Summer is here and it’s time to show off all your recent hard work in the gym. However, like most people, you are probably carrying too much fat to reveal your true muscular potential.
No worries, use the following tips to shed fat, get ripped, and finally be in the best shape of your life!
1. Calorie Deficit is Key
The first and most important thing you need to do is to be in a calorie deficit!
Months and years of consuming more calories than needed to maintain your weight caused the fat accumulation, and now to reverse this, you have to eat below the maintenance level forcing your body to use stored fat as energy.
A single pound of fat contains approximately 3500 calories, so if you want to lose a pound per week, you’ll need to eat 500 calories below your maintenance level. If you want to lose two pounds per week, you’ll need to drop 1000 calories per day.
Use a calorie calculator to estimate your daily calorie requirements, and then calculate how much you’ll need in order to lose weight effectively.
2. Focus on Protein
Protein is crucial during a cut – it’s very thermogenic (burns fat), and it also preserve muscle mass so you don’t lose your hard-earned progress along the way.
Consume at least one gram per pound of bodyweight, and up to 1.5 grams if you’re training especially hard. Choose low fat protein options such as fish and chicken in order to avoid unwanted calories.
Getting enough protein is not always easy, therefore consider using a protein powder that mixes easily, so you’ll have a ready-to-go protein dose in minutes.
3. Say YES to Veggies, and NO to Carbs
Veggies, with the exception of potatoes, are low in calories but very filling. Loaded with fiber and water, as well as vitamins and minerals, they are the perfect cutting food. Aim to have some veggies with each meal to ensure you are getting the necessary amount of healthy nutrients.
Carbs on the other hand are very high in calories, making them an easy way to gain fat. Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, cookies, crackers, sodas, and similar foods are something you need to avoid at all cost! Cut your carb intake to around 0.5 to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight and replace those calories with veggies.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, are also know for their anti-estrogenic properties which means they will naturally elevate testosterone. This will further enhance fat loss.
4. Use Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is one of the best fat loss tools out there. It is simply an eating protocol that implies a fasting and eating window. An eating window can range anywhere from 8 hours to even 2 hours, during this time you get in all of your calories for the day. During the remaining time you fast, no food or beverages (with calories).
The benefits of following such a protocol are tremendous. Research has proven that intermittent fasting increases metabolism, energy, cognition, focus, alertness, HGH production (Human Growth Hormone), and most importantly it accelerates fat burning, especially from the trouble areas around the hips, lower stomach, and thighs.
5. Strength Training
This is the main form of training you should engage in. Forget about the cardio myth and similar nonsense, strength training is the foundation and what gives you the muscular look.
Moving heavy weights during a cutting phase is critical for many reasons, it maintains lean muscle mass, and with more muscle mass you’ll also burn fat at a faster rate, it also allows you to consume additional calories since you will be more active, and so on.
Compound movements like bench, squats, rows, deadlifts, and pull-ups are staples. Isolation exercises can be added at the end of each workout session.
Go as heavy as you can, and aim for 6-8 reps. Don’t forget to also add some higher rep sets for muscular endurance, here you would do 10+ reps each set.
As your cut progresses, don’t feel discouraged if you lose a rep or two on any exercise, this is normal and shouldn’t concern you.
6. Add Supersets
Burn extra calories by doing more work each set. You can accomplish this with supersets. Instead of doing a set of an exercise with rest pauses, combine another movement and continue to work a different muscle group.
Great exercise combos:
- Biceps curls & triceps push downs
- Bench press & lat pull down
- Crunches & back extensions
- Leg curls & Romanian deadlifts
With supersets you can also save time, allowing you to get more work done faster.
Another great option is to perform your workouts as circuits where you move from one exercise to another without resting.
7. Drink More Water
Water is crucial for flushing out toxins, fat burning, hydration, and the feeling of satiety. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, making sure you drink one glass before all of your main meals to prevent overeating. Drink even more water anytime you feel hunger.
8. Don’t Forget Cardio
As I mentioned before, cardio is not a magic weight loss fix. However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect it.
Add some cardio to your non-weight training days, 30 minutes for two to three times a week. Do your cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach for best results. Cycling, uphill walking, running, and rope jumping are all good choices. Just don’t go overboard, too much cardio can actually burn muscle tissue alongside fat, so be careful!