1. To lose body fat you MUST BE IN A CALORIE DEFICIT.
This means you are burning more calories than you consume.
Calories can be burned through a combination of exercise, NEAT, cardio and BMR.
This can be tracked daily or weekly and can be undulated to incorporate high days and low days etc. As long as an overall caloric deficit is achieved on average, you will lose fat.
Calories consumed include foods, drinks, and supplements consumed.
2. Prioritize resistance training over cardio
When dieting to lose fat, maintaining lean muscle mass should always be a priority. By weight training, you can burn some calories to help create a caloric deficit, but also maintain more muscle mass. If resistance training is replaced with cardio, lean muscle can drop very quickly which you do not want.
3. Cardio for fat loss is a Tool – Use it sparingly
Similarly to the above point of maintaining muscle mass, doing too much can be detrimental. So the best way to utilize cardio is to do the minimum amount required to achieve your goal. For example, if you can lose fat with 2 x 30-minute steady state walks per week, why do 5? Instead, keep the 2 x 30min walks, and when fat loss plateaus then you can increase to 3 or 4. This approach allows you to avoid sticking points in fat loss.
4. Track your macros
Many people lose weight by eating ‘cleaner’ or ‘healthier’. And yes this does work for fat loss in many cases, however, always remember that correlation does not equal causation. Meaning that it is not the healthier foods but rather a reduction in daily calorie intake that causes fat loss. Then when following a ‘clean eating’ approach without accounting for calories, when fat loss stalls, it is very hard to know what to adjust as you do not know what your calorie consumption is.
By tracking your macros you can make slight adjustments down in intake, allowing you to push through plateaus and achieve great long term fat loss results.
5. Hit your protein goal!
One of the most underutilized macronutrients in the pursuit of leaner physiques is protein.
Many people know it’s important but fail to achieve an adequate amount to maximize dieting and training results.
Aim for around 2-2.8g per kg of body weight for males and 1.5g-2g per kg of body weight for females.
This will help with muscle recovery from your training, as well as increasing your metabolic rate.
6. Manage your stress levels
A very common factor that is detrimental to fat loss, is constantly elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels. This can be caused by many different factors, and frequently a combination of some of the following
– Not enough sleep (aim for 7-9 hours per night)
– Lack of quality of sleep
– Poor nutrition
– High caffeine intake
– High use of electronic devices and social media 24/7
Some simple steps to managing stress better can improve fat loss results. Try to sleep more, eat healthier, stay hydrated, spend time with loved ones having fun, reduce time spent in front of screens and practice being grateful for what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t.
7. Train the big lifts
Use more ‘Bang for your Buck’ exercises in your training. Compound movements such as Squats, Deadlifts, Lunges, Pull ups, Rows, Bench Press, Over head Press etc have a greater impact of homeostatic disruption in the body, therefor achieving greater results of fat loss. They burn more calories, targets larger muscle groups and also have a positive impact on hormones in the body. Make sure you’re using these lifts in your training to get better results.
8. Use HIIT Training for greater calorie burn.
Research has repeatedly proven that HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training is superior for fat loss. Short explosive maximal efforts followed by longer rest periods creates a high calorie burn but also increases EPOC – Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This means your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate after the session for even up to 24 hours! So when sleeping you are still burning fat.
HIIT training can be down many different ways however running sprints, bike, rower, prowler are great. Try using a protocol of 20-40 sec maximal effort sprint, followed by 90-180s of recovery. Repeat 6-10 times.
The long rest is necessary to allow a fuller recovery so you can achieve a higher intensity in the following bouts.
9. Always diet on the highest calories possible
Remember that when losing fat, you never want to do more than you have to in order to achieve the desired result. So similarly to the cardio example above, if you can lose body fat on 2500 calories per day, then don’t reduce to 2000 calories per day unnecessarily. By dieting on the higher calories first, you can maintain more energy, keep your metabolism healthier, maintain more muscle mass, eat more, recover better and so on. Also starting on the higher calories give you more options when fat loss stalls, which it will, to be able to reduce slightly more to continue losing body fat. If you drop too low initially, you will lose fat, but once it plateaus you cannot simply continue cutting calories as you will eventually be starving yourself. This brings on a whole host of short and long term problems and often leads to yo-yo dieting which has been shown in research to include gaining back more fat than you started with.
10. Be Patient
Consistency is the most important factor to achieve your fat loss goals. In order to achieve long term sustainable results, you must set your mind to a slow and steady approach. It is possible to lose fat quickly, but not without sacrifices such as large losses in muscle mass, energy levels, recovery, metabolic damage moods and more. In this day and age, we are absolutely obsessed with quick fixes. However, there is no quick fix for fat loss. Simply putting together a strategic plan, and sticking to it long term making small adjustments along the way to keep moving towards your goal. It’s more like a marathon than a sprint. But you will be rewarded for your patience.
If you would like more information on how to best achieve your fat loss goals regarding nutrition and training, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Thank you for reading,
Professional Natural Bodybuilder