Years ago, when I was just starting out in the fitness industry, I had a bad habit of underestimating what made people healthy. I read studies like it was my job (well, it was) and used that information to determine what I thought was the truth about health, fitness, and nutrition. And those who couldn't follow the techniques, well, they were just making excuses. Bad genetics, expensive food, intimidating gym. I heard them all.
But those excuses hold the key to solving fat loss. While most experts focus on telling people to follow a few simple steps, if you really want to lose fat and keep it off, you need to begin the conversation where most end.
The excuses that people list are part of reality. Successful weight loss isn't just dependent on the X's and O's of dietary science and a good workout, but more importantly, the behaviors and habits that make us human.
I'll be honest: I still think that many people make excuses for why they aren't healthier. But I'm no longer the same stubborn kid who thought he knew everything. The most common complaint you’ll hear is that, “I don’t have enough time.” And you know what? That excuse is valid. When I was in college, I had 2 hours a day to hit the weights and play basketball. That is a luxury I no longer have.
That's why "I don't have time to workout or eat healthy" is not a lazy excuse. It's a real concern. And millions of people feel it. If you have a career, a family, or even just a busy social life, you probably don't have time to dedicate huge chunks of your day to fitness. But there’s a big difference between not having enough time, and finding time to take care of your body.
I'll let you in on a little secret: Losing fat, improving your health, and feeling better takes far less time than you think. And it's also incredibly simple.
This is something I learned from Dr. John Berardi, the co-founder of Precision Nutrition, the most successful online nutrition coaching company. Over the years, Dr. Berardi has rewritten the rules on losing fat, and helped teach a young guy (that’s me) many lessons about living a healthier life and not buying into dogmatic practices.
Dr. Berardi built a Lean Coaching Program that in just 5 years has helped more than 10,000 people lose more than 180,000 pounds of fat. It’s part of his ultimate goal of helping one million people lose fat and live better; a benchmark I think he can reach.
That's why I asked Berardi to share some of his best lessons about how real people lose fat, and what you can do to apply those lessons to your own life.
The Truth About Losing Fat and Getting In Shape (By Dr. John Berardi and Nate Green)
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.
The reason our clients get such awesome results is because we use a very different approach than the rest of the fitness industry. 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. After those three days you'll have a rough 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.
But what's all that look like on a plate? Just check out this graphic:
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 is not 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 -- but the results speak for themselves.
Take The First Step
If you'd like to lose fat, improve your health, and feel better, we want to help.
We created a special 5-Day Video Coaching Course just for you, and you can sign up for it for free by clicking this link:
In the course you'll discover:
- The only 5 things you need to know about nutrition -- the same things we've taught our clients to help them collectively lose over 180,000 pounds of fat.
- 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 -- it's a lot less than you think
- 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 crucial thing that makes the biggest difference between people who actually lose fat and the frustrated ones who fail every time.
Remember, losing fat and feeling better doesn't have to take a lot of time. If you're too busy to do it yourself, my team and I are here to help. All you need to do is take the first step to the type of life--and body--that you deserve.