“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Most people who are unable to lose body fat aren’t failing because they are unmotivated. They aren’t getting results because they have no plan. They treat exercise as something to do when it’s convenient.
The only solution is to set up a training schedule with pre-planned workouts. This way, all you have to do is execute when the gym is jammed or you’re mentally trashed from work.
Here are a few more hard truths about fat loss that you need to hear to make the changes you want and deserve.
Exercising with the singular purpose of burning calories is a waste of time.
Humans are amazingly good at rationalizing behavior that goes against their goals.
When people exercise in order to burn calories they compensate by eating more than if they hadn’t worked out at all. They go burn off 500 calories from a five mile run, and boom, they inhale a bag of chips, an extra sweet potato, a few glasses of wine, or chow down on some “healthy” but calorie-filled desert.
Instead, stop exercising to burn calories and start training for performance. Just make sure you use training principles that are proven to promote fat loss. These include weight training and sprint interval workouts.
Your environment primarily shapes your body composition.
Consider how often you have the opportunity to eat—with friends, at parties, at family get-togethers, at work—we continually having high-calorie food at our fingertips.
Most people’s environments are set up so they have to drive everywhere they go, and they spend their free time “relaxing” on the couch in front of the TV or using a computer. There’s even blue light coming from our devices that messes with our hormones and has been found to trigger food intake.
You really have two options: Throw your hands up in defeat and except a lifetime of too much body fat and poor health, or take your life in your hands and actively take control your environment.
The optimal diet for fat loss is not a mystery and there’s no magic bullet.
Fat loss supplements and easy weight loss plans are a billion dollar industry, but the big fat truth is that there is no quick fix.
This is abundantly evident—two-thirds of the population would not be overweight if this stuff worked. Humans just don’t want to believe it.
The real magic bullet is that there is no mystery about how to eat for health and leanness: Whole protein, a lot of vegetables, fruit, nuts and beneficial fats, and other select whole foods that are high in indigestible fiber.
You can lose body fat more quickly than you can gain muscle. But it’s much easier to keep the muscle on than it is to sustain fat loss.
You can start losing fat in a matter of days, and drop a serious amount of flab in a few weeks if you train and eat right.
It takes much longer to put on muscle. Although you can get changes in the quality and strength of muscle tissue after a few workouts, putting on actual mass takes 4 to 6 weeks—and gains tend to happen slowly.
When it comes to sustaining your results, it’s easy to preserve muscle mass—all you have to do is eat adequate protein and do a minimal amount of weight training. And if you completely quit working out, muscle is the last adaptation that you lose.
Fat, on the other hand, is very difficult to keep off once you lose it. Hunger hormones change when you lose fat, making you eat more. We reward ourselves with food when we have “been good” and dieted or exercised. And people often tend to move less throughout the day once they lose weight, leading their overall calorie burn to drop.
What all this comes down to is that if you want to change your body for the long-term, it’s worthwhile to train in a way that builds muscle and eat in a way that helps you lose body fat—higher protein diets with plenty of lower carb fruit and vegetables tend to work.