It’s no secret that bodybuilders are often looked down upon by the media, and often fitness industry leaders as well.
Whether it’s the bro-dieting, the body-part splits, the endless cardio, or the drugs, people tend to bash the bodybuilding community. It’s human nature to fear what you don’t understand, but that doesn’t make it right.
Bodybuilders know how to bring their body fat very, very low. Dangerously low on contest days.
I don’t care how much you want to blame “elite genetics” or “all the gear,” getting shredded to the bone isn’t easy by any means. They suffer just like we all do.
There are multiple ways to reach a goal, and your nutrition plan needs to be tailored to you, and your body. Regardless of the plan you choose, the following four lessons will still be invaluable to you, if you want to have any sort of fat loss success. Even if you don’t want to get stage lean, and just want to drop some of the fluff, these lessons will help you out.
1. Meal Planning is the Key
Planning out your nutrition ahead of time is huge for fat loss. It’s so much better to be proactive, rather than reactive.
If you know exactly what you’ll eat tomorrow, you don’t have to worry about trying to plan as you go. There’s nothing worse than hitting 4pm and realizing you’ve already overshot your dietary fat goals. Plan ahead for success, and you’ll be much more likely to hit your goals.
Preparing your food in bulk is also very helpful. You want to have quick, healthy meals ready to go. After a long day, if no food is cooked, it’ll be much more tempting to order a pizza, or hit up In N Out on the way home. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fall off the wagon; have some healthy meals pre-cooked and ready to go.
If you suck at cooking, or “don’t have time,” which my favorite excuse, use a service like Icon Meals. They’ll ship you pre-made meals, for about the same price you’d pay at a place like Chipotle. You can keep these meals in the freezer, and hit them up in minutes when you’re ready to eat.
You know that guy at your gym, the one with the gallon jug of water surgically attached to his arm? Be like that guy.
A jug isn’t necessary, but you should constantly be sipping water all day long. Considering we are mostly made of water, and nearly all of the functions in your body use water, staying hydrated is the easiest way to make sure you’re fully optimizing your body’s fat loss progress.
Pro-tip: If you don’t like water very much, add some fresh lemon or lime slices, or some flavored BCAAs to your water bottle. It’ll make the taste much more enjoyable and pleasant.
3. Grind Out the Cardio
You may think this will make you lose all of your muscle.
Cardio is tremendously important if you want a healthy cardiovascular system. I don’t know about you, but I want to have a strong heart, that can easily pump blood and nutrients to my body, and lungs that can, you know, actually work for a long time.
On top of the health benefits, cardio is a great way to increase you overall caloric expenditure, which is necessary for fat loss.
Starting a diet, you may be fine just reducing food intake, but eventually you’ll get to a place where you just can’t lower food anymore.
I suggest doing at least 1-2 cardio sessions per week, year round, for general health. When you’re in a fat loss phase, stay at 1-2, and only add cardio when you get stuck. You don’t want to jump into a diet with 5 cardio sessions per week, because you won’t be able to add much more once fat loss stalls.
4. Eat Nutrient Dense Foods for Health on Caloric Restrictions
You probably know about the macronutrients – protein, carbs, and fat.
But what about the micronutrients?
These are all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally. You can use a product like Athletic Greens to ensure you are getting enough nutrients, but it’s still important to eat nutrient-dense foods.
As you diet, you’ll be eating smaller quantities of food. Because of this, it’s important to make sure the food you do eat is full of nutrients.
When you’re bulking, you can get away with a donut or ice cream here and there. However, once you get deep into a diet, and carbs are dropping, you’d better make sure those carbs are packed with the good stuff, not highly-processed and sold in the cereal aisle.
Fat loss isn’t easy, but the lessons above can help make the process a bit easier, and keep you healthier as you get lean.
If you’re stuck with the actual setup, and have no idea how to structure your diet, or how many macros you should be eating, my Complete Fat Loss Nutrition Guide can help you. I teach you how to figure out macros, what they are, how to adjust for progress – all the nitty gritty details I use to help my clients.
If you’ve got any questions, just let me know, and I’ll be happy to help.