In this article, I’m going to share five strategies with you to help you get to your leanest physique ever. In fact, if you’ve ever watched movies where Hollywood actors get into incredible shape – this is exactly what they do. They get super lean and that’s what makes them look incredible.
Now it’s first important to note that fat loss is very different the leaner you are. In other words, if you are 18% body fat then losing weight will be much easier than losing weight at 12 or even 10% body fat. The difference comes down to hormones, especially leptin.
Our bodies are inherently wired for survival. As we close in on essential levels of body fat, hunger is increased, metabolism is blunted and fat loss can become greatly reduced.
These five tips I’m about to share with you will allow you to continue to lose body fat all the way to perfectly chiseled abs. Lets begin
Rule Number One – Don’t Try To Lose Weight Quickly
Here’s the deal, the leaner you are the smaller your calorie deficit must become. If you are 9% body fat then cutting your calories too low will only bite you in the butt. This is because we are wired for survival. The number one priority is to avoid letting you starve to death. If your calorie deficit is too severe then muscle loss will accelerate, metabolism will decline and a ravenous appetite will ensure. This means you will likely lose muscle, cheat on your diet and gain fat.
Working harder isn’t always smarter. In fact, the leaner you get the more important it is to work with your body not against it. If you’re below 12% body fat, I recommend keeping the calorie deficit around 300-500 below maintenance. Anything greater than a 500 calorie deficit will create more issues.
For example, if you burn 2500 calories per day then you would want to eat about 2000-2200 calories per day. As far as fat loss is concerned, your goal should be to lose 0.5-1 lbs of fat per week (or about 2-4 lbs of fat loss per month). This is really, really important.
Everyone tries to rush fat loss and that’s why they are never able to get to their goal and maintain it. They are fighting against their body, not working with it.
If you’re around 9-12% body fat then give yourself a pat on the back. You’re already pretty damn lean and fit. Take your time getting to the 6-8% body fat range. If you don’t you will be running around in circles.
Rule Number Two – Don’t Cut Out Carbs
Here’s the deal – when it comes down to achieving a low body fat, the hormone we must really optimize is leptin. Leptin regulates our hunger and activity level. The research is quite clear, carbohydrate intake increases leptin.
If you cut out carbs then leptin becomes down-regulated and you start to hit the fat loss wall. Your metabolism slows down, hunger increases and energy decreases.
This is why a lot of people can successfully lose weight on a low carb approach. However, they almost always hit a sticking point and can’t seem to break through it.
If they stay on a low carb diet for too long, their metabolism becomes impaired and they end up having to eat modest calories to simply maintain their weight.
This is a bad place to be and it almost feels like if you look at food you will gain weight. For the record, I’ve been in this position and wasn’t able to fix it until I began eating carbs again.
Just remember this, a low carb diet is a quick fix and not a lasting solution. Even if a low carb diet did not down-regulate leptin, thyroid and your metabolism and training performance, it still isn’t optimal.
Are you really going to never eat carbs again or just eat carbs once per week? How boring is that? My preferred strategy is to incorporate a moderate amount of carbohydrates into the proper total calorie intake.
These carbs support training performance, mood and yes metabolism.
Rule Number Three – Eat Your Carbs after Training and At Night
Most fitness trainers believe you should eat all of your carbs in the morning and cut out carbs at night. This strategy is actually the exact opposite of what your body wants.
In fact, in the morning cortisol levels are elevated, growth hormone spikes and sugar levels are low (provided you’re doing intermittent fasting). This is actually the perfect storm for mobilizing and burning body fat.
That said, if you eat a lot of carbs in the morning, high levels of cortisol combined with being in a fed state can create the perfect hormonal environment for fat storage.
I find it’s best to eat most of your carbs at dinner and after training. This seems to work best and is most enjoyable. I mean wouldn’t your rather be able to fill up on delicious potatoes for dinner than have to just eat meat and veggies?
Interestingly enough, we actually have research comparing a high carb breakfast vs a high carb dinner. What we have found is that the high carb dinner group actually maintained more muscle, lost more fat and experienced higher levels of leptin.
It seems quite evident that we are designed to eat more calories and carbs in the evening and eat lighter in the morning/day.
Rule Number Four – Perform a High-Calorie Refeed 1-2x per week
When you only have 5-15 lbs of fat left to lose you don’t have the luxury of always eating at a calorie deficit. If you do this your body will eventually rebound.
The solution is to utilize 1-2 high carb refeed days per week. This is where you eat around maintenance calories with lots of carbs to surge your leptin levels.
These high carb refeed days also help support training performance and muscle mass. By utilizing 1-2 refeed days per week, you also help maintain a higher metabolism and lock in a low body fat.
For example, if you were to always eat at a calorie deficit, it’s likely you would rebound in weight once you finished your cut and began eating more.
This is because your body believes it’s in a food shortage. Metabolism slows down and once higher calories are introduced it wants to store those calories as body fat for survival purposes.
By doing strategic refeeds you signal to your body that there is no food shortage. As a result, your metabolism functions optimally and you’re better able to achieve and maintain a lower body fat.
I recommend eating around 15-16 calories per pound of bodyweight on these refeed days. If you’re above 10% then I recommend just doing 1 refeed day per week. If you’re under 10% body fat then 2 refeed days is ideal. I like to spread them apart (wednesday and saturday or sunday for example).
Rule Number Five – Utilize a Muscle Up Phase Every 8-12 Weeks
This is one of the key strategies I added to the Warrior Shredding Program 2.0. In the past I found that the biggest challenge my clients were facing was hitting a sticking point.
They would lose fat and gain muscle and make amazing results and then they’d hit this wall. Fat loss would stop and they would get frustrated.
In my private Facebook group for the warrior shredding clients I would always tell them to take a full 4 weeks to eat maintenance calories every day.
They were always shocked at the advice. They thought I’d tell them to drop the calories. Heck no!!! That would only make things worse.
Invariable, whenever they followed my advice they broke through their sticking point with ease! Over the course of the four-week muscle up phase, they became stronger, harder and sharper.
Then, when they went back to their cutting phase, they got leaner really, really quickly! This is because eating at maintenance for four weeks serves to rebook and up-regulate your metabolism and your testosterone.
In the past I called it a diet break or maintenance period, but I didn’t like this. Since it just felt like we were taking a fat loss break. I find it’s better if you can attach a positive goal.
So instead of waiting to be able to improve your body. You are able to keep improving your body but in a different way (gaining muscle not losing fat).
That’s why I call it the muscle up phase. Since after a period of dieting, your body is primed to gain muscle faster once you begin eating more.
In the Warrior Shredding Program we do a full one month muscle up phase after every 8-12 weeks of cutting (depending on what stage you are at).
These five strategies will allow you to get into razor sharp shape and maintain it with ease. It took me years to uncover these strategies. Before I learned them, I was killing myself to get lean with nothing to show for it.
If you want to achieve the lean and chiseled movie star body then I recommend joining my Warrior Shredding Program. It’s a 6 month program designed to get you leaner, stronger and sharper, while putting on muscle in the right places.