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Fat loss 101: Maximizing fat loss progress.
Posted By John Stone On January 25, 2012 @ 8:59 am In Daily Blog | 10 Comments
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.
Alternatively, hire a professional to design your diet and/or training routine for you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a pro to create your diet and nutrition plans–many professional (and knowledgeable) body builders do the same. I’ve also enlisted the services of online trainers several times over the years, and the knowledge I gained from them has been invaluable. I recommend forum sponsor Aram “Mastover” Hamparian, with whom I’ve worked many times.
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.
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 JSF BodyShop 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.
- 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:
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