Fat loss is a problem for many people. That is why we are constantly bombarded with new diet programs, new home workout videos, gym advertisements, new inventions that supposedly help you lose fat, etc. The reason that we constantly see all of these new things continue to pop up is because most of them aren’t delivering a total solution that is needed to lose fat efficiently and keep it off.
First things first, lets talk about what doesn’t work. Things like waist trainers, crash diets, supplements, and “insider tricks” aren’t effective. They only mask the fact that you need to put in hard work to actually lose a good amount of fat. Waist trainers try and shrink your stomach to make it look like you’ve lose fat. Topical fat burners tend to make you produce more sweat in that area, but won’t actually help you lose fat without the proper diet. Supplements are only helpful as a supplement to a proper diet. Not only is your diet very important, your exercise habits are also very important.
Since becoming a personal training and opening my own training studio, MM Fitness, I have helped hundreds of clients achieve lasting fat loss that they couldn’t achieve on their own. I don’t have any secrets for you to read about. Instead, I apply scientific principles to help clients achieve their goals.
The first thing I do with my clients is help them understand how fat loss actually works and the things that are necessary to create lasting results. These are the 5 Steps To Efficient Fat Loss.
Step 1: Diet
If you only take one step away from this article to apply, make it a proper diet. Your dietary habits will account for more of your results than any other step listed in this article. Without a diet that is set up for fat loss, you won’t achieve your goals efficiently. You cannot out-train a bad diet, no matter how many hours you put in the gym. Your efficient fat loss starts in the kitchen.
Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to lasting fat loss. Unless you only need to lose 5-10 lbs, you need to start with a conservative diet that allows for reductions in your calorie intake as your metabolism continues to adapt to your calorie intake.
Lets be clear on one point: there aren’t any special foods that make you lose weight and you can actually lose weight eating every single food that you love, as long as if fits your calorie goal. Flexible dieting tends to deliver better results over restricting yourself too much. Restriction usually causes binges and the eventual surrender.
The easiest way to find out how many calories you should be eating in a day for fat loss is to multiply your current body weight by 12. This is a good starting point and allows for future reductions without starving yourself. If you happen to maintain, or gain weight with this amount of calories, do not drop right away. This usually means your metabolism is already a little slow and adapted to a lower calorie intake. Eat this amount of calories for at least 2 weeks before you decide to lower them again to speed up your metabolism.
The role of your metabolism is to promote homeostasis, regardless of what calorie amount you eat. This means it wants to stay at your current weight no matter what. If you undereat all of the time, your body will adapt and maintain it’s current weight and fat at that low calorie amount. That is why you need to start with a higher calorie amount to allow 100-200 calorie drops when your metabolism slows to adapt to your calorie intake. Shoot for losing 1-2 lbs a week and drop 100-200 calories from your diet if you don’t hit within that range.
Step 2: Strength Training
Most people start jogging when they want to lose fat. I have nothing against jogging, but that is a terrible starting place for fat loss. Strength training is better for fat loss, since it promotes the maintenance/growth of lean body mass. When your body needs to repair muscle from resistance training, it will choose to burn fat for fuel instead of breaking down your muscle tissue for energy. Your body knows that it needs to prepare for its next bout of resistance training, so it will preferentially go after fat stores before muscle stores.
Cardio does the exact opposite. It doesn’t promote lean body mass maintenance or growth. It just burns calories and your body will choose where it wants to take that energy from. It usually comes from fat and muscle tissues. So, dropping 5 lbs from cardio alone won’t look as impressive on your body as losing 5 lbs. from resistance training. That 5 lbs from cardio could be 2-3 lbs of fat, while that 5 lbs from resistance training could be 4-5 lbs of fat. This is an overly simplified version of what happens in the body, but it is a very easy example to understand.
Don’t go for one of those crazy professional bodybuilding programs you find on the internet. Find a beginner’s strength training program, or enlist the help of a trainer/coach. A lot of people want to be in the gym more when they are looking to lose fat, but you shouldn’t be adding exercise volume when you are dieting.
Now that you have strength training covered, is there a place for cardio? Lets see how it fits in.
Step 3: Cardiovascular Exercise
Hopefully you read about why strength training is better for fat loss than cardio in the last step. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing cardio. Cardio is great for your health and can help burn a little extra fat beyond what your strength training contributes.
The key is to not overdo it. With my clients at my training studio, we only do about 30 minutes of actual cardio per week, with the rest of the training time dedicated to resistance training. This amount is plenty, more is not automatically better!
One thing to focus on is High Intensity Interval Training. The topic is a whole other article’s worth of reading, so I won’t go into the details. However, you need to understand that HIIT is generally better for fat loss than traditional low intensity steady state cardio, since it is more efficient and time-saving.
The best time for your cardio is right after you finish your weight training. Doing it beforehand will limit your strength during weight training, so it’s best to be after the weight training, or an entirely separate workout, which I don’t recommend.
Step 4: Rest & Recovery
One thing that can kill your fat loss progress is your hormones. Cortisol is your enemy when you are trying to lose fat. A low calorie intake and exercise already boost Cortisol. Cortisol is fine in small amounts, but too much will promote fat storage and muscle loss, which is the exact opposite of what we are after here.
Not getting enough sleep and stressing too much also raise Cortisol levels. To combat this, you need to keep your workouts short and to the point, sleep 8 hours every night, eat as much as you can while still losing weight, and find ways to reduce stress on a daily basis.
When you hit the gym, I don’t recommend training for more than 1-1.5 hours per day. I don’t think you need to train more than 4-5 days a week, either. That is ample time to put in the work you need to make progress and promote fat loss. I already talked about your calorie intake in the Diet step. The key is to not starve yourself and only drop calories when it is necessary. As for sleep, almost everybody can add in 30 minutes to an hour extra of sleep per day if they just turn the TV off earlier, or sleep in for an extra 30 minutes and adjust their morning routine.
There are tons of ways to deal with stress, and it’s not really my realm of expertise. Just find ways to soothe yourself and keep stress down to lower Cortisol regularly. High Cortisol levels can slow, or even halt, progress even when everything else is perfect.
Step 5: A Proper Reverse Diet
Steps 1-4 will get you to your fat loss goals. That’s all there is too it. It’s not magic, or something you can buy from an overly-hyped infomercial. Get on a good diet, train right, and focus on rest and recovery and you are set up for success. However, you need a plan for after you lose that fat as well.
We all know that one person who has lost 30+ lbs in the past just to put it back on within the next year. Lets make sure that isn’t you!
Reverse dieting is a tactic to speed up your metabolism back to healthy levels after a diet. When people regain weight after dieting it is because they decided to stop dieting altogether and went back to bad eating habits.
Your metabolism will be slow after you finish losing fat, regardless of how perfect of a diet you had. To avoid weight regain, you have to slowly add in additional calories until you reach a point that you maintain your weight at that calorie amount. A simple way to do this is to add 100 calories to your diet every week until you start you at least get to your bodyweight multiplied by 15, in calories. Many people can go beyond this around. If you gain more than 0.5 lbs in a week after upping your calories, refrain from adding in more calories until your weight stabilizes at that calorie amount.
Doing this properly will ensure that your metabolism is firing on all cylinders and keeping the fat off will be much easier!
Putting It Altogether!
So, there is the basics of how you can lose fat efficiently. It’s not a miracle. It’s not rocket science. It’s just what you need to be doing. Stop watching daytime TV for the latest and greatest supplement product that can bypass diet, exercise, and recovery. Maybe one day science will be able to create efficient fat loss without diet and exercise. However, our current science has shown time and time again that dieting right and exercising right is the perfect route for lasting fat loss!
Milo Martinovich owns a private personal training studio, MM Fitness, in his small home town of Corning, California. He also coaches people all over the country with online coaching services. Give him a follow on Instagram: @MMFitStrong
*Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Zensorium.
Interested to become a Guest Writer on our Blog?
Read our guidelines to find out more!
Follow us on: