Losing fat, while gaining or maintaining muscle, is a science. Many people get it wrong and end up struggling on their fat loss journey. The more they get it wrong, the more they struggle and, eventually, they give up because all the work they’ve put into changing their body just hasn’t worked for them.
Below are 5 strategies to help you begin losing fat today, while actually building new lean muscle.
# 1: Incorporate Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT)
Dieting without exercise will definitely result in weight loss. Unfortunately, that weight will be about 75% fat & water, while the remaining 25% will likely be lean muscle. For someone who wants to lose 30 pounds, but isn’t willing to begin a resistance training program, that means a loss of between 7 – 8 pounds of lean muscle.
For anyone who’s tried to pack on 7 – 8 pounds of lean muscle, you know that this is A LOT of muscle to lose and it’s going to be a STEEP uphill climb trying to put that muscle back on.
In the hierarchy of fat loss, nutrition & resistance training come above cardio. The big mistake most people make, though, is that they begin "dieting" and doing cardio, which only damages their metabolism and sets them up for failure.
# 2: Increase Your Daily Protein Intake
Most people, especially women, don’t eat enough protein on a daily basis to support muscle growth, much less support the maintenance of muscle. Almost every time I sit down with a new client and tell them how much protein they should be eating each day, the response is usually something like, “how much? wow …”
We’re a society that’s addicted to carbohydrates and deficient in protein. Our muscles are made up of protein and when we go on a calorie-restricted diet or low-carb meal plan, one of the places that our bodies are going to look for energy when glycogen stores are depleted is lean muscle tissue … unless we keep a necessary balance of protein intake.
Generally, 0.8 – 1.0 grams of protein per pound of your desired body weight will do the trick. So for someone who weighs 200 pounds and and wants to weigh 180 pounds, 180 grams of protein each day would be the goal.
Try to get your protein from a variety of sources such as fish, beef, pork, poultry and eggs. Another great source is whey protein powder. A high-quality protein powder shake immediately after your resistance training workout is optimal for building new lean muscle.
# 3: Stop Doing Long, Steady State Cardio Sessions
Spinning, endurance running and doing the elliptical are all great examples of long-duration, steady state endurance training. They’re also great examples of what NOT to do if you actually want to lose fat and build muscle fast.
For some reason, these activities are still one of the first things people turn to when they want to lose fat. Fast forward a few weeks and these people have the same body they did when they started, plus a nagging knee or hip ailment. They’ve lost little, if any, fat and they’re worn out from countless hours of cardio.
I know that there are A LOT of disbelievers out there, but if we were to ONLY look at the research we would see that there are endless studies supporting the stand for resistance training for fat loss, yet there are NONE that support endurance training as being superior to resistance training. Not a single study.
So stop running, start lifting things up and putting them down and, before you know it, your body WILL start changing.
BONUS: If you do enjoy running, resistance training will ONLY make you better … AND faster.
# 4: Reduce Your Daily Carb Intake
Are carbs the devil? No, of course not, I love carbs!
But basing a diet on 50% or 60% carbs is a sure fire way to fat loss failure for someone who’s developed resistance to insulin because they’ve been drowning themselves in bear claws and bagels for the last 10 years.
By reducing your carb intake, you can actually restore your insulin sensitivity so that insulin can work for you, instead of against you.
If you’re someone who is really struggling with fat loss and nothing else is working, try reducing your daily carb intake to 50 total grams or less per day. After 14 days, do a carb re-feed in the second half of the day (bodyweight x 0.75 = re-feed carbs in grams) and then get back to 50 grams per day for another 14 days. Rinse, repeat, and watch the fat literally disappear with each passing week.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to up your daily protein and fat intake as your body begins to utilize fat as its primary fuel source.
BONUS: Grass fed NY Strip steaks, grilled pork chops and organic chicken wings.
# 5: Increase Your Training Intensity
With all other things remaining constant – your workouts, your diet, your stress levels, your sleep patterns and everything else in your life – the one thing that you can change that will have a HUGE impact on fat loss is how hard you work when you’re working out.
Many people will “go through the motions” and will barely break a sweat.
Just a side note – if you’re human, you sweat. Don’t use the excuse, “I’m not a sweater” unless you’re not human. If you work hard, you WILL sweat. Period.
Simple things like pushing yourself to complete more reps, more sets, doing more weight and moving faster (all while maintaining great form) will all increase your intensity. The end result will be a higher heart rate during your workout, a higher perceived rate of exhertion and a much greater EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).
Greater EPOC is what your aim should be if you’re looking to lose fat. It’s where all the magic happens! In basic terms, it means that you’ll burn MANY more calories after your workout than you normally would, resulting in more fat loss, as your body consumes more oxygen to complete the processes of rebuilding tissues and prepping your body for your next workout.