Does this sound familiar, either with yourself or someone you know. They say they’re going to lose weight and they tackle it head on and full force. There to four weeks pass and they look no different than they did before sometimes even worse (most of us are guilty of it).
Eat less, do more. In theory sounds relatively easy, but most people take it way too far making it unnecessarily hard for themselves. Running 10km a day, eating small 200kcal portions two to three times a day, weight training seven days a week and no carbs. You will run yourself into the ground, not only will you be absolutely miserable, you’ll be starving, tired, lacking sex drive, you’ll lose a fair amount of muscle mass and your progress will cease along with your motivation.
What causes fat loss? That is the golden question. Fat loss comes down to an energy deficit. Your body needs a certain amount of energy per day to maintain homeostasis, in more simple terms; you need a certain amount of food everyday for your body to stay the same. The deficit you need isn’t as big as you would think. Yes the larger the deficit the quicker you will lose weight, key word being ‘weight’, too large a deficit and the weight ends up being muscle. There is a small effective window to ensure fat loss and minimal muscle loss, the longer you stay in a smaller deficit you are more likely to keep the fat off in the future. As opposed to two weeks spent in a huge deficit, that fat will come back before you even know it.
Down to the details, the details that so many trainers and influencers would have you pay $40-$200 for. Fat loss comes down to the calorie deficit. So how do we find this ‘magic’ number? Maintenance calories for the majority of people will be roughly 15kcal per pound of body weight but since we use metric like the rest of the world take your kilos, multiply by 2.205 and then multiply by 15. This is the number you need to maintain your current weight, now for sustainable and effective fat loss repeat the process except instead of 15 we’ll use 12 e.g. (80kg x 2.205 = 176lb, 176lbx12 = 2112) This deficit will achieve roughly 0.5–1kg of fat loss per week. So long as you stay in this deficit over the next 2–4 months you will lose fat, it is inevitable. If you run this strategy for a few weeks and you aren’t losing any fat, you are miscalculating calories and inaccurately tracking them. It is impossible to not lose fat if you are in a true deficit, your ‘slow’ metabolism doesn’t break the laws of thermodynamics.
So we have found the way we need to lose fat, now how do we minimize muscle loss and other hormonal issues? This comes down to just making sure your macros are set correctly. Macros are your, Protein, Carbs and Fats. Protein while important is one of the more overrated macros, 0.8g per pound of weight is plenty to maintain your muscle. Fats are (in my opinion) the most important part of your nutrition, getting enough fats will ensure optimal hormone production and mood. Carbohydrates will fuel your training, make you feel full and are needed for optimal health. All these macros exist because we need them all in balance. 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, 30% Fats is a fantastic place to start with your split. e.g (2000kcal = 200g Carbs, 150g Protein, 66g Fats) Using an app like MyFitnessPal will simplify this breakdown and finding these numbers.
The nutrition is set, now while exercise is not 100% necessary for fat loss, it will aid maintaining your muscle while in this deficit. I won’t provide a full workout in this article (possibly coming soon) but you will want to focus on some kind of strength training. Heavier weights to maintain your strength and muscle, if you’ve never trained either you may even see some muscle gain while in a deficit as it will be a brand new stimulus for your body.
The last burning question is, cardio?! How, What, When do it do it? Strength training will keep you in check, you could complete your whole fat loss without ever doing an ounce of cardio. But, it can help. Walking is the only thing I will ever recommend, it is good for the mind and good for the body. How ever much you can fit in per day will do you some good, 30–60min is a good spot for most people just to keep moving. The benefit for walking is it burns just enough calories, without making you that much hungrier if at all. Sprints and interval training is great and everything but you will be starving afterwards and it’ll lead to you probably overeating.
You have the blueprint, take it it is free as it should be. You will lose fat , just give it time, take a deep breath, relax and trust the method. Four months from now you won’t even recognize yourself. You can do this without a doubt.