We all know someone who tried to go on a diet and failed miserably. In fact, many of us have failed our own diets. The problem with losing fat is that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there. As a result, people simply aren’t going about it the right way. If you are getting ready to start your spring cut you need to check out the article below. We break down everything you need to do in order to make sure your cut is a success.
1 – Set a Goal
If you are about to start dieting it’s obviously because you want to lose weight. That being said, “losing weight” can’t be your actual goal because it might not leave you with the body you want. Allow us to explain – when you lose weight you are either losing fat or losing muscle. When you lose fat your body looks tighter and more shredded. When you lose muscle your body looks smaller but also softer and weaker. In order to look your best at the end of your cut, you will want to make sure most or all of the weight you lose is fat.
With that in mind, set a goal that is built around losing FAT rather than losing WEIGHT. That way you won’t be encouraged to diet down too quickly to hit your goals as that will only result in increased muscle loss. A safe rate to lose fat is about 1 pound per week, going down to half a pound per week as you start to get closer to single digit bodyfat. If you are morbidly obese you might be able to get away with 1-2 pounds per week but we don’t recommend pushing it. Depending on your current physique, your goal might be to lose 10 pounds of fat, or to decrease your bodyfat percentage down to 10%. Whatever it is, make sure the goal is focused on fat.
2 – Figure Out How Many Calories You Burn Per Day
Everyone has a certain number of calories they burn every day just from going about their day to day life. The number of calories burned is influenced by factors like activity level, age, diet and genetics. It takes some trial and error to figure this out and it requires you to record your daily calories. Every day track how many calories you ate (try to keep it consistent) and then weigh yourself at the end of the week, if after several weeks in a row your weight remains consistent then you have determined your BMR or basal metabolic rate.
Once you know your BMR you can begin structuring your diet. In order to lose fat you need to consume a calorie deficit – eat fewer calories than you burn. Since your body isn’t getting enough calories through your diet to perform all of its daily functions it will break down either muscle mass or body fat and use that as energy.
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3 – How Much Of A Deficit Should You Consume?
When your body is in a calorie deficit it will either burn fat or muscle. For our purposes, we’d rather burn the fat and keep the muscle. There are a number of ways you can make sure you burn mostly fat. First of all, make sure you continue to lift weights during your cut. By continuing to lift heavy you will signal to your body that those muscles are still needed. Second, don’t go too far into deficit. The further you go the more likely your body will be to burn muscle to make up the difference. Third, make sure you continue to consume a well balanced diet. Some guys think they can eat junk food all day and continue to burn fat as long as they are in a calorie deficit. The truth is that low quality foods will mess up your workouts and result in increased muscle loss.
When it comes to setting your calorie deficit, we recommend no more than 500 calories under maintenance per day. As your weight continues to drop and you get closer to single-digit bodyfat % you will need to decrease that deficit down to 300 in order to make sure you continue to lose only fat and not muscle. The 500 calorie deficit will put you on track to lose 1 pound per week. That might not seem like a lot but after 3 months you will have lost 12 pounds. After a year that will increase to 52 pounds.
4 – Macronutrient Breakdown
Once you know how many calories you will be consuming each day you can start to figure out your macronutrient breakdown. In other words, how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you will be consuming each day. As a quick refresher, protein and carbohydrates each contain 4 calories per gram. However, dietary fat contains 9 calories per gram. Let’s start with protein consumption. The most common piece of advice is to consume 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. Some people have success with less than that, others have success with much more. Generally speaking, when on a diet protein intake is important as it fires up the metabolism, keeps you feeling full and helps retain muscle mass.
Next we will cover dietary fat. Despite what some people think, dietary fat is extremely important for losing body fat. Studies show that healthy dietary fat sources help boost metabolism and fire up testosterone production. Don’t let the name fool you – fats are a crucial component of any diet. We recommend somewhere in the range of 0.25-0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Remember that dietary fat contains 9 calories per gram so it’s easy to go over your daily calorie target if you aren’t being careful. The balance of your calories should come from carbohydrates.
5 – Take a Fat Burning Supplement
Once you know your daily calorie intake and macronutrient breakdown it becomes a matter of planning out your diet so the foods meet those macronutrient targets. However, there is one more component of a successful diet that we want to mention – fat burning supplements. The reason we like these products because they help mitigate some of the most common causes of diet failure.
First of all, they help boost your metabolism. This is important because, the longer you are on a diet the more likely your body is to slow down its BMR. However, by taking a fat burner you can help prevent this from happening. Second, the help reduce your appetite so you will be less likely to overeat, or eat foods that don’t fit your macros. Finally, they give you more energy so you can go to the gym and get through those tough weight training routines. Click here to check out our dedicated fat burners page. We break down which ingredients you should be looking for as well as our top product picks.