What do you actually want to accomplish? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to build lean muscle? Saying you want to be leaner by summer without an actual goal isn’t going to get you there. Write down where you’re currently at (weight & body fat %) and then determine what a realistic goal could be in any given amount of time. For example, if you’re a male who is 6’0 and 200 lbs at 20% body fat, your goal might be to cut down your body fat down to 10%. This means you are trying to eliminate half of your current stored body fat. In this example, that is a 20 lb fat loss reduction.
Figure Out Your Calories!
After you’ve identified your fitness/weight goals and how long you expect it to take, make sure you have a game plan for what your daily calorie intake is going to be. A simple way to do this is to take your goal body weight and multiply it by 12. Using the same example as before, a 200 lb male who wants to get down to 10% body fat at 180 lbs will be eating around 2160 calories a day. I always prefer a higher-protein based diet when going for optimal fat loss and muscle preservation so I would try to make 40-50% of those calories come from protein. This equates to roughly 216-270 grams of protein per day depending on the percentage chosen. That leaves carbohydrates and fats to make up the remaining 50-60% of your calories and you can split that evenly to keep things simple and well balanced.
(i.e. Protein – 270 grams, Fats – 60 grams, Carbs 135 grams).
They say good things come to those who wait! And it couldn’t be more true when it comes to our bodies. Of course there are those gimmicks and articles that tell you it’s possible to lose 10 pounds in a week or less, but let’s be real… It’s not healthy. With these simple tips that don’t require much more than your self discipline, the fat loss will begin immediately if you are eating mostly whole foods and keeping yourself in a slight calorie deficit. However, this does not mean you will see or notice any change in the scale weight right away so don’t be discouraged! The body is roughly 60-70% water and weight can fluctuate rapidly from day to day. Take weekly progress photos to watch the transformation happen before your eyes. It really is that simple! But simple does not mean easy.
This will require a great number of sacrifices both in terms of time spent cooking, working out, etc, and it will challenge you in a lot of ways both physically and mentally. Just remind yourself daily about step #1 and refer back to your original goal for a constant reminder of what you are working towards! The hardest part is getting started and staying committed because once it’s a part of your lifestyle, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Remember, it’s not a matter of “IF” you hit your target, it’s a matter of “WHEN”.