Uploaded by danialkoh98


But first.
This is the part where every other fat loss article gives you a virtual blowie by telling
you why it's not your fault, why it’s all going to be okay with this one simple trick,
and why you're a special snowflake who just needs to think happy thoughts and click
your heels so you feel justified reading it – well, guess what?
That's bullshit - because it ​IS​ your fault.
If you’re unhappy with your weight, or your body, for whatever reason, that’s your
problem.* The sooner you accept this, the sooner you're going to start making
You can read all the "TOP 10 FAT LOSS HACKS YOU AREN'T DOING" articles you
want, or stare at motivational quotes by some famous dead person plastered across a
pair of random abs or glutes all day long - but until you realise that change depends
on you getting off your ass and doing something, nothing's going to happen.
And seeing we're here now: I get gazillions of emails and questions from people
asking me for the solution to their lack of motivation – well, fuck you. There is no
Did I hurt your feelings? Well, fuck your feelings.
Here's what nobody tells you about motivation:​ the more you look for
motivation, the less motivated you become - because you don't ​do​ anything.
Action​ begets motivation.
And unless ​you​ - yes, you - don't start taking the steps toward making a positive
change, no other person or thing can help. If this isn't what you want to hear, then
feel free to close this page and go back to living in denial. For those of you who are
ready to accept this and want to make a change, let's get started.
*Yes, I know people have health conditions and there are some other rare situations
where it might not be your fault, but adopting this mindset moves you from being
passive to active so that you can start working toward making a change.
Here’s the dirty secret of the diet world: ​Every​ diet works.
Don’t believe me? Fine. Let me drop some facts on your face.
In 1964 a group from the Institute for Medical Research in Oakland,
California, set out to study the impact of different macronutrient
compositions on weight loss in obese patients.
The study involved five obese patients residing in a hospital metabolic ward.
The patients were fed a liquid formula diet containing the same number of calories
per day – either 800, 850, or 1200 (depending on the patient) – for ten weeks.
Every three or four weeks the investigators changed the formula to vary its content of
protein (from 14 to 36 percent of calories), fat (from 12 to 83 percent of calories), and
carbohydrates (3 to 64 percent of calories).
ALL of the obese patients lost weight at a constant rate, regardless of the nutrient
composition of the diet; whether fat or carbohydrate intake was high or low – ​what
mattered was the total calorie deficit.
The title of the study was eponymous to the findings: ​Calories Do Count
A similar experiment​ was done in 2009, with researchers concluding:
All diets work by, in one way or another (whether they admit it or not)
having you control your calorie intake.
You get the idea.
So, to clarify: all diets work by having you control your calorie intake in
some way.
People don’t fail with diets – people fail to ​maintain​ a diet for the long-term. And the
biggest reason why is because they fall for nonsense like juice cleanses, or adding
butter to coffee because apparently butter is a fucking health food now – spoiler: ​it's
not​. Or any of the smorgasbord of ​weird and wacky​ dumbfuckery that’s rampant in
the diet world. If you're wanting to be successful with your fat loss, find a diet you
enjoy and can stick to. Here are some considerations that will help you do just that.
Considerations for picking a diet
After much thought and deliberation on the topic, I’ve noted two things that every
good diet should have: Enjoyability and healthiness.
But, there needs to be an equal amount of enjoyability factor to its healthiness factor
-otherwise, the diet is dumb. We can represent this with the ​How Dumb Is Your Diet
The graph has four quadrants, so let’s take a look.
• Quadrant 1.​ ​Enjoyable but not healthy:​ This is the prototypical Standard
Western Diet – high fat, high carb, high calorie, high everything. It’s highly enjoyable
but about as healthy as bungee jumping without the bungee into a pit of fire
breathing great white sharks.
• Quadrant 2. Healthy but not enjoyable:​ This is when you eat in a way you
don’t enjoy but think it’s the only way and is the direct opposite of the above. It
doesn’t matter how healthy a diet is if you don’t enjoy it.
• Quadrant 3.​ ​Not enjoyable and not healthy:​ This is the mystical realm of
what I like to call “Dumb Fucking Shit”. And it’s where things like juice cleanses and
coffee enemas (no, really, this is a thing) reside. Like Mufasa told Simba: Stay the
fuck away from there.
• Quadrant 4. Healthy and enjoyable:​ This is where you want to be. You're
eating a diet that provides you with a wide range of whole, nutrient-rich foods while
allowing you to eat in a way you enjoy.
Understanding Healthiness and Enjoyability
It’s important to understand what I mean when I use the terms ‘healthiness’ and
- Enjoyability (yes, I know it should be ‘enjoyment’. Fuck you, and
fuck your grammar policing)
• Taste preference: ​Does your diet support your personal taste preference?
If you enjoy fattier foods then your diet should account for that. If you enjoy
carb-based foods, then you probably shouldn’t be using a ketogenic diet.
• Quirks: ​I didn’t really know what to call this, so we’re going with quirks. Do
you enjoy cheat meals or higher calorie days? Or maybe having fasting days?
Then your diet should account for this.
• Autonomy/choice:​ The overall enjoyability of the diet will be predicated
on whether it was your choice. (Refer back to quadrant 2 of the How Dumb Is
Your Diet Graph).
- Healthiness
We can break healthiness down to psychological and physiological health.
- Psychological
• Restrictiveness:​ The biggest psychological factor here is how restrictive
your diet is. Now, just to be clear, restriction is a necessity at times – a calorie
deficit, for example, is a form of restriction – and you need to understand that
to be successful in changing your body composition there will be times when
you’re going to need to be disciplined and restrict certain foods. But, this
should only be for a short period of time and not how you should be eating all
the time.
• Personality Type? ​This sounds complicated, but it's not. Simply put, your
personal idiosyncrasies play an important role in how you set up your diet.
I've noted that people generally fall into two categories:
- Moderators:​ Moderators are people who can moderate food intake.
These are the people who can have a few bites and stop. These types of
dieters do well with a much less rigid and more flexible approach. They
thrive on the "IIFYM" based diets. They don't have many trigger foods
and can eat everything in moderation.
- Restrictors:​ restrictors are the polar opposite. They need a lot more
structure and rules (and certain restrictions). These are the people who
do well with removing certain foods if they cause bingeing or
• "Must Haves": ​'Must haves' are things that you absolutely must have in
your diet or it's a no-go. Now, don't get me wrong, chances are that there will
be some things you'll have to remove if they're going to impede your progress
(like trigger foods); but generally, these will only amount to a small number of
things, whereas the must haves will be the overarching things, like certain
foods, macros, etc.
Must haves will also include your work and life circumstances – do you travel?
Are you sedentary / seated for large parts of the day? Does your job have odd
work hours, like working night shifts?
- Physiological
• Calorie controlled:​ Of course calorie control will be king, because even a
healthful diet won’t save you from the ill-effects of carrying excess body fat.
• Food quality:​ As I mentioned ​here​, food quality ​does​ matter and plays a powerful
role in health and longevity.
• Body Fat %: ​I've touched on this in detail in ​a previous meditation essay.​ Simply,
your body fat levels will dictate what sort of macro composition you should be using.
Due to things like insulin resistance, people with higher a body fat % tend to fare
better on a lower carb diet. And conversely, someone with a lower body fat % tends to
fare better with a carb-focused diet – there are, of course, exceptions. But this holds
true for most.
I just want to point out that ​it's not necessary​ for people with a high level of body fat
to go low carb, and as long as there is a calorie deficit in place, you will lose fat.
However, from experience, people with high levels of body fat (20%+) tend to fare
much better restricting carbohydrates initially. Their energy levels tend to stabilise,
they feel less lethargic, cravings subside, and due to the water loss from going low
carb, it acts as a motivator as they see results from the get go.
• Injuries and Medical History: ​Pretty straightforward – any injury or medical
history that may affect your training and diet should be factored in. Even if you think
you're perfectly healthy, it doesn't hurt to get a check-up before starting a new diet
and training programme.
All of this is important to understand because while the basics of changing your body
composition are simple –energy balance– each person's personal psychology and
physiology will differ. Someone who's never exercised before and has a lot of fat to
lose will have different physiological and psychological requirements than someone
who stopped training for a while and gained some body fat in the interim; conversely,
a lean beginner is going to be in a different place than an overweight beginner.
Gettit? Good.
Once you've understood your psychological and physiological needs of dieting, you
can start to set up your actual diet. And, on that note...
When it comes to diet setup, there's a hierarchy of priority.
This was inspired by Eric Helms' ​"Muscle and Strength Nutritional Pyramid"
As the pyramid above illustrates:
Calories come first.
Despite what you've probably heard about hormones and insulin and good and bad
calories and demonic toxins living inside of you bent on eating your insides – the
number one reason you’re not losing fat is because you’re eating too much. Yes, even
when ​you’re adamant you aren’t.
*It might also be because of ​these 8 reasons​.
Setting calorie intake
I’m going to give you a super simple way to set your calorie intake. While people try
to impress you with fancy equations, the truth is that the difference between the most
complicated equations and the simplest (like the one I’m about to show you) is only
5%; and seeing your calories will be adjusted anyway, the easier it is to set your
numbers, the less paralysis by analysis and the sooner you can start getting results.
Cool? Cool.
To work out your fat loss calories:
Take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply it by 9-14*
*​ Credit to ​Lyle McDonald​ who I learned this from
Why the range? Simple: depending on a few factors your calorie needs will vary.
● If you’re a sedentary female (think office job) who trains anywhere from 3-5x
per week: go with the lower end (9-10).
● If you’re a female who works a fairly active job or any job that has you on your
feet quite a bit and you're training 3-5x per week: go with the mid range
If you’re a sedentary male (office job) who trains 3-5x per week: go with the
low to mid-range (10-12).
● If you’re a male who works a fairly active job, like I dunno, maybe you’re
Batman or something and you're training 3-5x per week: go with the higher
end (12-14).
The Blue Box of Read This Shit: ​to learn more about the weird and wacky world
of calories, ​read this.
Ok, so you've set your calorie intake – awesome. Now, we need to set your macros.
Macro is short-form for "macronutrient". Macronutrients make up the components
of food and are:
The Blue Box of Read This Shit: ​alcohol is technically the fourth macronutrient
but we're not discussing that here. If you want to find out more about alcohol: ​read
Macronutrients are needed by the body in large amounts – thus the ‘macro’ – to keep
you alive and functioning.
Macronutrients contain calories and each macronutrient contains a
certain number of calories per gram.
As you can see, fat contains more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates,
and while I could explain why by talking about carbon atoms and oxidation and a
host of other nutrition nerdery – who really gives a fuck? Let's move on.
Protein and Its Importance in Fat Loss
• Muscle Retention:​ When you’re in a calorie deficit –which, as you know by now
is needed to lose fat – the body starts to use its own energy stores for fuel. Strength
training provides ​the stimulus​ and, in conjunction with eating sufficient protein,
stops the body from burning muscle.
• Satiety:​ Protein is more satiating than either fats or carbohydrates. So, when
calories are low and hunger is inevitably high, protein will help keep you full.
• Uh, it's delicious?
How much do you need?
So, if you're a guy who weighs 170 lbs:
And if you're a female who weighs 140lbs:
One exception.
The general rule is to set protein intake ​per pound of LEAN MASS​. But the problem
is, figuring this out can be both time-consuming and troublesome, not forgetting
hardly accurate. Using ​per pound of bodyweight​ is easier and tends to work pretty
well for leaner folk. However, it doesn't work as well for people who have more fat to
lose (20% + body fat).
In this population, going with​ 0.6g per pound of body weight​ works
For example, if someone is 250lbs, using per pound of body weight would mean 250g
of protein. This amount is unnecessary. I've found using 0.6g/lb to work well for this
population: 250 lb x 0.6g/lb = 150 grams of protein.
Far more reasonable.
• And lastly, you have carbs and fats.
Once calorie and protein intakes are set, the number of carbs or fats you consume is
totally up to you. If you prefer a higher carb diet, then eat a higher carb diet; if you
prefer a higher fat diet, then eat a higher fat diet.
Remember: the psychology of dieting is more important than the physiology of
dieting – pick what suits your taste preference.
A few things that warrant highlighting before we move on.
• Carbs may not be ​essential​ to our survival (unlike protein and fats, we could survive
without consuming carbs) but there's a difference between 'surviving' and 'thriving'.
Carb-based foods contain important vitamins, minerals, and fibre that lend
themselves to a healthy body and life.
• Despite the recent rise in popularity of low-carb, high-fat diets, carbs are the
preferred fuel source of the human body, not dietary fat.*
• While a chronically low-fat diet can affect testosterone levels, what is often
overlooked is the ​totality of the caloric deficit​ and more importantly how much
weight (and body fat) someone's lost. ​Eric Helms​ summed this up brilliantly:
''In many ways, body fat is the same as food intake, it's all available energy, and
this is reflected in the fact that adipose tissue produces leptin. You can increase fat
by 10-20g, and that's another 90-180 calories your body "sees", but gain 1lb of body
fat and you've got 3500 kcals that your body is seeing now...so yeah, changes in
body fat can make much larger impacts than what you consume...that's why I
shake my head when guys freak out about going from 50g to 45g of dietary
fat....really, you think the 45 calories per day is what is going to kill your libido, not
the fact that you lost 10lbs (35,000kcals) of fat? ''
Some recommendations:
- If you enjoy a carb-focused diet, ensure fat intake makes up at least 25-30% of total
caloric intake.
- When in a calorie deficit, don't let your fat intake drop lower than 15% of total
*For an awesome analogy, ​see this
Setting carb and fat intakes
● Set fat intake between 0.3 – 0.6g/lb.
If you prefer a higher fat diet, go with the higher end (0.6g/lb), if you prefer a higher
carb diet, go with the lower end (0.3g/lb). Or, of course, if you prefer a moderate split
of the two, then go somewhere in the middle (0.5g/lb). I'm not here to tell you what
you should do, only what you can do and then you decide what suits you best.
Setting Up Your Diet
I know I just blasted your face off with a bunch of information so now I’m going to
illustrate how you'd take all of this and put it to use.
Meet Tim.
Tim's let himself go a bit and over the years his weight (and body fat) has crept up.
He currently weighs 190 lbs and according to his doctor:
Determined not to die and finally see his abs, our cuddly hero decides to sort his shit
So, remember – calories first.
Tim isn't very active, working an office job sees him seated for 8+ hours a day. So
we'll go with the lower end of 10 as his multiplier.
To work out his calorie intake we're going to take his body weight in lbs
and multiply it by 10:
So, Tim's calorie intake per day for fat loss is going to be 1990 Cals.
Next, we need to set his protein intake.
As I mentioned before, keep things simple and set protein intake to 1g/lb.
Tim's daily protein intake will be 190g.
Carbs and fat?
Seeing that Tim has quite a bit of fat to lose, I'd generally keep his carb intake lower
(to read why: ​see thi​s).
However, Tim enjoys his carbs and can't see himself sticking to a low carb diet - and
seeing that adherence is perhaps the biggest factor to diet success, we're going to set
his fat intake to 0.4g/lb to allow for enough carbs.
Tim's daily fat intake will be 76g of fat per day.
This is where we are right now with Tim's numbers:
All we need to work out now is his carb intake. To do that, we're simply going to fill in
the calories that remain after having set fat and protein with carbs.
Here's how.
Step 1.
We're going to first work out the calories in Tim's protein and fat totals. To do this,
multiply his protein intake by 4 (because there are 4 calories in a gram of protein)
and multiply his fat intake by 9 (because there are 9 calories in a gram of fat). So, it'll
look like this:
Step 2.
So, we now know that Tim is getting 760 calories from protein, and 684 calories from
fat. We now need to add the two totals – protein and fat – together.
So, Tim is getting 1444 calories from his fat and protein intake.
Step 3.
We now subtract the fat and protein total (1444 calories) from his total required
calorie intake (1990 calories):
So, Tim has 546 calories left to distribute to carbs.
Step 4.
And now, the last step: just divide 546 by 4 (because there are 4 calories in a gram of
So, Tim's total calorie and macronutrient intakes are:
What should you eat?
So you've understood how to set up your diet, and you've probably even worked out
your own intake. But now you're staring at these numbers and probably wondering what the hell do you eat?
More on that in a second, but first: let's quickly address two common dietary
• "Just eat clean"​ – the problem with this line of thinking is that it creates a
black and white, good and bad, neurotic mentality toward food. You should
eat clean (good) while avoiding junk (bad). But the truth is that no food is
inherently 'bad'. Do some foods have more of a likelihood to be 'bad'? Sure.
Hyperpalatable foods​ that can trigger overeating can fall under this category.
But, trigger foods can vary person to person. What triggers one person to
overeat will differ from somebody else. If you find you can stop eating at one
or two slices of pizza but can't control yourself around chocolate, does it make
sense to avoid pizza? Of course not.
• "If It Fits Your Macros" ​– this is the polar opposite of the eat clean
maxim. Eat whatever you like as long as it "fits your macros". While the intent
behind this message was to prevent the neurotic mentality of 'eat clean', as is
bound to happen, people bastardised the term and began eating all sorts of
junk and weird food combinations to 'hit their macros'.
Nutrition is more than just calories and macros and food quality does matter.
While there isn't one 'best' way to eat, here's a general guideline: the DBADF rule.
The "DBADF" Rule
When it comes to food, don't be a militant dietary fucknut running around telling
people certain foods are "good" and certain foods are "bad"; this isn't nursery, you're
not getting sent to the "naughty chair" because you ate a slice of pizza. Fuck, man,
chill. But, at the same time, you probably – definitely – shouldn't be eating like a
fucking 10 year old let loose in Willy Wonka’s factory.
And this is where the "DBADF" rule comes in:
The "Don't Be A Dumbfuck" rule can be applied to pretty much every facet of your
life -- dating, business, relationships, and of course, your nutrition.
It's super simple: you know when you're about to do something stupid and there's
that tiny voice in the back of your head that whispers "Hey, asshole, don't be a
dumbfuck"? Well, basically that.
I want to believe that most of you have ​some​ semblance of what 'healthy' foods are,
and if you don't – please refer to the pretty picture I painstakingly drew below
(because apparently olive oil bottles don't give a fuck and are impossible to draw).
There, you'll see that some foods should be limited while other foods should make up
the bulk of your diet.
A simple rule:
70-80% of your diet should consist of whole, nutrient-rich foods and the remaining
20-30% can be filled with whatever the fuck you want.*
*Credit to ​Alan Aragon​ who I learned this from.
So the next time you're wondering what to eat, just use the DBADF rule.
This list is not exhaustive, but you get the idea.
*Read more about setting up a successful diet ​here​.
What you eat will also be influenced by your goal and personality type.
• ​If you're a Restrictor personality type:​ While no foods should be off limits,
some foods should be limited. For example, for the restrictor type personality, foods
that you have trouble controlling yourself around should be kept out of the house.
The more the temptation is there, the more likely you are to break down and overeat.
This becomes even more important when you're dieting and hunger and cravings are
at an all time high.
• ​If you’re in a caloric deficit:​ you’ll be better off choosing foods that are low in
energy density and high in nutrient density. These foods will help keep you full when
calories are low. Energy-dense foods like cereal, chocolate bars, ice cream, Pop-Tarts,
etc. are less filling and ​thus less satiating​. This is why you can eat a chocolate bar and
be hungry again ten minutes later, while a [calorically] comparable meal filled with
protein and veggies will keep you fuller for longer.
• ​Some people don't want to 'fit' in tiny amounts of treats on a daily basis​,
and would rather have a day on the weekend where they can consume more calories.
This is totally fine.
But, Aadam, what about supplements?
The fitness world is rife with innumerable supplements claiming to help you burn fat
and build muscle. Unfortunately, as sexy as these claims are, there are very few
supplements that actually work and even then, these only work if your diet, training,
and lifestyle are in order.
So, if you do have your diet, training, and lifestyle in order – here are some
supplements that ​might​ be beneficial.
Source: Scientific Opinion on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA),
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), EFSA Panel on Dietetic
Products, 2012
Some exceptions:
• Fasted training:​ If you train fasted, supplementing with BCAA’s can offset any
potential muscle loss. Anecdotally, people tend to perform better when they consume
BCAA’s during their workout, especially if training early in the day. But is it
absolutely necessary? No. If you do train fasted, aim to consume some protein
(20-30g) post workout and you'll be fine.
• IBS: ​If you have IBS, consuming protein powder can be difficult (if not
impossible). In this case, using a BCAA product pre- and post-workout can be
Also, ​this.
– Multivitamins
Ok, I'm tired of drawing. Let's wrap this shit up.
A multivitamin can be useful when you’re dieting and calories are low to help cover
any nutritional deficiencies. Outside of that, don’t worry about them.
For all supplement questions or concerns, make sure you check out ​Examine.com.
Making Adjustments to the Diet
Every diet will need to be adjusted as you lose weight and get leaner. Here are some
suggestions on how to do that.
On starting your diet ​don’t​ make any adjustments for the first 4 weeks. The body
takes some time to ‘catch up’ to the deficit and waiting 4 weeks from when you first
set the deficit will allow enough time for you to gauge what’s happening.
Alright. Let’s assume you’ve done all of the above - you’ve set the deficit,
waited 4 weeks, and fat loss really has come to a halt. How do you make
the adjustment?
Easy: Reduce calorie intake by 5-10%.
So, if you’re starting calorie intake was 2500 calories, you’d reduce this by 125-250
Where should the adjustments come from?
This is where people get confused: should you cut carbs, fats, or protein?
● Don’t touch protein intake or you’ll die. Ok, you won’t but seriously - leave
protein as it is.
Carbs or fats?
This is going to be your call. But here are some suggestions:
● If you’re following a higher carb diet, reduce carb intake. This reduction would
be anywhere between 30 to 60 grams of carbs (1 gram of carbohydrate has 4
calories. 125/4 = 30, 250/4 = 60) [footnote] If you're following a higher carb
diet, don’t let your fat intake drop below 15% of total calories because #health.
● If you’re following a higher fat or ketogenic diet, reduce fat intake. There are 9
calories in a gram of fat, so the reduction would be anywhere between 10 to 30
grams of fat.
After your first adjustment, keep an eye on your weekly average weight,
measurements, and progress photos. Wait 2-3 weeks, If things look like they’re
stalling, make another 5-10% reduction. (​This is a great article​ on deciding when to
make changes – pay particular attention to the table at the end of the article.)
The Blue Box of Read This Shit: ​if you want to learn more about how to track
your progress, ​read point number 2 in this.
How Fast Can You Lose Fat?
Here’s the thing: You can’t ​force ​fat loss. The only thing you can do is coax your body
to drop fat by eating in a calorie deficit and complementing it with training.
So, firstly:
Calm the fuck down and be patient​. ​You didn’t get out of shape in a week,
you’re not getting in shape in a week. ​The people who have this “fast fat loss”
mentality are also the ones who tend to gain it back after the diet ends, or quit
entirely after a few weeks. Not because aggressive dieting doesn’t work*, but because
this mentality encourages the use of fad diets that, a) won’t be sustainable in the
long-term, and b) doesn’t help you build the habits that allow you to maintain the
loss in the long run.
Now that’s out the way, the second thing we should probably discuss is
how fast you should be expecting to lose ​fat. ​This depends on how much fat
you have to lose.​ ​The higher your starting levels of body fat, the faster you can expect
to lose; conversely, the leaner you start, a slower rate of loss will be best to minimise
muscle and strength loss.
With that in mind: set fat loss targets between ​0.5 – 1% of your total body weight
per week. ​The benefit of using percentages is the rate of loss automatically scales
with your body weight.
For example:
*On the contrary, faster weight loss actually improves ​long term weight maintenance
What About Training for Fat Loss?
Fat loss is all about ​efficiency. You shouldn't be "training for fat loss" because ​you
can't out train your diet​ ​-​ rather, you want to train for muscle and strength gain and
retention, while letting your calorie deficit handle the "fat burning".
And this is where most go wrong. When it comes to losing body fat, there are some
things that take precedence over other things as illustrated in this image.
You'll note that strength training comes before cardio in this hierarchy.
Why though?
For the reasons I'm about to outline below in an easy-to-read, bullet-point format.
● If you’re wanting to lose fat and change the look of your physique, you need to
lift weights. Note I said you need to, not, “If you want to”. The muscle
definition is going to come through progressive resistance training. So make
that the focus of your training [footnote] Yes, ladies, this includes you, too
● The 'lean', 'toned', 'ripped' look is predicated on how much muscle you have
built and retained – and strength training will help you do that.
● You can’t “spot reduce fat” – selectively lose fat from a certain place on your
body. But, you can “spot increase muscle” – selectively increase muscle on
certain parts of your body. This, in turn, will help you “tighten up”.
● The stronger you are – increased muscle and connective tissue strength and
bone mineral density – the more resilient you become to injuries. Sure, this
isn’t directly linked to fat loss, but, I mean, do you want to die? Exactly.
● If you're really unfit or have a lot of fat to lose, cardio – like running – can be
difficult and put a lot of stress on your knees. And for most people, it won't be
● I understand this is perhaps because of my inherent bias, but strength training
tends to be more enjoyable, and as you master complex movements and watch
your lift numbers go up, this can act as a powerful motivator.
Sooo...Cardio's Bad?
No. That's not what I'm saying. Cardio isn't bad – quite the opposite. Everyone
should do some form of cardio; swimming, walking, running, hiking, playing a sport
– whatever. The point I'm trying to impress upon you is that most people resort to
'cardio' when trying to lose fat but it's of the least importance when changing your
body composition is the goal.
Wait, WTF Is Neat?
NEAT stands for​ Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis ​and is all the activity that
isn’t intentional exercise; fidgeting, walking, playing with your dog, etc.
Ok...Why Should I Give a Fuck?
NEAT is one of the most underrated tools at your disposal if you're wanting to lose
fat. Let me explain why.
There are 24 hours in a day (actually it’s 23 hours and 56 minutes, but I digress),
most people who, uh, you know, have a life will only be training for around an hour a
That’s ~5% of your day.
Now, there are 168 hours in one week. If someone trains for an hour, 3-5x per week,
that’s 3-5 hours of intentional exercise versus 163-165 hours of no exercise.
I'm sure we can all agree that what we do in those 163-165 hours is going to have a far
larger influence on our fat loss than what we do in the 3-5 hours in the gym.
And that's where NEAT comes in.
The graph below shows the difference in calories expended ​via different jobs.
Note how much of a difference there is in calorie expenditure between being seated
all day (seated work – no option of moving) and standing work.
Point: simply being more active throughout the day – walking, interspersing periods
of sitting and standing, light stretching etc. add up – everything counts. A really
simple way to do this is to aim for 10k steps per day.
The Blue Box of Read This Shit: ​I wrote an entire article on how to program
your strength training while in a calorie deficit to prevent muscle and strength loss,
you can read that by ​clicking here.
The Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to eat six times a day to stoke my metabolism?
Out of the many nutrition myths that are prevalent today, this is perhaps one of the
most pervasive.
The claim: Eating more frequent meals spread throughout the day will keep your
metabolism ‘stoked’ and in turn will help you burn more fat (and store less fat).
Whether intentional or not, this idea stems from a misunderstanding of what’s
actually going on. When you eat there is, in fact, an increase in metabolic rate but
this is due to t​he thermic effect of food​. The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) is the
number of calories your body burns digesting the food from the meal you ate.
However, while there is an increase in metabolism via TEF when you eat a meal, the
idea that this increase is meaningful enough to burn fat (and/or prevent fat storage
as we’ll discuss later) is not only wrong but can lead to people gaining even more
What, why?
The Thermic Effect of Food only equates to ​~10% of total calorie expenditure​ and
this amount stays the same regardless of the number of meals a person eats.
The difference is that the person eating more frequently will see more ‘spikes’ in
metabolism throughout the day due to TEF while someone eating less frequently will
see fewer spikes throughout the day.
Like so.
More frequent eating will cause more spikes due to TEF, while less frequent eating will cause
fewer, yet larger spikes.
But, there’s somewhat of a paradox to the 6 small meals for better fat loss claim.
Here’s why.
Let's assume we have three different people consuming 2000 calories per day split
into three different meal frequencies. One consumes the 2000 calories in 5 meals per
day; one consumes the 2000 calories in 3 meals per day; one consumes the 2000
calories in 2 meals per day.
We can represent this in a graph like so.
– Green: 5 meals per day
– Red: 3 meals per day
– Blue: 2 meals per day
Notice that the blue bar – 2 meals per day – actually increases your metabolic rate
the most, requiring 100 cals to digest the food. The red bar – 3 meals – comes in
second, requiring 66 cals. And, contrary to the popular claim, 5 small meals actually
comes in last, requiring the least number of calories to digest the food.
So, paradoxically, eating larger, less frequent meals "speeds up your metabolism"
more than "small frequent meals".
Point: Pick a meal frequency that suits you, at a minimum three meals is ideal, but if
you prefer 2, or 4, or 5 meals per day – cool. Do that.The number of meals you eat
won't make a difference to your fat loss. So pick the meal frequency that suits you
and your lifestyle best.
2. Will sugar kill me?
Probably not. ​See this.
3. Will aspartame kill me?
Probably not. ​See this.
4. My friend Becky told me I have a slow metabolism. Do I?
a) You ​don’t​.
b) Stop listening to Becky.
5. Is fasting healthy?
Absolutely, if you’re a healthy individual. If you have health concerns like low blood
sugar, you might want to avoid it.
To read my book on fasting which is totes free –​ click me.
6. I think I’m in starvation mode.
You’re ​not​.
7. Will eating late at night make me fat?
If eating late at night sees you go into a calorie surplus, yes. Otherwise no.
8. What’s your opinion on waist trainers?
9. I want to lose fat, build muscle, do CrossFit, run a marathon, swim the
Atlantic, and climb Mount Everest, I’m so confused.
So am I.
10. Is too much protein bad for my kidneys?
As long as your kidneys are healthy, no. With that said, there’s no need to consume
more protein than necessary: aim for around 0.7 – 1g / per pound of body weight.
Also, ​see this.
11. Will eating more fat make me burn fat?
This is one of those, "It's-technically-right-but-still-wrong" type things. If dietary fat
is the main source of your calorie intake (like, say you're in a state of ketosis) then
yes, your body will primarily use 'fat' as it's main fuel source; ergo, your body is
'burning fat because you're eating more fat'.
'Fat burning' does not equate to 'body fat' burning.
Your body is constantly storing and burning fat in a day and it's the long term
balance – over weeks – that will decide if you're losing or gaining body fat.
If the amount of fat you burn stays the same as the amount of fat you store over the
long term: body fat remains the same.
If the amount of fat you burn over an extended period of time is less than the amount
you store: you'll lose fat.
If the amount of fat you store exceeds the amount of fat you burn: you'll gain fat.
This is referred to as 'fat balance' and is, surprise surprise, dictated by your total
calorie intake. So if you're pouring heaps of butter on everything in the hopes of
losing body fat – sorry to break it to you, but you're fucking up.
12. I’m dieting and I’m hungry – what can I do?
Suck it up.
13. You’re mean.
I know.
FINE. Here are some tips.
● Increase Fibre intake ​– One of the ways our brain determines fullness is
the physical stretching of the stomach. Foods high in fibre, such as vegetables
and whole-grains, help stretch out the stomach and signal to the brain that
you’re full. Fibre also tends to slow down digestion – when you add in fibre to
your meals, the rate at which the body digests the food takes longer. The
longer this food sits in your stomach the fuller you’ll feel.
● A Consistent Meal Frequency – ​Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, controls
when you get hungry. Fortunately, ghrelin can also be ‘trained’. Training
yourself to eat at set times will keep Ghrelin consistent and will create
consistent hunger patterns – you’ll get hungry at similar times in the day –
this will reduce the risk of falling off plan.
● Skip Breakfast – ​Restricting your eating window to a shorter time frame by
skipping breakfast will mean you can eat larger meals which in turn will help
keep you full, both mentally, and physically. While people freak out at the idea
of skipping breakfast, it isn’t the most important meal of the day, and it won’t
ruin your metabolism. Instead of eating 4-5 small meals at 200 calories,
eating 3 large meals at 500 calories will result in better satiety.
● Don’t be extremely restrictive with your diet​ – What happens if I tell
you that you can’t have something? You’re more likely to want that thing,
right? This is why unnecessarily restrictive diets don’t last long. Don’t
needlessly​ remove foods from your diet.
● But, restrict some things​ – No, I’m not contradicting myself, fuck you.
Some foods trigger cravings and can cause you to overeat. If you have foods
like that in the house, you will be best served to remove them, and the
temptation that comes with them.
● Diet Drinks​ – As I mentioned earlier, ​diet drinks can be a great aid​ during
low-calorie periods. Just make sure you’re keeping a tab on these - while you
would need to drink a lot (like, really, A LOT) of diet drinks for them to even
have the potential to be harmful to health, the main reason for limiting intake
is due to ​hedonic adaptation.
● Coffee – ​ Coffee has great appetite suppressant effects and has also been
shown to improve health. Is there anything coffee can’t do? No, it’s basically
Jesus in a cup.
14. I’m tracking ​everything ​and eating healthy and exercising like a
gazillion times a week, AND I STILL CAN’T LOSE FAT. WHAT’S
You're not ​actually​ tracking everything​. Or, ​one of these 8 reasons.
15. My friend Becky said if I don’t eat breakfast I’ll implode.
What the f – what did I say about listening to Becky?
You don’t have to eat breakfast. Look, let me bring in my not really friend ​Marion
Nestle​ to explain:
“Many—if not most—studies demonstrating that breakfast eaters are
healthier and manage weight better than non-breakfast eaters were
sponsored by Kellogg or other breakfast cereal companies whose businesses
depend on people believing that breakfast means ready-to-eat cereal.
Independently funded studies tend to show that any eating pattern can
promote health if it provides vegetables and fruits, balances calories, and
does not include much junk food.”
When you eat matters far less than how much you eat. ​If you wake up and
are feeling hungry, feel free to have breakfast, if you aren’t hungry in the mornings,
skip breakfast.
16. Thoughts on fasted training?
See ​this.
17. Should I do cardio for fat loss?
See ​this​.
18. Do you have anything about the menstrual cycle and fat loss?
I sure do. See ​this​ and ​this.
Ok, I think that's everything. We're done. Thank fuck because I'm hungry – I'm
gonna go make a sandwich.
While my earlier comment about 'sucking it up' was slightly facetious, there is a lot of
truth to it. Hunger is an inevitable part of dieting and the more you can become
comfortable with it, the more successful you're going to be with your fat loss. ​Also,
read this​. And then sign up to my email list because it's the best thing since