Fat loss is probably one of the most sought after goals of every gym-goer, with powerlifters and weightlifters being the exception, because why be lean when you can be a total freak beast of strength? Many of us have attempted having a cutting phase at least once in our lifetimes — if you haven’t, do you even lift? I know I’ve had countless attempts at achieving that sub-five percent body fat goal. And in the beginning, I never reached it because I thought that getting shredded meant eating certain foods (not accounting for the quantity of said foods), and I ate my chicken breasts, brown rice, and broccoli, but never did I ever experience the feels of being shredded like Zyzz brah.
And so, the only logical step I could see to take was to jump on the gain train. My first ever cycle was eight weeks long which consisted of 60mg of anavar and 60mg of winstrol every day. At that time I was 19 years of age and heavily influenced by Zyzz, and the “Aesthetics Crew,” which, looking back now, were unaesthetic AF! I don’t recommend steroids as a get-shredded-quick scheme, heck, I don’t even recommend the use of steroids. After all, we were all born with our own will and decision-making capabilities. If you want to use some of dat dere, by all means — it’s up to you.
It’s common that when you seek out advice from the jacked dude in the gym for tips on how to get shredded, he’ll either say one of two things: 1) You just need to eat tuna and broccoli. 2) You can’t get shredded without steroids. Now, even though both of the above statements are correct, they are rather vague. Yes, you can get shredded off of tuna and broccoli, but make sure you eat enough of it to meet your daily caloric needs. Impossible? No. Sustainable? Hell no. As for the use of steroids to get lean? Nah, you don’t need that to get your body fat down. One thing I can say, though, it sure does make the process easier. Just to illustrate, here’s a photo of my abs on a 100% natural shred:
Although, in the above photo I may not be super shredded, it’s a body composition that is easily attainable and sustained, provided you put in the work.
Without dragging on any longer, let’s take a look at the six laws you should know if you want to get lean.
1. Proper Nutrition
This is probably on of the most important factors when it comes to being lean or making gains; without proper nutrition, you will not have much success with either. It doesn’t matter if you’re unable to afford a nutritional coach. Besides, I always say “who knows your body better than you?” Sure, it pays off to work with someone who has the nutritional know-how, but there’s only so much that they can do for you.
Start tracking your calories and counting your macros — trust me, it pays off to know these things. If you don’t know where to begin, just start by weighing and writing down every bit of food that goes into your body on a daily basis. Use an online calorie counter to get the number of calories that you consume each day, and at the end of the week, put those totals together and divide it by seven. That should give you a rough estimation of how many calories you should be eating to maintain your body weight.
After you’ve found that number, remove 500 calories from it and consume what you’re left with. For example, say your calories came out to 2,600 and you deduct 500 from that, you get 2,100 calories. That should put you in enough of a deficit to lose weight.
Yes, the above formula is very bro-sciency, but I don’t have the capacity to explain it properly, which brings me to this: I am busy working on a comprehensive fat loss guide for Spot Me Bro which will be sold on the site once it’s complete. This guide covers everything from calculating your basic macronutrient and caloric needs to how your hormones react to nutrition and so much more. Watch this space.
2. Know Your Weight
You might’ve read or seen a video about a well-known fitness personality stating that ‘they don’t weigh themselves, they only use mirrors.’ I can bet you right now that they almost always used to weigh themselves when they started out. The only reason why they’re able to gauge their progress through a mirror is because they know their bodies so well and what works for them. But when you’re a newbie to manipulating your weight, it helps tons to weigh yourself.
There are times where I’ll not weigh myself for months on end, but once I start cutting I’ll begin my daily weigh-ins again. For me, I know that to reach a six-percent body fat level, I need to get my weight down to 178 pounds. And that’s why I weigh myself; to see where I’m going and the rate that I’m going at.
Once you know how much you weigh you can begin to set bi-weekly goals to attain. Smaller, frequent goals are better than bigger, long-term goals. It’s not bad having a long-term goal at all, it’s just that when you have smaller goals that have a higher chance of being met, you’ll be able to achieve your long-term goals.
3. Be Consistent
Another important factor is consistency (obviously, otherwise it wouldn’t be on the list). Without consistency you won’t see results of any kind; be it fat loss or muscle gain. In which aspects do you need to remain consistent though? Consistency through consuming your macros and calories each day, not missing a workout or completing all your sets.
It’s not always easy staying consistent. Sometimes we lose the motivation to train, or the enthusiasm to eat the same foods every day. The solution? Take a week of from training; sleep as much as you can, spend time with family and friends, go camping, hiking, skydiving or whatever else tickles your fancy. You’ll see that after taking a much-needed break from training you’ll feel more ready than ever to make more gains. Another way to stay motivated is to keep track of your progress, and when things look gloomy, just take a minute to reflect on the progress you’ve made.
As for food, try out new spices or change the way that you cook your food, provided that it still remains within your caloric capacity. Don’t feel like eating chicken and rice? Try throwing that chicken into a burrito or have french toast and a protein shake, again, provided it all remains within your caloric capacity.
4. Weight Training
Many people will overlook this aspect as a way to lean down. Folks think that resistance training is only good for building muscle, and while it is, you can still take advantage your hormones and bodily processes post-workout to ensure that the food you ingest gets absorbed by your muscles and not your fat cells. One such process is the release of glucose transporters (GLUT). Glucose transporters are membrane proteins that transport glucose over a plasma membrane.
The two glut’s to focus on are glut4 and glut12. What these two do is transport the sugar in your blood stream directly into the muscle that you just finished destroying. When your muscles contract against continuous resistance (barbell curls, for example), the muscles secrete glut4 and glut12 to the surface of the muscle.
But in order to get the full benefit of these two glucose transporters, you’ll need to get your insulin levels raised. In other words, you need an insulin spike. To spike your insulin, supplement with 3 grams of Leucine and at least 30 grams of dextrose or any other fast releasing simple sugar.
However, simply going in and mucking about in the gym won’t bring you many results if your goal is fat loss. I’m a firm believer in high volume training, and yes, studies have shown that you don’t need to perform as many as five, or even four, sets per body part. But guess what? I don’t give a hoot. I’ve been doing high volume training for the last three years and have never seen better results. Then again, you need to find what works for.
Probably not the most enjoyable aspect of dropping body fat, but this is a requirement if you want to attain your goals at a quicker pace. Just google what kind of cardio is best for fat loss and you’ll be given a bowl of mixed experiences.
This article might say that there’s nothing better than HIIT, and that article might say that steady-state cardio is the answer to life. Both of the above aren’t incorrect, but they are to be taken in with a grain of salt. First off, it is unrealistic to perform HIIT five days a week — you’ll damn-near assassinate yourself. Secondly, too much steady-state cardio will eat away your gains.
So, what do you do?
Mix it up. Have two HIIT sessions and two or three steady-state sessions a week, or depending on how aggressive you want to be with your results. But remember, too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. Take a week off from doing cardio every 6-8 weeks — trust me, your body will thank you.