Nevermind the myths. Follow this guide to get lean.
Anthony J. Yeung, C.S.C.S. 1 / 6
5 Rules of Fast Fat Loss
There’s a lot of information out there on how to lose weight and get a ripped six-pack, and much of it is contradicting. Forget it all. Learn these five essential rules for fat loss, and the rest is just details.
Weight loss is simple: if you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll drop pounds. But too many guys still underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how many calories they burn. Avoid the guesswork and keep a food journal for a week. Count up exactly how many calories you’re averaging. You may be surprised.
Now start eating 500 fewer calories per day—that’s about the amount in one meal. Of course, we’re not saying to cut out dinner. But cut back on your portion sizes and limit your carbs. Any junk or processed food you’re eating should be the first to go.
Of all the foods you eat, the high-protein ones are the most important for losing fat. First, they keep you feeling full, which prevents overeating and needless snacking. Second, they boost your calorie burn throughout the day because protein takes more energy to digest than carbs or fat. Third, when accompanied with weight training, a high-protein diet prevents muscle loss that might otherwise happen when you suddenly cut calories.
Eat at least one gram of protein per pound of your body weight and get your protein from whole sources like lean meats, eggs, fish, and protein powders.
Fat in foods doesn’t necessarily add up to fat around your waistline. Animal fats, real butter, coconut oil, nuts, and avocados help reduce hunger and maintain optimal testosterone production. Without enough fats, your results will decline (and so will your libido).
Eat more healthy fats and cut back on carbs, which can spike blood sugar and elevate your insulin levels, leading to more fat storage. Get at least 25% of your calories from good sources of fat and avoid artificial trans fats, which have been linked to numerous health problems like heart disease.
Many people still think the key to fat loss is cardio. And while cardio can help you burn a few calories, it does nothing to develop the muscles underneath your fat (the ones you want to reveal in the first place). Too much cardio along with a caloric deficit can also cause you to lose muscle and make you weaker.
Even when your goal is to be smaller, you still need to lift heavy and build strength. Heavy weights help you maintain and even add muscle mass, improving your body composition. Each week, train using big exercises like squats, deadlifts, and presses for sets of 4–8 reps.
Cutting back on sleep increases levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, which causes fat storage. In a study of more than 6,000 participants, Japanese researchers found that shorter amounts of sleep were associated with higher BMI levels and larger waistlines in men. Sleep deprivation also interferes with recovery and growth hormone production.
Get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. If you have trouble sleeping, stop drinking caffeine after mid-day, limit your alcohol consumption (which ruins sleep quality), and create a pre-bed ritual to get your body and mind ready for sleep.