Just about everyone wants to lose fat at some point. Maybe you’ve been overweight your entire life, maybe you’ve recently let yourself go a bit and need to trim back down, or maybe you are coming off a year-long bulk and want to get shredded. You need to know the scientifically proven fat burning fundamentals to lose fat and keep it off.
As we put on muscle it’s almost inevitable that at some point we will put on some fat. It’s not a huge deal provided that we monitor this and trim down every so often to keep looking cut. However, a lot of times it takes awhile to actually notice that we’ve put on fat and all of a sudden cutting down becomes a much bigger, more complicated task. No matter which category you fit into this article aims to provide you with a guide that can help anyone shed those pounds.
Before we get too deep into the article let’s talk a bit about diets first. Hate to say it but they simply don’t work. By diet we mean restricting your calories temporarily (anywhere from a week to a few months). There are two major problems with diets:
1. they never last – most of the time the weight you lose on a diet comes right back on when you go back to your old foods.
2. The weight loss comes from bone density and muscle tissue rather than bodyfat
If you want to lose weight and actually look good afterwards you definitely don’t want to be losing bone density and muscle tissue. That will leave you with that soft, skinny-fat look. What you want to be doing is losing body fat so that you can bring out that muscle underneath. If those two reasons weren’t enough for you, here are a few more reasons to stay away from diets.
They do not promote muscle growth
On a traditional “diet” you are essentially denying your body the nutrients it needs and forcing your body into an emergency starvation mode. That means it will break down muscle tissue to provide energy. By the end yes you might fit into a smaller size shirt but you won’t fill it out nicely and will stick look “fat” with your shirt off since the body fat is still there.
The weight comes back on
If you’ve ever been on a traditional diet before you’ve probably experienced the weight coming right back on with a vengeance. Once your body realizes that it is in starvation mode it will start conserving energy and lowering the metabolism. Additionally, it will put on as much fat as possible to store for future reserves.
As a result, when you come off your diet your body is frantically trying to store as much of that food in case it has to go into starvation mode again.
Say goodbye to your metabolism
As mentioned earlier, diets drastically slow down your metabolism. Once your body realizes it’s getting less calories every day it won’t work as hard so it can save energy. Multiple studies have shown that your metabolism can drop by as much as 25% if you are on a calorie restricted diet.
More food cravings
We’ve all tried dieting at some point and we’ve all gone through the same food cravings. When you aren’t getting as much calories as you are used to your body will signal that it’s time to eat and try to get you to load up on some much needed nutrients. Unfortunately these hunger pangs often lead to food binges which is another problem entirely.
The truth is those hunger pants aren’t normal – it’s a sign that your body lacks nourishment. Again, if your body finds it is constantly being denied the nutrients it needs it will go into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism which will only compromise your fat loss efforts.
Decrease in Energy Levels
Your body requires a minimum level of calories each day just to operate. When you deny your body these calories it doesn’t have the energy it needs to get through the day. As a result, you won’t have as much energy to get through your day at the office, your gym workout and any other activities you do.
To lose those extra pounds you need to give up the idea of severely restricting your diet. If you are going below the 1200 calories threshold you are putting your body in danger of not having enough energy to get through the day. Not to mention you increase the chance of becoming injured or sick as your body won’t be as well-equipped to deal with these possibilities.
Hopefully those points have helped you come to the conclusion that calorie-restricting diets yield temporary results and should be avoided. Since we’ve just shattered your reality of how to lose fat you are probably wondering just what IS the right way to go about doing things.
We are guessing if you are going through all the trouble of losing fat it’s because you are unhappy with your physique and you want permanent changes (after all, who wants to temporarily change their physique?) Check out our tips below to see just how you can lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
The 7 Fat Burning Fundamentals to get ripped and shredded
1. Change your Mindset
The first step here is to stop looking at fat loss as a temporary state and instead as permanent endeavour. You want to put good habits in place that will last year-round – both nutritional and diet. Over time you will find that you enjoy eating the healthier foods and no longer look at it as a diet – counting down the days until you can go back to your old ways of eating.
It won’t be easy at first, given that your body is used to a certain diet and activity level. Over time, however, you won’t even have to think about it and you will be thrilled with how much better you feel. This is the single most important factor in keeping yourself in good shape – good habits!
2. Burn more than you consume
Once you have the right habits in place, you are going to want to make sure you are in a calorie deficit. That is, you want to be burning more calories than you consume each day. There are two main ways of accomplishing this. You can either figure out what your base metabolic rate is and eat fewer calories than that, thereby creating a deficit.
Or you can increase the amount of physical activity you do so that the number of calories you burn increases. For optimal results, we recommend a combination of the two – managing calories and performing physical activity.
That way you won’t have to cut your calorie intake too much.
Another big mistake people make here is cutting their calories too fast creating a huge calorie deficit right away. Essentially you are crash-dieting here, and while you might lose weight it’s going to be from muscle, not fat. Start with a 300 calorie deficit and work down from there.
To figure out what your basic metabolic rate is just take your weight and multiply it by 16. This figure isn’t exact but it will give you a rough idea where to start – adjust accordingly from there. Therefore, if you weigh 170 pounds your BMR would be 2,720.
Therefore in order to maintain a 500 calorie deficit you would want to be eating 2,220 calories per day. Given that there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat this would set you up for a loss of 1 pound of fat per week.
Keep in mind this is just your BMR – if you are performing a lot of physical activity you should also be consuming more calories to avoid going into too large of a deficit.
Also your BMR can vary a bit from day to day based on what you’ve been eating, how much sleep you’ve had and what sort of physical activity you’ve done.
You might be wondering why you should be losing 1 pound a week and not 2, 3 or even 4. While those who are severely obese might be able to lose more particularly at the beginning, over time you will want to stick in the 1-1.5 pound per week range as this will prevent you from losing muscle mass. This is important since when you are finished cutting you want to have a nice firm look – not a soft, skinny-fat look.
Finally, you will also want to determine the minimum amount of calories you need – that is, your minimum calorie base, and NEVER go below that level. This will help prevent your body from going catabolic and breaking down muscle mass to use as fuel.
You don’t want to go any more than 1,000 calories below your BMR but even that is stretching it. This is a really important fat burning fundamental to never go under your minimum calorie requirement.
3. Do Some Cardio
As we mentioned in step 2, if you want to lose fat you need to be in a calorie deficit – that means consuming less calories than you burn each day. We already went over the first strategy for creating that deficit – eating below your BMR. Here we will go over the second strategy – doing more cardio.
Many people try to cut body fat by using only option 1 and while it can and does work they are missing out on a lot of the benefits of cardio, this is definitely one of the most important fat burning fundamentals. Fat is only used as fuel when there is oxygen in the body.
How do you get oxygen in the body? By exercising, of course. When you perform at least 20 minutes of cardio you are filling yourself up with oxygen which will trigger your body to use the stored body fat for fuel.
Ideally you will want to use both a calorie deficit and cardio to lose fat that way you don’t have to overdo it with either one.
Additionally you will want to make sure you are performing some sort of resistance training routine. This will not only help prevent muscle loss while losing fat but it will also help burn more fat! When you perform resistance training your muscles need to be repaired – in doing so your body is working overtime and therefore burning more calories. The effect is amplified when focused around large compound movements like squats, deadlifts and bench press.
As you can see, with the help of cardio and resistance training you won’t need to do a huge calorie deficit!
4. Don’t lose muscle!
Whatever you do make sure you maintain as much of that muscle tissue as possible. This is easily your best weapon as it cranks up your metabolism and burns a lot of fat on its own. Muscle tissue is very active as it gets used in just about everything you do (walking, carrying something, lifting, etc) and as a result burns a lot of calories.
This is why resistance training is so important in your fat loss program. Lifting weights stimulates your muscles allowing them to grow and help more in the fight against fat. Also, by gaining muscle you are building a nice base underneath your fat to eventually cut down to.
You probably know some people who went on calorie deficits and performed only cardio – how did they look afterwards? Chances are they looked like a smaller version of their older self – meaning they don’t look hard and sculpted but soft and round.
Don’t worry about becoming big and bulky from lifting weights – it’s challenging enough to do that when you are actually eating a large calorie surplus and training hard so it won’t happen to you when you are trying to cut fat.
This is what most people are afraid that can happen on the list of the fat burning fundamentals.
5. Eat Often and Don’t Skip Meals
Aim for 5-6 meals a day separated by about 3 hours each. Obviously don’t binge eat at each meal and try to plan them ahead by breaking down the calories to make sure you are hitting your target.
Easiest way to do this is to stick to a daily schedule so you don’t get behind or forget a meal. By eating frequent small meals you will be less likely to get hungry or deny your body the nutrients it needs at a given time which can cause your body to go catabolic.
It’s worth mentioning that you need to be eating the right foods. Eating ice cream and Big Macs 6 times a day won’t help you even if you somehow manage to get that into your calorie range. If your diet is made up of low quality foods you will have a harder time getting through your resistance training sessions and your cardio workouts. Additionally you will have a harder time holding on to your muscle tissue if you don’t have quality nutrients to feed it with.
There are plenty of guides out there that will help you get started with what foods to focus on and you can even find a wide variety of recipes to help mix things up a bit.
6. Aim for 1-2 pounds per week
As mentioned above, make sure you aim for 1 to 2 pounds per week of fat loss. Depending on just how much fat you have to lose, the higher end of that scale will be more easily maintained for a while, but don’t force yourself to lose 2 pounds each week forever or it will result in muscle loss.
You can cut 1-2 pounds per week by focusing on a moderate deficit of 300-500 calories achieved through a combination of consuming below your BMR, doing cardio and performing resistance training.
Don’t worry if you don’t lose any fat right away. It’s possible that you actually put on muscle (which isn’t a bad thing) and that’s why the scale isn’t moving. Your weight can also fluctuate a lot on a day to day basis, so only weigh yourself once a week and look at trends over time. If you are weighing yourself daily your weight can fluctuate quite a bit based on what you’ve been eating, how much liquids you’ve consumed, the time of day, what you are wearing, etc.
7. Make the most out of your hard work
We’ve actually covered this in our ultimate guide to get shredded fast. You can read that here.
Using the right supplements can be an effective way to maximize your results, do your research before purchasing any product because many of the supplements out there are a complete waste of money. For losing fat the most effective supplement on the market is a fat burner.
Fat burners are definitely no magic pills and are not going to get you ripped and shredded without the proper training and diet.
They can however be a good addition to a well-rounded training regime and speed up the fat loss to get shredded faster.
Not all fat burners are created equal so be sure to choose a fat burning supplement that contains the right ingredients and is not created with an outdated formula.
PS.———>Check out our guide on fat burning supplements to know how to choose the right formula.
The days of crash dieting are over. It simply doesn’t work and no amount of tweaking will make it effective. If you want to get a lean, shredded physique you need to stop looking at fat loss as a short-term endeavour and start seeing it as a new lifestyle by using the fat burning fundamentals mentioned above.
You need to get rid of those habits that are absolutely destroying your physique. These include severe calorie reduction, neglecting resistance training and performing too much cardio.
Take your time and be patient – it took a long time to build that unsatisfactory physique you have and so it will take some time to get yourself looking great. Stop looking at fat loss as a race to be ready for beach season (sorry buddy but 3 weeks isn’t enough to get shredded in time for your trip to Cancun) and instead see it as a lifelong marathon and make sure you actually use supplements that work.
Once you see the great results you are getting you will start getting excited about going to the gym and eating healthy and you won’t miss your old lifestyle in the slightest. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t fit in the occasional cheat day!