Spring is nearly here, and that means it’s time to transition from bulking and the crappy eating, and other less-than-healthy habits that go along with it and begin a fat loss phase ahead of the Summer.
Fat loss is more than just weight loss, it requires a more comprehensive approach to ensure that the weight being lost is indeed fat and NOT the precious lean muscle mass you've been putting on since the beginning of the holidays last year. With these basic principles you'll be able to show off the physique you've worked so hard to build come Summer.
Here is your ultimate no B.S. fat loss guide for this Spring!
#1 Eat Real Food, Avoid Fad Diets
Bullsh** abounds within the fitness world from fad diets to gimmicky exercise programs to egregiously-ineffective exercise machines (shake weight, anyone?).
The truth is that you do NOT need to follow any fad diet (keto, gluten-free, low carb, juice detoxes, etc.) to lose body fat. You simply need to cut out the crap, focus on real food, and maintain a caloric deficit.
Make a list of your favorite whole foods (e.g. chicken, steak, rice, pasta, oatmeal, etc.), and then invest just a small amount of time with your friendly neighborhood search engine to find some easy, healthy recipes. Trust me, with the advent of the internet and culinary magic machines like the InstaPot, even those who struggle to boil water or make toast, can enjoy healthy, nutritious meals. Be sure to weigh your ingredients to limit the margin of error when calculating calories so you can rest assured you are in a deficit.
#2 Resistance Training
For many individuals, “losing weight” is about tacking on hours and hours of cardio (i.e. jogging) to their program and inevitably lifting with less intensity. While cardio can help burn (some) calories as well as improve cardiovascular fitness, it doesn’t do much to maintain muscle or strength.
Furthermore, most individuals vastly overestimate how many calories they’re actually burning during a cardio session, not realizing that the “all-natural” juice smoothie at their globo gym packs just as many calories (if not more) as their workout burned.
Resistance training is a powerful weapon in the war on fat. It helps build muscle and strength, boosts metabolism, burns calories (during and after training), and improves cardiovascular health. Many make the mistake of going ham on the treadmill before there usual weightlifting sessions, adding fatigue and taking a lot of quality out of their training.
When starting a cut, this is not the time to lighten the load or lessen the reps. Keep intensity high in order to give your muscles proper stimulation and possibly even make some lean gains along the way. Will you hit any PR's in a caloric deficit? Almost certainly not, but running yourself into the ground doing cardio only to follow it up with a mediocre resistance training session is a great way to incur unwanted muscle loss.
Stay tuned for tip #4 to properly utilize cardio for a cut.
#3 Consume a High-Protein Diet
Protein is your best friend when dieting for fat loss. The reasons for this are many, including:
- Protein fills you up (in fact, it’s the most filling macronutrient)
- Protein requires more energy to digest than carbs or fats (which helps boost energy expenditure)
- Protein protects muscles and supports recovery (calorie restriction increases the risk for muscle loss)
Also, keep in mind that resistance training (see point #2 above) is beneficial for dieting, but it also increases the body’s protein requirements. As for how much protein you should consume when dieting, a good rule of thumb is to consume 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. On a cut it is often recommended to actually lean towards the higher end of that spectrum to keep protein synthesis up and limit unwanted muscle loss. You can then fill in the rest of your daily calories with a mix of carbohydrates and fats, depending on your personal preferences.
#4 Use Cardio Sparingly
As mentioned above, cardio can help increase total daily energy expenditure (TDEE); however, the amount of calories burned during a cardio session are dependent upon how long you’re exercising as well as the intensity.
Also, keep in mind that if you’re using a cardio machine, take the calories burned readout with a HUGE grain of salt. The readings are based on an algorithm that may or may not be that accurate.
More often than not you are going to want to keep your cardio sessions relatively separate from your resistance training. If you have a tight schedule and can't fit multiple training sessions in a day, like so many of us, it's best to relegate cardio to after the workout and keep it steady state low intensity (brisk walk or light jog). As stated above this will ensure you are still getting quality work done in the weight room as opposed to cardio before resistance training.
Now if you can separate cardio from weight lifting with ample time we’re fans of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) where you alternate between periods of all-out effort and low-effort. What’s more, interval training has been shown to be as effective as longer, steady-state cardio sessions, but it requires much less time (albeit your effort and energy output has to be greater).
Although not required, doing your cardio fasted in the morning is a great way to promote body fat burn, following this up with your first meal of the day (protein-rich of course) can be an effective way to curb catabolism.
#5 Use the Right Supplements
Make no mistake -- without proper nutrition and hard training, supplements won’t be nearly as effective; however, if your diet and exercise programs are on point, using the right supplements can do wonders to make dieting suck less and accelerate your results.
EXTERMINATOR is our best-selling hardcore fat burner, packing a revolutionary blend of premium thermogenics, lipolytics, appetite suppressants and metabolism boosters to help burn calories, crush cravings, and make fat loss easier than ever!