Re: Workout/Staying in Shape Thread
i$e's Cutting Guide v1.0
How to lose fat effectively
I'm making this as it's probably the most sought-after information in this thread. I learnt all this years ago from Wave Length, a really good poster on a forum I used to frequent, and a LOT of pubmed reading. These are cut and dry rules, and will work with 100% success rate given it's followed.
Luckily, it's quite a simple process. The difficulty comes in consistently following the essential rules through hard work and dedication. This guide applies to anyone who wishes to lose body fat (which is what people actually mean when they say they want to lose weight) whilst maintaining muscle mass and actually increasing strength. I'll try and keep it as simple as I can.
In a Nutshell
- Fat loss occurs when we expend more calories than we consume.
- Lifting weights with high intensity maintains our muscle mass.
- Eating adequate protein, carbs and fats is the key to making them both happen.
Above is the basic logic behind a cut, so how do we achieve this in general terms?
- Lift heavy 3/4 times a week.
- Eat at a caloric deficit.
- Take in at least 1g protein per lb of lean mass daily.
- Include some essential fatty acids (omega 3/6/9) and vegetables daily.
Do that and you'll get results, 100% of the time. Counting calories is essential to locking down your numbers, but after a while they become second nature and you won't even have to use a calculator.
How many calories should I eat?
As we've been over, losing fat requires us to be in caloric deficit. To lose a pound of fat in a week, we must have a 3500 calorie deficit (there is 3500 calories in a pound, dur). So, that's a very manageable 500 calories a day that we must take in under our maintenance level (the amount of calories needed to maintain weight in a rested state + accounting for expenditure via exercise ).
This deficit is best attained via diet (through management of caloric intake). Eat 500 calories less than your TEE (Total Energy Expenditure; maintenance calories) whilst following the rules outlined in the essentials above and you're on track.
A bit of background of our maintenance level (TEE) - when we weight train (or do any physical activity for that matter), we expand a bunch of calories, which is in our interest obviously. The problem with this as a conscious consideration is newcomers often use it as justification to eat more. Oh, I can have this cake because I did 30 minutes on the treadmill earlier. Whilst this makes some logical sense, it is usually counter-productive because in general people both overestimate how much calories they burn in the gym and underestimate how many calories they're eating. Just workout your TEE below and stick to it, focusing on creating your deficit in the kitchen.
Maintenance Calories = bodyweight in pounds x 15 (or 14 if you're female). That's a rough estimate, which will take a few weeks of trial and error to really nail down. It might take longer, but luckily the scale will tell you where you're at. So..
If you weigh 160lb.
160 x 15 = 2400. That will maintain weight. Eating 1900 a day (500 deficit) will yield a pound of fat loss a week provided the essential rules are met.
Obviously, this is key to knowing what we're doing is working, so here are my recommendations.
- Weigh yourself once a week on the same day at the same time. Before breakfast, after bathroom.
- Write it down.
- If weight does not go down after three weeks and you've not made any obvious slip ups, reduce calories by 10%.
- The mirror is usually a better judge for you to go by, although scales help with 'knowing' you're achieving something.
- Write it down. Included again because it's important to log progress. The same goes for your workouts.
- Using calipers will give you a good indication of fat loss.
It's worth noting that sometimes you'll fluctuate in weight from day to day. This is water weight amongst other factors, and is the reason we weigh ourselves at the same time on a weekly basis and don't panic if we don't drop from one week to the other. As long as there is a general downward trend over the long term, you're golden.
Myths and other things that don't matter
Given the amount of studies, blogs, forum posts (I realize the irony) and articles that you can read on the subject, it's no wonder that a significant amount of broscience has popped up over the years. Bullshit, in other words. The following things are not essential to losing fat.
- Meal timing, aside from eating pre and post workouts.
- Meal frequency
- Protein 'maxes' per meal.
- Significant analysis of carb/fat ratios, sodium intake, 'clean' foods etc.
Obviously, all of these things can be tweaked and considered as part of an overall strategy, but they're are absolutely not required for fat loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I get abs? Do I need to train them every day?
A: You'll see your abs when you get to a low enough body fat percentage (10-11%, typically). Doing 1000 crunches a day won't do anything if you have a layer of fat covering them.
Q: How can I target and reduce fat from my stomach?
A: You can't. You have no control over where the fat drops off. You just have to get your overall % low enough and eventually it'll come.
Q: Do I have to use weights?
A: To be honest, yes. Unless you're training for something different. It's the fastest and most beneficial way to get it done.
Q: How much is a safe amount to lose per week?
A: Typically, 1-2lb is a good rule of thumb. If your BF% is above 20%, you can safely lose 3-4lbs, but if you're already at a low BF, it's best to go slower to prevent a catabolic reaction.
Q: What are some good food choices?
A: For protein, lean meats, fish, eggs, milk and whey supplements are great. Good carb sources include oats, pasta, rice and wholemeal bread. Good fats can be attained from salmon, mackerel, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts and getting some saturated fats in from butter etc is no bad thing at all (despite what you may have heard).
..and that's it. Hope this information helps as much as it has helped me over the years.
Last edited by i$e; 08-14-2012 at 07:31 PM.