How to Lose Fat – The Most Efficient Way

Fat is seriously harmful, not only for your looks and body composition, but most importantly for your health.

It is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many other conditions. Also, obesity is the single most frequent underlying condition, associated with COVID-19 deaths.

So, people with excess fat are generally at an increased risk.

Burning off excess fat can be quite challenging, yet achievable, if you implement the following tree rules in your every day life and avoid the nutrition myths some “experts” try to sell you…

First of all, you need to eat in a caloric deficit. Secondly, you need to increase your activity level. And lastly, you need to eat enough protein!

1. eat less calories than you burn

a donut and an apple
Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

This is the most important rule you need to follow. Eating fewer calories than you burn will cause weight loss, there is no way around it.

Once your body’s energy needs are met, extra calories are stored for future use — some in your muscles as glycogen, but most as fat.

Thus, you need to calculate your maintenance calories and then drop down to about a 500 calories deficit.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to calculate liquid calories too! Things like smoothies, cocktails or other beverages contain a lot of calories and are often neglected.

Pro Tip 2: Use Intermittent Fasting. Having fewer meals during the day makes counting calories easier!

Why 500 calories and not more?

Because if you drop more, you’re going to feel deprived and won’t be able to sustain the deficit for long. And if you do, your body is going to get used to it and you would have to drop even more.

So, it is better to start with a small deficit and progress gradually.

Now, what will happen to your body if you start eating 500 calories less per day for one week? You will end up with a deficit of 3500 calories week, which is approximately the equivalent of 0,5 kilograms.

Consequently, from just that 500 calorie deficit, you’re looking at half kilogram of weight drop in one week!

What are maintenance calories?

Simply put, maintenance calories are the number of calories your body needs to carry out everyday functions.

These essentially include bodily functions, like digestion, plus every day activities like walking to the grocery store or climbing the stairs.

How do you calculate your maintenance calories (TDEE)?

So, your maintenance calories is basically the amount of energy your body burns daily. Alternatively, this is called Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

In order to calculate your TDEE you will need to know two variables:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
  • Physical Activity Multiplier

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the energy that your body needs in order to cary it’s vital procedures, when you are resting.

The Harris-Benedict Equation is often used to estimate BMR.

  • Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)
  • Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)

Physical Activity Multiplier

This is the step that most people fail to follow correctly. Unfortunately, we consider ourselves to be more active than we truly are.

So, if you work a sedentary job, for example, but workout in the afternoon, you need to select the “Sedentary on an average day” multiplier and not the “Light activity” multiplier.

To determine your physical activity multiplier, check out the chart below.

Level of activityWomenMen
Sedentary1.31.3
Light activity1.51.6
Moderate exercise1.61.7
Active1.92.1
Very active2.22.4

maintenance calories or Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

Your maintenance calories or Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is not constant. On the contrary, it will fluctuate depending on your lifestyle, diet, and activity level.

How do you calculate your TDEE? 

There are a ton of online TDEE calculators. For some of them you’ll need to know your body fat percentage and for others not.

Alternatively, you can calculate your maintenance calories manually, using the following formula: 

Maintenance Calories (TDEE) = BMR x physical activity multiplier

For example if you are a 80 kg/1,80m/30yo male doing sedentary activity, your TDEE is :

1853.632 x 1.3 = 2409.72 calories

2. increase your activity level

man jumping obstacles
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The second rule is that you need to increase your energy output.

This means that you, firstly, need to examine your current workout routine, in terms of frequency and total reps.

  • Frequency: How many days per week you are working out.
  • Reps: How many sets your are doing in total per week.

The next step is to, simply add another set to each exercise you’re doing. This will lead to more work, in the same amount of workouts per week.

It might, also, mean decreasing your rest time a little bit, but that is totally fine.

THE EPOC METHOD

Another way to increase your energy output, is using something called EPOC. This is an acronym that stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and it’s a state that your body goes into, after a very intense cardiovascular exercise.

When you’re in this state of EPOC, also known as the after burn effect, you are taking in more oxygen, to make up for the oxygen deficit during the intense exercise.

That is going to, automatically, elevate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

Hence, by implementing a high-intensity cardio workout, once or twice a week, you’re going to elevate your BMR and create an even larger caloric deficit.

The reason why you should keep this to only once or twice per week (and space them out), is that after you finish one of these workouts and you’re in the state of EPOC, your BMR is gonna be elevated for upwards of 48 to 72 hours.

So if you do this too often, it is going to effect your deficit a lot more, resulting on you getting ravenous with hunger.

Consequently, an extra 15 minutes of high-intensity cardio workout, twice a week, is what you should be aiming for.

3. EAT ENOUGH PROTEIN

boiled eg
Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

The third rule is about protein intake.

It is really important to eat enough protein when you are in a caloric deficit, in order to avoid losing a lot of muscle mass!

Truth is that, alongside fat, you are going to lose some percentage of your muscle mass too, inevitably. However, by eating enough protein, you can minimise the muscle loss!

So, if you want to maintain those gains and be as muscular as possible in a lean state, make sure that 20% to 30% of your total calories are coming from protein.

Also, Protein has the potential to play a key role in Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

Research shows that protein is particularly thermogenic. The metabolic energy of protein is 17 kJ/g, but it’s net metabolizable energy is actually 13 kJ/g, making it lower than either carbohydrate or fat.

This means that you consume more energy digesting protein, than when you digest carbohydrate or fat. 

Consequently, a moderate increase in dietary protein combined with a physical activity like Calisthenics, may improve the regulation of body weight.

TO SUMMARIZE

If you want to lose fat while keeping your muscle gains, you need to start eating in a slight caloric deficit, increase your activity and make sure you are getting enough protein.

Also, adding hight intensity cardio, twice a week, will help you progress and rich your goal faster.

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