The Truth About Losing Fat and Getting In Shape
SUMMARY: Most fat loss plans help you control your food choices and energy intake. Plus, they get you moving. But there's one thing many of them ignore. And that's what separates people who have success and those that don't.
At Precision Nutrition, making fat loss work in the real world, in the context of a real life, is our specialty. And we know how to do that better than anyone else.
But it’s not enough to know how to lose fat. Information alone won’t get you very far.
Instead of overloading clients with complicated workouts or detailed meal plans, we use an approach based on years of cognitive and behavioral research.
It’s called habit-based coaching and it’s helped us change literally thousands of lives. But we’ll get into that in a minute. And we’ll show you how it can work for you, too.
First, let’s go over what a good fat-loss program looks like.
THE 5 RULES OF FAT LOSS
Successful fat loss plans have a few things in common. Five, actually. You probably already know what they are, but let’s refresh just in case.
1. Don’t eat so much
In other words, if you’re eating a typical diet, you’re probably eating a bit too much food to lose fat. That’s right, the food you eat that isn’t used by your body for energy and re-building gets stored as fat. Simple stuff, but it’s often overlooked. That’s because most of us have no idea how much food we really eat.
Our job is to help our clients become aware of how much food they’re eating. Seems small, but it makes a big difference.
Here’s a simple way to do that: Grab a notebook and write down everything you eat for the next three days, or start using Livestrong’s easy online food diary and calorie tracker, MyPlate. After three days of tracking your food, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how much food you normally eat.
Then all you have to do is replace a few calorie dense foods with calorie dilute foods. Or just trim back your portions a little. Voila. Same amount of food, instant calorie-reduction, no stress.
2. Eat healthy food
Depending on who you ask, “healthy” food can mean different things. But there is one universal truth: More nutrients with fewer calories is a recipe for success.
In general, the best foods are lean meats, vegetables, high-quality fats, and maybe a small amount of starches, depending on your carbohydrate tolerance. The best part about these foods? They’re also fairly low in calories compared to processed stuff.
And for those meals directly after a workout:
What about plant-based eaters? We’ve got them covered too.
3. Move more often
Most people think the only way to lose weight is to work out for 5+ hours per week or go for morning jogs. Fortunately, this isn't true. We’ve seen some remarkable fat-loss progress in clients who simply moved more often.
Taking the stairs, going for a morning bike ride, or walking to lunch instead of driving may seem like small steps, but they make a big impact on how your body feels and how many calories you burn.
Of course, this isn’t all you need to become a cover model, but it does kick-start the fat loss process. It also supports rules number four and five.
4. Do strength training a few times per week
To look and feel better and speed up the rate of fat loss, you need to do muscle-preserving exercises like weight-training or bodyweight workouts. They don’t need to be too intense, and they certainly don’t have to take a long time.
The best thing you can do is start slowly and visit the gym two or three times per week. Perform a small circuit of full-body exercises like squats, lunges, rows, and presses. It all takes about 45 minutes.
A word of caution: Working out is something most people over-think. The truth is, you don’t need a perfect program to start the process. All you need is something that gets you in the gym a few times per week and has you lifting weights or doing some sort of challenging body weight exercises. Adding complexity can come later.
5. Do intervals (aka “Cardio”)
If strength training was your muscle-preserving exercise, intervals are your calorie-burning activity. Doing short bursts of work followed by longer periods of recovery helps your body burn a tremendous amount of calories.
To start, all you have to do is get on an exercise bike, treadmill, or other cardio equipment and try the following:
-30 second burst of fast pedaling or running
-60 second recovery of slow pedaling or jogging
That’s one round. Go back and forth between the “intense burst” and “recovery” and repeat that for a total of six rounds. And that’s it.
THE WRONG WAY TO LOSE FAT
Typically, this is where most articles would stop and send you on your way.
Unfortunately, that information alone won’t help you. After all, most of our clients “know” all that stuff when they come to us for help.
They know how to lose fat. But they’re still having trouble actually losing it.
It’s all about your daily practices.
Your behavior. Your habits. What you do every day. The decisions you make — both consciously and unconsciously. But how do you change a habit?
Most people struggle to lose fat because they try to do too much at once. People take an "all or none" approach to their body: They remove all unhealthy foods, go full throttle on exercise, and even try to remove bad habits like not getting enough sleep. After a couple of weeks, those good habits are replaced by withdrawal, frustration, and a belief that you’ll never be able to look the way you want.
It’s heart-breaking because we see it so often. Trying to do too much at once — trying to adopt and change 20+ new habits from the start — never works.
That’s why we feel lucky to be able to help. Our approach consists of doing one habit at a time. Mastering it, and then making progress. And by using that approach, we have shown that you can lose fat faster than ever and get in the best shape of your life.
THE RIGHT WAY TO LOSE FAT
Every single one of our Precision Nutrition fat-loss clients — over 10,000 and counting — loses fat in our coaching program by following one new habit at a time.
Our clients are busy. They have things to do. And they trust us with helping them lose fat. That’s why we’ve gone through the nutritional biochemistry, exercise physiology, and behavioral psychology and stripped everything down to just 24 daily practices.
Over the course of our year-long program, our clients will practice those habits — one at a time, for two weeks each — and get amazing results. (Compare that to starting 24 new things at once.)
Alone, these small changes may not look like they’d make much of a difference. But add them on top of one another, practiced daily for a full year, and the results become mind-blowing.
Here are just a few examples of the habits our clients work on over the course of a year.
Take fish oil and a multivitamin. Eat slowly. Work out at least three days per week. Stop eating at 80% full. Eat fewer carbs. Eat veggies and protein with every meal. Do 20 minutes of de-stressing.
Just remember: We also support our clients with daily workouts, daily lessons, group support, and a full-time coach. And what they get is the greatest progress of their lives. Fat loss that is not only easier than they ever thought possible, but fat loss that is also sustainable for life.
No more up and down. No more rebounding. Just a great-looking, great-feeling body and a happier life.
And that’s exactly how you can use our principles to make your own body transformation.
Simply pick one habit — maybe start with one of the ones above — and practice it every day for two weeks.
Don’t worry about trying to follow anything else. Just focus on your habit. And after two weeks, pick one more habit to try.
It may seem simple - and it is. But research shows that simple is the only way to achieve long-term, sustainable results. And the results do speak for themselves.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
If you’d like to learn more about losing fat and feeling better, here's something you need to see. We've created two free 5-day video courses that show you how to get control of your eating and your health.
To get started, simply click one of the links below:
In these free courses you'll discover:
-The 5 things you need to know about nutrition.
-Exactly what foods to eat to lose fat — at every meal.
-The best way to exercise to lose fat.
-Exactly how much time you need to exercise.
-How to make delicious meals with a few simple ingredients.
-Why you don’t need supplements to lose fat.
-Which four supplements work the best, if you choose to use them.
-The one thing that separates those who lose fat and those who fail every time.
Until next time,
- John Berardi
Dr John Berardi is the director of the world’s largest body transformation project. In the last 5 years, his team has helped over 15,000 clients lose more than 250,000 pounds of body fat. (That’s more total weight loss than all 13 seasons of the Biggest Loser combined). For more on his one-of-a-kind program – Lean Eating Coaching – click here.