One of the biggest challenges to face anyone when they are starting off with fitness training, generally, is losing body fat. They tend to be bombarded with different weight loss products or diet plans and not having any proactive abilities, to actually choose a suited program for themselves. Not only that, but they generally don’t have the knowledge to distinguish between nonsensical articles/products from information that actually does work.
The even harder part with losing body fat, is if you’re interested in getting “toned/lean” or as they call it in the bodybuilding world; shredded. Losing body fat and trying to maintain or build muscle, can sometimes be confusing. There’s a lot of conflict in the fitness community, on whether a person can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. In essence, one can’t get big, while trying to get small. When you think about it deeply, it does kind of make sense. You wouldn’t become a bodybuilder via doing this but you can definitely get a physique you can build on and have others admiring.
What I am going to do is provide you with some nutritional information, a workout routine and some knowledge to carry with you, when you are done losing that body fat and want to actually start gaining some serious muscle.
Firstly, you have to calculate what your maintenance calories is, at this moment. We’re going to put you on a 5 day split (which can be reduced to 3 days if you don’t have the time for a 5 day split, but remember to calculate your maintenance calories based on this level of activity). Visit the calorie calculator, that I have listed in the Useful Links box, or via clicking here. Enter your information and allow it to calculate your calories.
Now, I am going to use myself as an example. I am a 26 year old female, that weighs about 150lbs and standing at 5’5″. I am going to enter 5 days a week as my level of activity per week, not intense, and then calculatue my calories. The calculator produces these numbers for me:
Maintenance: 2081 cals/day Fat Loss: 1665 cals/day Extreme Fat Loss: 1248 cals/day
Now, my maintenance is 2081 calories per day. But my fat loss is about 500 calories below. This falls in the suggested range to lose body fat; 500 below your maintenance calories or as they say a 500 deficit. The Fat Loss they provide, is an excellent number to use when you’re now beginning to get into the losing of the body fat. This will help with making sure you’re not at an extreme weight loss level. The Extreme Fat Loss calories per day, is one you shouldn’t follow. Those are for extreme purposes and are not necessary. I would suggest consulting a physician or dietician, before entering into any eating program that requires you to eat nearly 800+ below your maintainence!
After you get your fat loss calories per day number, you should use a calorie counter to make sure that you are hitting your macros and your calories per day. We don’t want to eat too over it and too under it either. We want a nice steady drop of weight. If you don’t want to use a calorie counter program, you can easily write down your calories and calculate them on your own in a workout journal.
The same information you’d generally use while weight training, still applies when losing body fat. You will want to eat about 1 gram of protein per body weight and have a clean source of carbs; whole grains, whole wheats, fruits, and vegetables. The fats should include olive oil and fish oil. Basically, pour some olive oil over your salads or use it to make your veggies, and utilize it as your source of fats.
Make sure you’re eating about 5 to 7 times a day. It’s assumed that one increases their metabolism, by increasing the number of small meals you have for the day. Lunch should be the largest meal you have and everything else should be small meals or snacks.
Sample meal plan:
Meal 1: Oatmeal, Fruit, and Protein shake Meal 2: Yogurt, Fruit Meal 3: Chicken Breast, Brown Rice, Veggies Meal 4: Pre-workout supplement Meal 5: Post-supplement (protein shake) Meal 6: Chicken Sandwich made with Whole Wheat Bread
To spice up the breakfast and different meals, you can add granola to the yogurt and cut up the fruits and put it in it. You can snack in between meals if you want, with nuts. The meal plan may seem bland, but you have to try to eat clean, to help with the loss of body fat. Some people eat whatever they want, on a deficit, and still lose weight. If you’re a beginner, you may go overboard. So it’s good to start like this and add some colorful food, every now and then.
Later on, I am going to speak on different topics like cheat meals/cheat days, along with IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), that people tend to use to help with keeping one’s sanity while losing weight.
To give you a quick idea of the cheat meals or days, when it comes to your weight loss, you can choose something you like, like ice cream and eat it in moderation. Some people choose a cheat meal, so that sometime during the very clean eating, they can consume something they like. Or, some people choose a cheat day, and just eat sort of clean but enjoy the foods they love. Like I said before, I will get into more detail into why this works and can actually be beneficial to your overall weight loss program.
So, we’ve got the calories calculated and what to actually eat. Now, remember I said we’re going to workout 5 times a week. What I didn’t mention, is cardio on your days off. Some people do a 3 day split, and do cardio on the days off, to help with more fat loss. If you consider yourself on a far extreme of your BMI (body mass index), then this may be more suited to you. The 5 day split and intense cardio on the off days, are for those who have acceptable BMIs but want to get tone or lean.
Sample 5 day split:
Day 1: Back Day 2: Chest Day 3: Shoulders Day 4: Arms Day 5: Legs
This split basically has you working out each body part at least once a week. Some people would combine back and chest, or arms and back, or arms and chest and then workout the arms again at the end of the week. This maximizes growth on any weak body parts. But for weight loss, we’d keep to this regular split. When you’re going to train specifically for mass, you can utilize the working out a body part twice a week to maximize gains.
On your days off, you will want to do about an hour of cardio. Yet again, it depends on how much body fat you have to lose. As you’re on a deficit, you’re going to lose weight regardless. Some people don’t even do cardio, but just weight training as it can burn up to 400 calories per hour. The cardio is generally done for cardiovascular health, rather than fat loss. If you feel as if you’re not too overweight, then you can do about 30 minutes on your off days.
One should make sure to warm up at least 10 minutes before working out and then whining down with 10 minutes afterward. I tend to stretch and then do a very slow jog or walk on the threadmill, nothing too serious. For my weight loss, I did my cardio after training but some people say this isn’t beneficial while others think it is. If you find that you’re not seeing any significant weight loss after about 2 weeks, then you can add some longer cardio sessions after your training. Remember, you have to listen and observe your body and change the program to suit your personal needs. I have provided you with defaults to lose weight, that you can utilize in your own personal weight loss program.
Remember, to lose weight, you eat on a deficit. It’s as simple as that. Also, if you haven’t engaged in any type of cardivascular training or exercises, you should start off with only 20 minutes and increase accordingly. Consult your personal physician in regards to if you’re fit enough to engage in any type of physical activity.
When you’re done with your weight loss and have come to a point you decide it’s time to gain some muscle mass, then all you have to do is eat 500 over the maintenance calories, eat 1 to 1.5 grams of protein (max), and 2 to 2.5 grams of carbs with at least 100 grams of fat not exceeding at least 150 grams. Workout the amount you used for the calorie calculator and you will definitely gain mass!
If you have any questions on the sample meal plan or workout plan I have in here, just message me via the contact page!