This post is first in a series about fat loss. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting about tactics I use and the protocol I’ve developed for cutting. I am starting a 30 day cut. I think I’m about 10% body fat in this picture. I will be posting my progress. (Shit, now I have to get rid of this belly hair.)
This plan works for me consistently whenever I need to cut up in a hurry. Warning: I have never made serious mass gains when trying to cut body fat quickly. If you are trying to build muscle, then you need to supply the body with an excess of calories, period. Lean bulking is possible, but lean bulking is not cutting. What I do most of the year is lean bulk, while keeping my body fat below 10%. This means most of the year I am eating plenty of carbs. When it’s time to go to the beach or the pool is about to open, or it’s almost my birthday, I switch to this protocol. Turning a year older is always easier when I can see my abs in the mirror.
There are a thousand of protocols like this floating around the internet. Honestly, most of them work if followed strictly. (I have tried damn near all of them.) I found the one protocol that works best for me uses the ketogenic diet as a basis with some of my own modifications.
A fat loss plan is only worth a crap if it is sustainable. If the plan can’t be sustained due to low energy or cravings, then the plan fails and you don’t lose any fat. Will power is a limited resource in each of us. This means, no matter how much of a bad ass you are, you will run out of will power. It’s only a matter of time. After failing repeatedly, I have developed this protocol for myself that mitigates the beatings my will power will sustain. (I’ll be posting about it over the course of the next month.)
Carb cycling for ketosis
The goal of this plan is to stay in ketosis for 3 to 4 days at a time. Every 4th day, one cheat meal is advised so that the muscles depleted of glycogen can be refueled. I choose every 4th day because this allows my workouts to stay intense and I can usually make it 4 days before the wicked craving fairy puts her tongue in my ear. I do not cut carbs completely in this plan. Rather, I eat most of my carbs within one hour of ending my workout to lower post workout cortisol levels and prevent a catabolic state.
Eat Plenty of Healthy Fats
It’s not sustainable to cut carbs without increasing fat intake. I always maintain the intensity of my workouts during fat loss, and have found this is only possible for me with healthy doses of both saturated fats and monounsaturated fats. The notion that saturated fats will make you fat is invalid. Excess calories makes you fat. Healthy fats are a better choice for sustainable energy than simple sugars that will cause insulin spikes and a roller coaster effect on blood glucose levels.
My favorite fats: olive, macadamia, and coconut oils, avocado, raw almonds, grass fed butter.
Start the day with a fatty beverage
Here’s a video of how I make my super Phat tea. I use both pu erh and yerba mate for this tea. (Both have metabolism boosting properties. Source, source, source, source) This tea keeps me in ketosis in the early morning while providing sustaining energy for the workout I’m about to do. You can do this with coffee instead of tea as I often do.
Earn your carbs
70% of daily carbs should be eaten within 1 hour after completing a workout. If you didn’t work out today, then you don’t get any carbs. No exceptions. You are free to workout 7 days a week if you can’t go a day without carbs. Many people will say this is unsustainable. I will disagree with them if the proper protocol is followed. For a 7 day a week protocol that I use when it’s go time, post a comment below.
Eat massive quantities of non-root vegetables
If you get hungry, eat more vegetables. When grocery shopping, choose as many different colors of vegetables as possible for maximum variance of phytochemicals.
No Steady State Cardio
I do not do any steady state cardio workouts during fat loss. Steady state cardio like distance running, stationary bikes, or treadmill (worst fitness device ever invented) will impede fat loss by increasing circulating cortisol. High Intensity Interval Training and heavy resistance training are superior methods of exercise for fat loss. I find heavy weight training to be superior to HIIT because the goal of heavy resistance training is to tear muscle fibers, which require huge amounts of calories to repair. In a caloric deficit, the body will go on burning fat until the muscle fibers are repaired. This is not the case with most HIIT training unless you’ve done some muscle damage, which is not the primary goal of HIIT. I recommend HIIT training for days off weight training.
Stay tuned for week 2.
Take a deep breath and own yourself. You deserve to be lean and happy. —Jacob