The bottom line when it comes to losing weight or burning fat is that, you need to be in a caloric deficit. This simply means you need to consume fewer calories than you use or burn per day.
We all burn a significant amount of calories in a rested state, on average this has been found to be about 45 calories per hour. This is called Basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is simply the calories that you body uses to perform basic, life-sustaining functions. BMR can vary from person to person depending on you weight, height and age. You can work yours using this calculator. On top of this we then burn calories from our physical activities or exercise. To answer the question “what is the fastest way to burn body fat”is simple; consume fewer calories than you use.
“Giving good advice at the wrong time becomes bad advice“.
To give good advice to someone who wants to “lose weight” or burn fat is dependent on what body fat percentage they are starting from.
For example to advise someone who is over 30% body fat to swap from white rice to brown rice, to do fasted state cardio or to take any type of supplements is really not important at this stage. The mistakes that are being made when someone is above 30% body fat are a lot bigger than swapping from white rice to brown rice.
There are many ways to measure your body fat percentage, some more accurate than others. My opinion and the easiest way to get an idea of what range you in, is to have a visual check. Below are some example images of what a particular body fat percentage may look like. Remember fat is not stored in the same way with everyone. This is just to give you an idea of where you are.
Below I will split body fat percentages into 4 ranges and then advise separately on what I believe you might need to do to lose weight/burn fat.
Someone at the lower end a particular range who already implemented all the advice given in that range will then want to start looking at the advice given in the lower range.
A particular body fat percentage between men and women can’t be determined as being at the same level of physic. For example, 22% body fat would be considered average for a man, whereas the same percentage could be considered ‘fit’ for a woman.
The information given below will be generalized into ranges for both sexes and it is not an exact science for either male or female.
30-40+% Body Fat
In this range you are making the basic mistakes. You most probably know about the obvious foods and drinks that you shouldn’t be consuming. You probably know you need to get you arse of the sofa and do some exercise. It’s just going to take a bit of effort and commitment to get things moving in the right direction.
A female at 30-35% body fat is considered to be at the high end of average. A male at 35% body fat would be considered morbidly obese.
The good news is, this is probably the easiest range to get out of. Making the simplest changes in this range will have a big impact. You don’t have to be perfect to start making progress. In fact trying to be perfect in this range will probably set you back. Trying to have the perfect nutrition plan and trying to jump straight into high intensity interval training 5 days a week is setting yourself up for failure at this point.
You’re focus should always be nutrition, at this stage it means making simple changes like cutting out the foods and drinks that you shouldn’t be consuming. You don’t need a perfect nutrition plan at this stage you just need to start moving in the right direction.
Below are some examples of the foods and drinks you might be consuming. The aim here is to start swapping or cutting out these foods and drinks from you daily nutrition. These are just some most obvious examples.
- High Sugar content cereals
- Added Sugar (like having sugar in tea or sprinkling sugar on you breakfast)
- Chocolate bars or spreads
- Fast foods
- Chips/French fries
- Deep fried foods
- Large amounts of Bread
- Large amounts of white pasta
- Excessive source with meals (like adding mayo or ketchup. Using high sugar content jar cooking sources)
- Excessive amounts of Alcohol (roughly 250 calories in 1 pint of beer)
- Fizzy drinks
- High sugar energy drinks
- Sugary coffee drinks (those made with cream, whole milk and syrup, can contain a high number of calories)
It is recommended that the average person should drink at least 1.5 letters of water every day. Not only is essential for you’re health, it’s also good to help you to keep a feeling of fullness. Also, a lot of the time feeling hungry can be mistaken for needing more water.
You want to start doing some form of exercise, even if it’s very little at first. Although this isn’t you focus at this stage, it is important to start moving and doing something. Even if it’s just walking around the block and gradually increasing you distance or you speed until you can jog around the block once, twice, three times etc.
The aim here is to start doing something and gradually build up the intensity. It’s not overly important what type of exercise you do at this stage, as long as you make a start and gradually progress.
Remember you don’t want to go too hard to fast, this will most probably result in injury or you will crash and burn once the novelty where’s off. This means you are less likely to stay consistent, feel like you’ve failed and give up. Just start slowly and up the intensity gradually, let you body acclimatize to the new physical stress that you will be putting it under.
This isn’t something you should be focusing on at this stage. Making the simple and obvious changes is you priority. You need to learn what to get out of you diet before you start adding supplements to it. Supplements will not fix the obvious problems at this stage.
20-30% Body Fat
In this range you have some form of nutrition discipline, although it’s probably not good enough to get you to the body fat percentage range that you would like to be in. You might already be doing some form of exercise or When you have followed advice in the above range and moved into this range you would have started and have been progressing you exercise intensity.
A male approaching the lower end of this range is at an average level of physic. A female at the lower end of this range is at a good level of physic, some women athletes would be at the lower end of this range. The average man probably falls somewhere in the 20 – 24% body fat range, The average women falls somewhere in the 27-29% range. Whereas 25% is the marker for obesity for men.
Now you want to start perfecting you nutrition that bit further. It’s a good idea to have another check through you daily nutrition and cut out any other remaining things you might have kept in there as a treat or something you might have just cut down on and now it’s time to cut it out completely or swap it for a healthier option.
You’re going to want to start looking at the quality of each meal, making sure you have a good source of protein in every meal, some good examples of good protein choices are; skinless chicken breast, fillet fish and lean beef steak. Having a sufficient protein intake helps with weight loss. Also, protein is going to become even more important as you progress with you exercise/workouts.
You’re now going to also want to start looking at portion size and meal frequency. You might be having six meals a day, three meals a day or maybe skipping meals during the day and only having one meal in the evening. I’m not going to advise you that eating little and often is better for weight loss, nor am I going to advise that eating one meal a day is better for weight loss. The fact to remember; consuming fewer calories than you use per day will result in weight/fat lose.
I personally eat 4 to 5 times per day, which normally goes something like this; breakfast-lunch-snack-dinner-snack. I feel this works best for me, If I don’t eat regularly I start to feel starved and crave, which then leads me to make bad food choices or having an over sized portion to satisfy my hunger. When I get to the point of being starved I don’t crave a healthy salad! Its important not to allow yourself to get to this point, the most important thing is to do whatever works best for you and whatever is the most sufficient way for you to stay consistent.
For me eating more often, not skipping meals and controlling my portion size is important. When I eat more often I’m less likely to make bad food choices, it helps keep my mental focus and performance at its best and it helps me avoid the peaks and valleys in my mood and energy levels.
Staying as consistent as possible is a must! but being 100% perfect isn’t. It didn’t take you a week or even a month to get you to where you are now, it’s going to take time to get yourself to where you want to be. Don’t let a cheat meal become a cheat day! Or a cheat day become a cheat week! Stay consistent and keep focused on you goal.
Once you have cut out all the foods and drinks that you know you shouldn’t be having in you daily diet, you manage your calorie intake and you consume a sufficient amount of water per day, you now need to stay consistent with it!
At this point you should have progressed to an intense level of exercise and be doing this at least a few times a week. You’re going to want to continue to increase the intensity as you become fitter and stronger.
It’s a good idea to start doing some basic abdominal exercises, like crunches and planks. A Strong core is important to stabilize you body, this is specially important now that you are progressing with increasing intensity with your exercise/workouts.
It’s important to start slowly with abdominal workouts, don’t try to do some more advanced abnormal workouts at this point, this will probably lead to injuries, you’re more than likely to feel lower back pain if you try to progress to quickly with the abdominal workouts. This is because your abdominal muscles are not strong enough and the lower back tries over compensates for the insufficient abdominal strength. Start with the basics and increase gradually.
You want to consider starting some form of resistance workout, if you haven’t already, this will help you burn fat faster and also start to increase muscle strength, size and tone. It will also help you avoid that “skinny fat” look.
Again as mentioned previously, if you are new to resistance workouts it is important to start slowly and up the intensity gradually. Don’t just go in the gym and start throwing heavy weights around or swinging around on a pull up bar trying to do 100 pull-ups on you first attempt. Getting you technique and form right is more important.
This now may become helpful and a consideration for you, supplements can help you stay consistent by being a convenient snack or meal choice. Also, now that your exercise routine has intensified you might want to consider a protein shake to meet you protein requirements. This is important for weight loss and muscle recovery. See my thee favourite protein powders
15-20% Body Fat
In this range you should have a fairly good nutrition plan and be staying fairly consistent with it, you should be at a good fitness level and have a regular and consistent exercise/workout routine which you are preforming at a fairly intense level.
Anyone in this range should give themselves a tap on the back, people in this range are considered to have a better than average physic. The majority of people fall into one of the ranges above this. For a lot of people this will be enough and they will be happy maintaining this level of physic and fitness. That is fully understandable because It’s a better than average level.
For most men in this range there will be some muscle definition in areas but hardly any vascularity. For women at the higher end of this range (18-20%) is more reasonable to maintain, it would be considered an athletic look. Some women performing at higher levels of fitness would prefer this look as it retains some curves.
This range can be one of the hardest ranges to progress from because it requires a lot of dedication and the most consistency.
It’s time to perfect you nutrition a bit further, for example; when I decided to started eating healthier I replaced my sugary chocolate cereal for the flavoured packet oats, although this is a step in the right direction, it isn’t perfect. Once I got into the habit of having oats, I then perfected it further by having whole grain rolled oats. Rather than having deep-fried chips/French fries with my meals I started having rice, once I got into a habit of eating rice I perfected it further by swapping to brown rice. Swapping to sweet potato is another good example. The goal is to take another check though you daily diet and perfect it that bit further.
The intensity of you workouts should be at a good level now and you should always be trying to push that bit further. It’s now important to get some Variation in you training, doing the same workouts over and over again is going to get boring and you muscles are going to get used to it. This will make you workouts less effective and keep you in this range, so keep shocking you body to provoke a reaction to change.
Keeping consistent with you exercise/workouts is now essential. You should be aiming to improve at least a bit on every workout. You’re Abdominal exercise should be at a good level now and moving on to some more advanced ab exercises.
Supplements are going to be very helpful and probably very important to many at this stage. It’s going to help you stay on track with you nutrition and help you with you recovery from you workouts. It’s important to be putting the best fuel into your body to get the best out at this stage. For more information on supplements I have made a separate post showing my favourite four supplements. Also, see my post on my favourite three types of protein powders.
10-14% Body Fat
For a man At 10% body fat all three rows of the abs should be visible, above 10% they will probably only show the abs under certain light. 10% For a woman is extremely low, and would probably be seen on professional female body-builders.
10% is a good target for a lot of men as it is more sustainable than the single digits, if you get to this percentage you will have the six-pack and be in very good shape, ecstatically and physically. Well done to you if this is your goal and you’ve made it!
To progress into the single digits is going to take absolute dedication, I’m not going to advise any further in this post as I feel it deserves its own separate post, which will explain the process in more detail. I will be doing a post on this, that I will probably call- “into the single digits” I will post the link here once I’ve uploaded it.
Good luck to you all! Stay focused, stay consistent and keep lean!
If you ever need a hand or have Any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,