How to Lose Fat Fast
Those of us who have toiled in the fitness world awhile are used to the terms “cutting” and “gaining”. We have the belief that in order to build muscle mass, we need to be in a caloric surplus. And to lose body fat, we want to be in caloric deficit by using something like a calorie restriction diet plan. For the most part, this is true. But when we decide to make “cuts” and go into a caloric deficit, we want to know how to lose fat fast without losing muscle mass. How do you know you’re losing fat, and what can you do to improve the odds of us achieving fat loss without losing muscle?
Put simply, you must have excellent testing protocols to ensure that you’re losing body fat. You can do this by making sure you always measure at the same time of the day using the same body fat scale or another equivalent measurement system. This ensures you’re getting accurate readings and are doing enough to “tip the scale” in the right direction.
If you choose your times randomly when measuring, you risk the chance of getting extremely inconsistent data, which is brutal for development. Inconsistent measurements can give you different feelings about the progress you’re making. A favorable reading one day will give you an overwhelming sense of success like everything is working just perfect.
But if the next measurement you take is at a different time of day and you are more dehydrated, your body fat percentage reading may go up. This will give you a mental low. I don’t know how many times I have had clients go through this with me and they all end up feeling like it’s useless when they get these readings.
If you’re consistent with measurements, then you know what is happening and won’t go through these swings. You’ll be more consistent with your workouts and food, in general.
My recommendations are to measure once per week using a body fat scale. Measure first thing in the morning when you don’t have any food or water in your body. This will keep everything as consistent as possible. Don’t worry about the numbers. Write them down and continue on with your day. You will see progress in the future if you put the work in now, every day.
Now, what can you actually do to improve your odds of losing body fat without allowing your muscle to waste away?
1) Keep Your Food Intake 500 Calories Below Your Needs
If you want to know how to lose fat fast, you need to start with caloric reduction.
When you begin this drop your caloric intake, you need to start with a reasonable goal. Going below this level is an example of poor planning for two reasons.
First, eating fewer calories is difficult for many people so the likelyhood of becoming consistent with a plan that goes below 5oo calories is less likely. Pick a reasonable goal and try to maintain it. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Second, there are other people go on a fasting plan and eat almost nothing. This method is sure to make you lose your hard earned muscle while you lose body fat—the only problem is that your goal in this phase is to lose ONLY body fat.
Think about it: what’s the point of putting in a ton of hard work gaining muscle mass if you’ll just be losing it all after the fact?
The only thing worse than making no progress is believing that you are improving only to find out later that you actually went nowhere at all. This is what the average person does on a regular basis with their body composition goals. They put on muscle and bodyfat, the lose that same amount of muscle and body fat in repetitive cycles.
So, in order to avoid this, start with 500 fewer calories than your daily required needs, then measure everything out on the scale as mentioned earlier.
2) Increase Your Protein Intake
The second most important step in learning how to lose fat fast is increasing your protein intake. Most of us are severely undernourished when it comes to protein. One of the main components in making fat loss happen is having enough protein to signal to the body that everything is okay and that we can use fat for the rest of our energy needs.
If you consume too little protein throughout the day when you’re in an energy deficit (a 500 calorie energy deficit), you’re likely to break down your muscles for energy use.
For reference, most people linger between 0.5 to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. You should be shooting for 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
This is a LOT. It’s very difficult to consume this much unless you’re really aware of what you’re eating. Lean proteins become very important at this point—chicken breast and salmon will become your savior.
3) Do a Minimum 5 Hours of Exercise Per Week
Most people have their exercise amounts slightly confused. They want to come into the gym once or twice a week and hope it’ll be enough to make major progress. Yes, every little bit counts, but burning an extra 300 calories twice a week will not make a significant dent in your fat loss goals.
I like to explain to my clients that coming in one to two times a week is probably enough to prevent you from putting on too much extra fat. Three times starts to reverse the slow gain in body fat that you have been accumulating for many years. At four times a week, you’ll start to actually notice change, and at five times a week, you’ll notice change quickly.
If you set up these expectations early, you’ll know exactly what it takes to reach your goals, even if it is difficult to do.
4) Supplement use – Fish Oils, Branch Chain Amino Acids, Green Tea
When you do the first three things in order, you can then put the icing on the cake by adding in supplements. This is the last step in learning how to lose fat fast. Three supplements that I like to use while leaning out are:
- Omega-3s (Fish Oil)
- Branch Chain Amino Acids
- Green Tea
These will give you the most bang for your buck without having to get into any serious supplementation.
There’s a whole plethora of information on omega-3 health out there. What you need to know is that in proper dosages, it can help you lose body fat and gain muscle mass.
Nutrition expert and PhD, John Berardi has been involved with studies that help prove fish oils effectiveness. It has been shown that when you give one to three grams of fish oil to sedentary people for three weeks, they can burn an extra 300 – 400 calories throughout the day, lose three pounds of fat, and gain three pounds of lean mass. Enough said, right? So take one to three grams of fish oil a day.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Why take more protein if you are already meeting the requirements? Well, it’s true that if you can reach your requirement then BCAA’s are needed less. However, branched-chain amino acids are still very effective because they are more available to be used by the body right away.
This is important during a workout so you can spare as much muscle as possible during and immediately after your exercise session. Most types of protein are not immediately available, as they need to be broken down first. By taking branch chain amino acids, you can prevent muscle wasting at that very moment. Shoot for 3 to 5 grams of branched-chain amino acids during a workout.
A great natural way to stimulate your metabolism is by drinking green tea. This drink contains many nutrients that help you start to burn more calories throughout the day. In fact, many studies show that drinking green tea can boost your caloric expenditure by up to four percent. This may seem minor but every percentage point counts over a long period of time. Have one cup of green tea with each meal. If you get too wired from it at night time, then be sure to finish up your tea consumption by midday.
Make sure you measure effectively, get these four principles in order, and you will start to see that body fat disappear!
If you are unsure about supplements use, take a look at our Best Workout Supplements for Athletes Guide to learn more and feel out the process of taking supplements.