With so much conflicting information on the matter of losing weight one would think that the task is as hard as taking the man to Mars. However, that is not the case. Here are a few bodybuilding guidelines that will put you on the fast track to weight loss. As you will see these guidelines will answer the questions of what to eat and what exercise to use in order to burn fat.
Bodybuilding Guidelines for Weight Loss
Remembering that the weight loss we are looking for is in the form of fat, in order to lose weight you need to:
1) First and foremost slightly take in less calories than what you burn on any given day. At the end of the day, losing weight is a function of calories in vs calories out. If you take in less calories than what you burn on any given day, you will lose weight. Take more than what you burn and you will gain weight. Simple, right? Now, if we lose weight we want it to be fat weight, not muscle weight. Thus, here is where point #2 comes into play.
2) You need to consume the right amount of macronutrients. A good bodybuilding diet to start with is one that provides 40% of its calories from carbohydrates, 40% from proteins, and 20 % from good fats. Consuming the right amounts of foods in this ratio will ensure that as you feed the muscle you starve the fat and thus, the weight loss comes from fat being burned. Make sure that you do not consume the following processed foods that are high in simple sugar such as candies, cookies, and pastries or foods that are high in fats, such as fries, or high fat meats. Also, do not consume processed foods in the form of pre-packaged meals since they have a lot of added fats (many times hydrogenated fats which are fats that are easily stored since the body cannot really use them and cause a variety of health issues like hardening of the arteries, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc), an incredible amount of sodium, and corn syrups (a processed sugar that is easily stored as fat and that can lead to diabetes and other diseases). For more information on how to set up a diet as well as what foods to eat, please check out my article on Bodybuilding Nutrition Basics.
3) Increase your physical activity. There are two types of physical activity that you can use to lose weight. There are two types of training:
A. Anaerobic work (i.e. weight training): Weight training is the number one way to re-sculpt your body. Why? Because weight training is far superior to any other type of exercise since it increases your metabolism (ability to burn calories) which in turn helps you burn fat and gives shape to your body.
B. Aerobic work (i.e. walking) in your Fat Burning Zone (which is (220 - Age) * .75 = Fat Burning Heart Rate) is a good way to accelerate the fat burning process, as long as it is not overdone, and as long as it is only used in addition to a good weight training program. Aerobic work increases your cardiovascular efficiency which makes it easier for you to get through your workouts. It also helps you to recover faster from your workouts by removing the waste products that are created during the weight training. And finally, it helps you to burn some extra calories, something that will help you to burn fat if you are following the right diet (see what a good diet looks like by looking at my Fat Loss Diet. Keep in mind that aerobics should never be used as a substitute for weight training.
By combining weight training with cardiovascular exercise, not only do we burn calories via both activities, but we also permanently increase our metabolism (ability to burn calories) as we gain muscle mass. Thus, the more muscle one has the easier it is to shed the extra weight.
If your main goal is to lose fat as you get toned, there is no need to live in the gym. 3 days a week of 30-45 minutes of weight training (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and 3 days of 20-30 minutes of cardio will get the job done. Check out my articles on dumbbell routines that you can do from home and also short 25-30 minute workouts.
Now that you have the knowledge on how to lose weight the right way, make a goal of losing ½-1 kilo (1-2 lbs) of fat each week, implement the plan laid out here and you will see how easy it is to melt the fat!