25 Apr Overhaul Your Nutrition + Conditioning for Fat Loss
The argument over which is more important — nutrition or exercise — is simple. Both are EQUALLY vital towards achieving your desired body composition. It’s not 70% nutrition and 30% training. As six-consecutive-time Olympian Dorian Yates once said, “It’s 100% nutrition, 100% training, and 100% recovery.” However, you need to get your nutrition down first.
Make Nutrition #1
The initial step is cutting down on the carbs and bullshit you’ve been stuffing down your throat. Go into the kitchen and throw away anything that isn’t going to help you drop the fat. Crackers, desserts, soda, fruit juices, muffins, etc. must go!
Next, find recipes that include nutrient-dense foods that you enjoy! Purchase a recipe book or two that will have several options. Try a few one week and pick out a couple of favorites. Next week, do the same thing. Eventually, you will have a solid rotation of meals to choose from that you enjoy.
Other options for meals would be the following:
- Make a big-ass salad that includes a protein, but the dressing shouldn’t be creamy. (Extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, any Primal Kitchen dressing, or a vinaigrette will do.)
- Make stir fry dishes using cauliflower rice, other veggies, and a protein.
- You should’ve thrown out the pasta, so use the hell out of zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, or beet noodles for spaghetti. Buy a spiralizer and do it yourself first before purchasing the store-brand versions.
If you enjoy counting macros during the day, your macronutrient split should look something like this:
- Protein – 35%
- Fats – 40%
- Carbs – 25% (primarily fiber-rich vegetables)
If you don’t know how much you’re eating on a regular basis and don’t mind counting calories, try calculating your daily intake. First, calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Next, select your weekly activity by looking at the Harris Benedict Equation. After you have your number, you will subtract 300 to 500 calories because we are attempting to lose fat (if you want to gain weight, you would add 300 to 500 calories). Here’s an example:
If I have a BMR of 1,700 calories and consider myself to be a beast who trains six to seven times per week, I’d multiply 1700 x 1.725 which equates to 2,932.5. I’d then subtract another 300, for instance, which brings me to an average caloric intake of 2,632.5.
Side Note: I’m speaking in general terms. For a precise individualized macronutrient split, you’ll need of a registered dietician, nutritionist, or nutrition coach who takes several factors into account (training volume, frequency, intensity, and neurotransmitter dominance).
Personally, I don’t enjoy calorie counting. It can be an easy way to sneak in foods you shouldn’t be eating. I prefer to eat sources of protein that had a mother and foods that grew from the land (except corn, which is awful for you). On the other hand, counting macros and BMR can be a pain.
Too many people drastically cut their calories when attempting to lose weight. When you go from consuming 2,500 calories per day to 1,500, a couple of things occur. A huge reduction in calories will cause your cortisol to rise, which in turn will make some muscle deteriorate. You want to maintain strength as you lose the weight. If you’re strength training, you might feel weaker on some of your compound lifts, but that will only occur when your glycogen stores are low.
In addition, the hormone leptin will begin to creep in. Leptin is the hormone that controls hunger and satiety. When you drop calories too drastically, it’ll signal to your body that it needs to eat more. Cravings will come on hard and strong. Therefore, we don’t want to cut calories too quickly. You want to make changes slowly so the body can adjust at a rate which doesn’t throw it into a state of shock. Here’s how you can gradually adjust your caloric intake over an eight-week period:
- Week 1: BW x 15 (caloric maintenance)
- Week 2: BW x 14
- Week 3: BW x 13
- Week 4: BW x 12
- Week 5: BW x 12
- Week 6: BW x 11
- Week 7: BW x 10
- Week 8: BW x 10
- Week 1: BW x 12 (caloric maintenance)
- Week 2: BW x 11
- Week 3: BW x 11
- Week 4: BW x 10
- Week 5: BW x 12 (caloric maintenance at this point)
- Week 6: BW x 11
- Week 7: BW x 10
- Week 8: BW x 10
Improve Your Conditioning
Unless you simply enjoy jogging, don’t do it. Conditioning should be completed and is only effective in two different ways. It should be slow or fast, not moderate. For the slow portion, walking for at least 30 minutes at an incline or up and down hills works well. If you’re walking for at least a half hour, it trains your body to utilize fat as fuel. If you don’t suffer from knee, hip, or ankle pain, go fast a couple of times each week. The high-intensity work will increase excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This means that post workout, your body will be burning more calories to help you recover from the metabolic stress. Here are a few examples of what you can do as conditioning finishers, or choose two to three (whatever you have access to) and make it an entire conditioning session:
- Airdyne (Assault Bike) Sprints: 10 sets of 20-second sprints (GO HARD AND FAST!), rest for 60-90 seconds between sets
- Sled/Prowler Pull and Push: 5-8 sets of 35 to 50 yards, rest for 15 to 20 seconds between sets
- Incline treadmill sprints: 10-12 sets of 20 seconds, rest for 90 to 120 seconds
- Hill sprints: Sprint up to the top of a hill and walk back down 10-15 times
- Rower: 10 sets of rowing for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds.
- Farmer’s Carries: 6-8 sets of heavy carries for 30-45 seconds, rest for 45-60 seconds between sets.
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