In Episode 9, I outline exactly how I lost 15.6lbs over 13 weeks, with some help from my good friend, Matt Foley. We’ll go over my exact diet and workouts, then give 12 tips for losing body fat effectively.
Discussed in this episode:
- Exact steps I used to lose nearly 16lbs over 13 weeks
- 7-Step process for losing body fat
- Calorie intake before, during, and after the cut
- How I felt including performance
- Why TDEE / Total Daily Energy Expenditure is important
- Sample meal plans
- Different exercise programs I’ve used over the years
- Exact workouts performed & weight lifting schedule
- Why I follow Mike Matthews’ Bigger, Leaner, Stronger program
- Why I believe anyone can get fit and in shape
- Fad diets like Atkins, Keto and their role in fat loss
- Meal prepping for fat loss
- Re-framing your mind about food
- Why cheat meals are important for your health
- Why I don’t think cardio is necessary for fat loss
- The reason why every human needs to be lifting weights
- Why clean eating does not guarantee results
- Mindful eating and its importance
- Reverse dieting and why its useful after a cut
- Why tracking progress is the key to sustaining fitness
- How to get started with exercise if you’re new to it
- Don’t forget to check out the Chris Farley-inspired blooper reel at the end of the show
Episode 9 YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/xgdiDiRdVOE
Audio Only Link: http://traffic.libsyn.com/wiseeats/Episode_9_Audio_Final.mp3
Thanks for listening and remember to make wise choices!
See every meal I ate during this weight cut, including calories and macros:
See a list of all the workouts performed during this cut here, including exercises, weights and reps:
See the weight lifting program I currently follow, including videos for each routine:
Brands/People mentioned in this episode:
Bigger, Leaner Stronger – Mike Matthews
Movie Clips: Saturday Night Live – Living in a Van Down By the River
Editing Animations Thank You: Darin Roberts Misteredit1 on YouTube
Website Design Thank You: DoeringDesign.com
In this episode, I’m sharing Part Two of the fat loss tips I learned from my 13-week weight cut. If you haven’t heard part 1, head over to Wise-Eats.com/Episode8 and check it out. In that episode, I covered the first six weeks of the weight loss and today’s episode focuses on the second half. I’ll be sharing overall results, exact meals, workouts, and lessons learned about losing body fat. I got into the best shape of my life as a result of this weight cut. By implementing the tactics I’m going to share today, you can get in the best shape of your life too. So, let’s get to it.
Start Date: 4-2-18
End Date: 7-3-18
Total Weight Loss: 15.6lbs
Ending Weight: 183.0lbs
The Weight Cut Lasted: 3 Months, 92 Total Days
My Calorie Intake Breakdown
Prior to Cut: 3,500-4,000 (Calorie Surplus to Build Muscle)
During Cut: 2,400-2,700 (Calorie Deficit to Cut Weight)
Final 3 Weeks: 2,200-2,400 (Lower Calorie Deficit for Additional Weight Cutting)
Overall, I was satisfied with the results of this weight cut, having lost more than a pound per week and eventually looking pretty shredded, but 92 days is a long time to be cutting weight. I realized it was time to stop when I was feeling more noticeably drained of energy throughout the day. Calorie restriction and heavy weight lifting was beginning to take a toll both mentally and physically. At this point, I ended the fat loss challenge and took a week off to recover. After that, I slightly increased my calories and got back to work. For most of the weight loss I felt amazing, experienced minimal cravings, lost virtually no strength, and enjoyed some pretty epic cheat meals.
How I Did It
In a minute I’ll get into the specific fat loss lessons learned, but how I lost the weight can be broken into 7 general steps:
Step 1: Established a goal to lose body fat.
Step 2: Estimated my daily calorie needs, which was about 2,700 calories/day.
Step 3: Eating 300-500 calories less than my needs in order to create a deficit.
Step 4: Eating real, whole foods and drinking plenty of water. I also avoided toxins and refined sugar as much as possible.
Step 5: Tracking every meal and staying as close to my calorie and macronutrient requirements as I could.
Step 6: Lifting weights five days per week to grow and retain muscle and doing 20-30 minutes of cardio a couple times per week
Step 7: Resting fully, minimizing stress, and recovering actively
Effective weight loss all comes down to energy balance. How many calories does your body burn on a daily basis? How many additional calories does it burn based on your activity level? When you combine those two numbers to get your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), you have a pretty accurate estimate of the calories you need in a day to maintain your current weight. From there, it’s simply a matter of taking in slightly less calories to lose weight, or taking in slightly more to build your body up. After that, it’s just dedication and consistency. Also, keep in mind that as your body changes, so do your daily needs. As my bodyweight decreased during this weight cut, I eventually had to drop a few hundred calories per day in order to keep the weight loss going. After the cut was over, I slowly increased calories to maintain weight and build some strength.
Dietary Goals per Day for Weight Loss
Total Calories: 2,400
Now, let’s get into my diet for this weight loss challenge. The goal was 2,400 calories per day, comprised of 240g of Protein, 40g of Fat, and 278g of Carbs. Some days I was spot on, others I was way over. You don’t have to be perfect in order to get results. Just try to hit your numbers most of the time and don’t get discouraged if you slip up here and there, because it’s going happen. Just make sure you learn from every choice you make and come back stronger than before.
So, here’s what a typical day looked like diet-wise during this cut. I didn’t overhaul my normal diet to lose weight, I simply lowered total calorie intake. I eat the same real, whole foods no matter if I’m trying to lose or gain weight.
Sample Day #1
Pre-Breakfast: Start the day off with Black Coffee Sometimes w/ MCT Oil
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs & Breakfast Energy Bowl
Lunch: Salad w/ 6oz Chicken, Spinach, Raisins, Mulberries, Liquid Aminos, Spices
Pre-Workout: Black Coffee
Post Workout: Frozen Banana, Frozen Blueberry, Cinnamon, 8oz Almond Milk, Whey Isolate, 5g Creatine
Dinner: 6oz Chicken, Normandy Vegetable Blend (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrot) w/ Spices, Feta Cheese
Dessert: Greek Yogurt with Frozen Raspberries, Cinnamon & Stevia
That’s a pretty good snapshot of a normal diet day during this weight cut, and I have more sample days in the show notes for this episode. We’ll get into the cheat meals in a minute, but if you head over to Wise-Eats.com/mealplans, you can see the breakdown of every meal I had during this cut. The good, the bad, and the ugly!
Now, let’s talk Workouts
I’ve done many different programs over the years. P90X, Body Beast, UFC Fit, Extreme Kettlebell, but the most effective by far has been lifting weights. I currently follow Mike Matthews’ Bigger Leaner Stronger program. I’m a big fan of his work and recommend it if you’re looking to get lean and strong. His routine focuses on heavy compound movements for low reps, and has definitely become one of my all-time favorites. The workouts are less than an hour, they get results, and make me feel incredible. Working in the 4-6 and 8-10 rep ranges with 2-3-minute rest between sets, my schedule for the week looks like this:
Monday: Chest (Barbell & Dumbbell Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Face Pulls)
Tuesday: Back (Barbell Deadlifts, Pull-Ups, Row Variations, Calf Raises)
Wednesday: Shoulders (Military Press, Lateral Raises, Bent-Over Rear Deltoid Raises)
Thursday: Legs (Barbell Squats, Leg Press/Lunges, Romanian Deadlifts, Calf Raises)
Friday: Upper Body (Incline Bench, Bicep Curls, Close Grip Bench, Triceps Press)
Saturday & Sunday: (Rest, Stretch, Walking, Biking, Foam Rolling, HIIT)
There are many exercises you can substitute based on your abilities and personal preference, but that’s the basic structure of my workout routine.
You can see my complete workout log, including exercises, weights, and reps during this 3-month weight loss over at Wise-Eats.com/Episode9. There, you’ll also find links to videos me performing each of these individual routines.
If I Can Do It, You Can Do It. I’m not a certified trainer or nutritionist, yet. I’m not a bodybuilder or training for a competition. I’ve never even played sports. I used to be 90lbs overweight, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, living solely on fast food, and bordering on alcoholism. I abused my body with no regard for my health or longevity. But, I turned it all around, and today I’m in the best shape of my life. If I can start from the bottom and work my way up, you can too. I promise.
No Fad Diets Necessary. I didn’t use Paleo, keto, Atkins, or any other secret formula to lose weight during this time. Essentially, the strategy I use to lose weight in 2019 is the is the same I used back in 2009. Eat based on energy requirements, exercise consistently, stop poisoning yourself, and try to have healthy foods in wide variety as much as possible.
You Have to Meal Prep. Honestly, I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen, but cut corners everywhere I can. Making large batches of food to have for several meals is key. At the start of the week, I’ll make enough of the breakfast energy bowl to have for multiple days. I’ll prep salads two at a time to have for today and tomorrow’s lunch. I’ll bake large portions of chicken, potatoes, and steamed rice all at once to have on hand for quick and easy meals. Accountability and preparation are key in your ability to improve your health.
Think of Food as Fuel. On average, I had around 6 meals per day and ate every 2-3 hours based on activity levels during this weight loss. Most meals were designed to either fuel up for or recover from a workout, nothing more. Try to think of food as fuel rather than just for pleasure or satisfaction. Of course, I absolutely love the healthy meals I eat on a regular basis, but the primary goal is to always keep my body and mind performing at its best. If you can’t get up and go for a quick jog around the block because of what you just ate, then you done messed up.
Treat Yourself in Moderation. Discipline will help you see results much faster,but treating yourself can also help keep you motivated and avoid burning out. Throughout the 13 week cut, I had about one cheat meal every week. Sometimes, it was eating out, sometimes it was home cooked. Sure, I could’ve lost weight faster without cheating, but I’m pretty proud of the shape I got in despite going off the rails here and there. The trick is not allowing yourself to spiral out of control. I didn’t let one meal turn into an entire day or weekend or full week of bad eating like I used to. Enjoy just that one meal, don’t lose sight of your goal, and get right back on track.
Lose Fat Faster with Cardio. I know I said in Episode 8 that cardio is not required, and I stand by that statement, but after losing an average of 1lb per week in the first half, I was able to lose an average of nearly 1.5lbs per week in the second half. The biggest change I made was increasing cardio through walking, biking, and a few high intensity kettlebell routines. Cardio does not need to exceed 20-30mins a couple days per week to get results, so don’t overdo it. You don’t even have to do it at all, but it might get you to your fat loss goal faster. Plus, it feels amazing and is really good for your overall health, so if you love doing it, more power to you.
You Gotta Lift Some Weight to Lose Some Weight. Weight training is my favorite form of exercise, and offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to fat loss and improving your body composition. During this weight cut, I gained strength consistently during the first half and felt great despite being in a calorie deficit. It wasn’t until the last few weeks where I experienced a noticeable drop-off in gains and energy levels. At that point, I knew it was time to call an end to the weight loss challenge and give my body some much needed rest. Lifting weights is the best way to build or retain muscle while getting lean and losing body fat, so I can’t recommend it enough.
Avoid the Clean Eating Trap. Prior to this weight loss, I spent years trying to gain as much muscle as possible, but got to the point where I was easily eating up to 5,000 calories a day, including excessive amounts of dietary fat. I figured since I was lifting weights and building muscle, I could just eat as much nutrient dense food as I wanted. Wrong. Just because food is healthy doesn’t mean you can eat as much of it as you want and not gain extra weight. Bummer, I know.
Be More Mindful of What You Eat. Specific ingredients, total calories, and macronutrient amounts. Once you control these things and understand them, changing your physique becomes a matter of routine, math, and proper dietary choices. Some experts debunk calorie counting, but I can say for sure that it’s worked wonders for me, both in my original 90lb weight loss and this 15lb weight cut. Calorie counting or not, you need to take control of what you put in your body.
Reverse Dieting. After a period of sustained weight loss, your body is highly susceptible to gaining fat very quickly if overfed. It’s important to “reverse diet” by slowly increasing your calorie intake to avoid putting the body fat right back on. If you just call an end to your diet and start eating like crazy, you can quickly undo any progress you’ve made. So, after this challenge, I slightly bumped up calories each week, which allowed my energy levels to return to normal and start building strength again.
Get Hooked on Improvement. Tracking your meals and workouts takes some work, but the feeling of knowing you’re in control and making progress becomes addictive. Plus, it’s a lot harder to move forward when you’re not sure where you’ve been. Evaluate your performance and strive to keep getting better. Get more reps, lift heavier weight with good form, or increase your intensity. If you’re getting better each time, chances are you’re doing everything right. If you’re not making progress though, something is likely off with your training, diet, stress levels, or rest. Also, if you’re monitoring your weight, don’t get caught up in day-to-day fluctuations. I recommend weighing yourself each day and taking an average for the week, which is a more accurate indicator of progress than the day-to-day number. Stay focused and, over time, the scale will move in the direction you want.
Keep Exercise Simple. If you’re just beginning a workout routine, don’t make it too complicated. Start with some light activities that you can do safely and comfortably then build yourself up from there. Go for walks and focus on quality bodyweight movements like squats, burpees, jumping jacks, lunges, and core routines. If you can’t even do a push-up or pull-up, it’s probably too early to start throwing weights around. Just get out there and get your body moving. You don’t have to break yourself down for an hour in the gym to get an effective workout. You just gotta start somewhere.
So, there’s the results and takeaways from my 13-week weight loss challenge. After 92 days, 14 cheat meals, and 96 total workouts, I got into my best shape ever, so use these tips to get to work on your best body. I’m actually undergoing a similar weight cut right now and these same principles and tactics still apply. Summer is coming, so it’s time wise up. Make one positive change today and it will add up to major benefits in the future! Thanks a lot for tuning into Wise Eats. Don’t forget to like, subscribe, review, and comment, which helps this show reach more people. You can find all content from this episode, including the YouTube video, meals and workouts over at Wise-Eats.com/Episode9. Now get out there, get ready for summer, and start making some wise choices!