How do I lose weight?
Many people confuse weight loss with fat loss. Weight loss can be attributed to water, fat and even muscle. I think its safe to say you don’t want to lose muscle, and water weight isn’t very important. Your goal is Fat Loss.
Well, how do I lose fat?
You must eat at a Calorie Deficit. This means you take in less food than your body requires to maintain its weight. When you don’t give your body enough calories, it looks to fat in order to fuel the body. You will run into problems if your calorie deficit is too large, what some people call “starvation mode.” Your body will look to burn through both muscle and fat, if you don’t eat enough calories. This is why you should eat at a slight calorie deficit (300-500) instead of starving yourself.
How many calories should I eat, and where can I count them?
You can use the calorie calculator on my website here
An important tool in my weight loss was MyFitnessPal. I use the app for MFP and I use it everyday to put in the foods that I eat. You can even scan the barcode (with your phone camera) of the food item you are eating and it will recognize it. This website will give you great recommendations on just about everything and even has a great community of people to answer your questions.
Use my calculator or you can find your maintenance calories by multiplying your bodyweight by 15. So if you weigh 200lbs as an active individual, you will need roughly 3000 calories to maintain your weight. If you want to lose fat you will eat less than that. In the fitness community it is a general consensus that you should eat anywhere from 300-500 calories less than your maintenance. So for this 200lb person they will need to eat between 2500-2700 calories a day. I would recommend a 500 calorie deficit because that would equate to 3500 calories burned (One pound of body fat) per week. Keep in mind multiplying your bodyweight by 15 won’t be that accurate.
Do I need to do Cardio or Weights ?
Lifting weights. Yes.
Cardio. Optional. Important Later on in the Diet
Weight lifting will build muscle, and if you are a beginner it is actually possibly to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time even though you are at a calorie deficit. This is due to “noob gains,” since your body isn’t acclimated to resistance training you will make progress rather quickly. Of course you would gain more muscle if you were at a calorie surplus, but your goal is fat loss. More importantly, if you don’t lift and you successfully lose weight, you will likely end up looking “skinny fat“. Skinny fat refers to someone who looks skinny but when they take their shirt off, they reveal a very flabby stomach. If you gain enough muscle you won’t have this look after weight loss.
If you wondering what weight lifting program I recommend it is Jason Blaha’s 5×5 Novice progam. I did this and got great results and he is also a guy like me who is big on science.
Cardio on the other hand, is simply a tool to burn more calories.
I generally tell people to only do cardio if your weight loss is taking a long time, or if they would like to eat more food. Let’s go back to the guy eating 3000 calories example, if he was eating 2500 calories, he would lose weight. But let’s say that he wanted to lose more than a pound a week. In that case, he could do cardio to burn even more calories. If he does cardio he will need more than 3000 calories to maintain his weight. Cardio would create a larger energy deficit. Say this individual burns 300 calories on the treadmill, now he has room to eat 300 more calories worth of food during the day. So if you are hungry all time, now you can eat more by doing more activity.
Don’t go overboard with cardio at the beginning of your weight loss journey because it will tire you out. Not only will you lose the motivation to keep doing it, but if you are really overweight you don’t need to do any cardio just yet. Most bodybuilders will save the excessive 45 minute cardio session/7 days a week for the last month or two of their contest prep.
Is this all I really need to know?
Of course it isn’t everything.
But these are the basic principles that will lead you to success on your fat loss journey! It will also be beneficial if you don’t go searching the internet and stumble upon some guy giving terrible advice, like telling people to “eat 8 small meals a day because its speeds up your metabolism.” No it does not, and there is no scientific data out there that shows more frequent meals positively affecting weight loss. There is plenty of misinformation out there; I’m glad that you found an article like this instead. I wish I had this information available to me years ago.
Stick to these basic principles if you want to succeed.
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