- Contrary to popular belief, fat loss isn’t all about calories in versus calories out. While it’s true that calories matter, there are other more important factors to consider in your journey a strong, lean body.
- A good starting point is to de-junk your diet and cut down on sugar and refined carbs. Seemingly healthy foods and beverages, such as multigrain bread, trail mixes, and fruit juices, are nothing but candy in disguise.
- Fill up on protein and healthy fats. These nutrients increase satiety and curb hunger while increasing fat burning.
- The ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, and carb cycling are some of the most effective strategies to lose fat and keep it off. They do require some planning, but the results will blow your mind.
- When it comes to fat loss, long-term commitment is the key. As a bodybuilder, you can’t afford to experiment with crash diets and other weight loss strategies that may cause metabolic damage and muscle loss.
According to a recent survey, the second most popular New Year’s resolution among Americans is to lose weight or get in shape. Furthermore, nearly 80% of Millennials and 75% of Gen Xers say that their diets could be healthier.
Fat loss is never easy. It’s even harder for athletes as they need to preserve lean mass and keep up with their training routine. As a bodybuilder, you can’t afford to go on crash diets and try all sorts of weight loss gimmicks — that’s a recipe for disaster.
If you’re wondering how to lose body fat and get ripped, stick to proven strategies. The keto diet, intermittent fasting, carb cycling, and high-intensity interval training are all a great choice. Choosing the best approach depends largely on your lifestyle and training goals.
The ketogenic diet, for example, is clinically proven to work. This doesn’t mean it’s suitable for everyone, though.
Your best bet is to stick to the five rules of workout nutrition, which emphasize clean eating. However, if you carry extra pounds, there are some things you can do to speed up fat loss without sacrificing lean mass — and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Here’s what you should know about the best fat loss methods and how to get shredded to the bone!
Do Calories Really Matter?
First things first, let’s talk about calories. While it’s true that calories matter, they’re just one part of the equation.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t keep track of your calorie intake. But what you should focus on is food quality.
Protein, carbs, and fats — the three macronutrients — all provide calories. Carbs and protein supply 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram.
Alcohol boasts 7 calories per gram, but it’s not considered a macronutrient because your body doesn’t need it for survival.
Although dietary fat is the highest in calories, it can help you get leaner. Believe it or not, you must eat fat to burn fat.
What about Keto?
Take the ketogenic diet, for example. This eating plan is largely based on fats and limits carbs to 50 or fewer grams per day. As a result, it depletes your glycogen stores and stimulates the production of ketone bodies.
As ketones build up in the blood and urine, your body enters ketosis and begins to burn fat instead of glucose for fuel. This process has nothing to do with your calorie intake.
Another key nutrient is protein, which has a higher thermic effect than fats and carbohydrates. Additionally, it increases satiety and improves appetite control.
According to a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, protein has a thermic effect of 20 to 30%. Dietary fat, on the other hand, has a thermic effect of 0 to 3%. The thermic effect of carbs is 5 to 10%.
Assuming that protein has a thermic effect of 30%, your body will absorb and use only 70 calories from every 100 calories of protein ingested.
And that’s why high-protein diets are so effective.
While it helps to track your energy intake, it’s not necessary to count calories. Ideally, try to set a daily limit and stick to it.
Determine your current energy intake and cut 300 to 500 calories per day. Monitor your weight and body fat levels and then adjust your diet accordingly.
This gradual reduction in calorie intake helps prevent metabolic slowdown and makes it easier to stick to your plan.
De-Junk Your Diet
Don’t fool yourself thinking that you can get away with an occasional cookie or slice of pizza. While it’s possible to eat junk and lose some weight, you’ll never get shredded unless you clean up your diet.
Cut out obvious offenders like cookies, cakes, pastries, breakfast cereals, potato chips, fries, alcohol, and soft drinks.
Beware that many seemingly healthy foods are loaded with sugar and trans fats. Here are some examples:
- Store-bought granola and trail mixes
- Dry fruits
- Fruit juices
- Microwave popcorn
- Flavored yogurt
- Frozen yogurt
- Vegetable chips
- Turkey bacon
- Multigrain bread
- Ready-to-eat salads
- Smoked meats
- Energy bars, fiber bars, and most protein bars
- Sports drinks
- Energy drinks
- Store-bought smoothies
- Fat-free salad dressings
- Cream cheese and breakfast spreads
Turkey bacon, for example, is rich in protein, so it should be fine, right? Not really.
This popular snack is chock-full of sodium and trans fats, points out the Cleveland Clinic. Although it’s lower in calories than pork bacon, it still contains around 4 grams of trans fats and up to 1,900 milligrams of sodium per 2-ounce serving.
In animal studies, trans fat consumption has been linked to weight gain, abdominal obesity, and insulin resistance. This kind of fat also raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol, increasing your risk of stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.
What’s Wrong with Multigrain Bread?
You may be surprised to see multigrain bread on our list. Manufacturers put the term “multigrain” on labels to show that bread and other products contain one or more types of grains. However, this says nothing about the kind of flour used.
Multigrain bread is often made with white flour, which has little nutritional value. A quarter-cup of white flour provides 100 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 23 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of fiber.
The same amount of whole-grain dark rye flour boasts 110 calories, 4 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 21 grams of carbs, including 4 grams of fiber.
Rye flour is slightly higher in calories than white flour, but it also contains four times more fiber. On top of that, it offers larger amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, and B-complex vitamins. Dietary fiber slows down sugar absorption into your bloodstream and promotes satiety.
If you really want to get shredded, ditch the bread altogether. Alternatively, opt for whole-grain varieties, which are made with whole wheat, rye, barley, quinoa, spelt, or oat flour. Another option is to make bread at home using wholegrain flour, unflavored protein powder, seeds, and a pinch of salt.
What about Fruits?
Rich in vitamins and minerals, fruits have their place in a balanced diet. However, they do contain carbs and sugars (in the form of fructose).
Unless you’re on a low-carb or ketogenic diet, consume about 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day and up to 1 gram per pound on your off-training days. If you’re slightly overweight, limit your carbs to 1 gram per pound.
Consume most of your carbs before and after training. Since fruits contain simple carbs, they make a great post-workout snack. When you’re done training, your body will use the extra carbs to replenish its glycogen stores and recover from exercise.
Ideally, choose low-carb fruits, such as berries and avocados. Strawberries, for instance, have only 53 calories and 12.7 grams of carbs, including 3.3 grams of fiber per cup. That’s 9.4 grams of net carbs.
Avocado, by comparison, boasts 234 calories, 21.4 grams of fat, and 12.5 grams of carbs, including 9.8 grams of fiber per cup. That’s only 2.7 grams of net carbs, making this fruit ideal for ketogenic diets.
Protection Against Obesity
Despite their high sugar content, fruits may protect against obesity and facilitate weight loss. According to a review published in the journal Nutrients, this could be due to their satiating effect.
Additionally, certain phytochemicals in fruits modulate the gut flora, increase fat breakdown, and inhibit the formation of new fat cells.
If let’s say, you replace rice cakes with fruits, you’ll automatically reduce your energy intake and get more nutrients in your diet. This simple swap can save you hundreds of calories per day and improve your health. Like with everything else, moderation is the key.
Sugar is sugar, regardless of where it comes from. While it’s true that whole fruits contain fructose, they’re also rich in fiber.
As mentioned above, fiber consumption allows for a gradual release of sugar into the bloodstream. As a result, it may help prevent insulin and blood glucose spikes.
Fruit juices, by comparison, have little or no fiber. Let’s see some examples:
- Apples— 126 calories, 25.1 grams of sugars, and 5.8 grams of fiber per serving
- Apple juice (unsweetened) — 114 calories, 23.9 grams of sugars, and 0.5 grams of fiber per cup
- One large orange — 86 calories, 17.2 grams of sugars, and 4.4 grams of fiber
- Orange juice — 112 calories, 20.8 grams of sugars, and 0.5 grams of fiber per cup
- Pineapple — 83 calories, 16.3 grams of sugars, and 2.3 grams of fiber per cup
- Pineapple juice (bottled or canned) — 133 calories, 25 grams of sugars, and 0.5 grams of fiber
One serving of fruit juice is typically larger than one serving of whole fruits. Even so, fruit juice is significantly lower in fiber compared to the whole fruit.
Get More Protein into Your Diet
You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? Protein is your best ally in the battle against the bulge. It not only fills you up quickly but also boosts your metabolism, increases fat burning, and preserves lean mass.
We have already mentioned that protein takes more energy to digest and break down than carbs and fats.
What you may not know is that it may also help prevent obesity, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome, as reported by the British Journal of Nutrition.
Recommendation Protein Consumption
Researchers recommend the consumption of 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight as a means to lose fat and improve body composition. These numbers are not set in stone, though. The more active you are, the higher your protein requirements.
In a cohort study, subjects who went on a low-GI (glycemic index), high-protein diet experienced significant fat loss and managed to keep the pounds off. Additionally, blood pressure and blood lipids decreased in both adults and children.
Your body needs protein to build new tissues, repair damaged tissues, and recover from training. This nutrient also plays a key role in hormone production and energy metabolism. When you’re a low-carb diet, protein can be used as a source of fuel.
As the American Council on Exercise notes, this macronutrient should account for 15 to 30% of your daily energy intake. For best results, consume more protein on your heaviest training days.
A good starting point is to make sure you eat protein at every meal. Lean beef, poultry, fatty fish, cottage cheese, and eggs are all rich in this nutrient.
Sip on protein shakes before and/or after training and consider replacing one or more snacks with these beverages. This way, you’ll stay full longer while reducing your calorie and carb intake.
We suggest using Vintage Brawn™, our signature muscle-building protein blend, which boasts 24 grams of protein per serving and has no carbs, gluten, or GMOs.
How to Lose Fat with the Keto Diet
Along with protein, dietary fat is one of the most satiating nutrients out there. Evidence shows that fat consumption promotes fullness and inhibits hunger, making it easier to reduce your food intake.
And this brings us to the next point — the ketogenic diet.
Our team has published several guides on the keto diet, how it works, and how to fully reap its benefits. We have also shared some helpful tips to break the dreaded keto plateau and maximize fat burning.
Furthermore, these keto shortcuts can speed up your progress and make it easier to deal with sugar cravings, fatigue, and other potential side effects of the keto diet.
This isn’t your typical weight loss plan — it’s a lifestyle. It not only makes it easier to get leaner, but it may also improve glycemic control and blood lipids. On top of that, it’s safe and sustainable in the long-term.
The ketogenic diet is based on fats. Nuts, seeds, fatty meats, salmon, tuna, bacon, and even mayo are all allowed. Plus, you can customize it based on your lifestyle and training routine.
If you engage in heavy lifting and high-intensity training, try out the cyclical ketogenic diet. This eating pattern alternates between high-fat and high-carb days. Or you can switch to a high-protein ketogenic diet, which is about 35% protein, 5% carbs, and 60% percent fat.
We won’t go into details on this one. Read our keto diet guides and take it from there. As always, you can leave a comment and ask any questions you may have. Our team will be more than happy to help you out.
Small Changes Yield Big Results
Whether you want to lose a few pounds or get shredded to the bone, it’s important to change the way you think about food and tweak your workout routine. Long-term commitment is the key.
Food has the role to nourish your body. While there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, your overall diet should support your health and fitness goals. Remember, it’s the small things that matter.
If you’re still wondering how to lose body fat, implement the strategies listed above. Clean up your diet, cut down on carbs and simple sugars, and fill up on protein and healthy fats. Consider switching to the ketogenic diet to maximize fat burning and get ripped.
Another strategy you may use is intermittent fasting. This dietary pattern alternates between periods of feeding and food restriction. It’s one of the few proven ways to lose fat, reduce inflammation, and improve cardiovascular health.
Your training routine and sleeping habits matter too. But we’ll discuss that another day.
In the meantime, let us know what your biggest struggles are in the battle against the bulge and what keeps you from getting shredded!