When it comes to fat loss strategies, we usually want to start conservatively. Not only in terms of how aggressive you are with the caloric deficit, but also the complexity of what you are doing for training and nutrition.
Everyone is different, and each person needs their own individual plan. It is important to remember this, and find the most suitable approach. An obese person who does not workout, and a regular gym-goer who counts calories, will have very different approaches.
Different Individuals Require Different Fat Loss Strategies
A person who is getting ready for a contest should have a very different path compared to someone who is on a “see food diet.” They see food, and they eat it. Such a person has a lot of room to work with, and small changes can make a huge difference.
If you are in this situation, one of your first fat loss strategies can be switching out good foods with bad foods. Or maybe just dialing in your breakfast, and making sure it is on point. Instead of starting out by counting everything you eat.
Undoubtedly, to ensure you are making progress you have to be honest with yourself, and judge how your diet is affecting you.
Are you going to be able to sustain counting calories and everything you eat? Or is it going to be too big of a change in the very beginning? In that case, you could work yourself up to this point. That is also progress, and there is no need to rush anything here.
Small Changes Matter
By simply focusing on improving the quality of your diet, getting in some good micronutrients, reducing stress, and sleeping enough, you have done a lot. Naturally, you will have a decrease in calories from these fat loss strategies.
It should be noted that most diets result in a drop in calories, when you are changing the way you are eating. Just by being aware of the foods you are eating, most of us will usually opt for healthier choices. As a result, we see a drop in calories.
Pick Fat Loss Strategies That Match Your Style
One of the most important things you can do is to pick a diet that aligns with your mentality and ability to commit. Because in reality, we can progress any type of diet. Whether that is food portions, food selection, or timing. At the same time, working towards your calorie goal without meticulously tracking every single piece of food.
There are so many ways to progress and track various different diets, besides grams and calories. But the most important part of your fat loss strategies is to find what fits you.
One person might be better off with a low-carb diet, while another would benefit from a low-fat diet. Similarly, one person needs to work on eating more fruits and vegetables, while another needs more protein.
How to Begin a Diet
Let us assume that you or your client is completely new to this whole dieting and tracking calories thing. For or the first week, we simply want to get a realistic baseline. A great way to find the baseline is to not change the nutrition unless absolutely necessary, and only add in the training.
However, the most important thing you have to do now, is to track everything you eat. Of course, begin the exercise program, continue eating what you normally have, but now actually start tracking your food.
This way we can get a baseline for what you or your client have been eating.
Now, when you actually decide to make adjustments to your nutrition, it will be pretty accurate. And not based upon some random BMR calculator we can find online. Because these calculators have an extremely low chance of being accurate.
What we are simply decreasing the amount of guess-work we have to do.
Improving Lifestyle Habits
By starting out slow, and paying more attention to what you are eating, you can continue adding in more good habits. This first week you are simply being aware of what you are eating. Additionally, you can make some good healthy changes, like adding in more vegetables and supplements.
You can also make some lifestyle changes like being more consistent with sleep, adding more micronutrients and supplements.
Without stressing oneself out with a ton of rules from the get-go, most people will naturally increase food quality. This is because we are taking things slowly, paying attention, and actually learning about what we are doing.
As most people start to pay attention to their lifestyle and eating habits, they will naturally start eating cleaner foods. Simply because we are attentive of what we are doing, and tracking what we are eating.
By following these simple habits, we are most likely also getting a little calorie reduction. And it naturally happens just by being aware of oneself and one’s habits.
A Few Adjustments
After following these small changes for just a week, you should already see changes. From tracking and being aware of what you are eating, you will most likely see a change a change in body weight and energy. And if things are working out well, you do not have to make aggressive changes to the diet. Of course, it might be necessary for some individuals, but very rarely.
Moreover, you can clean up and add in more quality foods. Also adjust your macronutrients around training. It is important to take advantage of pre-, intra- and post-workout nutrition.
We are slowly and efficiently working to improve our diet and training.
Consider What Type of Training You Need
At this point, we are about two weeks into the program. What the next step is, depends on what you have done. For instance, if you started out with metabolic training, you might need a de-load at this point. We are still not too worried about increasing our metabolic conditioning, except for by reducing stress.
Our goal is to get as much metabolic adaption as possible, without causing too much inflammation.
We can do this for instance by training for a systemic metabolic response, or a local metabolic response. Systemic is a full body metabolic fatigue, where we are basically just gasping for air. The local metabolic training gives us more of a burnout in individual muscles.
By getting metabolic adaptations without a lot of inflammation, we are able to improve our ability to burn body fat.
With a cleaner diet, and better macronutrient ratios, we can decrease calories and increase our body’s ability to utilize body fat.
Additionally, by reducing stress and inflammation, we are able to increase our ability to burn body fat. And we are also reducing the amount of metabolic adaptations that are actually slowing down our metabolism.
An Efficient Metabolism Is Important
Even though it sounds obvious that an efficient metabolism makes it easier to lose fat, many people have thought otherwise in the past. We just want to make this clear and why it is so. Simply explained, an efficient metabolism uses food and converts it to energy faster and easier.
On the other hand, an inefficient metabolism converts food into energy slower. Usually, it also needs more carbohydrates to create energy.
What is clear from this, is that when our energy production is lower, the total amount of activity level is lower as well. In turn, the amount of physical activity you can exert decreases, your performance in the gym is worse, and your recovery rate is also slower.
From this, it is obvious that having an efficient metabolism makes it much easier to lose fat.
Thus, we want to have an efficient metabolism if our goal is to lose fat and recover well. There is no such thing as being too fit. Nothing in our body is really worse off when we are in good shape.
Increasing Metabolic Functions
After maybe three weeks, you have now focused on improving your metabolic functions. You can step on the gas for training during these first three weeks, but do not drop the calories significantly yet.
The reason is that the training in itself, tends to require much more energy than you have burned in the past. Not only that, but metabolic training will improve nutrient partitioning, glucose conservation and fat burning.
If we for some reason wanted the weight to drop more during those first three weeks, we could have been more aggressive on the caloric deficit. But in reality, that would only really decrease our glycogen levels.
Higher Levels of Glycogen is Helpful for Metabolic Training
And for metabolic training, we actually want our glycogen levels to be pretty high.This is because metabolic training requires a fast and efficient source of energy. If we are too depleted we have two main problems; our performance decreases, and inflammation increases a lot.
A lot of research proves that if we train with low glycogen levels, the amount of inflammation goes up significantly.
As a result, our metabolism becomes less efficient. Because our body decreases inflammation by reducing our metabolism.
After about three weeks of metabolic training, we usually want to change up the training stimulus. We want to switch to something that is not as metabolically taxing. Because at this point, your body is probably starting to hold some water from all the metabolic stress.
And this is where a change of stimuli is extremely efficient to avoid plateaus and other problems.
We usually want to do a de-load now. Naturally, you will see a weight drop, an improvement in sleep and digestion, and have much more energy. This is only a sign that we are taking away the metabolic stress from the body. When it becomes too much, your body cannot recover efficiently from it anymore.
After the de-load, you can take the training in many different directions. You can repeat the cycle or do a hypertrophy phase for instance.
Increased Ability to Burn Fat
Most importantly, you have increased your body’s ability to burn fat. Maybe it used to be able to handle a 300 caloric deficit, but now that number might well be 600. And now you are able to lose body fat twice as fast as before!
Depending on how much fat you have to lose, you might repeat this cycle several times. Whether that is over 10 weeks or 8 months.
Of course, you are not going to see an exponential increase in your ability to burn fat. But, it might move an inch or two next time, which is much better than ending up in a plateau, struggling with sleep, and feeling miserable.
Over time, you will get closer and closer to your maximal ability to burn fat. The ideal goal is to have a caloric deficit that matches your maximal ability to burn fat.
We do not want to have a deficit lower or higher than that. Because we are in a caloric deficit to burn body fat, and we want to actually be able to fulfill that deficit without causing issues with recovery.
Finally, we can see how important it is to be strategic with our fat loss journey. Going hard in the beginning, and taking our body to a deficit which it cannot handle, only makes us miserable. If we are at a deficit further than our body can fulfill, we will not only slow down our ability to lose fat, but we are going to be sucked out of energy as well. The goal is to get to the best shape we can, and as close we can to our maximal ability to burn body fat. Then, to be in a deficit that matches our ability to burn fat.
Thank you for reading our article!
– Terry Asher