Lose Fat and Get Ripped

Tired of constant yo-yo dieting? The simple fact is most diets fail within a few months, and people end up gaining even more weight in the long run. Why? Most diets require some sort of moderate to severe calorie restriction, either in the form of low carb (e.g. Atkins) or a traditional low-fat diet.

There are several reasons why these diets fail:
1) Prolonged calorie restriction causes the body to release hormones to prevent further weight loss, i.e. the Infamous Weight Loss Plateau.

2) Prolonged low calorie diets result in loss of muscle used by the body as fuel.[3] Your muscle tissues are your primary fat burning furnaces!

3) Most diets are too severe and deprive you of enjoyable foods. This can often lead to wild bouts of binge eating when the self control finally crumbles!

4) With most low-calorie diets, you tend lose significant weight in the first 7-10 days (5-10 lbs is not unusual), and you get really excited. However, this is mostly a natural process where your body sheds water and glycogen stores.[4] Significant fat loss most likely has not occurred. This is why your "weight loss" typically slows after the initial drop.

How to Permanently Lose Body Fat

 Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that can "safely and permanently" make you lose body fat. I put this in quotes, because some could argue that there are medications/supplements out there that do help you lose fat. And while they would be correct, the safety and sustainability of these weight loss methods are questionable at best. Yes, you do lose fat with some of these products. But as with most restrictive diets, you have not made any real life style changes that can permanently maintain the results.

So how to you lose weight and keep it off permanently? The real answer is simple, but not necessarily easy.  Accomplish your goals by revving up your metabolism through healthy eating, resistance training, and cardiovascular exercise.

Fat Burning "Diet" Plan

Walking Burns Fat

Diet is in quotations above for a reason. The first step to success to shift your focus from "dieting" to making a "lifestyle change." You must first realize that you have total control over your situation. Genetics, lack of time, and lack of knowledge are all merely excuses keeping you from your goal of looking like a rock star.

Focus on Burning Fat, Not Losing Weight

An important concept to understand is that your weight has no effect on how good you look. If you want that "cut" look, you are going to have to focus on reducing your body fat. This can also be referred to as your body fat percentage, or the amount of your body weight composed of fat. The term body composition is bandied around in the fitness world a lot. This term is mostly used as a synonym of body fat percentage, so don't get confused. Shift your paradigm to focus on fat loss rather than weight loss to maximize your gains.

Losing Fat is Simple but Not Easy...

Simply put, you must create a calorie deficit in order to lose fat. In other words, the calories you expend must be greater than the calories you take in to your body. Your body will break down fat stores in order to use as energy your body needs. While there are many other things going on at the cellular level, this really is the the basic requirement needed in order to lose fat.

Remember this simple formula for how to reduce body fat:

Calories IN > Calories OUT = WEIGHT GAIN

Calories IN < Calories OUT = WEIGHT LOSS

Calories IN = Calories OUT = NO CHANGE

How Do I Measure My Body Fat Percentage?

There are several different methods to use to calculate your body fat percentage. Hydrostatic weighing is considered the "Gold Standard" for this, but it is an impractical approach to measuring your body fat. Bioelectrical impedance (BEI) is also another form of used quite a bit. However, the reliability is highly in question for BEI. Your measured percentage can greatly vary depending on several factors including hydration and skin resistance.

The best way to measure your body is the use of skin fold calipers. This method has been shown to be a valid and reliable way to measure body fat.[1] Measuring with skinfold calipers requires taking measurements at several different sites; therefore, this method is also somewhat impractical. I have found a good device to help you easily measure your own body fat - the Accu-Measure Personal Body Fat Tester. This device has an easy to use system, requires one skinfold pinch, and can be completed without any assistance. The Accu-Measure has been shown to be both accurate and reliable in clinical testing as well![2] A fair warning... if you have a very high body fat percentage (> 30%) this device may not be reliable until you begin to lose some weight. Accu-Measure conveniently includes the MyoTape as well to solve this problem. You can use the tape to make circumference measurements (waist, hips, thighs, biceps, etc.) to document your progress.

AccuMeasure MyoTape MT05 and AM-3000 Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Tester Kit
Amazon Price: $8.29 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 29, 2016)
Cheapest and most reliable way to measure your progress!

Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

The following formula is a great tool to use to calculate your BMR. This formula takes into account your LEAN body mass, rather than just your body weight as with many calculators. This of this as your personalized calculator, tailored just to fit your body.

Katch-Mcardle BMR Formula:

Lean Body Mass = (Weight(kg) x (100-(Body Fat)))/100

BMR = 370 + (21.6 x Lean Body Mass(kg) )

Hint: 1 pound = 2.2 kg

There are several free calculators online that can help you with this as well.

Change Your Eating Habits

Most diets involve starving yourself to some degree or another. While this is a way to lose weight, you have must likely discovered this is not a sustainable way to loose weight. The most effective way to lose fat permanently is to EAT!

Let me explain this further. Simply put, your body needs calories. Use the BMR you used to find out how many calories your need to sustain your current body weight. In order to burn some fat, you are going to need to use cardiovascular exercise to burn off those extra calories. We will get more into the cardio next in the next topic.

Not only do you want to eat your needed calories, but you want to eat HEALTHY foods. I am not going into a lot of details here as we could write a 300 page book over healthy eating. Basic rules to follow are as follows:

1) Stay away from simple sugars, such as soda, candies, deserts as much as possible.

2) Eat complex carbohydrates like black beans, whole grains and vegetables.

3) Protein, protein, protein. You need lean proteins to help maintain your muscles.

4) Drink a ton of water each day. Water is involved in every aspect of body functioning, including the chemical process that breaks down fat!

Cardiovascular Exercise

Running, fast walking, swimming and cycling are all examples of cardio. You need to be shooting for 4-6 days of cardio per week for 30-45 minutes each time. This will help you burn a significant enough amount of calories to lose the fat.

Using cardio instead of just cutting calories not only prevents the starvation effect, but also helps regularly boost your metabolism. This truly is the most effective way to permanently lose body fat. An actual lifestyle change needs to be made in order to maintain those results long term.

Calorie Cycling

In order to boost your fat burning, you can cut some calories to speed the process. However, use the calorie cycling method to prevent your body from adapting. This involves cutting your calories for 2-3 days by maybe about 200 calories taken INTO your body. Follow this up with a day of eating your BMR, and maybe even an extra 100 calories. This prevents starvation mode, AND can also give your body a quick metabolism spike.

Resistance Training

Resistance training is the method used to build muscle. It also helps maintain your muscle during a fat burning phase. Even if you are performing a simple body weight resistance program a few days each week, this will help prevent loosing your muscles.

Pumping Iron
Credit: lowerbackpainfree.org


The most important thing to take away from this article is that losing fat is simple but not always easy. If you follow this formula, your will burn the fat guaranteed. A healthy lifestyle change is the only true way to get ripped and maintain those results long-term. It will take a lot of effort, but picture it as an investment. Put in a ton of work now, and then later your will not have to work as hard to maintain those awesome results. Good luck and go get your fat burn on!