Fundamentals of Fat Loss – Part 1
“I have tried every diet, and nothing seems to help me lose this stubborn fat.”
“What is the best way for me to lose fat, and keep muscle?”
“Where do I start when it comes to fat loss?”
These are a lot of the questions that our team gets asked at Epic Fitness often. There seems to be this unknown surrounding losing fat (and keeping it off healthfully) that every “diet” out there doesn’t do a great job answering.
The question we should be asking is, “What are the top 1-3 things I need to focus on to lose body fat and to keep it off for the long term?”
Well, you are in luck! That is exactly what this 5 part series will be all about. We will start by laying out the 3 principles of fat loss that will always stand the test of time.
In order to lose body fat and keep it off, you need to:
- Burn more calories than you take in (Calorie deficit)
- Include strength training 3x/week
- Eat plenty of protein
For those of you staring at the above principles and are thinking, “What else?” That’s it! Doing these 3 things on a consistent basis will help you lose body fat, gain and maintain lean muscle which actually in-turn helps tremendously with increasing your basal metabolic rate and keeps you in a healthy calorie deficit (we will get more into this soon). Now is the time to stop the “yo-yo” process of starting and stopping every fad diet out there.
What EVERY diet has in common is that each and EVERY one of them has a start and end date. We want this to be a lifestyle switch you can start and continue to do for life. That is why over time, and once you reach your main goal of losing fat and when you get to a healthy body fat and weight for you, then there are only 2 principles to follow to maintain lean body mass:
- Include strength training 3x/week
- Eat plenty of protein
That’s it! It is this simple. Notice how I said “simple” but not “easy.”
This can definitely be a tough switch to turn on, and to stay consistent in doing it every day can be hard as well. Simple, not easy. There are 500 reasons why we don’t start, and 500 other things that can get in our way and derail our success.
Making the choice to start today may be the best choice you ever make in your life. Also, never placing an “end date” to this lifestyle shift – since this is NOT a diet – may turn out to help you make the biggest transformation, both physically and mentally, you have ever made. Ready to learn more?! Here is a quick overview of each of the 3 principles of fat loss.
- Burn more calories than you take in
This is also known as a calorie deficit. Does this mean you need to count calories? No, not necessarily. We will go over all the strategies part II of the series. Here is something fun to consider:
If you burn more than you take in, your body won’t care if you counted them.
Counting calories and/or food logging can be a great strategy to get you there. Using either of these strategies can be very flexible as well. We will discuss these strategies in a later blog.
But here is the deal – If you don’t want to count calories, don’t despair! You can cut out the three worst offenders of over consumption. Wondering what these are? Here you go:
Three worst offenders of overconsumption:
- Added Sugar
- Junk Food (you know what I am talking about here!)
When you focus on pulling out these three offenders, you really do end up consuming less overall, which will in-turn lead to placing you in a small calorie deficit. You can focus on eating fruits, vegetables, and lean meats to your satisfaction. After a short, stricter period to start, you can transition to a less strict, more long term strategy. We are not suggesting to take out these three offenders forever, but just long enough to help you increase your awareness of the overconsumption.
- Include Strength Training 3 Times Per Week
Strength training is critical to fat loss in 2 ways. First, working out isn’t just about the calories you burn during the workout. It’s also about the calories you burn after the workout, or what is referenced as EPOC – Excess Post Oxygen Consumption (we will get deeper into this in one of the next blogs!). That’s where the real results will take place and where progressive strength training, or what we love to call Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) reigns supreme in stoking your metabolic fire.
Second, if you are in a calorie deficit and just performing cardio, your body will be cannibalizing body tissue (mainly protein) to make up for the gap in energy. By just performing cardio, and not implementing a strength training routine, you aren’t sending a strong enough message to your body that your muscle is important. Your body will naturally want to preserve the fat and cannibalize the muscle. With strength training, your body will preserve and build your muscle.
- Get Plenty of Protein
Protein is a huge contributor to fat loss, muscle gain and weight maintenance in two ways. First, it is very satiating. One serving of protein will keep you much fuller for much longer than say one serving of pasta. Second, protein helps you repair and recover your body from strength training. You have probably heard that amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are super important for the repair of tissue when you put stress on it (ie – strength training) and for recovery.
At Epic Fitness, we like to say that your workout is only as good as the recovery that you take afterwards.
In Part II, we will go more in depth on some nutritional strategies we have seen work the best. Part III will be all about the best forms of strength training for fat loss. Part IV will be tips about how to get plenty of protein without eating too many calories. In Part V we will troubleshoot common mistakes, do a little myth busting, and share the mindsets that guarantee success!
If you like what you just read, and want to learn more about Epic Fitness and how we can help you, you can schedule your discovery call with us below!