This Fat Loss 101 Guide will make you shed a tear of joy. Bookmark this page as a quick and easy reference guide.
It seems like almost everyone you run into now a days is talking about wanting to lose weight. Or more specifically, fat. Because let’s face it, we don’t really want to just be skinny we want to be lean and fierce. Hello abs! #BodiesOnFleek (sorry, had to do it!).
What we find is that most people don’t even know where to begin with fat loss. There is so much conflicting information out there that it begins to get confusing. Confusing to the point that you just toss the latest issue of Muscle Magazine out the window and head to the pizza place on the corner. But, don’t worry. We have you covered. And we don’t mean covered in cheese like your pizza. We have made things very easy to ‘digest’ with some Fat Loss 101 tips and tricks.
Fat Loss 101 – Let’s Begin
There are a few things you will want to keep in mind while following a fat loss diet.
- Moderation is key. Especially when it comes to your diet.
- Strength training, a healthy nutrition plan and cardio will be the recipe for success.
- Fat loss is a much slower process than weight loss. But trust us, it is worth the wait.
- Trial and error are the best way to find out a successful plan for YOU!
These tips are meant as a guide. Not a black and white rule.
How Do You Actually Lose Body Fat?
The key to losing body fat is to keep your body in a small calorie deficit. Meaning, you are taking in slightly less calories than you are burning. Starting with a combination of weight training and cardio 3 days a week can have a great impact on your metabolism. Can you feel the abs popping yet?
How To Start The Fat Loss Process
1. Focus On Wholesome Foods. If you base 85-90% of your meals around whole foods you will find it much easier to stick with your nutrition plan. The key players in building a balanced meal are:
- Fruits & Vegetables
- Healthy Fats
2. Start Your Day With Breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It isn’t called breakfast for nothing. You are ‘breaking the fast’ that was happening while you were sleeping. While your body is in a fasting state your metabolism slows down, so in order to get it back up and running in fat loss mode you need to give it some gas with a nutrient dense meals. Breakfast should include a healthy source of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Try one of these breakfast recipes.
3. Find Your Meal Timing. You want to find an eating schedule that will prevent hunger and keep your blood sugar levels stable. Some people opt to eat every 2-3 hours while others may find it better to eat 3 larger meals and a snack. The best plan is the one that keeps you from face planting into your Ben & Jerry’s at the end of the day.
4. Don’t Fear Carbs. You will need (and want) carbs to keep your energy levels up. The key to carbohydrates during fat loss is in the timing. Try to time the majority of your carbs before and after your workouts. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t eat carbs for the rest of the day. No, we aren’t saying that at all. Just try and stick the majority of your carbs around your workout time. Focus on whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads and pastas, sweet potatoes, etc. Try to limit the amount of refined carbs that you eat.
5. Don’t Forget The Protein. Protein is the key building block in muscle growth. The harder you workout the more you breakdown your muscle (this is a good thing!). In order to obtain that lean physique you are looking for you will want to add muscle to your body and the key to this is……protein. Some great sources of protein include chicken breast, lean red meat, eggs and fish.
6. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! Water is your best friend! Depending on your age and weight your water needs will vary. We recommend starting with 2 cups of water at every meal and increasing it as needed. Not only will water help with your energy levels and skin, but it also keeps your digestion system moving and the bloating down (win!). Oh, and did you know that thirst is often confused with hunger? Yup, you could be eating extra calories when in reality all your body needs is a little h2O.
7. Find Your Ratio. The recommended eating ratio is 40/40/20. This means that 40% of your calories come from carbs, 40% from protein and 20% from fat. Give this ratio a try. If it doesn’t seem to be working after 2 weeks (assuming you have been on point with all things diet and exercise related) then try tweaking the percents. Each of our bodies is different, so be patient and find what works best for you. You can also check out our Ultimate Guide To Calculating Macros to help you get started.
8. Get Stronger. Strength training will help you build lean body mass, improve your metabolic rate, prevent muscle loss and keep your fat burning fire going. To make it a bit more basic, it will help keep you from getting skinny fat. Ain’t got no time for that! Find a workout plan that you enjoy and will stick with. It does no good if you only last 1-2 weeks.
9. Add Cardio. Too much cardio will burn your muscle and make you skinny fat, which is why cardio should always go hand in hand with your strength routine and a healthy diet. Together, this trio is the ultimate recipe for fat loss. Like strength training, you will want to find activities that you enjoy. Start out with 3- 20 minute sessions per week and slowly increase by 1 minute until you are at 30-45 minutes. Or, give HIIT cardio a try! This is our favorite type of cardio best used for fat loss, but is for a more advanced population.
Keeping It All In Balance
- Prepare food in advance by meal prepping each Sunday.
- Prepare extra food during meal prep for dinners.
- Try to only keep healthy foods on hand to prevent bingeing (more on this later).
- Keep your meals simple, yet flavorful. If you get bored with your meals you may find your hand deep in the bottom of the Dorito bag, so make sure to add variety by trying out different healthy recipes.
- Eat when you feel hunger setting in. Don’t want until you are starving to eat.
- Have a snack before heading out to a party to avoid eating junk food all night.
- Enjoy your favorite foods 10-15% of the time. Remember, life (and food) should be enjoyed!
- Keep track of your progress by pictures, measurements or strength.
Putting It All Together
There you have it. Fat Loss 101. This is not a fool proof plan, but it is a great place to start on your fat loss journey. The more you dial in your nutrition and exercise the faster you will start seeing results.
As we mentioned above, fat loss is a matter of trial and error. It is an art. It takes time to perfect. You can’t rush the results. This is meant to be a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. A quick fix will only lead you back to where you were before you started. If you focus on eating unprocessed foods, listening to your hunger and fullness cues, preparing your own food and getting movement into your day you are bound to see results. Aim for no more than 2-3% fat loss per month.