‘Tis the season to talk about fat loss. Just last week I was cruising through the LA airport and I took a look at a few popular fitness magazines. Cue the sensational headlines:
- 2 Step Beach Body Makeover in 20 days!
- Torch belly fat with this one exercise!
- Get ready for Summer with this 10-day Juice Cleanse!
The funny part about living on the beach in Costa Rica is that it’s always beach body season, 365 days a year. And while we love the idea getting beach body ready, what we LOVE even more is helping people build healthy habits into their lives so that you never have to get beach body “ready” again. You might call ’em systems or maybe you call ’em routines, it doesn’t really matter what they’re called. It’s the idea that you have a few simple rules that you follow and you stick to ’em.
The best part about our strategy is that you’ll never need to go on another diet again. Restricting certain foods, contemplating a nonsensical juice cleanse, or punishing yourself with hours of exercise will be a thing of the past. Once you know the principles of fat loss and learn what works for you and your lifestyle, you’ll be executing these good actions day-in and day-out.
That is exactly what we are offering with our 30-Day Fat Loss program that is currently open! We start off the daily coaching on May 16th, 2016. Click this below to learn more.
Back to fat loss principles. As the famous poet Emerson so wonderfully says,
“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
Let’s throw out some of the “hot” methods right now.
We all know someone who has lost a bunch of weight going low carb?
Or maybe your buddy at the gym swears you need to try fasted cardio.
Intermittent fasting is really hot these days, essentially skipping breakfast and eating most of your meals in a small window of time.
Or how about that “fitness pro” on instragram who looks like he or she hasn’t eaten in days and tells you that you have to eat 6 meals a day to “boost your metabolism.”
Or no wait, there’s the buff dude who swears you just need to consume a shit-ton of protein and you’ll be all good brah.
Or maybe that yoga teacher who insists that all animal flesh is toxic and the the key to health is going vegan.
And we certainly know the paleo peeps, restricting and demonizing certain food groups, well because, I really have no fuckin’ clue actually.
Again, these are all methods, some of which might just work fine for you. But you first have to get some solid principles under control, then and only then, is it time to play around with methods that work for you. So, without further ado, our 4 principles to fat loss.
4 Principles to Power Your Fat Loss
1) Use a Food Journal To Gain Awareness
Awareness is step #1 in the change process.
Leave it to the master, Bruce Lee, “To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.”
A food journal does just that.
You might be thinking to yourself, oh yeah, I eat pretty healthy. Ok, I say. Sounds great. Now show me with your food journal. All of sudden things get a little interesting.
This food journal is always a critical first step with everyone that we work with. To illustrate the power of the food journal, you can read this recent post here about Patrick and his transformation of losing 11% body fat. Before working together, Patrick was completely unaware about what he was eating and drinking on a daily and weekly basis. Once we were able to see what was going on, we had a much clearer picture on how to move forward.
Food journals are a great tool for many reasons, but the most important reason is that it brings awareness to what we are putting in our body.
Try it out for yourself.
Grab a piece of paper and write down everything that you eat and drink for 3 days straight. When filling out your 3-day food journal, there is no such thing as a “bad” food or “good” food for right now. The journal is simply a tool to assess where you are right now. That’s it.
Before you can make any intelligent change, you have to know where are you right now. That is the power of the food journal. And if you’re having serious resistance to even the thought of writing down your food for 3 days, don’t worry, that’s totally natural. It’s a lot less painful than you think, especially when you strip away any of the judgement from it. It’s nothing more than an objective picture of what is – that’s it. You’ve got this.
2) Lift Heavy Weights With Proper Form
Lifting weights combined with a good nutrition plan is the #1 way to shed fat, look great, and have lots of energy. Can you drop some weight by doing cardio? Of course you can. There are hundreds of various ways to burn calories and lose weight. Most of them will work in the short-term. But relying solely on cardio and diet will not produce the body composition changes that most people are after.
The most efficient tool in shedding fat and keeping muscle tissue is strength training with moderate to heavy weights while resting as little as possible. The #1 workout you can do to torch body fat is a dumbbell complex.
Not only do you get a caloric boost after you train with moderate to heavy weight (up to 48 hours after of increased calorie burning), but more importantly, you release various hormones that help retain muscle mass and signal fat burning.
Over the long-run, building and maintaining your muscle will give you a distinct metabolic advantage over someone who is the same bodyweight but with less muscle. You’ll burn more calories at rest (because muscle tissue is more active than fat) and therefore be able to stay lean without trying too hard. You’ll also be stronger so that the daily activities of life become easier. And with some muscle and a lower body fat, you’ll achieve a “toned” look that everyone desires.
3) Eat Slowly
If you’ve ever been so hungry you just chow food over your kitchen counter, you certainly know about fast eating. You look at the clock and less than 1 minute has gone by. Holy smokes that was fast. I know, we all get to that point sometimes, it happens.
But if you were to really try and focus on slow eating, it will completely change your eating habits. Not only does healthy food taste better when you slow down to savor each bite, you’ll notice that you’ll eat considerably less food when you eat slower. By eating slowly, you’re allowing your gut ample time to signal to the brain that you’re full. This normally takes about 10-20 minutes for all the satiety signals to make it to the brain. With slow eating, a plate of food becomes wonderfully satisfying. You are completely satiated and cravings seem to vanish.
But the best part about eating slowly is that is has NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT YOU EAT. It could be a plate of veggies with grilled fish or a gigantic plate of nachos – It doesn’t matter. Eating slowly ONLY REFERS TO HOW YOU EAT.
Because of this, it’s one of the simplest tools I use. A few strategies to make the execution of slow eating easier:
- Never eat alone. Try to eat with company and tell at least 1 story during the meal.
- Here’s a fun one – replace your fork with a set of chopsticks.
- Make a game out of it. Set a timer. Place a bet with your partner. Whatever it is, make it fun.
4) Focus On Changing One Meal At A Time
If you’ve ever tried to change your diet or add healthier options, you might have noticed how challenging it is. Most of us KNOW what to eat; it’s the EXECUTION that’s the challenging part.
Life gets in the way. I know.
The best solution is to focus on one meal at a time and focus 100% of your energy on it. If you remember the story of Patrick who lost over 20 lbs of fat, we started with changing breakfast. Not only did we just focus on breakfast, we broke it down into an even smaller task – to change 1 aspect of his breakfast. That is it. One change. We focused on something so simple that his chances of success were almost 100%. Patrick was eating granola with fruit, juice, and coffee with milk and sugar – a pretty typical “healthy breakfast”.
All we did was take out the granola and replaced it with 2-3 eggs. Simple. Once Patrick felt 100% comfortable getting that aspect of breakfast right every single day, then we moved on to something else.
Here’s Your Chance
Remember, habits take time to set in. The biggest problem I see people make is that they try and do too much at once. It goes well for a short period of time, but because there is so much change, there’s no time to ingrain the good habit. Motivation wanes, willpower runs out and they most likely fall back into their old habits.
This habit change is the foundation of how our coaching works and it’s been vital to our client’s successes.
It’s about making good choices, as often as possible. It’s about being a little more aware of your surroundings. It’s about making a little change and nailing that change every single time. And most importantly, it’s all about the journey, the process and falling in love with that slow and steady progress, every day, every week and every year.
If you want to start putting some of these principles into action with the daily coaching from us, I have good news of you. Our 30-Day Fat Loss Program is open right now and we kick off the daily coaching on May 16th!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.