The Five Essentials Fat Loss Fundamentals
When it comes to “dieting” it’s very easily to get wrapped up in the buzz surrounding fat loss. As a coach, here are few I hear all the time:
“I heard that carbs are the enemy.”
“I’m trying to lose fat so I should eliminate all fats.”
“Is intermittent fasting the way to go?
“I was watching Dr. Oz and he said……”
Ok…… Let’s stop here before going down the fat loss rabbit hole any further
Treads and fads within the fitness industry come and go, yet results will always yield from the principles and fundamentals. The fundamentals of fat loss have been starring right at you, even if you been trying to lose body fat for awhile now. The only problem been it’s been hidden among the fancy marketing and chaos.
Let’s cut through the noise and clearly establishing the Fundamentals of Fat Loss.
1. Maintaining a Caloric Deficit
At the heart of any fat loss program, being and staying in a caloric deficit is essential. You must be consuming fewer calories than you are burning throughout the day, or you won’t lose fat. #sorrynotsorry
We burn calories through our basal metabolic rate – our basic human functions needed to survive, exercise, digestion (thermic eﬀect of food), and NEAT aka non-exercise activity – i.e. walking, gardening, or cooking.
Obviously, we consume our calories in the form of foods we eat – steak, beer, veggies, etc.
You must eat fewer calories than you burn through the day, or you won’t lose fat. Period.
Caloric Deﬁcit = Calories consumed < calories burned
The easiest way to stay in a caloric deﬁcit is to determine your calories and stay in a small deﬁcit.
There’s many different equations to find your daily caloric intake, but I like to adhere to the K.I.S.S Principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Here is the equation – your Bodyweight (in pounds) x 10
Ex. If you are 170 lbs x 10= 1,700 calories.
This means yes – I want you to track your nutrition, at least for 1-3 weeks. You’ll need to be disciplined to look awesome. This is critical to your success. By tracking your nutrition for 1-3 weeks, this will give you your largest arsenal
It’s true – consistency is what separates individuals from achieving their goals.
That’s why sudden crash diets like you see on “The Biggest Loser” don’t work. They don’t build the habit of consistency.
It all starts with preparation and accountability. You’ll need to have food ahead of time, or look at menu’s before you go out.
I’ll strongly urge you to make it a habit, until you create a several meal menus.
My clients who have lost the most body fat, like Sid who’s lost and kept oﬀ over 20 lbs, tracks his nutrition every day. I recommend using the myﬁtnesspal App.
Most of us know what healthy food choices and unhealthy choices are. This is mostly innate.
However, by consciously taking note you’ll development more nutritional awareness, which will help reinforce your goal to stay consistent. You don’t need to choke down rice cakes, chicken, and broccoli with a miserably strict diet all the time. But you do need to be honest with yourself, stay consistent, and accept accountability to reach your goals.
3. Focus on Food Quality
Have you noticed on Instagram of the “fitness” pros posting pictures of themselves eating boxes of pizza or doughnuts and claiming, “I eat boxes of junk food and still stay lean!”
I’m not claiming that you shouldn’t have the occasional splurge on pizza or doughnuts, but the fact of the matter is you need to spend 90% of your time eating whole, minimally processed foods.
As author Michael Pollan puts it, “Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting.”
The message remains the same: focus on a variety of fruits and vegetables (eat the rainbow) and lean protein. Spend most of your time shopping the perimeter of the store.
It’s much easier to lose fat by putting the fork down rather than crushing another 45 minutes of mind numbing cardio. During fat loss, the primary goal of exercise is to preserve your strength, lean muscle, and hormone levels.
That’s it. Which do you think is more beneficial for fat loss? Tracking your nutrition or going through another mind numbing 45 minutes of cardio on the elliptical? If guess the former based on the overall tone of the previous sentence then you are correct.
Being serious again, all the fancy “body fat incinerator” circuits or supplements won’t get you shredded if your nutrition is out of whack.
In short, you cannot out train a bad diet. Never. Ever.
It’s a little more complicated than that, but for the most part, keep exercise for keeping muscle on, even during fat loss.
Hydration is the often forgotten, yet important aspect for fat loss. Proper hydration can have a significant impact on your health, performance, and looking good naked.
Here's a quick reminder why hydration is important and it's roles of the body:
- Transportation of chemicals to and from cells
- Cell hydration
- Maintenance of body temperature
- Elimination of toxins
- Aids in metabolic and digestive processes
- Moisturizes and protects joints
The main reasons dehydration has as adverse aﬀect on exercise can be summarized as follows:
- Decrease in blood volume and blow ﬂow
- Decrease heat dissipation and removal of wastes from exercise
- Decreased metabolism and increased organ stress (ouchie!!)
- Decrease body temperature
- Decreased sweat rate
- Dehydration sucks and most of us don’t drink enough water.
Make this your rule going forward: drink ½ your bodyweight (in pounds) in ounces of water. That means a 150 lb female should drink at least 75 oz of water, each day.