Most diet plans you know of were made for people who pack considerable amounts of excess fat and want to reach the 10% range. But the next step of the journey – dropping below 10% – is rarely discussed. So how do you get there? By being extremely consistent and laser focused on your diet and training.
You will have to forget about the concept of cheat days or entire cheat weekends, and effectively eliminate every thought of junk food that passes through your mind.
A few beers or libations every so often won’t hurt, but if you do it regularly, you turn off fat burning. The reason is that your body burns off alcohol first, it becomes your primary energy substrate.
So as you’re burning off the alcohol, what happens to the food you eat? It’s merely surplus calories going directly to fat cells. Not good. That means when you do choose to drink, don’t eat a lot while you indulge.
Nutrition experts have been drumming the importance of protein while dieting into our heads for a long time. A good reason: as you get leaner, your protein needs increase. This is because, the larger your caloric deficit, the more your body tries to cannibalize your muscle tissue. So supplying your body with enough dietary protein will prevent it from devouring your muscles. Science has backed up these claims and shown us that high intakes of protein can significantly support the process of getting shredded. When people restrict their calorie intake, those who eat more protein lose less muscle and more fat, and vice versa.
Since preserving muscle gains while melting away the remaining fat reserves is a key priority for someone looking to get absolutely shredded. You will need to significantly increase your protein intake during the cutting phase. Regardless of how you manipulate your total number of calories, aim to get 0.7-1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
As the most satiating macronutrient that also has the highest thermic effect, protein will help you stay full for longer, keep your metabolism running smooth and maintain your hard-earned muscle mass.
If it seems that your progress has hit a wall even though you’ve been eating right and training adequately in a consistent manner for a long period of time. You’re probably too stressed out and it’s time to address this invisible obstacle that can sabotage your fat loss efforts.
Stress wreaks havoc on your body and mind and makes everything more difficult both physiologically and mentally. When your stress hormones fail to drop down for extended periods, you’re experiencing what’s called chronic stress, an unpleasant state of being that makes eating the right foods and getting enough good quality sleep a tough, on-going struggle. Chronic stress weakens our mental power and focus and makes it easy to succumb to food cravings and toxic thoughts that diminish our willpower even further.
On the other side, stress can prevent fat loss and actually encourage fat gain by deregulating the functioning of key hunger hormones in the body, ghrelin and leptin. Leptin helps to control your appetite, while ghrelin gets released anytime you’re hungry.
When you’re overly stressed, leptin levels will drop and ghrelin levels will dramatically increase, making you hungrier. In addition, the chronic elevation of cortisol levels caused by excessive stress negatively affects the receptors for both insulin and leptin. This makes it harder for the body to read the signals of those hormones, thus keeping fat trapped in the cells and making you hungry all the time.
Finding effective strategies for dealing with stress is a crucial step to improving both your physical and mental health. It’s also one of the cornerstones of developing an impressive physique.
A diet comprised of lean protein and fibrous, satiating vegetables as the primary source of carbohydrate is the best way to lower your calories and get super lean. However, in the case of vegetables, you shouldn’t reduce the quantity of food ingested in order to lose fat – on the contrary, this might be one of those rare situations where more is better!
The large amounts of fiber will make you feel full and increase your metabolic rate. But what’s even better, the body can’t absorb a big part of the carbohydrates from fiber-loaded vegetables and is then forced to burn off body fat for fuel.Leafy greens, including kale, spinach, collards are low in both calories and carbohydrates but they’re incredibly nutritious and loaded with fiber. Add lots of them to your meals to increase the volume without increasing the calories. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, are also high in fiber and even provide certain amounts of protein. Soups and broths are another great low-calorie option that can fill your stomach.
Preparing your meals in advance will help you prevent making a detour into a fast food restaurant. If you have never done this, start small, for example by making a commitment to prepare one meal per day. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal. With a little effort, you can find a ton of recipes that suit your budged and which you actually have time to prepare. You can plan ahead by cooking bigger amounts of food that will last a few days.
Choose one or two meal prep days in the week and stick to them. Consider the busiest times of your weak, when the risk of eating ‘bad’ food is the greatest. Believe us, as soon as you start preparing your own meals, fat loss progress will speed up.