10 Tips for fat loss, in simplest terms.
I've found more and more that the average person just has no clue when it comes to proper nutrition or fat loss. Having a background in bodybuilding and powerlifting, I am often approached by friends and family for diet and exercise advice. I'm always glad to share my thoughts and experiences with others. This is just an effort to put together most of what I've learned over the last few years and maybe to help give a jumpstart to anyone who is new to this and wants to drop some fat, but doesn't want to do all the research. For the intermediate or experienced lifter, this should all be review.
I am not a nutrition expert by any means, but have read and applied as much information as I could. These are all things that have worked for me, and primarily used to control my body fat level while increasing my body mass. I have used the following tips to bring my body weight from 165 up to 205 over the last 3 years while keeping my fat level below 13%. I have been as low as 8%, but it no longer suits my personal goals to strive for such a low percentage of body fat. I truly hope these tips will help get you on your way to fast fat loss.
1. Drink plenty of water.
At least a gallon of water should be consumed every day. Water will not only keep your body hydrated, but it will help carry waste out of your body. Avoid "designer" water and carbonated "water". These products, while still better than most beverages, are not water and do not carry the same benefits. "But I don't like water" you say. Learn to love it. It loves you.
2. Eat 5-8 meals per day, every 2-3 hours.
This should be nothing new to anyone. Just in case, the primary reason for increasing the frequency of food consumption is to increase your metabolic rate. If your body is in a constant state of using up the calories you consume, there won't be much room for those nasty fat cells to start filling up. If possible, you should try to count your calorie consumption. 10xyour body weight= calories per day. So if I want to lose weight and I weigh 205lbs then I should shoot for 2050 calories per day. Eat more, not less.
3. If it breathes, eat it.
Your diet should consist of an abundance of fish, poultry, lean cuts of beef, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Natural food is much friendlier to your digestive system and your body will thank you for it. Try to eat a vegetable with every meal. Even if you don't want to count calories, these meals will provide a rich balance of nutrients and promote fat loss. If you're a vegetarian, please go and try to feed some hummus to a lion. Let me know if he likes it.
4. Breakfast is really the most important meal of the day.
Most people don't eat a good breakfast, if they eat anything at all. This meal is crucial. Remember how your body works better when in a constant metabolic state? Well, you just slept for 8 hours, and you weren't eating anything. Your body is starving and if you don't eat something soon, your metabolism will slow down and begin to store that fat you've worked so hard to get rid of. The best things to eat in the morning when focusing on fat loss are nuts and meat. Try to avoid sugars this early, as your body is highly insulin sensitive after a fast and you don't want to feed the beast when it's most hungry.
5. Eat something before bed.
A popular myth in the diet world is that any meal consumed before bed will turn into fat overnight. This couldn't be further from the truth. You must eat before you sleep in order to keep your metabolism working while you're enduring an extended fast. The best foods to eat are slow-digesting proteins such as yogurt or cottage cheese.
6. High Fructose Corn Syrup is the devil.
This widely popular sweetener is probably the single worst "food" you can subject your body to. It holds no nutritional value and will serve only to spike your insulin levels and help you pack on fat. HFCS is found in most processed foods and should be avoided at all costs.
7. Forget about "carbs"
The recent trend of demonizing carbohydrates has got to stop. They're not as bad as people think. Focus on whole grains and vegetables and fruits. These are all carbohydrate-rich foods, and all very helpful in promoting fat loss. Things to avoid are refined carbs. Basically, anything that's fake: white bread and bagels, refined sugar, most breakfast cereal and almost anything in the "snack" aisle. Also, be careful of packaged, dried fruit. Most of it has added HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP which instantly destroys any nutritional value the fruit may have provided.
8. Fish oil is your friend.
This is a tough one. This one is even tough for me. Fish oil comes in capsules now, so you don't have to taste it going down, but you will taste it throughout the day, and that's not fun. However, with that said, fish oil is a huge help in reducing body fat. And it's relatively inexpensive. Again, this will be a tough one to swallow (pun intended), but if you really want to get that six-pack, it will sure help.
9. Train your body with weights.
This should be obvious, but for some reason, it's overlooked. The average person feels that cardio alone will help promote fat loss. In fact, steady state cardiovascular work will put your body in a catabolic state, burn muscle as well as fat, and will increase your performance at running on a treadmill, or using a recumbent bike or elliptical machine, depending on what you're doing. By training your body with weights, you will increase your muscle density. Muscle tissue will burn calories at a rate that is roughly 70 times that of fat. Basically, the more muscle you have, the easier it will be to lose fat. Now, especially for the women, increasing muscle density is not the same as increasing muscle size. You will not look like "those women" on ESPN with all the rippling muscles. These women work very hard to look like that, and you will never look like them unless you absolutely want to, and train to that end. Bottom line, weight training is key to fat loss.
10. Don't follow the rules 100% of the time.
How will you ever make progress if you're miserable with your diet? If you love to drink blue slurpees and eat snickers bars, then don't eliminate them completely from your diet. Taking a break from time to time is actually a good thing. This doesn't give you license to start eating everything in sight or to order the 5-5-5 from Dominoes for yourself, but one day per week you can go a little nuts, just keep it under control. This serves two purposes. One, the diet will be easier to stick to when you can keep eating the foods you really enjoy from time to time. Two, your metabolism will get a nice kick-start and begin working overtime to move all those sugars and calories around that it isn't used to.
I'm absolutely certain I missed something here, but I think this is a good start far anyone who is unsure how to promote fat loss in their own body. Again, this is for beginners. The intermediate or advanced athlete should already know all of this. I tried to keep it as simple as possible, as I know how easy it is to quit just because it's too hard to understand. Good luck on your fat loss and don't give up.