that target said body part will be useful.

Like @Kyri said, HIIT is not necessary for weight loss!! I personally enjoy it because I love the way I feel afterwards, but it is TOUGH. I wouldn't recommend getting into it early into your journey because it's so exhausting that it can be quite demotivating at first :biggrin:

You defo don't need to be exercising 7 days a week (unless you want to). I said 5 is also a good start because some people jump up to 6 (doesn't sound like a big difference, but you'll feel it)!

In terms of avoiding getting 'too big', that's not really something you have to worry about when you're lifting because you need to eat some INSANE amounts of protein AS WELL to get proper big muscles. Because your goals are just to improve your image/fitness and you also enjoy quite a bit of cardio, I don't think you'll get big without AIMING to get big.

To track your calories and macros, it can be helpful to use an app called MyFitnessPal or something similar. I found it really useful in the beginning to figure out what calories were in the everyday foods I consumed and help inform me on why I wasn't losing weight. High-fat foods like nuts and butter had way more calories than I was aware of! There are basal metabolic rate (how many calories your body burns just from existing) calculators online that you can use to help understand what your daily caloric intake should be.

I'm quite frugal, so spending money on some fitness influencers' workout plan was something I avoided like the plague. :biggrin: I did research into different body parts and the exercises that targeted them, how many times a week I should work them for max growth, when it's best to take rest days, how much to sleep, how much to eat, WHAT to eat, how much to drink etc. I've watched so many different videos on fitness, even just videos to see how my form should be, it's not even funny anymore. I say all this to highlight that you don't need to know everything all at once. Your body is unique and it'll take time to figure out how to achieve your peak physical form (if that's ever something you decide to aim for) so you don't need to rush yourself to know everything all at once!
Reply 9
Original post by SS__
So cycling is still fine even if I'm doing literally nothing with my upper body? Similar to you, I could probably cycle for hours. Naturally, weight training is something I want to include. I'm not looking to get massive or anything, just lose the fat I have and then get toned (be confident without a shirt etc.) How can I find a solid workout plan that has both cardio and weight?

Yes, cycling is great cardio. As said in the post above by greenmean, cardio burns fat all over your body. Weight training on the other hand, targets the muscle (not fat) in the specific areas you're training.

There are plenty of effective training programs which are 3 or 4 days per week and you can use the off days to do some easy cardio such as cycling. I personally prefer low intensity cardio since it doesn't interfere with recovery from the weight training. In my opinion, 5+ days of weight training per week is not necessary. Some may disagree, but for myself I find the extra recovery days help me progress better. Popular beginner programs are starting strength or stronglifts and these are both 3 days per week.

Another point... you would gain muscle/strength more optimally if you eat in a calorie surplus. I know your main goal at the moment is to lose fat and for that you must be in a calorie deficit. Lucky for you, as a beginner, you can lose fat and build muscle at the same time (while in a calorie deficit), but you can only truly optimise one of those adaptations at the expense of the other. So at some point when you're happy with your weight, I'd suggest switching to a small calorie surplus so you can build muscle and strength far quicker.

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