Many of you have been contacting me recently for guidance on fat loss, and will want to get started as soon as possible.
So, here is our ‘quick start’ guide, based on our popular and well-established Four-Week Fat Loss programme.
STAGE 1: Plan – set out your vision / equip and prepare
Before you start, it’s important to define why you are doing this, and what you want to achieve.
Write down the following:
- What you are unhappy about (in terms of appearance / physical health / performance)
- What you want to achieve
- What you want to look like (I focus on Greek statues as part of my vision; and also have various movie stars and martial artists I’d like to resemble)
- How you want to feel.
Put pictures of your ‘vision’ somewhere you’ll be looking at them regularly – this could be on the fridge, or on the wall where you train.
Tracking methods and equipment
Tracking your progress is vital in your fat loss journey. You’ll need to use a combination of tracking methods for the best success. We consider the first three below essential, with the second two as optional.
- Photos (camera or camera phone)
- Body weight (home scale)
- Waist circumference (tape measure)
- Skin fold thickness (callipers)
- Body fat percentage (body fat scale such as the Tanita brand; the ones with the handles you can hold are the best in my experience).
Photos: Take a couple of photos of yourself from different angles. Wear underwear or swimming gear. Use the same position, distance and lighting each time you take your photos if possible.
Body weight: weigh yourself every day and write it down on a piece of paper above the scales. We’ve found daily weighing to be essential to long-term weight management and effective without increasing obsessive tendencies. (If you have a history of an eating disorder, then find your best way forward to avoid resuming compulsive tendencies.)
Apart from body weight, you’ll need to do all other tracking measurements including photos once a week. Write down all the measurements each time in a spreadsheet or notebook.
It’s also important to track other progressions such as fitness, strength, power or training achievements (e.g. time to run 5k).
Each method has its flaws, but as long as you use several methods and take these measures consistently then the flaws will iron out. Look at the big picture. If the scale is showing better numbers, but your waist circumference isn’t reducing, then something else might need to change. Vice-versa, if your fat weight is not going down much but you look and feel fitter and leaner, then you’re probably making good progress.
STAGE 2: Prime (1 week +)
This is where you plan your food and ‘clean up’ your diet in preparation for the main fat loss phase.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take during this phase. These will continue into the main programme. Note that even if you do only these things (and don’t proceed into the intensive fat loss phase) you’ll still get amazing results.
1. Cut out all starchy carbs and sugars. These include bread, pasta, rice, pizza, breakfast cereals, potato and sweet potato, soft drinks, fruit juices, cakes, pastries, chocolate and sweets, crisps and chips, and fried foods. (Cut down gradually over one week or more if this works best for you).
2. Increase your intake of vegetables that grow above ground. If in doubt, think green veg and salad vegetables. These veg are low in carbs and high in fibre and water, in contrast with starchy root vegetables such as parsnips, potatoes and carrots. Aim for six or more servings a day of these vegetables.
3. Skip breakfast and eat your first meal between 12 and 2pm. This is a natural introduction to intermittent fasting and a good way to kick-start your fat loss.
4. Start using some coconut oil or MCT oil if you feel weak during the morning. You can also try a couple of hard boiled eggs rolled in chia seeds.
5. Eat most of your calories after you exercise or in the evening.
6. Drink more water. Aim for two to three litres a day, and use electrolytes when you’re exercising.
7. Exercise – do anything you can, just get moving and DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY.
8. Go for 2:1:1. Move towards a 2:1:1 macronutrient split in favour of protein. This means 2g of protein per kg body weight per day, and 1g of carbs and 1 g of fat. For example, for an 80-kg person, this works out as 160g protein, 80g carbohydrates and 80g fat per day; or for a 100-kg person, 200g protein, 100g carbs and 100g fat per day.
STAGE 3: Accelerate (2–5 days)
This phase kicks off your fat loss plan with a bang… it’s for a maximum of five days.
The options are as follows.
1: If you’re in our Strength For Life ™ Facebook group, you can do a 24-60-hour fast within the group and use the member for support.
2: If you’re going it alone, the best option is 5 x 500-600 kcals: five days eating just one meal a day of around 500 calories. Ideally this meal would be 75% of your weight as long as you are not clinically obese >35 BMI. For example a 100kg guy could eat 750 cals in this meal. A 80kg woman around 500-600 cals.
You can handle it. You’ll be eating delicious meals like the following:
- Beef Steak with Asparagus & Salsa Verde
- Green Omelette with Shrimp
- Tandoori Chicken (serve with cauliflower rice)
- Poached Eggs on Mushrooms
- Sicilian Caesar Salad
- Smoked Trout Omelette
- Tuna, Red Onion & Borlotti Bean Salad
- Cod with Chorizo & Artichokes (serve with green veg or salad veg)
It’s up to you when you have your one meal: breakfast, lunch or in the evening. Many people find it easiest to skip breakfast and lunch and have their meal in the evening.
Outside that meal, no snacks or grazing are permitted.
STAGE 4: Sustain and Release (3 weeks +)
This stage is where you settle into sustained fat loss. Sustained release of fat loss. Sustain + release. Often this is where you need a nutrition coach to guide you through and help you find the sweet spot.
Goal, find a sustainable, effective approach to keeping an overall calorie deficit in order to use fat as a source of fuel.
This can be achieved by the following methods;
- Carbohydrate cycling.
- Ketogenic style cylclic diet with periodic refeeding.
- Macro counting with deficit…
- Protein base level needs to be adequate to sustain lean mass and satiety.
- Key elements need to include regular resistance based training. You need to create force and get stronger and more powerful in what you do.
- Learn to use supplementation to support your goals.
- Dig deeper into body systems which you can influence to bring you fast results, e.g. sleep, pre-workout (non-stim aminos) non-stim fat burning support.
Learning the sustain and release phase means at any stage following holiday, Christmas or injury you can switch back into this phase and burn off any unwanted blubber.
STAGE 5: Maintain
After your fat loss programme, you’ll need a sustainable maintenance plan to carry you forward. Our approach is simply to keep eating the same types of meals, but increase your calories by approximately 15–25%. For example, if your daily calorie intake was 2000 calories for fat loss, you could increase your intake by an extra 300 to 500 calories a day to maintain your fat loss.
Most important: stick to these new habits – don’t go back to eating crunchy nut cornflakes for breakfast!
Your weight on the scales may increase by about 1 to 2 kg as you add in the extra calories. Don’t worry about this – but if it starts to creep up higher than this, then you’ll need to rein things in again.
We do recommend that you use supplements to support your body transformation. Various bundles are available on www.aminoman.com.
Our primary suggestions are:
- A good multivitamin – ours is Advanced Multinutrient Formula. Tops up your nutrients, supports your energy and immunity and provides what you may not be getting on a low-calorie diet.
- Fish oils such as Omega 1250. Help keep inflammation at bay, guard against joint pain and support the brain and heart. An essential that everyone should be using.
- R5 Aminos: Designed to support recovery after exercise, sleep and optimising healthy growth hormone production. Ideal when exercising for fat loss or any type of training recovery.
- AdaptAcat is our adaptogen formula, designed to support energy and stamina.
- Focus Formula and Vinitroplus can help if you’re struggling with mental focus.
Guidance on movement and exercise
In our experience, the best form of exercise for fat loss is high-intensity workouts such as circuits with weights. Next best is HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Then, less intensive intervals, and finally aerobic-based training such as cycling or jogging.
However, to start with, all forms of movement and exercise will help you to begin losing fat – as long as you build up in intensity and duration, and your diet is on point.
Take care not to over-train at first. Build up gradually and make sure you take rest days one to two days per week.
Maximum leanness and health are rarely achieved without some form of resistance training. This can be weights, or bodyweight / calisthenics / yoga or intensive Pilates. Normally a mixture is best. Moving really heavy stuff helps.
Long runs can also be excellent – just not all the time. I’ve found that fighters can drop weight fast with longer runs once per week. Build up to 6, 8, 10, 12 miles or more, and keep them to once or maximum twice a week. Too much longer-distance running can waste muscle if you are not careful. Get in some sprints, too – these can be done more frequently.
More than once a day?
Training more than once a day can really accelerate progress. We do this in the intensive phase of our Four-Week Fat Loss programme. However, this kind of training is very tiring when in a calorie deficit. So, you need to do it for shorter periods followed by some time when you’re resting and training just once a day. If you are in a rush for a specific event – such as a film role or wedding – then you can use this tactic. Take two days off every 14 days, and ideally take one full day off per week.
I hope you have found this useful, any questions please contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org