A while back I surveyed my readers- about their fitness goals, and the obstacles they face. You guys want to gain some muscle, sleep better, have more energy, look good, and feel good. But there’s one big goal that, unsurprisingly, stands out above all the others: almost all of you want to lose fat. You want to get toned, have a flat stomach, and fit into your old jeans. So I’ve called in eleven of my favorite fitness experts to help you do just that.
Below you’ll find a short bio of each expert, with links to their sites. I highly encourage you to click through to their sites and subscribe if you like what they have to say. I’d also like to thank each of them for taking the time to contribute to this article and help my readers slim down. Here they are:
Here are the experts who will help you slim down
Jennipher Walters– Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach, and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of the book by Random House, The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.
Eric Bach, BS, CSCS is a sought-after strength and conditioning coach in Denver, Colorado. At Bach Performance, Eric helps his clients improve their performance and physique through his specialized training methods. Get your Free copy of the High-Performance Beginners Guide here. To get in touch, come hang out with the Facebook Community or keep up on Instagram.
Menno Henselmans– Online physique coach, fitness model and scientific author, Menno Henselmans helps serious trainees attain their ideal physique using his Bayesian Bodybuilding methods. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter and check out his website for more free articles.
Bob Thompson is a strength coach based out of Philadelphia where he owns multiple sports performance and body transformation facilities. He can be found over at his site discussing the finer points of transforming your physique…like eating steak, crushing carbs, chasing the pump, and lifting heavy things.
Jordan Syatt is a strength coach, nutrition consultant, and world record holding powerlifter. Owner of one of the worlds first and most prestigious online coaching programs for strength and fat loss, Jordan works with men and women of all ages and skill levels. For more information go HERE or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marc Perry is the founder and CEO of BuiltLean. He believes that fitness is a lifestyle that can lead to a longer, fuller and happier life. Marc helps people unleash their natural athleticism by focusing on functional strength and eating whole foods. You can learn more in the BuiltLean newsletter or follow him on Twitter.
Nagina Abdullah– Nagina has helped dozens of ambitious, busy women lose weight quickly and can show you step-by-step how you can do it too. Within weeks from today you can lose 10 pounds or more and feel sexy on the beach. Start by getting her FREE Weight-Loss Recipes Handbook for Ambitious Women at her website, masalabody.com.
Anthony Mychal is former skinny-fat dude on a philosophical-physical pilgrimage: flipping and freestyle acrobatics, flexing and physique training, thinking about and tinkering with physical freedom. He also likes video games, and can sometimes be found on Twitter.
Douglas Robb– For the past 25 years, Doug has helped all manner of athletes get faster, stronger, leaner, fitter, healthier and generally more awesome. Somewhere along the way, Doug went online with his little health & fitness blog – @healthhabits. A few years later, he stumbled into the world of social media…eventually making over a million new health & fitness friends. Today, in addition to training real-world clients and spreading the health & fitness gospel via the interweb, Doug is crazy busy advising communities, government and fitness professionals on how to make exercise & good nutrition a pro-active part of public health policies.
Alistair Clark helps overworked, burnt out professionals go from barely surviving to absolutely crushing it at work by teaching work, life, and fitness strategies from top-performers. Check out his site—WorkLifeFitness—or get his free eBook to learn how to get in shape and save 5 hours a week.
Krista Stryker– Krista Stryker is an NSCA certified personal trainer and the founder of 12 Minute Athlete, a website and app helping thousands of people get fit in as little time as possible. A HIIT workout regimen consisting of incredibly short, effective workouts based on calisthenics, cross-training and functional fitness, 12 Minute Athlete helps athletes of all level get in the best shape of their lives with minimal equipment and no gym membership. Follow Krista on Twitter or Instagram @12minuteathlete for HIIT workout ideas and fitness motivation.
George Bryant is a professional Husband, Bonus Dad and family man. He is also the New York Times Best-Selling author of The Paleo Kitchen and creator of the wildly popular Paleo food blog “Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.” After spending the first 20-something years of his life in a constant battle with his weight, and then nearly losing both his legs while on deployment as a US Marine, George took matters into his own hands and began his own Paleo-journey. What started as a simple place to post recipes for friends has since turned into an award-winning food blog. After being in the Marines for 12 years, George has since been medically separated and is enjoying working full time creating delicious Paleo recipes, while hoping to change as many lives for the better by making REAL food recipes simple and tasty. George can also be found on Instagram and Snapchat.
And now that you’ve been introduced to your fat loss experts- here is their advice on exactly what to do to burn fat and keep it off.
What are the biggest mistakes you see people make in trying to lose fat?
Eric Bach– It’s rare to find people who can go 100% all in on a fat loss transformation. More often than not, they make sweeping changes like going from zero workouts to four per week, and completely changing their diet.
I admire their motivation, but biting off too many changes is an overload that most people can’t withstand. Instead, start small, building habits like going for a 30 minute walk every morning before work for two weeks, then add on. Over time, smaller habits build lifestyle change and snowball into huge, sweeping changes.
Nagina Abdullah– People focus on doing a lot of cardio to lose fat. However, this is not a strategic way to lose fat. Sure, you can run fat off, but the moment you stop running, it comes right back, nicely covering your stomach with an extra warm layer that you would prefer not to be there!
The #1 way to lose fat is through what you eat. The food that you eat is more than calories in and calories out. Every food you eat has a hormonal effect, and impacts the level of release of fat-storage hormones, such as insulin. Eating foods that are high in protein and low on the glycemic index (essentially low in sugar and simple carbohydrates), is the fastest and most sustainable way to lose fat. Some great foods to have in your diet for fat loss are salmon, fish, chicken, eggs, lentils, beans, green vegetables, avocados and coconut oil.
Alistair Clark– The biggest mistakes people make are not tactical errors like following the wrong diet or doing the wrong exercise. The biggest mistake is psychological.
I’ll explain with a story. Last year I coached a woman with over 50% body fat. In our initial consultation, she told me step-by-step exactly what she needed to do to lose weight. And for the most part, I agreed with her! She knew she needed to eat less and cut down on sugar, and she knew she could be more active.
So if this woman knew what to do, then why was over half her weight made up of fat?
In her case and many others like her, she didn’t think the basics would work for her. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism or an excuse for not making progress, but many, many people I work with don’t like when you tell them boring advice.
Here’s the simple truth: you can lose all the weight you want using the basic, boring, common-sense advice.
But there’s a catch… you have to do it consistently, and you have to do it for an extended period of time.
Most people aren’t patient enough to stick it out for longer than a few weeks, and inevitably assume that they are the exception and the basics won’t work, so they either give up or start chasing advanced methods that aren’t sustainable.
Bob Thompson- The biggest mistake I see people is not making a full commitment to their goals. They want to lose fat and get their ideal physique yet they don’t have all of their actions aligned with their desires.
Your training, nutrition, and mindset have to be on the same page. If I want to make more money but don’t want to put any more effort into my businesses, it’s going to be tough.
If I want to lose body fat but I don’t want to stop eating donuts after every single meal, well, shit it’s not really going to happen.
If you don’t want to work out more than two days per week, then yeah, it’s going to be tough.
Fully commit to whatever plan you’re doing and then dominate it!
There’s no half-assing it or tip toeing your way into a fat loss program.
Douglas Robb– Believing that there is a magic bullet solution to THEIR weight loss dilemma. If you are prone to gaining excess body-fat, you are also prone to having problems trying to lose that excess weight. It’s going to take trial, error, self-analysis, sweat & tears.
George Bryant– There are quite a few mistakes I see occurring across the board that have the greatest hinderance on people’s ability to lose fat. First one, is they are not eating enough fat. We have had marketers for years telling us to avoid fat, eat less calories and restrict ourselves but the truth is that in order to lose fat, you NEED to eat high quality fats and a lot of them. The simplest way to remember this is that it takes fat to burn fat.
The second is people DO NOT sleep enough. Your brain and your body need to recover and that happens when you sleep. I am not talking about 2-3 hours of tossing and turning, we need real clean deep sleep. Sleep where you fall asleep within 20 minutes of laying down and wake up without having to hit snooze. If you are not doing that, it’s time to change your sleep habits which will in turn kickstart your fat loss.
The third in my opinion is the simplest to implement immediately. PEOPLE DO NOT DRINK ENOUGH WATER. When you think you have had enough, drink more. Our bodies are made up of 50-65% water. It’s life, it’s power, it’s powerful and we need more of it.
Marc Perry- I think there are a few common mistakes I see (1) not being patient (2) not getting enough sleep and (3) winging it with their nutrition. (1) Losing fat doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s kind of like trying to watch grass grow. On the high end, I think 1.5% of fat lost per week as a percentage of bodyweight is possible, but usually it’s around 0.5% to 1.0%. The type of person who is desperately trying to lose fat fast is the least successful in general. So many people are obsessed with the results, instead of enjoying the process of getting the results.
(2) Lack of sleep is strongly correlated with weight gain because hunger hormones can get out of whack, which causes people to eat more (see references below). In addition, if you’re sleep deprived, you have much less energy to workout. Proper sleep helps you adhere to an exercise and nutrition regimen.
(3) I think more precision with a nutrition plan is helpful. While it’s entirely possible to lose body fat without counting calories, I like the idea of creating meals and snacks within prescribed calorie ranges so you are not counting calories continuously, you just count them once. Winging it with nutrition rarely works in my experience.
References: Spiegel K, Leproult R, L’hermite-balériaux M,Copinschi G, Penev PD, Van cauter E.Leptin levels are dependent on sleep duration: relationships with sympathovagal balance, carbohydrate regulation, cortisol, and thyrotropin.. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89(11):5762-71.
Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial, J,Schoeller DA, Penev PD.Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity.
Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(7):435-41.
Jennipher Walters– They do all cardio and think lifting weights will “bulk them up.” Lifting weights and doing intervals is the best way to burn fat. Although, unfortunately, you can’t choose exactly where that fat comes from. 😉
Jordan Syatt- The biggest mistake I see has less to do with what people are “doing” and more to do with what they’re “thinking.”
Most people have entirely unrealistic expectations. They might logically understand 0.5/lb – 1/lb of weight loss a week is good. But, emotionally, they get frustrated and upset when they don’t see more drastic losses.
If there’s one thing I wish everyone could understand about fat loss it’s that it’s a patience game. Take it slow. Nice and easy. Remember that progress is never linear and it takes a really long time to get to where you want to be.
Anthony Mychal– Becoming cardio bunnies. People focus too much on the idea of “fat loss” and not enough on the physiology behind training. One of the reasons humans want to store fat is because humans use a bunch of fat. Cardio can use up body fat, but if you keep eating too much, you’re just reinforcing your body’s desire to store fat.
This is why barbell and bodyweight strength training is such a powerful tool. It tells the body that nutrients and energy should be used elsewhere. Kind of like how you’re going about your life, spending money as usual. Then you get hit with a tornado warning. Suddenly you divert resources.
Menno Henselmans– If I had to pick one, it would be that people ‘go on a diet’ as opposed to adopting sustainable lifestyle changes. In Ancient Latin and Greek, ‘diet’ actually meant ‘way of life’. That’s what a weight loss diet should be like. It’s not as fun as bulking of course, when you can eat a lot more, but every diet should be sustainable, you shouldn’t be hungry often and you should set your mind for long term progress. Food choices are a big part of the difference. Otherwise you’re just going to end up being another yoyo-dieter.
A close runner-up mistake is that people don’t use objective metrics to measure their body composition progress. For example, in my clients there is often no or very little weight loss during a cut and then many people, women in particular, tend to freak out, but the truth is that progress is excellent and they are gaining muscle while losing fat at the same time.
For a trainee who is moderately overweight- what diet (foods and/or macro ratios) would you suggest for them to produce maximum sustainable fat loss?
Jordan Syatt- Here’s a solid starting point but, keep in mind, it’s a general recommendation. Not a definitive, 1-size-fits-all guideline (those don’t exist).
3x/week: Bodyweight x 10
4x/week: Bodyweight x 12
For example, if you weigh 200lbs you will eat 2,000 calories 3x/week and 2400 calories 4x/week.
7x/week: Bodyweight x 1
For example, if you weigh 200lbs you will eat 200g of protein every day of the week.
Alistair Clark– Here’s the basic template I use that will work for 95% of people.
- Eat 4 meals per day.
- Chew slowly, and stop when you are 80% full.
- Eat protein, vegetables, and healthy fat at every meal.
- Only eat carbs if you’ve just exercised.
This is the incredibly boring diet that I follow. My goal is to make it as simple and as boring as possible so that you / I can stop obsessing about what we eat and go enjoy life.
Nagina Abdullah– A high protein and low-sugar diet yields fast and sustainable weight-loss. These foods are also incredibly filling! Below is my quick framework that I recommend.
Split your plate into these 3 sections to lose fat:
20% healthy carbs
These are the macro ratios: I used to get in the best shape of my life, have flat and toned abs and arms after 2 kids, and keep my fat off effortlessly: 35% fat, 25% carbs, 40% protein (max of 30g protein at one sitting).
Menno Henselmans– Answering that question takes me several weeks in my PT Course! Very briefly, food choies should be focused on whole foods. For macros, see my article on the optimal protein intake and several of my interviews for a primer. For the optimal rate of weight loss, see this article, though it’s dated by now.
Anthony Mychal– You’re suggesting that someone moderately overweight should do something different than someone severely overweight or someone that wants to get absolutely shredded. It always follows the same big rule: respect your current metabolic rate, then subtract some. Let the fat melt off with time…too quick usually ends up in metabolic adaptations (for the worse) in the long run. Two pounds per week max. One pound is better.
Bob Thompson- This is relatively tough question to answer. But, I prefer a moderate approach to protein, carb, and low fats. to start but depending on the individual it could be super high protein and super low carbs.
Of course, my moderate protein still is around 1-1.25 grams per pound of lean body weight. Generally, the same for carbs as well. With the remaining 15-20 percent of the calories coming from fat.
However, it’s also going to depend on where they’re storing their body fat and what they’ve been doing currently that really determines my decision.
Another great approach is of course lower carbs and higher protein if the person needs this. If they store body fat in the indicative areas like lower back or under their scaps.
However, most people want to get rid of carbs completely from their nutrition when trying to drop body fat and I believe it’s one of the reasons they aren’t finding their nutrition plan sustainable in the long term.
You don’t have to drop down to 50 or 0 carbs to make an awesome physique happen.
Plus, carbs make you look awesome, so don’t drop them!
Eric Bach– High protein and high fiber foods are your best bet. Think lean meat and a variety of vegetables. Protein and fiber both improve satiation, keeping you fuller for longer. Plus, protein has a higher thermic effect of food, meaning it takes more energy to break down protein to amino acids than it does to break down fats or carbohydrates.
When in doubt, lean meats and vegetables are the way to go.
George Bryant– Whatever foods make them happy that are high in quality, they feel comfortable with and can stick to. This question is great because every individual is different. The key to this is understanding your own individual body, it’s needs and how to optimize those. We don’t focus on counting calories or macros. We focus on eating high quality foods that allow our bodies to thrive while burning as much fat as possible.
If people are looking for a quick easy answer, they are going to get quick and easy results which will end up reversing and possibly getting worse. The key to sustaining fat loss is creating a lifestyle in which you are in it for the marathon and not the sprint. Once you are moving in your race your body will be your best measure. It will tell you when it’s hungry, when it’s full, when it’s tired or when it just needs a break. I always tell people, you need to feed your body accordingly to allow it to accurately become your doctor.
Douglas Robb– I usually start with a “healthy” diet. That means zero-junk food, desserts minimized to 2 or 3 times a week, and home cooked meals made with whole foods.
-If that doesn’t work, we go deeper down the rabbit whole by removing desserts
-If that doesn’t work, we reduce calories
-If that doesn’t work, I significantly reduce or eliminate the gluten load
-If that doesn’t work, I reduce or eliminate all grains
-If that doesn’t work, I reduce fruit
-If that doesn’t work, I start cycling carbs to surround training sessions only
-If that doesn’t work, we start playing with more niche dietary tweaks.
Along with the dietary changes, I have them test blood sugar and cortisol levels at specific times during the day. This gradual plan of dietary restriction is what I use with most of my clients who are looking to get healthy & fit without a set deadline. If they have a specific deadline / weight loss goal, we start immediately with the all the bells and whistles.
Jennipher Walters– We’re big on making no foods entirely off limits and are strictly anti-diet, but, in general, it’s important to have a nice mix of carbs (mostly from veggies), healthy fats and protein for each meal and snack. Doing this keeps your metabolism humming, your body fueled and your stomach feeling full and happy.
Marc Perry– Some people do better or worse on different macro diets. I do think, however, high protein diets have consistently show to help people lose weight faster. I also think that an emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods – think an apple, chicken, broccoli etc. – makes staying full while eating fewer calories much easier.
Most nutrition advice I see is either it’s all about calories or it’s all about the quality of the calories. But the truth is that it’s about both. Calories matter, but the quality of the calories that are eaten matter as well because it makes it much easier to control those calories.
What types of workouts (exercise selection, intensity, frequency) do you favor for fat loss clients, and why?
Bob Thompson- When working with fat loss I go a bit of a different route than popular right now which is I still favor higher time under tension, moderate to high reps, and tri-sets through giant sets during their training.
Don’t get me wrong. I love heavy lifting and performing finishers like the rest of them, but, that’s not the best way to create total body composition changes in short periods of time.
Instead I like low rest, high volume, high time under tension for the body. This leads to large adaptations and a killer physique.
If the person is going to be training three days per week I love total body training sessions but if they’re doing four or more, I like to split it up between upper and lower sessions.
Personally, I like to see people training four to five days per week.
George Bryant– Before I answer this, I want to say that another common problem we see is people overtraining which very quickly stunts their fat loss. Our body doesn’t make progress from our training, it progresses from the quality and level of our recovery (food, rest, supplementation, water). Personally I prefer high intensity movements in short bursts that support your journey to becoming a better functional human being. My goal is always to be able to run, flip, climb trees and play sports with my kids/grand kids when I am 70. Therefore I do a lot of squats throughout the day, sprinting, handstands, pull-ups and any and all other functional movements that support life.
Jennipher Walters– We recommend fairly short (10-25 minute) HIIT workouts (here’s a good one: http://fitbottomedgirls.com/2015/06/bodyweight-hiit-blitz-workout/) a couple of times a week, plus a few other sessions of exercise that the person really enjoys (be it walking, dancing, etc.). Fantastic results come from HIIT and doing activities you love can help to build the habit of fitness and make it fun — which is essential for staying fit for life!
Jordan Syatt- I prefer strength training 3x/week following a lower body, upper body, full body split. I like to keep intensity (total weight used) high and volume (total number of repetitions) relatively low.
It’s impossible to build any meaningful amount of muscle in a caloric deficit (anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or trying to sell you something). And considering you need to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat, you need to adjust your training to maintain muscle — not gain it.
The other 4 days/week I like to do low intensity steady state cardio (walking, biking, jogging, swimming, etc) for 30-45min/day.
That’s it. Nothing fancy or elaborate but holy hell does it get results. HERE’s an example.
Alistair Clark– I recommend my clients focus on 3 things during the week to maximize fat-loss:
- Move more, every day. Sit less, walk more, take the stairs, etc.
- Do 1 high intensity training (HIT) sessions per week. If you’re not familiar with HIT, check out this good resource HERE. Note: this is not the same as High-intensity interval training.
- Do 1 fun activity each week. Go rock-climbing, play rec. basketball, or go for a hike. Make enjoyment the goal, not “exercise”.
That’s it. Again, simple and boring is good. You can stick to this routine for an infinite amount of time, whereas most other typical workout routines I’ve seen will lead to injury or burnout.
Marc Perry– It completely depends on the client so it’s a case by case basis. You must take into account several factors including the fitness level of the client, how many times the client wants to workout per week, what type of training the clients wants to do. In other words, before I create a program, I need to understand the parameters that will help the client adhere to the program I will create.
It can range from lifting 2x per week to lifting every day, cardio or no cardio. It really depends. For my 12-Week Body Transformation Program, I have 3 full-body workouts each week based on strength circuits. I encourage people to move around and stretch every day in addition to the lifting. I’ve found most guys can follow 3 workouts per week.
Menno Henselmans– The same ones as during a bulk but with less total training stress, since recovery capacity is limited by the energy deficit. I generally lower the total training volume or proximity to momentary muscular failure, but you could also lower the training frequency or other parameters of the program.
Douglas Robb– For fat loss, I am a big believer in HIIT and HIRT workouts. HIRT is my own acronym for High Intensity Resistance Workouts. I differentiate these from HIIT as HIIT workouts generally focus on sprint exercises (bike, treadmill, hills, etc). Both have the same goal of maximizing fat loss via EPOC, but in practice they are two totally different workouts with HIRT workouts requiring more thought from the program designer. An improperly design HIRT workout can crush the adrenals long before we achieve our weight loss goals
While I am not a big fan of cardio as a weight-loss vehicle, I do get my clients to supplement HIIT & HIRT workouts with night-time low intensity cardio workouts. In fact, with most of them, I link cardio & entertainment by requiring them to hop on an exercise bike or elliptical or treadmill if they are going to watch tv or play video games, etc.
Eric Bach– For fat loss clients frequency is important for two reasons. First, frequent workouts constantly reinforce the goal and new habits you’re looking to form—regular physical activity. With a constant reinforcement, you’re more likely to build exercise into your daily actions and continue a healthy lifestyle.
Second, when other factors are kept static, a higher training frequency has a higher total metabolic demand, and provides more opportunities for muscle contractions to improve factors like insulin sensitivity. When fat loss is your primary goal, train with total body workouts 4-5 times per week for accelerated fat loss.
Anthony Mychal– Barbell and bodyweight strength training and walking is all you need. Of course, sprinting and HIIT can be used. You know what else can be used? A flamethrower. But that doesn’t mean it’s a silver bullet.
Nagina Abdullah– Here are my 2 recommendations for full body fat loss, including a flat, toned stomach, lean back and sexy, defined arms:
– Strength / Weight-training: Lifting weights increases your muscle mass, which increases your metabolism and makes your body into a fat-burning machine, burning more fat even while you’re sitting on the couch watching TV! Lifting / strength training also makes it drastically easier to keep fat off once you lose it too. I recommend lifting weights 2x a week, favoring full body, compound exercises (work multiple muscles) workouts including: Squats, deadlifts, bench press and kettlebell swings.
– High-intensity interval training (HIIT) – Cardio that increases your heart rate and then brings it back down repeatedly speeds up fat loss. I’ve attached my favorite HIIT treadmill workout and it’s only 15 minutes long! Do this 3 days a week and start to see your tummy tighten up and your arms lean out fast.
Which strategies do you find most effective in helping people maintain the discipline and motivation to stick to their weight loss programs?
Jennipher Walters– To ditch the yo-yo dieting and instead reflect regularly on the deeper reasons why they want to lose weight. It’s great to want to look good; but go deeper. Why do you want to look a certain way? Is it to feel more comfortable in your own skin? To be there for your kids as they get older? To reach your dreams? Reflect regularly on your whys and commit to getting healthy because you deserve to feel amazing in your own skin.
Jordan Syatt- This is a great question and the answer(s) could fill a library.
The simplest way to put it is you need to find YOUR motivation. What’s motivating you? What is your reason for trying to lose weight?
Is it to live a long, healthy life?
Is it to set a good a example for your children?
Is it to make sure you live long enough to watch your children get married?
Is it so your co-workers take you seriously?
Is it so you can feel more confident in your own skin?
These are just a few examples. And several of them might resonate with you. Your job is to figure out YOUR individual motivation and keep it in front of you at all times. Never forget why you’re doing it. Because that’s what will keep you on track for the long haul.
Marc Perry– I think that’s another question where it really depends. Everyone is different. In general, creating a specific goal that is very important to you can be helpful along with understanding why that goal is important to you. The reason must be very strong and even emotionally charged. If a goal is compelling enough, it can help someone make the necessary changes to stick with their weight loss program.
George Bryant– I have found that every single individual has their own strategies that they think will work for them. Typically my advice is to take some self reflection time and find the Why. Not the I want a six pack, to fit in a dress, to look good in a tux why. But the I want to walk my daughter down the aisle, see the birth of my grand children, or spend another 60 years with my significant other why.
People need to find the reason that resonates their core and ensures that no matter the challenges that they will not give up. Once they find that reason, I encourage them to put it in the center of a vision board, on the background of their phone or computer, to tell a friend or family member and remember it daily. Put it in front of your face so much that you have no choice but to succeed.
Douglas Robb– First and foremost, I am their support system at the start of this journey…as they are building up their willpower, increasing their nutritional knowledge, learning to understand their bodies and embracing a health & fitness lifestyle in general.
I also have them take a picture of everything they eat. They don’t have to send it to me, but they have to stop & snap a pic every time they feed the pie hole. What this does is force them to stop for a second, engage their brain, and put a break on any emotional hunger drivers. It’s a little thing, but it’s surprisingly effective…especially at the start of this process.
Nagina Abdullah– Here’s my MasalaBody.com Formula for Fat Loss:
1. Eating a high-protein, low glycemic diet (see my Split Your Plate Into These 3 Sections attachment)
2. Weight-lifting / Strength training 2x a week (30-40 min)
3. High-Intensity Interval Training 3x a week (for only 15 min!)
Eric Bach– Measuring and assessing is huge. It’s amazing how many people don’t have any measurements to gauge progress along the way. Progress photos, body fat calculations, and body circumference measurements are all vital, as they give a well-rounded view of progress. And once you see progress, you should have all the motivation you need. As the saying goes, if you’re not assessing, you’re guessing.
Anthony Mychal– The truth? When you’re so suffocated by your body composition, fixing it is just as important as breathing. The vast majority of us will never be models or anyone getting paid for how we look. And if we use the same tactics to motivate (money, extrinsic rewards), then it usually fails in the long run.
You might say, “Well not enjoying what you look like is a disordered mindset! And it’s unhealthy!” It might be true. But the problem is assuming having a six pack is, indeed, “healthy.”
Alistair Clark– A simple paper checklist. For each of my clients, I create a 1-page checklist covering 30 days of the month. On the checklist I’ll put the 2–3 habits they’re working on, and their goal is to ‘check the box’ at least 80% of the time. You can download the template I use HERE.
I prefer a paper because it’s harder to ignore. An app is easy to close, but a piece of paper is with you all the time. You can pin it your fridge, or put it in your briefcase.
Menno Henselmans– Another loaded question that takes me a full week to cover in my PT Course, heh. It varies greatly between individuals, but some of my fundamental methods are as follows.
1. Empowerment. Many coaches treat their clients as children and anticipate adherence problems. This induces the Pygmalion effect, as it’s called in psychological research, which induces a self-fulfilling prophecy that alters the client’s self-image negatively. I treat my clients like success is just a matter of time. This isn’t just a semantic difference. Many coaches are clueless about psychology. I’m lucky in this regard, as I basically have a Master’s degree in behavioral psychology and there is a ton of psychological research on exercise and diet compliance.
2. Realistic goal settings. You have to find out what’s most important for your client, taking into account interference effects, time constraints, etc.
3. Focusing on the long run, as per my above answer.
4. Being a role model. I walk the talk. Of course people won’t be very swayed by the weight loss advice from a fat person.
If you’re interested in diet adherence, I highly recommend reading my article on why diets fail and ‘eat less, move more’ is bad advice.
Bob Thompson- They have to understand their why. If they don’t know why they’re trying to drop body fat or lose weight then it’s a lost cause.
This way when the going gets tough, and it will, they’ll be more likely to stick with it.
Whether it’s gaining weight or losing weight the majority of the battle is psychological. If they don’t believe in themselves and know why they’re doing what they’re doing, there’s no way they be able to put the effort in that’s required or even keep it up in the long term.
What are the top three consistent habits people should build that will allow them to lose fat in the long run and keep it off?
Menno Henselmans- 1. Going to the gym (duh).
2. Meal prepping. If you have trouble with this, I recommend hiring ManageMyMealPlan.com. I outsourced my own meal planning to her.
3. Monitor progress with objective metrics.
Douglas Robb– 1. Become educated about food and how it interacts with YOUR body. This leads to proper meal planning that is specific to each individual.
2. Become educated about your emotions and how they are connected with food. Like a drug addict or an alcoholic, someone who eats to soothe emotional issues is going to have this problem for as long as those issues are not dealt with in a positive manner. Understanding that and developing techniques for promoting positive mental health is key for my emotional eaters.
3. Learn to appreciate good food. I have had clients get upset with me about cutting out their “favorite” meal even though their “favorite” meal was total shite. To prove the point, I invite a lot of them out to one of my favorite restaurants that cooks unbelievably good food made from 100% organic whole foods. The chef is a buddy of mine and I usually get him to come out and briefly explain how easy it would be for my client to make this exact meal at home. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring.
Anthony Mychal– Barbell or bodyweight strength train multiple times per week.
Eat vegetables with every meal.
Don’t eat many processed carbohydrates and fats.
Jordan Syatt- 1) Eat about 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight every day
2) When you go “off track” don’t let it get to you. Because it’s going to happen — that’s just part of life. The key to long-term success is getting right back on track. If you can do that (instead of going off track and staying off track) then you’ll lose all the weight you want and keep it off for life.
3) Track your calories meticulously for 12-weeks. That’s 90-days. Weigh, measure, and track everything. After that you’ll have a whole new appreciation for portion size and that in and of itself will yield extraordinary long-term results.
Bob Thompson- Train often and train consistently. When it becomes part of your habit, almost daily, you’ll be more likely to stick with it especially when you don’t want to. And, there’s going to be plenty of days when you don’t want to.
Love the process. Losing weight, building muscle, all of this working out jazz is a long term process. If you don’t learn to fall in love with the work then it’s just going to suck. Who in their right mind is going to keep doing something they hate?
Celebrate your progress. This is a big thing I didn’t do and I see many people not doing, but, it’s something we do big time at my gyms. Take time to reflect on what you’ve been able to accomplish. This could be losing 5 pounds or 5 percent body fat. It could be hitting a personal best on an exercise or even getting off a medication. It doesn’t matter, just reflect on what your hard work is doing. It becomes all to miss these small things and beat ourselves up in the long term. When you start seeing all the positives it becomes truly addicting.
- Think less, do more. Don’t worry about making a perfect plan. Just pick some habits, and try and do them consistently for 30 days so that you actually have some data to make decisions with instead of guessing your way to a solution.
- Don’t eat sugar. It’s a simple statement, but incredibly hard to follow. If you can only change one thing about your diet, change this.
- Come up with your ‘why’. It’s not a habit, but if you don’t have a deep, meaningful reason to change—your ‘why’—then you will never succeed. Think about why you want to lose weight, and visualize the emotional pain you’ll feel now and in the future if you don’t make a change. Make the pain so real that you’d be willing to do anything to lose weight, and you will succeed.
Eric Bach– First, pick a consistent time to work out, ideally in the morning. It’s no secret that willpower decreases as the day continues, so knockin’ out a workout before the stressors of the day turn into excuses is vital for long-term fat loss. Work on this for 2-3 weeks, then add in the second habit.
Second, get vegetables at every meal. Seriously, every meal. Adding in vegetables gives your body an influx of phytonutrients and fiber to keep you full, while limiting calories on other food sources during your meals.
Third, drink more water. It sounds too basic to work, but most people run around in a dehydrated state. From a performance, health, and body composition stand-point this is bad news. Keep water at your desk and drink every ½ hour, aiming for your bodyweight in oz each day.
Nagina Abdullah– Here’s my MasalaBody.com Formula for Fat Loss:
1. Eating a high-protein, low glycemic diet (see my Split Your Plate Into These 3 Sections attachment)
2. Weight-lifting / Strength training 2x a week (30-40 min)
3. High-Intensity Interval Training 3x a week (for only 15 min!)
Jennipher Walters– 1) Do the activities you love! When you love your workouts, they don’t feel nearly as much like “work.”
2) Don’t get obsessed with the number on the scale. You’re more than a number — and weight is just one part of the puzzle. Focus on other goals like drinking more water, eating more veggies, getting your blood pressure down. There’s no need to weigh yourself more than once a week.
3) Ditch the all-or-nothing mindset. No one is perfect — and no life should be without chocolate, wine and pizza in my opinion. So follow the 80/20 rule. 80 % of the time, eat healthy foods. 20% of the time, eat what you want and just pay attention to and honor your true hunger and fullness levels. YOU CAN DO IT!
George Bryant– Like I stated before, looking at your fat loss like a marathon and not a sprint is the best outlook. We can sprint without a plan and finish, but most people can’t run a marathon without prior planning and survive or finish. You need to find a plan that works for you, that makes you urge to stick to it and then implement it for the long run. Once you have the basics down like your food, exercise and sleep there are a few things I recommend everyone incorporating into their lives.
- Learn how to forgive yourself and move on. This is life and we all make mistakes. You will only fail if you dwell on them and refuse to see the lesson and move on. Remember this, if you are the lead of a broadway musical and forget your line in the middle, you can’t curl up in a ball and cry, your only choice is to move onto the next line and let it go. Try to see your life as that performance and if you make a mistake, forget something, eat something bad then forgive yourself and move on to make it the best performance you can.
- Be open, authentic and vulnerable with anyone or everyone. If you ask any successful person, they will pretty quickly tell you they did not do it alone. By sharing your goals, dreams and struggles with someone you are creating a support system to ensure success. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to yell, yell and find someone who will hold you up long enough for you to stand on your own again. Create a powerful support system in your life.
- Reward yourself. At the end of the day this is life and we are supposed to enjoy it. No one enjoys being restricted, told no or held hostage in life, so don’t do it to yourself. When you hit milestones, goals and any accomplishments no matter how large or small, CELEBRATE IT. Create positive anchors in your brain about your accomplishments which will keep you driven to continue achieving them.
Marc Perry– Eating whole foods most of the time, training with full-body style workouts a few times a week (or more), and getting quality sleep I think is a recipe for a healthy, fit, and lean body for life.
So there you have it- straight from the experts. Now here’s what to do if you want to lose fat and keep it off: first, sign up for my free mailing list using the form below if you haven’t done so already. Second, pick two of the experts featured here and join their mailing lists as well- and become regular readers of their blogs. Third, follow the advice in my free ebook, Lose 2 Inches in 2 Months, which you’ll receive when you join my mailing list.
And finally, and most importantly- focus on implementing what you learn from me and the two other experts you choose. While other people are reading ten different fitness websites and taking no action, you’ll be losing fat consistently, by following a lifestyle you enjoy and can sustain forever.