The Basics of Losing Stored Body Fat (or Gaining Muscle)

etp-center-on-light1For the past two weeks we’ve made an concerted effort to post some delicious, whole-food recipes. But, since your diet is at minimum 80% of the game, it’s about time we take a step back to focus a little bit more on what kinds of foods comprise a healthy and nutritious diet as well as what we can do to make changes to that diet to see and feel positive outcomes from our efforts.


I recently read an article on Eat to Perform written by James Barnum entitled “The Basics of Losing Stored Body Fat“. This post uses the same title but has been updated to reflect the fact that knowing a little bit more about losing body fat can still help those looking to gain muscle and/or fat as well.


Since it’s redundant to reinvent the wheel, and since you should still read the full article after finishing reading this post, I’m going to provide a TL:DR-ish (that’s “too long:didn’t read”-ish) version including some thoughts of my own provided in this Nutrition Guidelines post I wrote previously as well as the ETP article:


Nutrition Guidelines

  • Eat the right kinds of foods
    • Eating the right kinds of foods will ultimately provide the correct signals to your body for it to properly identify (and to tell you) what and in what quantities your body needs to function optimally while taking into account external stimuli (sleep, exercise, stress, etc.)
    • The process through which you can begin to eat the right kinds of foods may goes as follows:
      • remove alcohol and sugar while increasing your water intake
      • eliminate processed, packaged foods including snacks while structuring your meals around a lean protein, healthy fat source, as well as plenty of vegetables
      • consider avoiding inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, and legumes while including starchy carbohydrates at dinners on days you work out
      • when your budget allows, purchase grassfed meat and wild-caught fish


The Basics of Losing Stored Body Fat

  • Eat the right quantity of foods to achieve a desired response
    • Calories Ingested vs. Calories Expended DOES Matter
      • you don’t need to meticulously count your calories
      • calorie restriction will result in weight loss
    • Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
      • your goal should be to discriminately lose fat
      • the composition of your meals (Nutrition Guidelines from above) plus exercise will allow you to lose fat while preserving valuable muscle
      • carbohydrate cycling may create an environment for metabolic flexibility resulting in fat loss
      • the best exercise you can do to preserve muscle is resistance training (e.g. CROSSFIT)
    • How Many Calories Do I Need To Lose Fat?
      • use a Basal Metabolic Rate calculator to estimate the number of calories your body expends on a daily basis
      • create a calorie deficit with that measurement
    • How Do I Lose Weight?
      • restrict calories for short periods of time between longer periods of maintenance
      • begin by eating the number of calories your body requires on a daily basis (this may mean that you INCREASE your caloric intake)
      • after your weight stabilizes, reduce calories by eating fewer fats on days you work out (without changing your protein or carbohydrate intake) and eating fewer carbohydrates on days you do not work out (without changing your protein or fat intake)
      • work back up to the new number of calories your body requires to maintain itself at your new/current height, weight, body composition, and activity level (you’ll need to recalculate this number again because presumably you will have lost weight from the period of calorie restriction)
      • learn how these manipulations effect your performance and body composition and adjust as necessary

(If your goal is muscle gain, create a calorie surplus in the same manner as described above/outlined in the ETP article. If you’re a hard gainer who is in desperate need of muscle AND fat gain, then I’d go as far as recommending the “Seefood Diet”: see food, eat food; your weight gain needs are likely a little more indiscriminate than others’.)


There’s more than plenty of information to take in between this post and all linked articles and posts but do please take the time to read them if you are at all interested in body composition changes. Please let me know if you’d like to talk more about your fat loss and/or muscle gain goals!

– JJ

by admin in Coach's Tips

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