Most people want to lose body fat or lose weight when they get into fitness.
And for good reason since most people could gain a lot from cutting some weight off.
Since so many people want this, businesses have exploited this and have made it out to be this complicated process.
But its fairly simple on paper. Read this blog on the fundamental principle to lose body fat. The tough part is adhering and actually doing what you need to do.
I have gone through multiple cutting phases in my fitness journey.
Some were planned and well thought out, and some weren’t.
I have cut for the sake of cutting, because I felt cutting would solve all my problems and would give me the physique I desired, this was back when I didn’t really have a plan, but I have also cut for two bodybuilding shows, and one photoshoot. These were more planned and were well thought out.
These two well thought out and planned cuts were where I really took away a lot of lessons.
However, through these cutting phases I have picked up valuable insight into the right and wrong ways to lose body fat.
In this blog I want to go over some lessons for cutting so you don’t make the same mistakes as me.
Lesson #1 You need to be in an energy deficit to lose body fat
If you are not losing weight, you are not in an energy deficit (energy deficit is the same as calorie deficit).
There is no magic fat loss diet, they all abide by the fundamental principle of a calorie deficit.
Once you go through a structured fat loss diet you realize this and you will never ask “what is the best diet for fat loss?”
You will know that it is anything that you can adhere too that gets you into a calorie deficit.
Read HERE to figure out how to get into a calorie deficit.
Lesson #2 It is a bad idea to always be in a calorie deficit
The biggest mistake people make is being in the endless diet mentality and always trying to lose weight.
This isn’t great mentally and physically.
This is why with online clients we focus on periodizing their nutrition.
We spend time in a fat loss phase (usually 8-16 weeks), maintenance phases to give them a break from either gaining or losing weight (also this is the most overlooked part to long term weight loss) and building phases to build muscle. Read HERE on why you should spend time outside of dieting for fat loss.
Get out of that endless diet mindset. Its a trap.
Lesson # 3 Fat loss is easier than building muscle
Fat loss is an easier and quicker process. A lot of people skip over building muscle and what happens is you end up being dissatisfied with your look when you lean out most of the time.
The solution? Build muscle.
This why we preach building phases with clients. To read more about a building phase click HERE.
With fat loss, you can lose a substantial amount in 8-16 weeks, with building muscle you need time and momentum.
If you are unhappy with how you look when you get lean, you need to build more muscle.
Lesson # 4 Training sucks in a calorie deficit
When you are cutting your training will suck. This is another big reason why we preach not always being in a cut.
As I mentioned earlier a lot of people are dissatisfied with their appearance when they lean out due to the lack of muscle.
You need good training sessions with an adequate amount of nutrients to build a substantial amount of muscle. When you are in a calorie deficit, this is tough to do.
You are tired, hungry, and angry from a lack of food.
Don’t use this as an excuse to not train hard though. Just expect to have to push a little harder.
Lesson # 5 You will be hungry
There is no way around this. There are steps you can take to reduce your hunger, read this blog HERE.
But the fact is that you WILL be hungry when losing body fat. If you aren’t, then chances are you aren’t losing body fat.
Feeling hungry can suck, but I always try to frame it as a positive. I tell myself its temporary and its interesting to feel that way.
We are so accustomed to avoiding hunger that we truly don’t know what hunger is.
Use this as a time to practice feeling hungry.
This shift in mindset can help you through the tough times of dieting, and trust me they will come.
Lesson # 6 Pick a set amount of meals per day
Too many people just wing it each day, and don’t do this.
You will fall off the fat loss diet if there is no plan or structure.
One simple thing you can do to have some structure is to eat a set amount of meals per day.
This way if your weight isn’t trending down you have a baseline to take food away from.
If each day is different then you really have no idea where to take food away.
Lesson # 7 Plan ahead for events
Again, just winging it is going to cause you to fall off your diet.
You need to have a plan for events or anything that might come up during the week.
Read this blog HERE to go over how to manage a night out and still stay on track.
Lesson # 8 Steps are way easier to adhere to than formal cardio
I don’t like to use the word game changer, because there isn’t going to be anything that is going to drastically change how to lose body fat, but the closest thing has been tracking steps over doing formal cardio.
I wrote another in depth article on a fat loss method you aren’t using, read it HERE.
Steps are great because they don’t require you to dedicate hours on the treadmill, not to mention the travel time it takes to get to the gym.
Anytime I see people doing only cardio at the gym, I die a bit inside. Just realize you don’t have to go slave away on a treadmill to get your cardio in.
You can do stuff around the house, park further away etc.
Oh and you can get steps from grocery shopping.
Lesson # 9 It will take longer than you think
Too many people think they will be lean in 30 days. I hate to tell you this…. but this wont happen.
It will take time, and usually longer than you want/think.
You can see great progress in 6-12 weeks, but chances are it wont be the end. There will always be more you want to do after.
Lesson # 10 Keep protein intake high
Protein is so important during a fat loss diet.
It not only helps you maintain your lean body mass (which the goal of fat loss is to maintain muscle and lose body fat), but it also uses the most energy to absorb and digest…OH and it also does a great job of keeping you feeling full throughout the day.
Aim for around 1g per pound of bodyweight of protein per day.
Read this blog HERE to see how you can get more protein in your diet.
Lesson # 11 Focus on the process, NOT the outcome
A big mistake I made and clients make is only thinking about the end goal.
They want the end goal so bad that they forget to put in the work that is necessary to see the end goal.
If you have a bad day or a bad meal, that’s fine, just focus on doing the things you need to do as soon as possible.
I also hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you wont be happier. That comes within. Now don’t get me wrong, getting some body fat off will make you healthier overall, but don’t expect you to be drastically different afterwards.
You will be happy because you stuck to something and pushed through the hard times.
Lesson # 12 Caffeine/coffee is your friend
Lastly, coffee and caffeine will help you manage your hunger and it will give you more energy.
It is your friend during your fat loss phases.
Just be careful with using too late in the day as this can negatively impact sleep.
I hope these lessons are helpful to you on your current or future fat loss phases.
IF you need to more guidance, fill out the link HERE to apply for our online 1 on 1 coaching service.