I want to help you. When it comes to weight loss you’ll hear a lot of different ideas, opinions, and ways to do it and I want to clear the water for you. I’m going to show you in this article every single aspect to dropping your body-fat and everything that goes into it.
Losing Weight Vs. Losing Fat
Here’s the thing, I don’t give a shit about how much you weigh, I care about what you look like. I want to make things super clear about the difference between ‘weight loss,’ and ‘fat loss.’
You’ve got to understand and stop basing everything off what the scale says your gravitational pull to the earth is. Can the scale be used as one of the tools to measure progress? Yes, but should it be the live or die by tool? Absolutely not. Can the scale stay the same (or go up) and you lose body-fat at the same time? Yes, I see it everyday with my coaching clients. Scale weight can be very deceiving.
There’s a big difference between the density of muscle and fat. Too often people use the scale as the only way to measure progress and that’s simply a plan to fail.
I’ll show you why, let me paint a picture for you: You’ve been busting your ass working hard and eating right but one morning you decide to hop on the scale to see your progress, and you haven’t budged a pound. Now you’re sad, disappointed, and feel you’ve been wasting your time and wondering if this whole thing is even worth it. Bad, right? What if I told you that you actually lost 7lbs of fat (that’s a shit ton), and gained 7lbs of muscle (that’s outstanding). If that’s true, you’ll look amazing but the scale will say you ‘haven’t lost any weight.’ That’s the very reason I do not suggest using the scale.
My favorite methods for measuring progress are:
– Circumference measurements (with a seamstress tape)
– The way your clothes fit (your tight clothes are now loose)
– The “holy shit you look amazing!” comments from your friends
You need to keep up on your measurements regularly every 1-2 weeks to make sure things are going the right way. If all of a sudden your results stop, it’s time to change something (Training, nutrition, sleep, stress, protein etc).
If you’re slowly dropping the inches every time you measure don’t change a thing. Why fix what’s not broken?
My number 1 reason for measuring on a regular basis is because you are the last one to see your own fat loss results. You see yourself in the mirror every morning and you may not see these small changes that end up making huge differences. I’ve had coaching clients lose 8 or 9 inches and not know they’re gone. I had a lady one time get upset about her not getting results and she ended up being down 7 inches off her stomach alone and didn’t know it was gone.
Success likes momentum. Once you hit your first goal of losing half an inch it’s easier to drop a full inch. Then it’s easier to drop 3 inches, then 6 inches, and so on.
Like I said, right now I want you to get away from the scale. Muscle density and fat density are totally different, that’s why this whole thing is about losing and reducing your body-fat, not just random ‘weight’ on the scale.
This is step one for fat loss. As in if you don’t have this, the other stuff won’t matter.
“So what is a calorie deficit?”
A calorie deficit is where you take in less calories than what your body burns.
“So how do you figure your deficit?”
Best thing in the world is having a good coach monitor everything and adjust as you go (That’s when my online coaching clients bring me in). But when it comes to doing it by yourself there’s a few different formulas you can use but I’ll give you a super easy one that you can play with yourself.
I personally am a big fan of cycling your deficit. Reason being is so you can eat more food. If you’re working out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday those days you should have more calories. Then on the days in between where you aren’t working out, you have less calories. Here’s how I’m going to have you figure out your deficit starting point:
– For a higher calorie day take your current bodyweight and multiply it by 12-13.
– For a lower calorie day take your current bodyweight and multiply it by 10-11.
Example: 165lb Sarah:
Workout days: M/W/F: ~1,980 calories
Off days: T/TH/S: ~1,650 calories
It doesn’t have to be just like that, that’s just an example.
So we’ve talking about the calorie deficit side of things, now let’s talk about the actual training part.
You want your entire program to be based around strength training.
“But Jared, I don’t want to get big and bulky I just want to burn fat.”
Perfect, that’s totally fine. Here’s why strength training is the best way to go about dropping your body fat.
Strength training makes your body burn more calories as a whole at rest—not just when you’re in the gym.
Recovering from a strength training workout and maintaining that muscle burns a shit ton of calories (It’s like loading up a pick-up truck with a bunch of rocks—it’s going to burn more gas now that the bed is full).
Now you’re burning more calories when you are at the gym, at work, at home, on the toilet, doing cardio, driving in your car, sleeping, and so on. That’s why you want your program based on a strength training plan.
“So how many days should you strength train?”
That varies to an extent when it comes to your goals but on average about 3 days/week. You can do 4-5 or could do 2-3. But for right now let’s say 3.
“What kind of exercises?”
Any strength exercise is good but when it comes to optimally training for fat loss you want the big exercises. The bigger exercises use more joints, more muscles, and you can lift more weight, which makes your output much greater. That in turn burns more calories. Things like:
– Chest presses
– Back rows
– Overhead presses
– Combo moves
Not that there’s anything wrong with the small more isolate exercises, but the bigger exercises will do a lot more for fat loss and also get you really strong in the process.
“Where does cardio come in? Do I need to do that too?”
Cardio is great, and for general health it’s amazing. It’s great for your heart, lunges, and a bunch of different other ‘systems’ the body has. Too many people though use it as their sole means for fat loss, and that’s bad. Is it an absolute must for fat loss? Not at all. But it can have benefits when it accompanies a full strength training program.
You can use it to just get a little jump up on the calorie burning, you can use it between strength train days, you can start your day out with it, or even end a day with it.
“So what do I work on each day?”
The thing to remember when strength training is recovery–everything’s about recovery. If you work your chest on Monday you don’t want to work it on Tuesday—there’s no time for recovery there. So here’s some weekly splits that’ll help.
M: Upper body
W: Lower body
F: Total body
M: Total body
W: Total body
F: Total body
(Notice because there’s 24 hours between days)
F: Total body
You can always throw cardio on days in between your strength training days.
There’s also an in between area where you strength train but given the way you do it there’s a crazy cardio feel to it. More like metabolic conditioning if you want to get technical about it. You’re working your muscles in a strength training, muscle defining way but it gives you a cardio workout that’s ramping up your metabolism. It works great for fat loss especially if you’re trying to get through a plateau, need a jumpstart, or are in a real time crunch. I have an entire plan of this kind of training in my FREE Warp Speed Fat Loss Guide. You can get a copy of it right HERE if you’d like, I’ll send it right over to you.
They say for every minute of planning it saves you an hour in execution. I believe that to an extent until too much planning gets in the way of execution. It helps to have a plan but the most important thing it to execute. Here’s some planning things you can start on now:
– Know what days you’re going to the gym
– Have your meals planned out
– Know what you’re going to be working on when you get to the gym
– Have a schedule when it comes to life, kids, work, school, and fitness
Let’s talk a little more in depth on the nutrition side of things. I mentioned at the very beginning about calories and the calorie deficit. Once you understand and have a grasp on that we need to talk about what calories are made of. Everything you eat is broken down into 3 macronutrients (macros): Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats.
Protein is arguably the most important macro because everything in your body is made of protein. Hair, skin, nails, organs, eyes, muscle tissue, everything. That’s why you have to eat it. Having a higher protein intake has some awesome fat loss benefits.
When it comes to fat loss specifically protein plays a few huge roles:
– It has the highest ‘thermic effect of food.’ That’s just science talk for it burns the most amount of calories just digesting it.
– It builds and maintains muscle tissue–which burns more fat.
– It has a satiety affect when you eat it. Basically it makes you feel fuller so you don’t crave more food.
– It’s not very calorie dense. 1 gram of protein is only ~4 calories.
– It’s one of the best things to keep your metabolism elevated.
“What are good protein sources?”
Carbs are great and even in terms of fat loss–they’ve just got a bad rep. Here’s some roles carbs play when it comes to fat loss:
– A lot of functions run off of carbs. They’re our body’s favorite energy source. And when you’re more energized you’re more active which means you’re burning more calories.
– Carbs are only 4 calories to the gram just like protein.
– Carbs help stabilize your blood sugar and insulin levels. When you have your blood glucose and insulin under control it makes fat loss a lot easier.
– They help with memory and sex drive. 2 very important things. 😉
– They taste good. You shouldn’t have to give up carbs to lose fat.
Fat too has a bed rep when it comes to reducing body-fat. Dietary fat and body-fat are 2 completely different things. Eating fat does not make you fat. Here’s some facts about fats that helps you lose fat. (Did that make sense?)
– Different systems and hormones run off of fats.
– They’re important for our eyes, brain, joints, and heart. Too many people think that ‘fat makes you fat,’ but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The one thing you have to watch out for with fat is that it is very calorically dense. It’s roughly 9 calories to the gram (protein and carbs are 4).
– They can help with satiety. They make you feel fuller.
– Different fat sources have a lot of super important vitamins and minerals—like the yolk of an egg.
– Your body can still use it as a fuel source which gives you energy. More energy = more calories you’re going to burn.
• Food choices
Here’s where a lot of people get this one wrong. No food is inherently ‘good’ or inherently ‘bad.’ It all comes down to what’s consistent. I personally love donuts. But let’s say I’m eating better quality food the 70-80% of the time, I’m in a calorie deficit and I have a donut. Are my fat loss results ruined? Absolutely not. In the same way 1 ‘healthy’ meal won’t make you fit, 1 ‘unhealthy’ meal won’t make you fat. Fitness and fat loss is about balance.
Obviously the healthier, better quality foods the better our bodies respond and utilize those nutrients but by no means do your food choices have to perfect. That’s why playing by the 70/30 or 80/20 rule will get you where you want to be. Where the majority of your calorie intake is with good quality foods—your lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, etc. Consistency beats perfection.
• Cheat days
I’m a huge fan of cheat days or cheat meals.
1) They help you mentally. If I say, ‘No you can’t have brownies or pizza ever again’ you’re most likely going to want them really bad, and there’s no reason you can’t ever have them again. If you’re trying to reduce your body-fat you don’t have to completely eliminate all the theses kind of foods. It’s all about what’s consistent and what’s not like I mentioned earlier, as well as your calorie intake. When you’re in a consistent calorie deficit it helps you mentally to have a cheat day every week or 2 (for most people).
Otherwise that’s when people are known for eating ‘perfect’ for a month or so and then they have a breakdown moment and binge for weeks at a time. That doesn’t help anyone. Eating 6 days in a deficit and primarily good quality food and then 1 day each week you have what you’ve been craving, and then go right back to your deficit that next day will keep you on the fast track to fat loss success.
2) They can also boost your metabolism if done correctly. When staying in a consistent calorie deficit for your metabolism can start to slow down (due to what’s called a negative energy balance) and you may get into a rut because your body is getting used to being in that deficit. That’s when your cheat day comes in. Out of no where you have a big calorie day and even if it’s in your ‘bad’ foods your metabolism can jump. Now, this only works if you’ve been in a consistent deficit and then go right back into your normal deficit after your cheat day. But don’t go too overboard with this either.
Water in terms of fat loss does a few things:
1) Keeps you hydrated which helps muscle repair (which burns more calories)
2) Helps with digestion and blood flow
3) Helps your mood and energy (which will make it easier for you to burn more calories)
4) Makes you feel fuller (so you don’t want to eat as much shit)
5) Helps transport nutritious all over the body
Everyone’s water intake is different but start with half your bodyweight in ounces. (160 lbs = ~80ish ounces/day). That’s just a general guideline.
I mentioned it earlier but everything comes down to recovery. If you aren’t recovering you aren’t burning fat optimally. Too often people try to eat super little, crash diet, not sleep, and workout too much. You have to recover for any fitness goal—including fat loss.
Sleep is where the real magic happens. I’ll put it to you this way—if you aren’t sleeping you’re going to be stopping your fat loss results with a screeching halt. Here’s why:
1) When you sleep you burn a shit ton of calories. So little to no sleep = less calories burned.
2) That’s when repairing starts to happen. Everything from your actual muscle tissues all the way to your central nervous system. If building lean muscle and strength is the best way to burn calories, then if you aren’t sleeping enough that’s another thing stopping you.
3) It helps your hormones balance. Any time your hormones are out of whack that alone can stop your fat loss ability. Sleeps helps regulate everything.
Aim for 6-8 hours each night. Life happens and sometimes that’s not the case but really make it a priority.
Another big sleep factor that doesn’t get talked about much is the quality. We hear the whole 6-8 hours but those have to be good hours of quality sleep. Here’s a few things that can help with the quality:
1) Lighten up on the electronics right before bed. This is one I struggle with because I’m always on facebook or Instagram right before bed but try to get away from your phone around an hour or so before bed.
2) Don’t do anything too stressful or strenuous as it gets toward bedtime. A lot of times working out right before bed, arguments with family, or more stimulating things like those can really affect sleep quality.
3) Consider a sleep aid. Now if you’re really having issues with sleep it might be worth talking to your doctor about or looking into. I’m not a fan of prescriptions but there’s a lot of more natural sleep aids out there.
4) Hydrate yourself. Dehydration can mess your sleep quality up. Just don’t go overboard otherwise you’ll be up going to the bathroom every few hours.
5) Eat before bed. Yes, I did just say that. As long as you’re within your numbers I promise you won’t be storing fat because you’re eating late. I know I can’t sleep if I’m hungry. Try leaving some room in your daily intake where you can have a snack before bed. Preferably something with protein.
6) Meditate and have quite time. Even if it’s for just a few minutes find time before bed to clear your mind and relax. Get your breathing slowed down, get your thoughts on more positive things, and prepare for bed. If you’re one of those who can’t shut off your mind you want to get that taken care of asap. You’ll be shocked at how much better your sleep will be.
A Few Other Misc. Things I Didn’t Have A Category For…
• Don’t get caught up in products or systems
Just to make you aware, since you’ve stumbled upon this article about fat loss, you’re going to be targeted in an algorithm from a shit ton of fitness/supplements/weight loss products and systems. Sorry, but that’s just how the internet works. I want to keep you informed about these things and how to deal with them.
Do not, I repeat do not get tied up in magical products or fitness systems. I’m going to address these separately.
When it comes to nutrition/diet systems there are so many. Here’s just a few you’ve probably heard:
– Low carb
– Low fat
– Only protein
– Ketogenic (keto)
– Intermittent fasting (IF)
– # day fix or jumpstart
– Weight watchers
– Eating 4-6x/day
– Carb cycling
– Sacrificing your first born child
Here’s the thing—they all work. Some I even am a fan of in certain cases (based completely around goals and lifestyle). The 1 thing they ALL have in common: CALORIE DEFICIT.
That’s it. There’s no way getting around it. No matter what you do, you cannot consume more calories than what your body burns and lose fat. That’s just simple science and math.
With all these systems they go in different trends. Like right now Keto is super hot (and annoying) but just a few months ago intermittent fasting was the huge rage (and still annoying), and then everyone and their brother thinks carbs are the evil fat storing devil and looks at your rice cakes and bread like you’re possessed. Just because it’s the new ‘shiny’ doesn’t mean that it is what’s right for you ( I’d read that again).
So what should you do?
Whatever is better for your lifestyle and makes you happy. You just have to be in deficit.
^That’s the absolute most important sentence in this article^
Like carbs? Me too, so don’t go low carb—just still stay in a deficit.
Hate eating a million times each day and only want to eat the normal breakfast/lunch/dinner? Cool, just keep within your numbers.
Are you like me and love eating and want to eat all throughout the day? Not a problem, just eat smaller portions so you stay within your numbers in a deficit.
Is this starting to make sense? Good. 🙂
Now let’s talk about the products you’re going to be targeted with.
Let me get one thing straight when it comes to people trying to sell you shit—nothing they will sell you will do a damn thing if you don’t have all the other stuff we’ve talked about (and still going to talk about). Things like, training, your nutrition (and being in a deficit), sleep, water, digestion, stress control, etc. Those have to be 100% before going nuts on products.
But you’ll be promised magic fat loss pills, wraps that meal fat away without changing your diet, creams that make you look like a model, weird ‘revolutionary’ pieces of equipment and products that’ve never been known before, blah blah blah, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.
Just be careful. Especially if they’re making some crazy-ass claims that goes against everything you’ve learned and that don’t even make sense. That’s a good sign it’s a scam or a bullshit product.
• Control your stress
Stress does a couple interesting things when it comes to fat loss:
– Stress causes your body’s cortisol hormone levels to elevate (remember when I said stuff always comes back to your hormones?). When that happens it causes you to store fat and breakdown muscle tissue.
– When you’re stressed it can lead you down a trail of more negatives and bad things to happen. I’m a huge believer that thoughts become things. Here’s a nasty little cycle that happens when you’re stressed and thinking negatively: Your thoughts become emotions (bad thoughts), then most of use act on our emotions. Those negative actions turn into negative habits, and everyone knows that habits become results.
Stress > negative thoughts > negative emotions > negative actions > negative habits > negative results.
Learn to deal with your stress and then that little cycle goes like this: Stress > choose to keep your mind right with positive thoughts > positive emotions > positive actions > positive habits > positive results.
• Our bodies are made to plateau
Everyone forgets about this one. Everything we do our bodies are going to adapt to. If you sit for long periods of time everyday you’ll most likely notice that your hips, hamstrings, low back, neck, and shoulders will be getting tight because your body is adapting. If your kid starts hanging out with the wrong crowd watch his behavior change because he’s adapting to those people. Do the same workout every week and your body will stop changing because it’s adapting to the stresses.
So how to we fix this?
Be ready for it.
That’s why you only change 1 or 2 things to lose fat, ride that change till you plateau, then change 1 or 2 other things, ride those results till you plateau, and repeat. Know that your body is going to be plateauing and just be ready with something to break that plateau.
Here’s an example of one way to change things:
– Start strength training
– Start counting your calories
– Add protein to every meal
– Start using bigger exercises in your workouts
– Drop your calories by 100 every other day
– Add another strength training day into your week
– Add 1-2 days/week of cardio
– These kind of small changes.
Don’t do all these changes at once—they’re just examples of small variables you can change. To give you an idea, that list may take 6 months to get through. You want to change as little as possible to see progress.
• Patience–you’re going to fail
It is 100% okay that you’re most likely going to mess up here. But it doesn’t have to be perfect. Hell, why should it be? Who wants a system that the only way to lose fat is to be completely perfect? That’d be stupid. Failure is how we learn and grow. The secret is you have to keep pushing. Keep failing and getting back up.
The first time I tried to lose fat it didn’t happen. First time I tried to diet and get abs, it didn’t work at all. Every workout isn’t perfect or pretty, every day with my nutrition isn’t either. Honestly, that’s okay. Don’t get all tied up in ‘this has to be perfect’ and put too much pressure on yourself. Do your best, trust the process, put in the work, and refuse to give up.
You’ve got to have patience. You didn’t get to where you’re at currently overnight, it took time. Getting your body into the shape you want it is going to take time too. Trust the process.
Throughout this whole journey you have to keep your mind right. Your mind, focus, and thought process is where everything stems from. Change that, get it right and your actions will follow suit. There’s a couple mindset things you have to write down:
1) Believe that you can actually do it.
If you don’t 100% believe and buy into yourself, that’ll come out in your actions. Know that you can actually achieve the result you’re working for.
2) Begin with the end in mind.
You have to be able to visualize yourself succeeding and achieving your goal. If you don’t know what that looks like, it can easily become a roadblock.
3) Act as if
You have to start walking, talking, thinking, and feeling as if you’ve already achieved your goal. Would it be different than how you behave now? Fix that immediately. Start acting and feeling the part.
4) Make sure your focus is in the right spot
Our focus is our power. Only focus on what you want to happen, and don’t give any power to what you don’t like and don’t want to happen. We get what we focus on.
Whew, that was a long one! If you made it this far thank you. I hope that info helped, if you have any questions at all reach out to me HERE and I’ll shoot you an answer right back.
I mentioned it earlier but if you’re serious about getting your fat loss of the ground my Tactical Fat Loss Guide (it’s FREE) can really help get you some momentum. If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet you can get it right HERE. Just plug in your best email and I’ll send it right over to you.
Talk to you soon,