If you want to lose fat and get your body as lean as possible, you can do so if you really try. This won’t be easy, but in the end you’ll profit a lot and it would have been totally worth it. All you have to do is train as hard as possible, eat smart and always be aware that burning calories is what matters. Things like “dirty bulks” will no longer be a thing, where you stuff yourself with junk food, justifying it all as having a cheat day.
When you know how your macros work, the next step is to learn how to dial in them appropriately, but this should in no way make you feel deprived. When you try to get lean, you shouldn’t cut out entire food groups, nor should you stop doing compound exercises, and you definitely shouldn’t stay on the treadmill and forgo everything else. You have to push yourself, but you have to push yourself in the right way. The summer is gone, but the season of getting lean isn’t – as a matter of fact, it’s never gone or over. So, in the spirit of getting lean, here are a few tips.
1. Consume More Protein!
Protein makes you feel full, and it makes you feel full for a longer period of time than any other macronutrients. If you eat more protein during a low calorie period, you will keep your muscles because it will let you to put on as much muscle mass as you can possibly pack on even when you’re trying to lose weight. Also, protein makes your body create more glucagon, which in turn makes your body release stored energy units that will help you work out harder.
2. Consume Protein Every Few Hours
To be exact, every four hours should do the trick. Make sure you always eat equal portions of protein so that your protein synthesis processes get optimized. However, don’t fill up just yet – just because you need to eat more times in a day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop eating or that you should bloat yourself with protein. You need about 30 grams every four hours to keep your protein synthesis in check, but a bit more is fine as well!
3. Green Leafy Veggies Are Good!
They have a lot of nutrients but they lack calories. Also, they’ll maintain your optimum bodily functions by keeping your body’s pH (acidity and alkalinity) balanced. When you want to drop weight, get green leafy veggies in every single meal. If you don’t know what to buy, get collard greens for your cholesterol, kale for antioxidants and cancer prevention and finally bok choy for vitamin A which boosts your immunity.
4. Eat Starch Only After Exercising
Most of your carbs should consist of green veggies, beans and fruits – these are low glycemic carbs but you should also eat some starches – only after your workout. When you want your body to recover and grow, you need simple carbs, especially after doing a lot of lifting. This is because when you lift, you extinguish the reserves of glucose, which is usable energy and glycogen which is energy your body stores. When this happens, eat your high-glycemic carbohydrates (index 70 or above). These are your typical breads, cereals and fresh fruits.
5. Eat Things That Fill You Up Without Getting You Fat!
This means that you should eat stuff that’s big volume-wise, but low on calories. It will have a lot of nutrients but very little on the caloric side. These foodstuffs are your typical lettuce, spinach, cabbage and broccoli – you can eat them as much as you want, but you won’t be gorging yourself on calories due to their low calorie count. If you don’t want to go vegetarian, try some eggs. When you beat egg whites enough, they’ll expand and keep you full while you’re not actually consuming a lot of calories. Careful not to make a meringue, though.
6. Drink Water!
This one is a no-brainer. When you’re dehydrated, you feel both mentally and physically exhausted. When you don’t drink water and you feel that way, don’t go for the water you keep in that bottle by the wall. Instead, get some cold water which will provide a thermogenic effect that will let you burn more calories while keeping your body properly hydrated.
7. Don’t Completely Cut Fats!
You don’t get fat by eating fat, so don’t cut it out of your diet too much when you’re trying to get lean. Low-fat diets don’t work and can have health consequences. Fat gives your body energy and it moves vitamins around your blood vessels and then helps your body absorb them. You need essential fatty acids which are found in nuts, seeds, whole grains and fish to enhance brain development and prevent blood clotting. If you can, get both types of fat in your diet, the unsaturated type from flaxseed, nuts and olive oil, as well as the saturated type from coconut oil and butter.
8. No Unplanned Meals!
This means no snacks because they add up really quickly, sinking your dreams of ever losing weight. It’s clear as day – is it in your schedule? No? Then put it down.
9. Log Your Food!
It doesn’t matter if you want to put on weight or lose it, you should still prep your meals every week. Make sure you everything you planned to eat and write it all down in your journal. If you’re doing this right, your food log will help you keep track of your progress and it will enable you to adjust the process according to your needs and goals. Also, if you write stuff down, you will be less prone to going off the rails and eating random snacks because you’ll be more accountable before yourself.
10. More Protein!
Yep, it’s that important, so it’s in here twice. Protein needs to constitute about 30 percent of your daily caloric intake, so don’t forget to eat it in the appropriate amounts!
11. Throw Away Anything You Can’t Eat!
If you have chips, ice cream, cookies or cake in your kitchen, get a big trash bag and put all of that in it. Then, throw away the bag. Alternatively, you could get all of it and give it to someone who doesn’t care. The important thing is that you don’t eat it – you don’t have to fight temptation if you don’t see all that junk food every time you open your cupboard.
12. Read the Labels of What You’re Buying!
More importantly, read the nutritional facts and make a habit out of it. However, most people read the protein, carb and fat parts and then leave the rest. Don’t be like these people – read everything. Every time you see “high fructose corn syrup”, know that the product is loaded with enough sugar to knock out a national sugar shortage.
13. Branched Chain Amino Acids Are Important!
They are building blocks of the body – over 35 percent of your muscle mass is BCAA’s and they are necessary for any molecular growth to occur. BCAA’s help stop the breakdown of muscle tissue and they start the protein synthesis process. If you take some BCAA’s while you’re doing an interval cardio session, you’ll burn more fat than ever, especially if you’ve also cut your carbs.
14. Zma Before Sleep Time Is Okay!
ZMA means zinc, magnesium aspirate and just a touch of vitamin B6. Take it right before you go to sleep to help you relax and recuperate, as well as to allow you to sleep well. Sleeping is crucial for building muscle and keeping your fat-loss hormones like leptin and HGH (Human growth hormone) in check. When you train with intensity, your mineral reserves are slowly dried out, but the zinc in ZMA will help keep your zinc levels high. You need that zinc to support your metabolic and immune functions but also to keep your testosterone levels sufficient.
15. Green Tea Is Your Friend!
Drink it whenever you can – it has no calories but it has a lot of antioxidants and caffeine which will help you lose weight.
16. Get Caffeine in Your Body Before Exercising!
200 milligrams of caffeine will do you nicely before working out, and it doesn’t even matter if you’re going to be doing cardio or lifting – it will shake up your body fat and burn as much as possible. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, be careful, but since most people aren’t, make sure that you utilize the energy boost – keep both your lifts and your hopes high! The caffeine will help you remove any tiredness in your body because of the calorie drop in your diet.
17. Eat Fish Oil!
Research says that eating fish oil and omega-3 supplements decreases your resting heart rate and generally slows down your aging process. This is good because a slower heart rate will get you to work much harder than usual if you want to reach the goals you’ve set while doing cardio.
18. Lift a Lot of Weight!
“A lot” is relative, but if you lift as much as you can, you’re good. Low-rep training is necessary even when you’re cutting calories, so don’t remove it from your workout schedule. You need to tell your body that every bit of muscle already on your bones needs to stay there instead of being disintegrated to be used as energy. If you want to keep all of your mass while on a diet, begin your workouts with a big compound movement for three to five or four to six reps, your choice. When you exercise with heavy weight and low reps, you are working on all of your muscle fibers, both the quick and the slow twitch fibers, so use really heavy weight that you can only lift a low number of times.
19. Compound Movements Are Good!
They will let you lift more weight, use more muscles to do it and burn a lot more calories while doing it! You need squats, not leg extensions!
20. Non-Exercise Physical Activity Matters!
If you want to cut fat, every single burned calorie counts, even the ones not burned in the gym. This means that you should take the stairs instead of the elevator or the escalator, walk to your destination if it’s near instead of driving, stand instead of sitting whenever possible and park as farther away as you humanly can when you’re out with your car.
21. Slowly Boost Your Cardio!
When your routine is packed and you can’t possibly put any more things in there, and you especially cannot fit any resistance or interval training, try adding some more low-intensity cardio. Progressively add this cardio to your routine whenever you need it – it will give you the potential to lose weight that no other exercise can provide.
Interval sprinting is an integral part of high-intensity workouts, which are great for losing weight. Add up to three 20 minute sessions in your workout routine for best effect, since sprinting burns a lot of calories in a short period of time, but also boosts your metabolism.
23. Don’t Rest Too Much!
Remember why you’re training and don’t waste time when you’re on the machine! If you cut your break time between sets, you are probably not going to be able to lift as much as if you would leave your break time uncut, but that’s fine. You are working to lose weight, not to gain strength. If you limit your resting time, your heart rate will stay up and you’ll burn even more calories.
24. Do Not Exercise to Muscle Failure!
This one is really simple – don’t tiptoe the line so you don’t fail. If you keep pushing to the limit, you may not be able to recover properly, which will jeopardize everything. If you can’t recover and subsequently, can’t train, that means that you wasted all of that energy for nothing. It’s better to be a rep short than to sabotage yourself completely.
25. Know What Your Goals Are!
This is a process, so you have to know where it begins and where it ends. Set your goals and then write them down – having them written down will help you hold yourself accountable.
26. Get a Mentor!
Whatever you want to do, it has probably already been done by someone, successfully. Copy what they did! You can do this by getting a mentor, which will help you stay non-frustrated and it’ll save you some time as well. Mentors can help with pretty much every aspect of your fat loss journey – nutrition, motivation and training are paramount and if getting a mentor means that you’ll succeed, so be it.
27. Visualize Your Goals!
Know how you want to look like when you’ve reached your goals. Keep that picture of yourself in your thoughts and work until it becomes reality.
28. Watch Your Nutrition Before and After a Workout!
Whoever said you can’t eat sugar while cutting weight was a liar, because you can and you should, especially before and after your workout. Usually, these two meals will consist of shakes which have sugar, but they will also have carbs, whey protein and branched-chain amino acids which will all help you instead of harming you. They will assist with recovery, harder training and putting on more muscle while cutting calories.
29. Micronutrient Support Matters!
While it doesn’t specifically matter for cutting fat, getting your micronutrients in check does matter for your bodily health. When you eat a low number of calories, you put your body at risk of being deficient in various vitamins and minerals. This, essentially, means that you should take a multivitamin or supplement with whole-food extracts to keep your bodily functions normal and to prevent any issues.
30. Blend Your Smoothies Well!
There is scientific research from Penn State University that says when you blend a smoothie for a longer period of time, the air incorporates into the smoothie, adding to its volume. When you drink this smoothie you eat 12% less calories at lunch, as opposed to drinking a normal smoothie, according to the study.
31. Don’t Drop Creatine!
You need creatine and I’ve seen so many people remove it from their diets because it retains water. The water weight that creatine keeps is intramuscular, which means it’s located in the space between your muscle fibers. If it were subcutaneous water, it would be located between your muscles and your skin, which means you should lose it. However, since it isn’t, you shouldn’t remove it from your supplement list. Creatine will help you get stronger even if your calories are low, and it could help you burn more calories and lose more fat.
32. Get Some L-theanine!
Thermogenics, exercising a lot and eating a low number of calories can be the cause of sympathetic nervous system overload, which will make you unstable and it’ll put you on the edge. This is why you need L-theanine, which is a unique amino acid that is usually found in tea. It calms your nerves but it still keeps your stimulants active.
33. Take Deep Breaths!
Every once in a while, stop whatever you’re doing and take a deep breath in and breathe it out. Repeat until you feel better. When you breathe deeply (deep diaphragmatic breathing) you lower the levels of oxidative stress in your body, which is caused by working out. There is scientific proof to this. Also, when you do a long, intense exhale, your parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated and your recovery process is boosted as well.
34. Reduce the Number of Meals!
When you want to cut weight, eating six or seven meals every day is just ignorant. There is actually scientific research from the University of Missouri that says that it doesn’t matter how often you eat since that’s not what keeps you full. Instead, the size of your meal is what matters. Don’t eat small seven times a day – eat big, three to four times a day!
35. Keep Yourself Up and About With Aerobic Conditioning!
While high-intensity sprints and interval training is great for losing weight, steady-state cardio is important and it’s even prevalent when you’re looking at your overall fitness levels. This is where aerobic work comes in. Get on that treadmill and keep a steady intensity for a long time – meaning 45 minutes up to an hour. Keep your heart rate around 135 BPM so that it gets stronger over time. When it does, it’ll pump blood faster which means you can train more and recover even faster.
36. Focus on What You’re Doing!
You can’t control the fat loss process, so utilize all the tools at your disposal! Your body is a whole universe of metabolic processes, but the external factors count as well, and we still don’t know the extent of anything that goes on. This means that you shouldn’t get dead set on losing a pound or two a week, but on stuff that you can control and direct! Your diet and your workout schedule are two of those things so shift your focus to keeping them completely tidy and organized. Train as hard as you’ve planned, eat as much as you’ve planned and you will lose weight!
37. Have a Back-up Plan!
We’ve all been down the road where you desperately want to do something but it just doesn’t want to happen for you. This is why you should have a realistic overview on the situation and have a back-up plan in case you fail. Your diet might be the best in the world and your training schedule might eat other training schedules for breakfast, but don’t get too confident – you never know when it’s all going to stop working. So, in order to get the job done, try to anticipate when it’ll all fall apart. When you plan for the worst, you know what meals you might skip and which training sessions you might not attend, making it easier to prevent those mishaps and actually succeed.
38. Eat, but Don’t Bloat Yourself!
The world of food isn’t black and white – no food is purely good or bad. While that categorization works in the short term, it can’t do anything in the long run. Don’t cut out entire food groups out of your daily regime because you’ll just find yourself overeating them at a later point in time. Instead, enjoy things but have some sense – try to find a level of moderation that will suit you. For best effect, take the “if it fits your macros” plan and eat whatever you want, but only in the context of your dieting plan. Just make sure to not gorge and you’ll be fine.
39. Sleep Is Important!
When you want to lose weight, you’re going to go through quite the adventure – you’ll be dieting, working out and doing a lot of cardio. However, you have to remember to sleep as well. If you don’t sleep, you won’t lose weight – it’s as simple as that. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, fat loss doesn’t work and your hunger hormones go haywire, which means that your cutting process will be jeopardized. Sleep for seven to nine hours every night and you’ll be fine.
40. Keep Your Tempo!
When people do metabolic training, they often do it with fast lifts. This means that you’re cutting your already short resting periods and your lifting tempo generally stays the same. If you control both your lifting tempo and your resting periods like you should, you won’t be tired at the end of every set. Instead, a consistent tempo will make your body put itself under high metabolic stress, which will, in turn, make your bodily composition changes much better.