Here is a guide you can follow for losing fat.
Fat loss is essentially about two parts:
- Losing fat
- Keeping lean muscle mass (LMS).
The difference with dieting is that instead of just dumping all the body mass you possibly can, you will now focus on retaining each gram of muscle mass that sits on your body and just get rid of the fat.
The Pros of dieting or losing fat are:
- Esthetics: You will look better, because most people are on terms that tone muscle looks good.
- Strength: It is both practical and fun to be strong and feel strong (mentally and physically).
- Digestion: More muscle means higher burn rate, which means you will eat more to drop more fat.
- Health: You may get rid of a lot of diseases, such as depression, obesity and you may be sick less often.
First of all:
In your body, protein synthesis and protein oxidation is running 24/7. When protein synthesis is greater than the oxidation muscle hypertrophy occurs, meaning that your muscles grow. If the oxidation is greater than the synthesis the reverse takes place.
Always aim to keep your protein synthesis as high as possible, and your protein oxidation as low as possible. You’ll accomplish this primarily by strength training and to ensure that the body has access to amino acids.
You probably already know that a high protein intake is important, but I think many people underestimate how much difference it can actually do.
Most people with little experience in strength training tend to agree that an intake of 2 g of protein per kilo body weight is a good measure.
But based on studies, it is somewhat accurate.
The picture below summarizes the literature. As you can see, 1.8g/kg (0.82g/lb) is the point at which additional protein intake ceases to yield any benefits.
So you don’t need 2g/kg (1g/lb) but it is easier to count that way.
- Tarnopolsky et al. (1992) observed no differences in whole body protein synthesis or indexes of lean body mass in strength athletes consuming either 0.64g/lb or 1.10g/lb over a 2 week period.
- Lemon et al. (1992) found no differences in muscle mass or strength gains in novice bodybuilders consuming either 0.61g/lb or 1.19g/lb over a 4 week period. Based on nitrogen balance data, the authors recommended 0.75g/lb.
- Hoffman et al. (2006) found no differences in body composition, strength or resting hormonal concentrations in strength athletes consuming either 0.77g/lb or >0.91g/lb over a 3 month period.
However, diets rich in protein intake has quite consistently proven to result in a greater fat loss, and better retention of fat-free mass.
In conclusion. You should have a high intake of protein to cut your fats.
Sleep. Sleep has a major impact on your hormones, and your hormones affect your body composition. Where the energy goes when you eat with an energy surplus, and where it is taken away when you lie on an energy deficit seem greatly affected by how much you sleep.
A study of obese adults who were at an energy deficit compared how weight loss and loss of fat-free mass varied depending on whether they had to sleep 8.5 or just 5.5 hours per night. Not only those who got less sleep felt hungrier, the loss of fat-free mass increased by 60% compared with the other group.
Now that we got the basic understandings out of the way, let’s look at what you need to actually do.
*Disclaimer: This guide is not the ultimate truth. Some claims are probably possible to prove different in a scientifically correct environment. However, this method works for me and has worked for many others who have tested it. Recall what I said about “each individual is unique”. If you decide to use the guide, you do so on your own terms and hold full responsibility for every single outcome.
This method is built on physically correct principles, achieves what it should, and it does so without being painful or unhealthy.
There are basically two parts in cutting away fat and retaining and/or gaining LMS:
- Lifting Weights
Food and Diet
It is recommended that you exercise heavy weight training during your weight loss period. This keeps your metabolism high and stimulates your body to retain muscle mass like no other forms of exercise, even under low energy intake.
Your heavy workout stimulates anabolic hormones and stimulates the body to preserve muscle. Moreover, the actual strength training comes with a heightened energy consumption up to 48 hours after the workout. During a 24-hour period you will consume 60-70 minutes of intense weight training, as much energy as 50 minutes of cardio at 70% of maximum heart rate during that same period.
A kilo of body fat is made up of roughly 7000 – 7500 kilocalories (kcal). Once you have exhausted the amount of energy, no matter how you have accomplished this energy or how long it took, you have lost one kilogram.
Of course there are other factors that come into play, but basically it’s the math that applies. So; if you are in an energy deficit of 500 kcal per day, you will lose about half a kilo a week. It is an excellent downturn pace to avoid losing muscle mass or impair metabolism.
Your approximate energy need is calculated by the proven Harris & Benedict equation from 1919:
- Men: 66.5 + (13.75 x kg) + (5003 x cm) – (6.775 x age)
- Women: 655.1 + (9,563 x kg) + (1.850 x cm) – (4.676 x age)
The final figure is your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate); i.e. your basic energy needs at rest.
Now multiply your BMR with your level of activity:
Little to no exercise
Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.2
Light exercise (1–3 days per week)
Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise (3–5 days per week)
Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise (6–7 days per week)
Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.725
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts)
Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.9
Please note that if you are obese or very overweight you may need to lower your intake by 5-15 %.
Next up you need to figure out what and how you need to eat. The easiest way to do this is to use a calculator that you find online:.
has a lot of those and they work fine. Otherwise just Google for: Macronutrient calculator and food nutritional value chart ( ).
What different energy values foods hold and how much protein, fat and carbohydrates they contain can be found in the FDA tables.
The only way to know what and how much food you consume, and what it contains (macros) is to weigh it and check the tables. Sorry, but true. Everything else would be pure speculation.
You need both carbohydrates, protein and fat with every meal for optimal nutrition and well-being.
Your carbohydrates should as much as possible from natural, unrefined foods. The glycemic index (GI) carbohydrate plays less of a role, in terms of impact on fat storage and fat burning.
Good sources of carbohydrates are pastas (especially whole wheat varieties), parboiled rice and whole grain rice, boiled potatoes, oatmeal, porridge, muesli, pearl barley, basmati rice, soft and rough multigrain bread, wheat germ, beans, lentils and fruit.
In all meals, you should have a protein source. It is the protein that gives your muscles building blocks.
Good protein can be found in clean, lean meat such as beef, pork loin, minute steak, low-fat cream cheese, all kinds of fish, low fat dairy products, eggs, hamburger meat, clams, shrimp, crab, turkey, chicken, chicken breast, cottage cheese, among many other sources.
Good fats can be found in, to take some examples: canola, olive or flaxseed oil, oily fish such as mackerel or herring or salmon, nuts, almonds and avocados.
The Application Fitness Pal from Under Armor can be a good choice to keep track of your macros and what food you eat..
When it comes to the second part, which is lifting weights, I advice you to pick a routine that is tested and proven.
Your main goal here is to move serious mass – nothing else.
You need to focus on doing correct and controlled to avoid injury.
Remember the reason why you are reading this in the first place, probably because you want to have had a hard time losing weight before, or gaining muscle. So how to solve it?
Follow a tested schedule and do not deviate from it even once. Go with it and see where it takes you. Worst case scenario, you hate it and you just quit following it after it is finished.
I picked a few routines that I have tested myself and that I like, and you pick one and follow them to the letter (don’t mind their names too much). Once you’ve picked a routine, stick with it for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks you will see insane results, given that you followed a diet and the workout:
- That’s basically all you need to get started on your new journey to a healthier lifestyle and better health. I wish you all the best.
Running versus weight lifting in the treatment of depression. Doyne, Elizabeth J.; Ossip-Klein, Deborah J.; Bowman, Eric D.; Osborn, Kent M.; McDougall-Wilson, Ilona B.; Neimeyer, Robert A. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 55(5), Oct 1987, 748-754.
I am the co-founder at Getfit Nordic () where we coach clients without teaching a specific diet. Instead we practice what we preach. That is to eat clean, healthy food from a variety of options. Just check our client results if you want to get inspired by others ( ).
Getting strong and healthy is never an easy task for a single individual. However, together you can shorten the development curve.