In the following article, I will be covering several topics that ‘cutting fat’ encompasses. For example, I will present exercise as a modality, as I have done in the past, namely due to the fact that it has substantial research and evidence to back it’s clear results.
What you should not look for in this article is a ‘magic pill’ or shortcut that will fast-track you to losing weight and cutting fat. Why? Because if such a pill even did exist, due to the fact that no lifestyle change has been made, there is a high-likelihood that any fat-lost will return quickly.
I’m going to quickly share an embarrassing story with you that’ll hopefully put some things into perspective…
The reason why I consider myself an expert in weight loss is because I’ve been progressing my own body composition for several years now.
Initially, I began the journey in 2012 – being about 40lbs/18kg overweight and looking for ways to cut fat quickly. I tried all sorts of fad weight loss modalities that claimed amazing results but simply didn’t work. Sadly enough, I briefly researched surgical (liposuction) to remove fat fast, but thankfully didn’t entertain that notion for long as I knew it came from unrealistic laziness.
Now when I examine the whole concept of liposuction, it has many flaws, namely that anyone undergoing such a procedure has not made sufficient life changes to actually sustain themselves after the operation. The body also undergoes trauma during the operation. Additionally, the body itself has not “worked” for its new composition, and therefor has a high likelihood of reverting back to the previous state.
The take-away here is that, if you want to lose weight, you will need to do the work. But you’ll enjoy it more and more as you progress – trust me!
After having lost the 40lbs/18kg of extra weight through exercise and how, when, and what I ate, my body fat percentage dropped to 7% – where I then began working my way back up in weight but as muscle.
Over the last 2 years, I have been focusing on developing 20lbs/9kg of lean muscle mass – which I estimate will be achieved by 2022 of course through further exercise and dietary habits.
I’m writing the below suggestions after having initially gone through the process of losing weight quite effectively.
These steps to losing weight are quite simple:
1. Have a Proper Attitude
Your attitude is one of the most important aspects of the entire weight loss process, and deserves first placement on this list! It encompasses your mental fortitude to create a plan and strategy, and set things in motion in a way that the result is inevitable.
How do you determine which result is ideal for you? Look within your thoughts and see what it is you feel you cannot accomplish and then challenge that – envision yourself as the epitome of that which you seek. That which you can conceptualize you can achieve!
Do you want to align to that healthier, stronger, happier version of yourself? It’s already there! This is the attitude – let’s go.
2. Exercise with a Strategy
Some people reading the heading of ‘exercise’ may immediately want to scroll past and continue reading to the next recommendations, however, those people would be missing out on the true potential exercise has in store for not just losing weight but fortifying your mental attitude.
The best way exercise can support your weight loss efforts is by utilizing Intermittent Fasting or Time Restricted Eating (which we’ll get into under the heading eating) in conjunction with workouts. The exercise strategy should be in the direction of cardiovascular workouts before and after weight lifting training.
A general example of a 60-minute session could look like this:
- Warm-up cardio workout 10-15 min
Exercises: quick pace walk, jog, run, bike, elliptical, stairs etc.
- HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) where not only do you burn more calories, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body’s repair cycle into hyperdrive. Meaning you burn more fat and calories within 24 hours after a HIIT workout compared to a steady-pace run.
Exercises: sprints, speed bike, sped elliptical, running stairs/hill sprints, plyometrics, burpees etc.
- Weight lifting training 30-45 min
Exercises: squats, deadlifts, bent over rows, dumbbell press, bench press, leg press, cable work etc.
- Cool-down cardio workout 10-15 min
Exercises: slow pace walk, light jog, casual bike, elliptical etc.
Exercising this way will focus the bulk of your efforts towards weight loss and cutting fat – and if you’ve been fasting during exercise, you’ll reap awesome fat loss benefits!
The exact exercises you should focus on, in my opinion, are getting your big movers (muscles) firing because those will support maximal fat burning.
Examples of training that hit the larger muscle groups are mentioned above (squats, deadlifts, leg press etc.) and generally fall under moderate-to-heavy (40-80%+ of one’s maximum) weight lifting.
I cover various training programs and modalities on my YouTube channel — Adam Evans, and invite you to subscribe or have a watch. Otherwise, feel free to browse my other Lifehack articles!
3. Eat the Right Food at the Right Time
When you exercise (run, bike, lift weights, swim etc.), while in a ‘fasted state,’ your body will seek-out stored fat deposits to use for energy, rather than utilizing any sort of food or drink you have consumed. The post-absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you begin to enter the fasted state. It typically takes 12 hours after your last meal to fully enter the fasted state, however I suggest 14 hours after exercising and during your fasting time (while in a fasted state).
In most cases, the body fat which will burn off quicker will be around the belly, mid-section, as much of people’s stored fat tends to be in that region. When applying fasting and exercising, your body goes deep into belly fat deposits — areas that normally may be inaccessible while you are consuming food with or without exercise.
The point of fasting is to open the doorway to burning fat that has been hanging around for years and you have struggled to get rid of it — also known as ‘stubborn fat’.
When it comes to your actual meal time (‘eating window’ in fasting terminology), I highly suggest consuming foods that are easily digestible for you and hit all of your macro-nutrient (‘macros’), as well as some of your micro-nutrient (‘micros’), targets.
What I mean by this is that you will need to consume adequate protein, carbohydrates, and fats in order to support proper muscle-growth and development as well as weight loss.
Beyond hitting your macros, it’s important to get your micros as well – much of which would be covered with a daily multivitamin and other supplementation which I have mentioned in earlier articles such as the best weight loss supplements.
Keeping your daily caloric intake below maintenance is also critical to losing weight, and keep in mind when you exercise, you are burning more calories so you will need to eat more to ensure you aren’t flat out starving yourself – that’s not what this is about! Your goal should be to maintain approximately a 10% caloric deficit; if your daily maintenance with no exercise is 2,000 calories, you would consume approximately 1,800 calories within an eating window (after fasting).
If you are exercising, then let’s say you have brought the daily maintenance from 2,000 calories to 3,000 calories because you have burned 1,000 calories while exercising, well simply apply 10% of 3,000 calories to arrive at a deficit of -300 which would position your target at 2,700 calories for the day. Eating this way ensures your body is supporting its recovery and fuelling itself for the next day of fasting and exercise.
When I’m being totally efficient with fasting and my eating window, I consume about 3 meals within a 6 to 8 hour span. There’s a way of doing this to avoid bloating, feeling sluggish, or simply not feeling like eating further and I have experimented with different approaches.
If I consume light macro and micro-nutrient dense foods, it yields the best results in the short and long term. Foods such as Wild Alaskin Salmon with a side salad, or brown rice, or in some cases potatoes work really well to satisfy me but not leave me feeling totally full. This is an important aspect of eating in general — to be satisfied but not full, this means your body has received adequate sustenance without stressing itself in the digestive process.
Many people struggle with Intermittent Fasting, or Time restricted eating, because they stuff their face as soon as the eating window begins, and they consume heavy foods like bread or even fast food. The take-away here is to keep it clean and simple, you can season a chicken breast so many ways to make it different each time.
The same goes for all the various types of fish from Salmon (which I’ve mentioned) to Cod, Tilapia, Haddock, Halibut, Bass, and more! You can also experiment with different types of Steak, and I suggest sticking to the leaner cuts if you are looking to lose weight – such as Top Sirlion, or Striplion, rather than the fattier Rib-Eye or Prime-Rib (as delicious as they may be).
4. Have Quality Deep Sleep
The concept of sleeping well to lose weight seems like a dream (pun intended). There is actually something to this concept however, and it has to do with your metabolism.
Research from a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found when people were starved of sleep, late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high-carb snacks. In another study done at the University of Chicago, sleep-deprived participants chose snacks with twice as much fat as those who slept at least 8 hours.
A second study found that sleeping too little prompts people to eat bigger portions of all foods, increasing weight gain. And in a review of 18 studies, researchers found that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.
Researchers found that when dieters cut back on sleep over a 14-day period, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories stayed equal.
Leaving the brain benefits aside for reasons why you need quality deep sleep, the benefits towards weight loss and improved decision making are simply undeniable. Turn off the devices before bed, don’t go to sleep with your TV on, or on a full stomach, and ensure you are properly going through the sleep stages.
Key take-away, you must prioritize sleep!
If you clicked this article looking for a magic method of weight loss, I’m (not)sorry to disappoint! I like to keep things real, honest, and losing weight is more than just shedding fat – it’s a total lifestyle change mentally and physically.
Don’t just envision yourself physically stronger, more attractive, and all that stuff.. consider your day-to-day quality of life including how you think and operate will be significantly improved. In fact, I’ll bet as you progress along the journey, the physical aesthetic will begin to lose its appeal as motivation, and you will be driven strictly from passion to improve your life and hopefully help others do the same.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!
Featured photo credit: Maddi Bazzocco via unsplash.com