Last updated: April 15, 2011 by Mehdi
You can lose fat fast and forever without waking up at 5am to run on an empty stomach, without exercising 6x/week, without feeling hungry all the time or cutting your favorite foods forever and without expensive supplements.
You only need 3 things to lose fat: strength training. healthy nutrition & cardio. This post will give you a simple, efficient fat loss plan so you can get your body fat to dream numbers while still have a life & eat normally.
1. Get Stronger. Strength training increases cardiovascular fitness. strengthens joints & bones, builds muscle, improves flexibility, … And it also helps fat loss.
- Maintain Muscle. More strength is more muscle. Strength training builds muscle and prevents muscle loss so you don’t get skinny + fat.
- Burn Fat. Strength training prevents your metabolic rate from going down when dieting. This means more fat loss.
- Stick to Diet. Exercising positively influences your eating habits. You’ll stick to your diet better if you do strength training, losing more fat.
You’ll get best results doing a free weight routine of compound exercises like Squats & Deadlifts. Check StrongLifts 5×5. it only takes 3x45mins/week.
2. Eat Healthy. Eat whole, unprocessed foods 90% of the time. Whole foods come as close as possible to their natural state: without added sugars, fats, sauces, … Buy raw foods and cook them yourself.
- Protein. Necessary to build & maintain muscle so you don’t get skinny + fat. Protein also satiates and has the highest thermic effect. Eat a whole protein source with each meal: beef, poultry, fish, dairy, whey. etc
- Veggies & Fruits. Fill your stomach, but usually low in calorie. Also high in fiber, water, vitamins & minerals. Eat veggies & fruits with each meal: spinach, broccoli, kale, asparagus, apples, oranges, etc.
- Healthy Fats. Fat doesn’t make you fat, bad nutrition & lack of exercise do. Healthy fats help fat loss: they satiate and slow down digestion. Eat healthy fats with each meal: fish oil. olive oil, mixed nuts.
- Water. Thirst can make you think you’re hungry. Avoid soda, alcohol and fruit juice. Drink 2 cups water with each meal and sip water during your workout. Green tea and water with squeezed lemon are OK too.
3. Eat Grains Post Workout Only. Grains like pasta or rice are very caloric dense: 100g blank pasta has over 350kcal while 100g broccoli has only 35kcal. Limit your intake of grains to post workout only to automatically reduce your caloric intake.
- Eat Less Starches. Eat proteins, veggies, fruits & healthy fats with each meal. Carbs from veggies & fruits are OK, this isn’t a zero carb fat loss diet. Don’t eat starchy carbs except post workout.
- No Workout = No Carbs. If you do strength training 3x per week, you can eat starchy carbs 3x per week post workout. Eat proteins, veggies, fruits & healthy fats with all other meals.
- Eat Whole Carbs Only. Whole carbs promote fat loss and take longer to digest. Avoid white carbs. Eat whole carbs only: brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, oats, quinoa, …
4. Eat More. Frequent meals prevent hunger by keeping your blood sugar stable. Frequent smaller meals also decrease your stomach size over time, which means you’ll feel full sooner. Eat every 3 hours.
- Eat Breakfast. Build the habit of eating breakfast and try one of these breakfast recipes. Cook your food for the day while making breakfast.
- Eat Post Workout. The only meal where you can have carbs to replenish energy stores. Whole meal of protein & carbs or post workout shake .
- Eat Every 3 hours. 6 smaller meals per day instead of 3 large ones. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, pre-bed and 2 snacks.
5. Add Cardio. Excess cardio burns muscle instead of fat, causing the skinny + fat look. Never do cardio only. Add cardio to speed up the fat loss you get from strength training & healthy nutrition.
- Moderate Intensity. 60-70% of your max heart rate. Breathing heavier than at rest, not gasping. Your goal is fat loss, not exhaustion.
- 3x45mins. Start with 15mins cardio post strength training 3x per week. Build up to 3x45mins per week by adding 1min each workout.
- Elliptical Trainer. Aka the crosstrainer. There are many cardio machines you can choose from, but this one remains my favorite.
Fat Loss Strategies. Now that you know what to do, you need to make it as easy as possible to apply the above fat loss tips. Follow the next 8 strategies, even if they sound counter-intuitive to you.
- Buy Healthy Foods Only. Enough for your whole week so you can stick to your fat loss plan. Don’t buy junk food – avoid temptations.
- Prepare Food in Advance. Cook your food for the day on waking up or when you get back from work. This takes about 1 hour.
- Make Double Portions. Speeds up preparation. Prepare 12oz chicken and eat half at lunch and half at dinner.
- Eat The Same Every Day. Removing choice kills cravings and makes you see food for what it is: fuel for your body. Switch it up every 3 weeks.
- Eat at Fixed Times. Don’t wait until you’re hungry or feel like eating. Eat every 3 hours. Build consistency.
- Take Food with You. Take food to work, to school, to the movies, etc. This ensures you’re eating foods that will make you lose fat.
- Eat Before Going Out. Avoid ending up eating junk food because you’re hungry. Eat before you leave home and take food with you.
- Eat Junk Food 10% of The Time. You can eat 4 junk meals/week if you eat 6x/day. This actually helps fat loss. Eat out so you can’t overdo it.
- Track Progress for Motivation. Pictures, body fat, measurements and strength gains. Aim for 2-3% fat loss/month (use a fat caliper ).
Example Fat Loss Diets. To lose fat: proteins, veggies, fruits and healthy fats with each meal. Carbs post workout only. Example fat loss diet:
- Breakfast: eggs with tomato & bell peppers, orange, green tea
- Snack: cottage cheese with apple
- Lunch: chicken, bok choy, tomato, chicory, olive oil
- Snack: mixed nuts
- Post workout: ground round, brown rice, mixed veggies, banana
- Dinner: chicken, spinach, baby carrots, pear
- Pre-bed snack: cottage cheese, berries, ground flax seeds, fish oil
Don’t waste your time counting calories: you won’t get fat eating unprocessed foods. Just eat your stomach full and prepare your own food so you have total control over the ingredients. Aim for 2-3% fat loss per month.