So much of mainstream media talks about weight loss as a primary fitness goal. In reality, though, what people are often looking for, especially if you have already begun a workout program, is fat loss. Weight loss and fat loss are often confused or used interchangeably, but they are quite different. Fat loss means just that, stripping away the fat, but not focusing on your weight as a metric. If anything, your weight might increase due to muscle gains while you melt fat away.
As such, weight loss and fat loss require different strategies. Take a look at the following article by Eric Johnson for 5 fat loss tips that will help you get the body you want.
The name of the game is NOT how low can you go.
This is not limbo.
This is about absolutely crushing your body composition goals, making a jaw-dropping and damn straight inspiring transformation, and calling fat loss your bitch.
One of the main, go-to strategies for fat loss has been and always will be putting your body into a caloric deficit. Whether that’s from your diet or training, it has proven to be effective.
A major problem with this strategy is that individuals slash calories too low in hopes to decrease the time in reaching their goals. Instead, their bodies fight for homeostasis and in return, plateau. Holding on to every single ounce of fat possible. Or even worse, rebound to an even higher amount of fat and weight than before.
This individual’s floor can not be pushed any lower. The only way to break through would be by increasing exercise.
But that only works for so long as it becomes more and more difficult to recover from the increase in physical activity, mainly in the form of resistance training.
For those that want to lose fat but hold onto as much of their muscle as possible (most of us), we want to keep calories as high as possible and still yield a successful result. In addition to the desires of muscular maintenance, keeping your calories higher will also be a better option for your hormones.
Beyond being patient and slowly cutting calories, there are a few strategies that you can implement to effectively and efficiently lose fat.
5 fat loss tips for body recomposition
1. Macronutrient Adjustments
Ah, macros. The Monopoly money of flexible dieting or simply protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Second on the totem pole after calories, macronutrients allow us to set targets so that we are not aimlessly ingesting calories. Instead, this caloric intake is strategically determined according to your current and goal body composition, weight, and activity levels.
Counting your macros can be effectively useful when you no longer can or want to drop more calories. See, roughly 10 percent of the food you eat will be burned up during the digestion process. We call this the thermic effect of food or TEF. It is completely dependent on the content of the food you consume.
When we look at the macros, each has a different TEF.
Protein is about 25-30 percent.
Carbs range from 6-8 percent.
Fats are just 2-3 percent.
So basically when you crush a Chipotle Burrito Bowl of the following macros:
P: 74 g
C: 34 g
F: 25 g
After being digested and assimilated, you are left with:
P: 55.5 g
C: 31.28 g
F: 24.25 g
As you can see, the TEF has a negligible impact when it comes to carbohydrates and fats. But that’s a different story with protein.
By swapping certain macros for others, we can make a small adjustments with a rather decent return. For instance, you need to drop more fat but cannot sacrifice more calories. You can substitute 50-100 grams of carbohydrates for protein. An even swap at 4 calories per gram.
HOWEVER, the protein is going to yield a lower available calories due to it’s 25% energy cost. In actuality, the difference of a 100 grams of protein versus carbohydrates will equal 300 calories to the carb’s 400.
2. Substitute Resistance Starches
In contrast to the last strategy, we can enhance the fat loss furnace without even altering macronutrient targets. In this approach, macros and calories will remain the same but our food selections will be modified.
Allow us to introduce you to Resistance Starches.
This dietary weapon gets its name by resisting digestion. Resistant starches are not fully broken and absorbed by the body upon consumption, but rather turned into short-chain fatty acids by intestinal bacteria.
Just some of the numerous health benefits include:
- Feeds “good” bacteria responsible for butyrate production
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Improves gut function
- Reduces fasting blood sugar
- Increases satiety
- IMPROVED BODY COMPOSITION
Yes, that last bullet is exactly why we’re here.
Resistance starches are able to keep us fuller longer for one. But more importantly, they increase the thermic effect of food as touched upon in the first strategy.
Since these are not fully digested, only about 2 calories per gram is available for the body to use compared to the 4 calories per gram of other starches. The resistance starches have a thermic effect in the body.
For instance, 100 grams of resistance starch will only yield 200 calories worth of calories compared to your typical starch’s 400 calories.
Some of our favorite and go-to resistance starches are sweet potatoes, plantains (more like planGAINS!), and bananas.
To make these resistance starches even more effective, you should cook them then allow them to cool off in the fridge or freezer. This changes the structure of the starch by making them more resistance to digestion. This is called retrograded.
Some other sources include:
• starchy fruits and vegetables
• whole grains
• some types of cooked then cooled foods (as discussed as above)
We warn you to work up your tolerance or beware of the digestive stress (bloating and awful smelling flatulence) that may pursue. Most individuals can tolerate up to 40 to 45 grams per day. However, it is recommended that you slowly work up to that number.
3. Nutrient Timing
Since we have established our goal here as maximal fat loss and maintenance of our muscle, we can employ another tactic that doesn’t call for any drop in calories.
For this one, we don’t even need to alter our macro targets or substitute one food in favor of another.
Instead, we can tinker with nutrient timing to elicit a fat loss response.
Without going too deep here, these are some recommendations that will give you some firepower to lose fat from those stubborn areas without dropping into more of a caloric deficit.
Here are the scenarios:
- Consuming higher amounts of fat in the early morning without any carbs
- Placing all of your carbs at your last meal; last two meals
- Placing all of your carbs one hour before you train
- Placing all of your carbs within your workout
- Placing all of your carbs immediately post workout
- Dividing your carbs before and after your workout
- Carbohydrate and Calorie Cycling depending on activity levels and volume
Simply by playing around with your nutrient timing, you can effectively take your fat loss to the next level. This will come in different ways. From placing certain macros at better times where they will be utilized more effectively to improving your energy levels throughout the day and during your workouts so that you can absolutely crush it.
4. Increase Activity
By increasing your activity beyond the gym’s mirrored walls, you can increase your caloric expenditure and put yourself into a greater deficit. All without actually removing calories from your diet.
These activities do NOT need to be vigorous or anything specific. The key is just to move a little bit more.
Opt for the stairs.
Park a little further away at the grocery store.
Walk the golf course instead of renting a cart.
Sure, this extra activity can be sprints, which will give you a lot of bang for your fat loss buck. But I recommend saving those until you need them. Specifically when you plateau.
For myself, I have personally added in walks with my puppy, Storm. Every single day, we walk for 30 minutes to an hour and I cherish every second of it. It gives me an opportunity to get outside with nature, throw on my headphones and make a few phone calls or listen to a podcast, and burn more calories. Some days are tough, especially following a grueling leg session, but I feel as I have an obligation to the puppy.
Find what works best for you and what you enjoy! That’s the key.
5. Fat Loss Specific Training
The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. So if your number one priority is to lose fat and drop your body fat percentage then why wouldn’t you train for that specific goal?
More times than we can physically count on both of our hands and feet, a client comes to us with intentions of improve body composition; mainly to lose fat. Time after time, when we dive into what they’re currently doing on the training side, we see something quite the opposite.
It’s usually one of two things. This person is either trying to increase their strength by the similarities to their program to that of a powerlifter’s OR any resistance training is thrown out the window in favor for “cardio”.
That’s like beating a round peg into a square hole.
Sure, it may work up to a certain point. But then you stall out and you can’t break through the plateau.
This article has been republished with permission from SonsofStrength.com.
Eric Johnson is one of the Sons of Strength with his brother Ryan. Based in New York City, the Sons of Strength, prepare their clientele of A-List celebrities and champion fighters for feature films, photoshoots, and title matches.