I love bulking.
I mean, is there anything better than lifting weights and eating more than you really need?
In short no.
The downside is that although bulking offers a fantastic method of gaining muscle, it also comes with accumulation of some fat mass. And while this won't bother everyone, I am personally of the opinion that if you have built some muscle, then you want to be able to show it off.
Which is where cutting phases enter the equation.
Now it is important to note that your ability to lose fat is dictated entirely by one thing, and one thing alone -- the ability to maintain a notable daily energy deficit over weeks and months.
However, while this is simple in principle, it is often easier said than done. Which is why I wanted to outline some simple steps you can take to make the fat loss process easier.
1. Lift weights 2-4 times per week
Conventional wisdom would suggest that losing fat requires hours upon hours of cardio -- but nothing could be further from the truth.
See, the amount of energy your body needs to survive (also known as your metabolism) is heavily dictated by the amount of muscle mass you have on your body. The reason being is that muscle mass is considered “active” tissue – in which it needs to use energy to survive.
As a result, if you maintain or increase your muscle mass (even slightly) you can maintain your metabolism and increase the amount of energy you burn on a daily basis, which will make your fat loss journey easier .
Not to mention the fact that lifting weights itself is exercise, and it will also help you burn energy and get into a calorie deficit.
2. Eat more protein
I understand that me telling you to eat more of something to lose weight might seem a little strange -- but hear me out.
Protein plays an integral role in recovery after exercise, where it is used to build and repair muscle tissue. If you are lifting weights regularly, then you need enough protein available within your body to recover and build new muscle tissue.
This will help increase your metabolism, which aids fat loss.
Moreover, protein has the highest satiety rating of all the macronutrients you eat, which means it will make you feel ‘fuller’ for longer. This means that eating protein throughout the day can reduce hunger cravings and snaking, lowering energy intake .
Lastly, it is important to highlight that protein also has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF) of all macronutrients. This means your body has to use energy to break down and digest the protein you eat, which can further drive up energy expenditure .
This eating protein with every meal and replacing small snacks with protein powders offer a great way to facilitate fat loss.
3. Sneak in 2-3 HIIT sessions per week
High intensity interval training (or HIIT for short) simply describes a type of exercise that has you performing short bursts of high intensity aerobic exercise, which are broken up by short bouts of low intensity aerobic exercise.
With this principle in mind, a simple HIIT session may involve 30 seconds of running at a fairly fast pace (around 80 to 90% of your sprint speed) followed by 60 seconds of light jogging. This could then be completed for 14 bouts (or 21 minutes) for a solid HIIT session.
The reason HIIT offers a great tool for fat loss is twofold. Firstly, it is super time efficient, and secondly, it not only burns energy during the session, also but after the session has been completed .
Because HIIT places your body under more stress than lower intensity cardio, it has a longer recovery period associated. This increases energy expenditure for up to 48 hours after the session has been completed.
4. Avoid liquid calories
There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that people who consume a lot of sugar sweetened beverages are at an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity – and of course, weight gain.
Things like soft drinks and fruit juice are full to the brim with sugar, and therefore provide a lot of energy per serve. However, they provide very little satiety – which means that they don't make you feel full after drinking them.
As a result, they are a really good way to increase your daily energy intake without reducing your snacking throughout the day.
In short, they should be avoided.
5. Place a premium on sleep
Many people fail to realise that sleep is absolutely essential to optimizing fat loss.
Poor sleep can wreak havoc with your endocrine system, causing an increase in the secretion of the hormone cortisol . This has been shown to make it more challenging to burn fat for energy, and even decrease your daily energy expenditure -- ruining your ability to lose fat.
Poor sleep simply makes fat loss very challenging .
As such, you should be aiming for anywhere 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. This will not only have you feeling better, but it will also contribute to your fat loss in a positive manner.
6. Sprinkle in some supplements
Finally, once you have the top five tips sorted, there is merit in pursuing the help of some supplements -- with particular focus on fat burners.
There are a number of unique compounds that improve your ability to lose fat, which they accomplish via a couple of distinct mechanisms:
- Increasing fat metabolism
- Boosting energy expenditure
Fat metabolism describes the process in which your body breaks down and uses fat for energy.
Fat burning compounds that accelerate fat metabolism ultimately make this process more efficient. They do this by making your fat more available to be broken down for energy, and by increasing how fast your body breaks down fat for energy.
This means that more of the energy your body expends will come from fat mass, which can expedite the fat loss process.
But what about energy expenditure?
Earlier on in this article I spoke about your metabolic rate, and how this can be impacted upon by muscle tissue. Interestingly, this can also be impacted upon by certain thermogenic compounds.
In short, these compounds increase the amount of energy your body burns to maintain its normal function. This increases how much energy you burn every day irrespective of your exercise levels -- ultimately making your ability to achieve a daily energy deficit easier.
To wrap up this article, I want to highlight one key point -- to lose fat, you still need to be in a sustained energy deficit.
Very simply, an energy deficit describes a state where you consume less energy than you expend on a daily basis.
If your daily energy requirements to maintain weight are 1500 calories per day and you only consume 1200 calories, you are in an energy deficit of 300 calories per day. It is this deficit of 300 calories that leads to fat loss.
Now, the tips in this article will not do it all for you. You still need to pay attention to your diet.
However, they will make getting into a deficit easier -- which is essential to ensuring sustainable and effective fat loss.
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