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Fat loss 101: Maximizing fat loss progress.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Maximum fat loss results require a maximum effort! Here I am at 215 pounds and 30% body fat compared to me at 186.6 pounds and 6% body fat.

Maximum fat loss results require a maximum effort! Here I am at 215 pounds and 30% body fat compared to me at 186.6 pounds and 6% body fat.

This article is only for people who are interested in maximizing their fat loss efforts. If you are not prepared to make significant changes and sacrifices while you work towards your fat loss goals, then you might as well stop reading now.

The information in this article is going to help you reach your goals as quickly (and safely) as possible, but these tips will require that you make fat loss a top priority in your life.

The very first thing you need to do is set some goals. I covered the subject of goal setting in my December 2, 2011 blog, “The importance of setting goals“.

Now that you know what you’re working towards, the next step is to create diet and training plans. Not sure where to start? Read the beginner threads on the JSF Forms. Still confused? Want some feedback on your diet and training plans? Feel free to post your questions on the forum.

So now you’ve got your goal(s) set and you’ve got the plan. It’s time to execute!

The very first thing I suggest you do is take “before” pictures (front, profile and back) and detailed measurements (scale weight, body fat reading and tape measurements). I covered the subject of taking measurements in detail in my first Fat Loss 101 article, “The scale is not nearly as important as you may think“. Read it–it’s important. If you don’t take before pictures and measurements you will regret it, guaranteed. The satisfaction and sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you look back at the “old” you is indescribable.

Next, I suggest you take your fat loss quest public. Starting a journal on the JSF Forums is not only a great way to hold yourself publicly accountable, the support of the JSF community will help you stay on track whenever you’re feeling frustrated, unmotivated or just down in the dumps. Of course you don’t have to post your stats and pictures publicly (especially when you’re just starting), but once you reach your goal you’ll probably want to. ๐Ÿ™‚


Here’s the number one thing to remember as you’re working towards your goals: your diet will make or break you. Here are my diet-related tips for maximizing fat loss:

– Do not eat processed foods. A “clean”, all-natural diet is the way to go. Chicken breasts, shrimp, fish, lean beef, whole eggs, egg whites, natural peanut butter, brown rice, oats, red potatoes, fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil and almonds are the kinds of foods that form the vast majority of my cutting diet.

– Do not consume alcohol. By “do not” I mean ZERO alcohol. Alcohol is nothing but empty calories, and it will seriously hamper your fat loss progress. When you consume alcohol fat loss grinds to a halt while your body deals with it.

– No cheat meals or cheat snacks. Cheat meals kill your momentum, and momentum is very important (see my Fat Loss 101 article, “Dedication and momentum”). Cheat meals also reenforce the counterproductive notion that junk food is some kind of reward. Junk food is not your reward for hard work, progress is. I don’t care what anyone says, when you consume a cheat meal it’s a step backwards.

– Weigh your food using a food scale (I use and recommend the Ozeri Ultra Thin Professional Digital Kitchen Food Scale), and track your meals (you can do this for free on MyFitnessPal or any of other online meal logging site). If you don’t know what you’re putting into your body, how can you make intelligent and informed choices when you need to make adjustments?


Weight training is vital when you’re losing fat. People who don’t train with weights gain the fat back very quickly once they finish dieting, and they also have that classic “skinny fat” look. No one wants that, so get in the gym and move some iron! Some tips:

– Do not miss workouts–not for any reason. Short of injury, illness or a death in the family, there are very few good excuses to miss a workout. You know your schedule and life better than anyone else, so it’s your responsibility to make sure you block out the time to get your workouts in. You also need to have a backup plan for those times when life throws you an unavoidable curve.

– When you train, train as though your life depends on it. Don’t think about work, the fight you and your girl had that morning, money or your next workout… the only thing you should be thinking about is the mind/muscle connection and getting another rep up. Between sets the only thing on your mind should be the next set. This tip is not just some crap that gym rats say to seem hardcore: your level of focus and intensity in the gym will have a massive impact on the results you achieve.


Some other general tips:

– Really get into what you are doing! Believe it or not, fat loss can be pretty enjoyable when you immerse yourself in the process.

– Before you eat or do anything, ask yourself one simple question: “Will this help me reach my goal, or will it take me away from it?” If it’s not helping you, it’s hurting you–don’t do it.

– Get plenty of rest. You’re working hard, and sleep is very important. The amount of sleep we need varies from one person to the next, so there are no hard and fast rules here. I need eight hours, and I make sure I get those eight hours every night.

– Do not allow yourself to make excuses. Once you make one excuse, the next one comes even easier. Excuses are a slippery slope, and they will ruin you. Read my Fat Loss 101 article, Excuses.

– Stay positive! If you’re doing everything I mentioned in this blog, you’re probably going to feel pretty darn good anyway. Eating healthy, training hard, getting plenty of rest and watching those pounds of fat melt off will put pretty much anyone in a good mood. ๐Ÿ™‚

– Do something physical every day. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take a day off from training, but you shouldn’t spend your day off sitting around doing nothing. At least go for a walk or do some light cardio. Doing this will keep fitness and fat loss fresh in your mind.


This is not some random list of things I’ve read over the years. I walk the talk. Everything in this article are the things I personally do whenever I’m cutting body fat. I believe my adherence to these principles is why I never fail.

This is the fifth in my new series of “Fat loss 101” articles. These articles are designed to help people who may be somewhat new to healthy fat loss, fitness and weight training, but I’ve also attempted to pepper the articles with solid motivational material that will (hopefully!) be useful to just about anyone who’s working towards a leaner, more muscular and healthier body.

You can check out my previous Fat Loss 101 articles here:

The scale is not nearly as important as you may think.
Dedication and momentum.
How to get a “six pack”.

John Stone Fitness Comments

21 Responses to “Fat loss 101: Maximizing fat loss progress.”
  1. John,

    Yesterday, I had an epiphany. I realized that without your website, I don’t know where my health would have been. I starved myself down to 148lbs, zapping all of the muscle. When I found your site many years ago, my life changed. Thank you!!

    I’d love to see a similar “gaining” guide, following this example, in the future. It’d be great to see your knowledge on gaining organized in this way.

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    • Great job, jc! I’m honored that this site was of use to you as you worked towards improving your life. That means a lot to me.

      Penning some articles on gaining mass is a good idea. In the meantime, pretty much all the principles I’ve mentioned in my “Fat loss 101” series of articles can be applied to mass gaining, you just eat a lot more. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Awesome advice as always John! Your site is indeed incredibly helpful. If you just dump your blog into a PDF, that would make a great book.

    One thing I’ll add from my own experience is that sometimes you have to adjust your schedule for your workouts rather than trying to fit your workouts into your schedule. E.g. I started getting up at 6am (instead of 8am) around March/April timeframe of the last year to get my workout in before I have to go to work. I feel that it’s probably the thing that helped me the most to stick to my workouts (even though it took a while to get used to that). When I get up at 6am, I really have nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no excuses to skip my workout. For the first time in my life I managed to stick to working out for 15 months streight. Prior to that, I started working out multiple times, but never managed to stick to it for longer than 3-4 months.

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    • Thanks, Riser. ๐Ÿ™‚

      You’re absolutely correct about adjusting your schedule if that’s what it takes. When I said, “You know your schedule and life better than anyone else, so itโ€™s your responsibility to make sure you block out the time to get your workouts in”, that’s precisely what I meant. At the end of the day if that workout is not done, the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the individual who didn’t do it.

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  3. John,

    You mentioned that short of injury or death, you really shouldn’t be skipping workouts. What’s your opinion on working out (lifting or cardio) while sick? For the last few days I’ve come down with a cold, but I continue to push through the workouts anyway. Some of my friends claim that this could be detrimental and I can understand that from the point of recovery. Others say that it will help “burn off” the cold via increase in body temperature. What’s your opinion? Do you work out when you get sick? If so, do you keep up the same intensity and/or volume?

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    • Oops, looks like I missed one. I should have said, “Short of injury, illness or a death in the family..”

      I’ve just modified the blog to prevent any possible confusion.

      Actually, when it comes to illness I think it depends. If I’m feeling a little under the weather, have a headache or have a mild cold, I’ll work out every time. If things start to get worse in the days that follow, I’ll back off.

      If I’m truly sick (fever, bedridden, throwing up, etc.) then I feel it’s best to rest and not train.

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  4. Enjoying reading your articles. Although I’m a G-ma, I’m in good shape, take no meds, try to take helpful supplements, walk a lot and do small weights for my arms. I’ve really been paying attention to my water intake and feel so much better. Thanks again.

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  5. G’day John,
    This blog was written for me – beginner weight loss, much appreciated mate. ‘Riser’ is about 14 months ahead of me on his journey but sounds like I am following behind on some early morning challenges. I am gradually learning to accept the lifestyle changes and I like your no compromising attitude – i dont have it yet but I do want it, badly. I am finding it easier the more I stop asking the stupid (embarrassing?) question of ‘will I workout today?’. Yep, rediculous menatl game I know….Thats another opportunity for you to reach through my monitor and provide another motivational slap….
    p.s I have dropped about 6kg in 4 weeks, but coming from a large height.
    Good stuff buddy.

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