The Most Important Tools for Fat Loss
It's not impossible to burn fat while building muscle, but unless you have everything dialled in almost perfectly it is extremely difficult. As do most, people want results in the fastest way possible, but nutritional detail need to be the main focus. Focus on one goal at a time with 100% effort.
To start your fat loss journey you must start with the things that are going to have the overall largest impact. I am going to break down the key tools for maximising effective fat loss in to 5 stages. Learn to monitor your progress and when to make a change is a skill. Follow these exact steps in this particular order:
Intelligent high intensity training
1. Strategic Nutrition
This is the ‘base’ of the fat loss pyramid. It is what everything else must be built off of. These are the 4 components that make up any strategic nutrition plan:
Working out your starting calories is the first point of action to begin your fat loss journey. Often the simplest way to determine your initial calorie level is to base it off of what you are currently consuming.
The combination of certain types of foods (macros) can have a large effect on your body composition. General rule of thumb is pretty straightforward; avoid high fats and high carbs in the same meal.
Everyone is different when it comes to meal timing, however here is a good baseline to get you started:
– Stick with protein and healthy fats for breakfast, rather than carbs
– Avoid carbohydrates for at least 3 hours pre-workout
– With the exception of coconut oil or MCT oil, avoid fats within about 3 hours of your workout
– Lean protein and fast digesting carbs post-workout, not slow digesting ones
– Have your last meal no closer than about 2-3 hours before bed
– Carbs in your last meal can be ok, but try faster digesting (high GI) ones, not slow digesting (low GI)
– After a metabolic training session (lots of lactic acid) it might be a good idea to wait about 30-45 minutes before consuming your post-workout shake if you are consuming carbohydrates.
Calorie or carb cycling throughout the week is a bit more advanced, and everyone may not need to implement it, but it can be a valuable tool. The concept is very simple: less calories and/or carbs when your body doesn’t need them for recovery (such as on non-training days) with periodic higher calorie/carb days to refuel glycogen, increase recovery, and up-regulate metabolism.
2. Intelligent High-Intensity Training
Resistance training is essential to increase insulin sensitivity, preserve lean muscle mass, and increase your metabolism. Higher intensity weight training with a rep range between 6-8 throughout your fat loss phase is a great method to make sure you build and retain muscle mass during a fat loss phase. The key is to focus on hard contractions, not just ‘moving the weight’. Muscular contractions are what burns calories, not getting a weight from point A to point B.
3. Metabolic Training
The next step is to phase in a more metabolic style of training either in the latter portion of each session following the higher intensity work, or in a separate session on it’s own. One strategy might be to alternate more hypertrophy-style sessions with more metabolic-based ones throughout the week.
Although the weights you use may be slightly less, the density of the workouts will increase. This means more super sets, giant sets, circuit-style training, or even utilizing metabolic tools like prowler sleds, battle ropes, or rowing machines.
4. HIIT Cardio
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an invaluable tool for body recomposition when used appropriately. Not only can it greatly elevate metabolic rate and EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), but there is minimal muscle damage which means you can recover quickly and it is less likely to impair subsequent training performance.
5. Steady State Cardio
Steady state has a time and place to be used. However, it should be one of the last tools to be applied in your fat loss journey. Once you have already implemented the previous 4 stages, steady state cardio can be added in small doses to keep shedding off the excess fat. Example of steady state cardio can be a fast pace walk on the treadmill for 30-40 mins keeping your heart rate at 135- 140bpm.
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