Are you busting your butt to lose fat and get lean? Not seeing the results you want? Then you need to ask yourself these 5 questions.
"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." -Confucius
I love a good Confucius quote.
This one is so applicable to fat loss though, because I have never seen something so simple made so complex.
Don't get me wrong, there is a ton of chemistry and biology behind why your body will drop (or gain) body fat. My guess is that you just want to shed some fat so you can look and feel amazing. In that case, there's no reason this needs to be complicated.
If you're confused about the best way to uncover those abs and rock a pair of board shorts or a bikini, I get that.
You're constantly slapped across the face with new and repackaged diet techniques. Things like carb cycling, keto, and intermittent fasting, etc. It's no wonder your head is spinning and you're stuck for your next diet move.
Let's cut through the noise and simplify, shall we?
Think of the following 5 questions as your go-to checklist for fat loss. Check off the following 5 boxes and you will be in total control of your fat loss progress.
1. Are You in a Caloric Deficit?
This is the first question I will ask you if you come to me with weight loss struggles.
First off, what is a caloric deficit?
Your body needs a certain amount of energy to carry out its day to day operations. We measure that energy in calories. You also burn calories while doing daily physical activities like exercising, walking to the water fountain and brushing your teeth.
The calories needed to maintain your body weight while fueling all these activities is called your caloric maintenance. This means you need to eat XYZ amount of calories in the form of food (the human beings preferred method of calorie consumption) to maintain your body weight.
But you want to lose body weight in the form of excess fat right? That means you need to eat in a caloric deficit. In order for your body to lose that fat, you need to eat less calories than you need to maintain your body weight.
To do this, you need to know two things:
Those two things need to line up in order for you to lose body fat.
There are plenty of ways to find out those two things. If you're not sure about how to go about doing this, follow up with me after this post.
2. Are You Hitting Your Macronutrient Ratios?
First off, what on Gods green earth is a macronutrient?
You may not have ever heard the term 'macronutrient' before, or 'macro' for short, but I promise you have heard of them.
Your food is made up of many macro and micronutrients. Your macronutrients, the ones we're concerned with here, consist of protein, carbohydrates, and fat,
So when we talk about hitting your macronutrient ratios, or, hitting your macros as the cool kids say it, we're talking about getting the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat each day.
So why is this important if you want to drop a few pounds of fat? Well, each macronutrient brings something to the table.
Protein- Protein plays a vital role in your mission for a lower body fat percentage. Not only is it very satiating which means it helps you feel full and satisfied, it also helps you hold onto your lean muscle tissue as you lose fat.
You might say, "But Mitch, I don't care about muscle."
To that I say, muscle not only gives men their masculine physique, it is also responsible for creating the curvaceous figure of a woman. Not only that, but that muscle is burning calories for you while you rest, and will look completely awesome as you strip away that fat. Trust me, you may not want a lot of muscle, but you at least want some.
Fat- Getting the right amount of fat is crucial for proper hormone function and general well being. Too little and you feel awful, too much and you will have a very tough time controlling your caloric intake. Strike the right balance and you're feeling great and dropping pounds.
Carbohydrates- Yes, carbs. The primary energy source for the body and current fitness magazine bad boy. While carbs are the current target for demonization in the world of fitness, they are pretty awesome when eaten in the right quantities.
As mentioned, carbs provide you with energy, they help you build strength in the gym, and yes, they are delicious.
The big issue with carbs is how easy they are to over eat compared to protein and fat.
"When was the last time you accidentally ate an extra steak while watching 'making a murderer'?" - Bryan krahn
I recommend eating as many carbs as you can while still hitting your protein and fat requirements simply because they are delicious and why not?
If you aren't losing fat, make sure you're striking the right balance with your macronutrients.
3. Are You Training Hard and Smart?
First, let's define what we mean by 'training hard'.
You should be challenging yourself without obliterating yourself. There's an old saying in bodybuilding that fits here perfectly.
"Stimulate, don't annihilate."
Here's something to keep in mind. Your body does not want to change. There's this thing called homeostasis, which means your body wants to stay exactly how it is. It doesn't care that you're trying to lose weight, get lean and dominate the pool circuit this summer.
It's up to you to give your body a great reason to change. You do this by training hard every time you enter the gym.
How about 'training smart'?
This means you need to use the appropriate amount of training volume, intensity and rest for your goals.
What exactly those amount to will vary from one person to the next. The idea is to make sure you're striking the right balance between training hard and recovering between workouts.
The idea is to workout hard enough to force your body to make the changes it so badly doesn't want to make. But you also need to recover enough between workouts that you are able to show up for your next workout and knock it out of the park.
Strike that balance, and you're building a stronger, leaner body.
4. Are You Managing Stress?
You're working 60 hours a week, taking care of your family, running a house hold, and keeping up with extra curricular activities.
Are you stressed? You bet!
But what are you doing about it?
Stress will wreak havoc on your fat loss efforts. Stress has a knack for throwing off your hormones, destroying your ability to sleep, and draining you of precious energy and resources.
That all leads to serious fatigue which also shows up as food cravings, hunger and discouragement. Compounded by the fact that fatigue kills your ability to train hard and recover well, stress is a big hurdle on your path to leanness.
If you find yourself overly stressed, you will need to coral that as soon as possible.
There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to manage stress, and finding what's right for you will be a major key in your fat loss success.
5. Are You Impatient?
Are you losing an average 0.5-2 lbs per week? If you don't see progress every single week do you get concerned?
Then patience might be your issue.
This is a common obstacle. I know we all want it now, but unfortunately fitness and health doesn't work that way.
You have to earn, nay, you get to earn every pound lost on that scale, every 2.5 lbs you ad to the barbell, and every ounce of muscle you slap onto your frame.
The process is the best part of this journey, so embrace it, bask in it, and enjoy it.
Just so you know what you can expect from your fat loss progress, I'll lat it out. That way you'll know when your impatience is justified, and when it's not.
You should expect to lose between 0.5-2 lbs per week on average. This doesn't mean you will lose that much weight exactly every single week, but over the long term, this is the average you can expect.
If you go one week with no change, don't sweat it. If you go two weeks with no change, then it's time to ask yourself one of the above 4 questions. You may also need to adjust your training or nutrition in order to spark progress.
I'm a firm believer that simplicity wins.
When your fat loss plan isn't delivering results, don't get wrapped up in finding the newest and greatest diet technique. Instead, refer to the above 5 questions and take an honest look at how well you're executing them.
If you aren't sure how to nail down any of the 5 crucial fat loss points we talked about today, then reach out to me right now.
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