Feasting season is upon us. It's the time of year where many of us pack on a few extra pounds. Thankfully, cold weather clothing can disguise some winter weight, but wouldn't you prefer to stay lean? Besides, nothing makes your clothing look better than being in shape.
I know this isn’t the typical style and grooming related content we kick around here, but it’s an important topic. Many of the guys I work with say that in addition to working on improving their style, they're also trying to lose weight. These two usually go hand in hand. During a session, some guys ask me for weight loss and fitness tips and share what they've been doing.
I’m usually shocked at what they tell me. They're putting in a lot of time but not getting the results they want.
You can actually lose weight quickly if you take the right steps. I’m going to tell you about the weight loss steps that have worked for me and if you apply them, they’ll probably work for you too. I try to make it super simple and I don't do anything outside of these four things. When I have weight to lose, these are the five things I do.
What if I told you that you don’t need to go on a crazy diet and that you can eat anything you’d like? Sounds great right? A big reason weight loss is so difficult is that people are stuck on some ridiculous diet. Just like my personal style, I would rather subtract stuff than try to add stuff in.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern, not a diet. With Intermittent fasting, you strategically cut out a meal (or two) during your day, or even skip whole days of eating throughout the week.
The most common way to work in intermittent fasting is the 16/8 protocol. This means that for 16 hours of the day, you are fasting. For 8 hours, you’re feasting. This is easier than it sounds. You can read more about intermittent fasting from Steve at Nerd Fitness.
Personally, I eat my first meal around 1 pm and then eat dinner around 7 or 8 pm. This gives me an 8-hour “eating window” that I can’t dine outside of.
This means skipping breakfast. I know for some of you this sounds like hell, but it’s easy once you start doing it. I’ll have a small cup of coffee instead of breakfast. The caffeine helps to wake me up and kill any food cravings.
Fat Burner + Water
Besides the coffee, there are other ways I kill food cravings throughout the first part of my day. After I have coffee and before I hit the gym, I fill up a 1L water bottle I carry around. I also swallow a fat burner.
There are a lot of mixed feelings about fat burners and diet pills. I agree that way too many people throw money at them without doing any physical exercise. This won't produce results.
The reason I will take them when I’m trying to lose weight is that they help me curb cravings. It’s a small addition to the rest of the protocol. That, coupled with the few liters of water I drink, really helps me feel pretty good through the day.
Side note: I only drink water, tea, and coffee throughout the day. Cutting out any drink that has calories is one of the easiest ways to lose weight. Don’t drink your calories.
Right after having coffee, drinking water, and taking a fat burner, I’m off to the gym. The first thing I do is cardio. If you want to lose weight, you need to be doing cardio, often. Hard cardio. Aim to break a sweat.
The reason I do this first thing in the morning is that I still haven’t eaten anything. Doing cardio while you’re fasting will give you better results than doing cardio after you’ve had something to eat.
When you’re working out, your body is using up energy and needs a fuel source. When you’ve had a meal, your body is pulling fuel from that meal, burning off what it can of that food source.
When you’re fasting, your body has no food to use as fuel, so it has to pull from somewhere else: your fat storage.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderately intense cardio. Better yet, some sort of HIIT training (High-Intensity Interval Training).
After you’ve done cardio and warmed up your body, it’s time to lift some weights. Heavy weights. I get a lot of pushback from guys saying to me “ I don’t want to get bulky”. I get that, but most likely, you’re a long way from a bodybuilder physique. It's a lot harder to obtain than you'd think.
Lifting heavy weight will work your body harder than doing a lot of reps with a low weight. Lifting heavier weight breaks down your muscle fibers, causing them to regenerate and build. This regeneration takes energy and your body will be looking for fuel (This is why it’s common advice to drink or eat protein directly after your workout). While your body is regenerating muscle, it will be pulling fuel from not only the food you eat but your fat storage as well.
There are tons of other benefits to lifting heavy, mainly a boost in testosterone, as well as an increase in strength. For more on the benefits of heavy lifting, check out this post by Alex Fergus.
To summarize what I personally do daily when trying to lose weight…
Intermittent fasting - I don’t eat breakfast and go a day or two without eating once and a while.
Fatburner and water - I take a fat burner in the morning and drink a ton of water throughout the day. I aim for around 3 liters.
Fasted cardio - I do 30 minutes of fasted cardio, usually, interval training on a machine or running.
Heavy weight - after cardio I go straight to the weights and try to lift heavy 2-3 days per week.
Notice that these things (other than the fat burner) are free. You don’t need anything fancy to lose weight. The more time you spend looking at weight loss diets, supplements, and training plans, the less weight you are actually losing.
Losing fat is all about a caloric deficit. Expend more calories than you take in.
Or to make it really simple… Eat less. Move more.
Losing weight is simple if you make it so.
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