10 Ways to Avoid Being a Gym DoucheTallahassee 3 min Read
This list is designed to up your gym etiquette, keep you and others safe, and ensure you get a…
You’ve tried everything. You eat healthy, exercise, and maybe got desperate and tried some expensive fat-loss supplements to lose that damn belly fat.
First, let me tell you that you’re not alone. Every client I work with wants to lose fat around their midsection.
But I also want you to know that you’re not broken. You can reach your goals by focusing on the right lifestyle changes.
There are three things that should be your main focus to finally lose that gut for good. These things are going to sound simple, but are not always easy.
There’s no magic supplement or crazy exercise routine. Consistency needs to be at the forefront of your plan to reach your goals.
Once you begin to execute these three things, remember that the results will come from being consistent.
The good news is, as a man, losing body fat can be a bit easier than for a woman. And since storing too much fat increases your estrogen, you’ll feel better and better the leaner you get.
Spot-reduction is the concept that you can lose body fat in one specific area. The idea is that by making that part of your body sweat more, working out the muscles in that area, or taking certain supplements you can magically target that area.
Spot-reduction is a myth.
To lose belly fat, you need to get leaner. Period.
Everyone has different fat distributions. At a certain body fat percentage, you may be able to see the definition in your quads (like me) while someone else may see more definition in their arms or their abdomen.
Men and women have vastly different fat distributions and unfortunately for us guys we usually hold more of our body fat around our midsection. The dreaded beer belly. In nutrition, there is even a name for the common male body fat distribution: android body shape.
When you’re in a caloric deficit your body will use fat from every cell, evenly. But if you carry more fat in a certain area, like your belly, it may seem as though that spot never changes even when you lose weight and dial things in.
This is because there is more fat there to lose, and you have to get leaner to see notable changes in that area.
To get leaner you must be in a caloric deficit.
If you don’t have a consistent caloric deficit, no matter what else you do, you won’t be able to reach your desired body fat level.
If you haven’t already, download our nutrition guide first before applying the three concepts below.
Once you decide to apply these three concepts you must have patience. Track your progress through pictures, how your clothes are fitting, and measurements. If you only track your progress by weighing yourself you won’t get the full picture.
Because of hydration and carbohydrate intake, water retention can vary from week to week. And expecting to lose multiple pounds every week is not helpful. The overall goal is to lose body fat and enough of it to have your midsection lean out, not to get to “the weight you were in college”.
Now let’s talk about the three things you need to do to finally lose that belly fat, and more importantly, keep it off.
These concepts must be a permanent lifestyle change. You won’t always be able to meal prep when traveling or track your food on my fitness pal. Social events will come up in the future, but following these three things have helped my clients and myself stay healthy and avoid putting body fat back on when life gets in the way.
The three things you must do: Ignite, Train, and Maintain. Let me explain…
If you’re struggling to get lean or stay lean I can guarantee that you’re not eating enough protein.
There are three macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Fats, and Protein. None of them are “bad” for you. Low-carb and low-fat diets both work, if you’re in a caloric deficit.
But protein is special. Protein is the nutrient that helps build precious muscle (along with many other tissues) and has the highest satiety (fancy word for how satisfied food makes you) rate of the three macronutrients. Protein keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.
Protein is also the most metabolically active of the three macronutrients. This means it takes more energy to digest protein than carbohydrates and fats. More protein consumed equals more calories burned.
If your daily intake of protein is too low you’re doing a disservice to your metabolic rate, and your appetite will be higher.
Increase your protein intake to lose belly fat. Set a goal of 0.9 g/lb/day to start. For a 200lb man, this is 180 grams of protein.
If you can reach this easily don’t be afraid to bump it up to 1.0 g/lb/day.
If you aren’t used to eating this much protein you’ll notice it’s very challenging to hit the recommended goal. You’ll also notice that you won’t really want to eat as much because you’re so full.
The key is to start all of your meals by focusing on eating the protein on the plate first. This will help you avoid overeating and make it easier to hit that high protein goal.
Now, let me clarify, there are a lot of foods with protein in them but high fat cuts of meat like bacon or hotdogs, peanut butter, and cheese should not be your primary source of protein. These are going to drive your caloric intake through the roof. Focus on lean meats and protein shakes.
Read my article on protein for more food ideas.
Consistent strength training is a must to lose belly fat.
Strength training will teach your body to use calories to build muscle and avoid storing excessive fat. It will build muscle—which you need to maintain your metabolic rate while you get leaner.
Proper strength training will increase strength and more importantly drive your metabolism up. Your body will need to use calories to recover from exercise and repair muscles from damage.
Along with this, strength training provides a way to maintain a good body fat percentage by providing a metabolic cushion when you do overeat.
I recommend at least three hours of hard strength training per week. This means huffing and puffing after a set, pairing exercises back-to-back, and progressively overloading.
Strength training should start now for you, and should never stop. We have clients well into their 60’s strength training with no plans to stop. With the right guidance and coaching strength training is sustainable and worthwhile.
Being sedentary is just about the worst thing you can do for your health and fat loss goals.
Studies even show that you can be overweight and still avoid high disease risk by staying active.
Even if you are strength training three hours per week you are sedentary if you do nothing else outside of it.
There are 168 hours in a week, you mean to tell me that moving your body for three hours of that is being active? That’s 1.7% of your week. You need to be moving more than that.
Stop taking metabolic shortcuts by taking the elevator, driving everywhere, and sitting so much. This stuff adds up. And it’s unhealthy.
Maintain a healthy metabolic rate by being active. Take regular breaks from your desk or couch to get up and take a lap. Take the stairs whenever possible. Walk around the neighborhood after dinner.
These mini activities can be short—even 5 minutes is better than not moving. Just get moving, and over time you’ll notice that you start itching for it.
This works. The cities with lower obesity rates allow for more transportation on foot. Also, you burn about 30% of your weight in calories (60kcal for a 200lb man) for walking a mile.
It takes ~2,000 steps to walk a mile. This means that taking an extra 2,000 steps a day by walking around the office, walking after dinner, and parking far away can add up to 420 extra calories burned per week for a 200lb man. If you were to only do this, without changing anything else, you would start to lose weight.
So why am I not recommending hours of intense cardio? Jogging, intense spin classes, or kickboxing?
Because long, moderate intensity cardio sessions increase your appetite.
Walking an extra 2,000 steps a day won’t have a noticeable effect on your appetite, making it a much better way to sustain fat loss.
Alcohol blunts your bodies ability to metabolize fat even in a caloric deficit—while you’re drinking and the day after. And alcohol has a ton of extra calories that do nothing for you except make you crave even more calories at 2AM on your Uber-ride back home from the bar.
This doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking forever. Don’t worry, I love beer too. But stop drinking until you reach your desired body fat level.
It is much easier to maintain weight than to lose weight. Do yourself a favor and reduce your alcohol consumption to reach your goals. Then down the road, you can have a beer or two after hitting the gym hard all week and eating all the protein in sight.
Notice how endless hours of cardio, crunches, and dieting are nowhere to be found? This is because these things may work for short-term results (or not work at all), but they make you miserable and aren’t sustainable. You end up stopping all of it and most of the time gain the fat back.
Take the long-term approach. And for losing body fat, slow and steady wins the race.
Please click the button below to download our FREE nutrition guide before applying these three principles.The Serious Guide to Nutrition