She’s the Australian fitness star who is known for her rock hard abs and enviable curves.
And now, Sophie Allen, 29, has revealed the secret to how she sheds stubborn fat – and she says it’s not simply a matter of exercising more.
‘I know how frustrating it is to feel like you’re doing everything right but for some reason, you’re not getting any closer to your fat loss goal,’ Sophie wrote on an Instagram post.
The Sydney-based personal trainer said while a regular exercise routine was key, as was sticking to a ‘clean’ diet, there were also some pieces missing from the puzzle.
From improving your sleep quality to how to keep your body in the optimal fat burning zone, here, Sophie reveals her simple steps to a leaner physique.
Sophie Allen (pictured left and right) has explained how she shed stubborn fat by embracing a variety of lifestyle changes and not just exercising more
The personal trainer said she was motivated to share about this after realising she’d hit a wall a year and a half ago, and that despite doing everything right, she still wasn’t losing fat.
How to calculate a caloric deficit?
To start, examine your base calorie intake level. Eating this amount of food you will neither gain weight or lose weight.
From there work out your deficit. This is how much you can take out from your base level intake to allow your body to be in healthy deficit.
However, Sophie said once she took a more holistic view of her lifestyle, including how she was affected by hormones and the role metabolism played, things started to progress.
The fitness star’s top suggestion to those who’ve found themselves dealing with a similar struggle was firstly to embrace the idea of a caloric deficit in order to kick-start a sluggish metabolism.
This system, she explained is one where more energy is burned than consumed.
One way of achieving this is to eat less, however, the health expert also said a slight increase in training volume can also achieve a similar effect.
Sophie’s top recommendation to those who’ve found themselves dealing with a weight struggle was to embrace the principle of a caloric deficit
‘The best way (to ensure a caloric deficit) is to do both of these things together,’ she said on a YouTube clip.
‘Decrease the amount of food you are eating and slightly increase the amount you are training to ensure you are in a caloric deficit.’
The Sydney-based personal trainer also said sleep quality was ‘super important’ as was a proper sleep routine.
The fitness star also stressed the importance of a proper sleep routine and her recommendation was to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
Her advice was to make sure you go to bed at the same time every night, and to wake up at the same time every morning, to not only assist with regulating sleep patterns but to keep hunger and fat hormones in balance.
She explained that when sleep is inadequate the body overproduces the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Restful sleep, on the other hand, she said helps ensure leptin, a hormone related to energy expenditure, is produced in sufficient quantities. This way your brain receives the correct signals your ‘energy thermostat’ is correctly set.
‘If you are only getting a few hours a night, your ghrelin levels can go up and your leptin levels can go down.
‘This means you are going to be feeling hungrier and less satiated by the food you are eating.’
The 29-year-old flaunts a body that’s been through the rigors of training, however, she notes a combination of factors help her stay slim as well as radiate good health
As well as diet and sleep, the 29-year-old also pointed out how the stress hormone cortisol needed to be managed for ongoing fat loss.
She said under normal circumstances, the body should awake with elevated levels of cortisol (needed for alertness) which then tapers off throughout the day.
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is your body’s main stress hormone. It works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear.
However, the demands of modern living can mean the body is often exposed to extra stress which can leave it flooded with too much coritsol and this can impact on the body in a negative way, namely through insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is a hormone that promotes fat storage and inhibits your ability to burn fat. Keeping insulin levels low, will allow the body to burn fat properly.
‘We want our bodies to be insulin sensitive so try and reduce insulin resistance you can meditate, try deep breathing exercises or even read as a way to balance those (cortisol) levels out and destress your life,’ Sophie said.
As well as diet and sleep, the Instagram star also pointed out how the stress hormone cortisol needed to be managed for ongoing fat loss
As well as lifestyle tweaks, the health advocate recommends tracking results and advises several ways to do this.
‘Before starting your cut, get your body fat done,’ she recommends.
‘So whether that’s guesstimating it with pictures, whether that’s measuring it (skin folds) with callipers, or using DEXA body composition scans or InBody scans – there are a few different ways of doing it.’
The health advocate believes in the benefit of tracking progress and offers a number of way to do this including taking photos
Sophie added there was always the option of tracking progress by using scales, a tape measure or through taking photos.
‘Photos are actually super important, you can often feel like you’re not really making progress and a photo will say so much.
‘You see your body every day so it’s hard to see those little changes. So photos and how clothes fit are really good indicators of how you are tracking with your fat loss progress.’
‘You see your body every day so it’s hard to see those little changes. So photos and how clothes fit are really good indicators of how you are tracking with your fat loss progress,’ Sophie said
The Instagram star also suggested macro-splitting as a way of staying fit, healthy and losing extra weight.
Macro-nutrients (also known as macros) are nutrients required to give us the energy to keep our body functioning.
What foods do a macro-split diet include?
A macro-split diet can consist of a 30 per cent protein, 40 per cent carb, 30 per cent fat macronutrient ratio
Healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado
Nuts and nut butters
Protein including fish, chicken, red meat, eggs
Carbohydrates: Sweet potato, pumpkin, green vegetables, rice
The three macro-nutrients are fats, carbohydrates and proteins and by consuming the correct amount of macro-nutrients for your desired results, whether that is muscle gain, fat loss or toning up, you are more likely to achieve your body goals.
Sophie shared three macro-splits she suggests to her clients, starting with those who typically have a higher percentage of body fat.
She explained this division would be a lower carb split and would equate to 25 per cent carbs, 30 per cent protein and 45 per cent fat.
For someone who is quite lean and wanting to lose just a little body fat, Sophie advised a more moderate plan.
This macro split would be 35 per cent carbs, 30 per cent protein and 35 per cent fats.
Lastly, the professional shared her recommendation for those with hormonal problems.
She explained an ‘iso-split’ or an even split of the food groups across each meal was optimal. This would be 40 per cent carbs, 30 per cent protein and 30 per cent fat.
‘Just ensure you are being adaptive to these macros (splits). You might be the sort of person who operates really well on carbs, you might be someone who operates really well on high fats – it just depends on how your body responds.’