12 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Nutrition, Training

12 Reasons You're Not Losing Fat - Arnold Approved.1) You’re Eating Too Many Calories

This should be pretty obvious to most people, but there are still those who are claiming that you can eat all you want as long as you avoid carbs.

That’s just not true. At the end of the day you need to eat less. It’s really simple.

If you’re eating the right amount of healthy food it would be hard NOT to lose fat. Most people eat way more than they think they do.

Eating less is challenging. That’s why most people look for another answer. Consuming just 2500 calories per day requires some discipline. But then so does anything else worthwhile that you’d want to accomplish.

When you’re not losing fat the way you want to the solution is pretty simple. Eat less food.

2) You’re Not Eating Enough Calories

This is the opposite side of the coin, #obvs. Some people diet too hard and in turn basically shut off their metabolism.

When you cut calories too low your thyroid will shut down and losing fat will become very difficult. One easy way to monitor this is by taking your temperature when you wake up. If it starts dipping way below normal you’ll know you’ve royally fucked your metabolism.

At that point the best thing you can do is crank your calories through the roof for a while. Nothing else will help. Unfortunately, this may be a very long process of eating your way back to a steady 98.6 degree temperature. But you’ll be a lot healthier in the long run for it.

3) You’re Looking for the Quick Fix or Latest Celebrity Diet

How long did it take you to get fat? How much time and effort went into it? How many shitty meals did you have to eat and how many training sessions did you have to miss?

Add all that up and you’ll get an estimate of how long it’s going to take you to lose that fat.

There are no quick fixes. That kind of crap doesn’t work and you always rebound and gain the fat back later. The only thing that works is a complete lifestyle change.

Eating healthy has to become habitual. It’s something you do every day without thinking about it or frantically counting and weighing all day some kind of neurotic lunatic.

You have to accept that eating a balanced diet of protein, carbs and fat is where it’s at. No foods are solely responsible for fat gain. And there is no food that will magically make the fat fall of your body.

4) You’re Eating Too Much Fat

Speaking of trendy diets…

Some people buy into the no carb bullshit. They cut carbs and assume that they’re good to go and there’s nothing else to worry about. Unfortunately, the low/no carb diet isn’t as much fun as Dr. Atkins made it out to be.

You can’t just eat pounds of bacon and mayonnaise with reckless abandon and think that you’ll magically end up ripped.

Fat contains calories; nine per gram to be exact. That’s more than twice the calories of a gram of protein or carbs. At the end of the day total calories still matter, and if you’re eating more than you burn you’re never going to get ripped.

Please don’t mistake this as my advocating a low fat diet. That’s just as bad as eating too much fat.

About 20% of your calories (and at the most, 30%) should come from healthy fats like pastured egg yolks, wild caught salmon, grass fed beef and coconut oil to ensure optimal health. Just be careful about going overboard with it and thinking that low carbs automatically leads to single digit body-fat.

You still need to keep a handle on things like total calories.

And carbs are NOT evil. They help you lose fat, feel better and perform optimally.

5) You’re Drinking Too Many Protein Shakes

When you want to get ripped it’s always better to chew as many of your calories as possible. The very act of chewing and digesting solid food burns more calories than drinking shakes does. Most physique competitors cut out shakes when getting ready for a show. Take note and learn the lesson. One small one after a workout is okay but that’s it. I wouldn’t be slugging down three a day. And if you really want to get ripped I strongly consider cutting them out completely.

6) You’re Eating Too Many Nuts

Nuts have a lot of calories that can add up quickly.  When dieting for fat loss you’re better off filling up on nutritionally dense foods that don’t pack a lot of calories, like green vegetables.

Not too many people can eat ten almonds. And that’s about the most you’d be allowed per day on a fat loss diet. Most people eat ten handfuls of almonds. That can easily put you over your daily calorie and fat limit.

Nuts can also be problematic/allergenic for a lot of people, especially those with digestive or auto immune issues. As Paleo Solution author Robb Wolf has noted, nuts should be used the same way you use condiments- sparingly.

The last problem with nuts it that they contain a lot of polyunsaturated fat. People get into trouble when they have too much Omega 6 in their diet and not enough Omega 3. Saturated fat is usually better for improving your metabolism than unsaturated fat.

7) You’re Not Training With Enough Resistance

When you want to lose body-fat the first inclination is often to crank up the reps and cut the rest periods. I actually have no problem with fairly low rest periods.

But not if you’re used to resting two minutes between sets and all of the sudden cut them down to thirty seconds because you decided it was time to get shredded you’ll be in trouble.

That never works. All that happens is your weights start plummeting on every exercise and you get weaker and smaller.

When dieting, the primary role of strength training is to maintain muscle mass. That is the single most important thing.

If you’re trying to lose 10-20 pounds of body-fat without losing all your muscle mass in the process you should use strength training as a way to maintain size and strength. So the same principles that helped you get big and strong apply when dieting.

8) You’re Overdoing Cardio

Traditional forms of cardio are largely useless for fat loss.

But useless is even okay, it’s when it starts to be counterproductive that we have a real problem. Excessive amounts of cardio lead to an overproduction of cortisol which leads to more abdominal fat and numerous health problems.

If you want to do cardio that won’t actually hurt you and could do you some good, go for a long walk.

Sled work builds muscle, burns fat and is irreplaceable

9) You’re Not Running Sprints or Doing Sled Work

Dieting is the most important thing for fat loss.

After that you should be doing some form of strength training to maintain your muscle mass. When you have those to things dialed in you’ll want to add in some type of sprinting or sled work. There is nothing more effective for fat loss.

See all wide receivers, defensive backs, sprinters, soccer players, etc. for proof. Two 12-20 minute sprint or sled sessions per week will be enough for most people to get ripped.

10) You’re Not Managing Stress Properly

When you get stressed out your body produces a hormone known as cortisol. This increases bodyfat storage if it’s not controlled. Most people are stressed out all day long which means their cortisol levels are always high. That leads to an increase in bodyfat even if your diet and training are perfect.

So make sure to take the time for stress management every single day. It HAS to be built into your routine the same way that brushing your teeth or eating is. It’s that important.

In the hierarchy of fat loss stress management may actually be the single most important factor.

Here are some good ways to manage your stress:

  • Meditate
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Get a pet
  • Learn to say no
  • Don’t feel the need to reply to every text, email, phone call, tweet or comment you receive
  • Cut out the negative people in your life
  • Get rid of your to-do list
  • Spend more time outside
  • Make time for laughter every day
  • Schedule more fun stuff with friends
  • Volunteer
  • Stop watching the evening news
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Get regular massages
  • Take  yoga

Stress management is an essential key to fat loss.

11) You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep

When you’re short on sleep your insulin sensitivity decreases and your cortisol goes up. Both things lead to less than optimal fat loss. In fact, sleep deprivation can actually lead to fat gain.

You also miss out on the critically important Growth Hormone boost that comes each night during deep sleep. If you want to lose more fat you have to get more sleep. Most people will ignore this and some of you are probably reading this at 2am.

Unfortunately this just might be the most important thing on the whole list.

Some tips to improve your sleep are:

  • Get outside in natural light for 15-30 minutes first thing in the morning.
  • Work out earlier in the day.
  • Don’t have caffeine after 12pm.
  • Turn the lights down in your house after dark.
  • Don’t look at phone or computer screens two hours before bed.
  • Remove electronics from the bedroom.
  • Use the bed only for sleep and sex.
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible.
  • Invest in a really good bed. You spend 1/3 of your life in bed. So it’s worth investing in the best bed you can afford.
  • Keep the bedroom cool. 68 degrees seems to be about right for most people.

More sleep improves EVERYTHING. Make it a priority.

12) You’re Not Sticking to the Plan

In the age of information overload the biggest roadblock to fat loss is program ADD. One week you’re doing high fat, the next week you’re doing high carbs, then no cardio, followed by cardio every day, and on and on.

Fat loss is a simple science. There is a proven path that works. You just have to stick with it long enough to see results. The most you can lose is about two pounds of fat per week. Unless you’re over 300 pounds. In that case you’ll lose more. If you’re leaner you’ll be able to lose less. Nothing you can do will change that. It’s human physiology.

Bodybuilders and field athletes are the leanest people on earth. What do they do each week:

  • Eat protein, vegetables, fruit and starch every day
  • Never go too low on carbs
  • Strength train 3-4 times
  • Sprint or do some kind of high intensity interval training 1-3 times
  • Expend more calories than they consume
  • Manage stress
  • Sleep

The last thing I’d add is to simply walk more. Get a FitBit or use the Health app on your iPhone and shoot for 10,000 steps per day.

Don’t sit when you can stand, and build movement into your daily routine. A sedentary life equals death.

It’s a simple plan, easy to follow, and it works. Forget the quick fixes and make it a lifestyle.

Good luck.

If you liked this post could you do me a huge favor and share it with others who might get something out of it as well? Thank you!


134 Responses to 12 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat

  1. Aaron January 31, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Hi Jay:

    I found this article very interesting, especially the bit about fruit. I currently eat 3 apples per day and a small handful of almonds. Is that too much? I think my body fat is between 12 and 15 right now. CB recommends apples because of the fibre so I went with those for my fruit choice. When is the Renegage Diet coming out? How much will it cost?


    • Jason Ferruggia February 9, 2012 at 10:35 am #

      I’d probably cut it to two. I like berries better but green apples are okay.

  2. Justin January 31, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    I would like to know this as well. Thought it was coming out today! All the reviews i’m hearing on inner circle are making me anxious to try it out. Give us the 411 bro!

  3. Martin February 3, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    I combine cardio sessions with my lifting sessions to get the most out of fat loss, and it works wonders. What that means is that I train 3X per week so there will be 3 cardio sessions in there.

    One of my favorite type of cardio is actually elliptical. I do HIIT on it mixed up with low to moderate intensity. After about 20,25 minutes I am covered with layers of sweat and can really feel the effect of a solid good cardio.

    And I do respect myself very much, Jay.

    It’s the other ‘pink dumbell, cardio’ ladies and ‘fuckaround’ guys who make the elliptical machines look bad.

    You can really get a good cardio workout out of elliptical if you KNOW how to do it.

  4. GP@Calgary February 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Amen about sleep. When my kids were tiny, my wife was the ‘schedule nazi’, especially around bed/nap times. She would say “If sleep doesn’t happen, nothing happens”.

    Within a few weeks of being born, both kids were sleeping through the night, and always ate well.

    Apparently, this approach works wonders with adults too…;)

  5. Billy February 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Great article. Thanks for sharing

  6. Anh February 4, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    I am so glad I found this article! I am training for my first figure competition, which is 9 weeks away, and I still have a lot of fat to cut through although I am building muscle well. There’s a lot of confusing information out there about nutrition and this article really helped clarify some things. I need to remember to do my refeeding once a week.

  7. David - The Natural Health Service February 5, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    I’m on a fat loss program at the moment, so there’s some useful information here highlighting areas I can tighten up on.

    Amazing how many people think you can eat as much fat as you want if you keep the carbs low. Like you say, it just isn’t so.

  8. AntonSambo February 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Do u have any diet or exercise suggestions for me( I have a Fatty Liver)? Im 6 4″ now Im at 310 pounds now. Have to be around 265-270. Im the same size as Brock Lesnar with almost a Roy Nelson gut. It sucks. Thanks a lot in advance.
    PS. your book on MMA conditioning kicks ass!

  9. Jeremy February 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I totally agree. Well written and I like the new look and feel of your blog.

  10. Randall Lightbown February 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Yes! Thanks for posting all this good information.

    If nut butters are made with nuts that have been soaked and baked, then I can see how they will be more digestible. I always soak raw nuts i filtered water with a bit of sea salt for 18-24hrs, then put them in the oven a low for 10-20 hours until they are dry and crunchy but not burnt. Ever since I have done that, I can digest them better. Most if not all nuts contain enzyme inhibitors that can irritate the mouth and cause digestive problems.

  11. Caveman February 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Nicely put:

    No self respecting man should ever be spotted on an elliptical machine.

    I would add

    No self respecting man or woman should ever be spotted on an elliptical machine, threadmill or stationary bike (*)

    (*) unless doing sprints on the bike, and only if you have knee problems that prevent doing honest all out sprints

    • Jason Ferruggia February 9, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      I like it.

    • David C. February 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

      Caveman and Jason, Although I like the article and you provide some great information, I’m gonna disagree with the Elliptical opinion. I didn’t like the device at first but got the hang of it. Since May of 2011(I started out at 5’9″ and 274 lbs!) I have dropped a total of 62 lbs of body weight and significantly increased my overall strength and muscle size. It would probably be safe to say I’ve lost over 70 lbs of FAT. The elliptical for cardio and Weight Training have been the main components of my quest. I have only recently started HIIT to kick start a plateau. Otherwise great information and I appreciate your sharing! I will definitely take a look at the book.

  12. Alex February 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Solid Info !!!

  13. marc February 6, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    Really good read, looking forward to the renegade diet.

  14. Steve MacCormack February 6, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    Great stuff J! when is the release date for the Renegade Diet Bro??!!??

  15. Kanatatsu February 6, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    This advice is garbage.

  16. Brian February 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t have carbs before bed because your body is likely to store them as body fat. So I guess that isn’t true?

  17. Jason Ferruggia February 9, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    I was talking about the grams of protein per ounce of meat, chicken or fish.

  18. Amy Hunt, PhD February 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    I have to disagree that traditional forms of cardio dont help with fat loss. This statement is too general. It really depends on how much someone needs to lose. For example, if someone is trying to lose 100 pounds, they would see results from an elliptical trainer if they had been totally sedentary before. The article has some good info but general statements can confuse individuals who are already overwhelmed by the amount of “health” info available.

  19. Erika February 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is .8 to 1 grams per KILO per day, not per pound. Meaning your 135 lb woman would be 61 kilos hence needing only 49 to 61 grams of protein a day…only intense body builders need 1.5 to 2 g/k/d

  20. Jonathan February 12, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Hi Jason,

    I am re-posting to see if it was just by some mistake that my comment was deleted or if it was considered too critical. I hope not.

    I have used your MSG program with great results and check in regularly to see what other tips you might have that I can incorporate into my training.

    I am just curious as to what information you are basing some of your dietary recommendations on. A quick look at Pubmed shows that nuts are almost always implicated in health-promotion and apparently have no negative effects on BMI (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19321572 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20820955) and in fact can help maintain a lean body despite frequent intake.

    I am also curious as to where the concept of eliminating certain foods due to some people’s allergies comes from? If one were to eliminate glutenous grains and tree nuts, for example, on this basis one would need to eliminate meat (due the allergic response to the proteins or the carbohydrate component of fresh meat), fish and seafood (including such fish as salmon!), and berries, among other foods. This would leave you with greens as your only dietary choice. This seems rather limited. I personally avoided eating glutenous grains for quite a while and found that my digestion greatly IMPROVED upon consuming some wheat ( the worst of them all!).

    As anecdotal evidence that fruits, nuts, and grains, don’t inhibit fat loss (atleast not for me) I have just recently gone from 10 % body fat to 5% body fat while gaining two and a half kilos of lean body mass…all while eating substantial amounts of fruit, nuts, and some grains.

    I would love to hear what studies or research you might have to support your claims. Because a lot of people are taking your word for it and eliminating foods that are possibly the best things they could be eating for their own health.


    • Gary Deagle February 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

      Just because Jay recommends something that he has experienced personally and through his gym members and thousands of others he has helped doesn’t mean its the only way.

      They are suggestions and opinions through real world trial and error. I can just as easily argue the opposite of what you experienced and that I lose bodyfat best with meat, veggies, and a potato refeed. A buddy of mine did a fitness show and hit a plateau, when he cut out nuts he broke through it and reached 5 -6 % bodyfat. Meaning it worked for him without a scientific study to back it up.

      There is more than one way to do it, but from personal experience if you put Jays recommendations into practice you will see results for your self, no scientific college studys needed.

    • Alex February 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      i also eat them all on a daily basis, of course i dont overeat them, and have never had a problem both bulking or cutting..
      Food allergies and intolerancies vary so much from person to person that thinking that what works wonders for one might be good for all might be a misconception.
      Off course some foods are a bit more difficuld to digest, and that varies from person to person, but totally eliminating that food just because it takes it bit more time to digest well, might be just loosing out on some very good nutrients.. i wouldnt eat them before a workout for example, but i wouldn’t deffinitly eliminate it from my diet unless i have real allergie or real digestive problemr or intolerance symptoms, and those are not hard to miss..
      This is the problem with diet programes that are made one size to fit all, it is just impossible to do one, it must be done individually and accordigly to the different person, body type, schedule, individual taste, metabolism, environment, etc..
      I understand the difficuld work it must be to know so much about training and diet and yet struglle to try to write a generic programe.

    • Jason Ferruggia February 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      Sounds good, man. Looks like it’s working for you. Keep it up

  21. Jonathan February 14, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    I apologize if I came across a little strong. I realize these suggestions might work. I just think that as you, Gary, said this list seems far too simplistic. There are people with amazing physiques who may follow completely different diets. That is why, I think,physique is not always the best way to assess health. But that’s a tangent. The point was, that there are plenty of people out there who do tolerate gluten and grains, and can even lose bodyfat and get ripped by eating substantial amounts of nuts, seeds, grains, and fruits. To say these are the things hindering them seems off and misleading. Fruit can only lead to triglyceride synthesis when there is an excess of calories.

    My own experience is by no means a way of saying what I did is the best way. I was merely stating that the model of a hunter-gatherer society is very hypothetical and studies of people nowadays are much more important in understanding of our physiology than speculation about how often our ancestors ate berries.

  22. Dilan February 14, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    When you say small amounts of whey, would that be a typical 20g one scoop amount?

  23. Justin February 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm #


    I had a feeling about the carb in the evening thing after reading a bit of research or an article about how carbs lower a certain hormone in the body that makes us more sleepy while protein raises it and makes us more awake.

    many people recommend carbs earlier in the day mornings only and post workout (most carb cycling that i have read) Just wanted to thank you for confirming that suspicion I had and ask if you find any large difference between having carbs in morning only or evening only and why the apparent discrepancy.

    Thanks in advance.

  24. Alex February 15, 2012 at 2:16 am #

    I just have to say that i have been trying this strategy in terms of carb cycling for a while and it works wonders !!
    I just have protein and fats at breakfast, then i have my carbs at my mid morning snack and lunch, on my pre workout meal again i just have protein, having carbs again post workout and dinner and just protein and fats before bed. i can say i never felt so energetic during my workouts, been breaking some PR’s..
    It goes completely against the logic and common sense but really works.
    Keep it up !!

  25. Jason Ferruggia February 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    @Jessica- No clue. And if you live in that kind of weather, then yeah, you have very few choices. I’d do some battling ropes, prowler, swings instead most of the time, though and add in some low intensity treadmill/bike.

  26. Jason Ferruggia February 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Yup. Please send me a check.

    • Dave June 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

      Geez people really freak the f*ck out when you insult their elliptical lol. The point is that your workout should be challenging. If walking slowly is challenging to you, then start with that. But after you’ve been training for a while the slow cardio stuff just doesn’t do much other than burn a few calories. So, as soon as you hop off the bike and eat something you’ve just negated your workout. Training that builds muscle has an effect for the entire day, not just when you’re lifting. =)

  27. John Mulry February 21, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Great Tips Jay,

    I’m defo with ya on da nuts too!! people think ever since it starting becoming widesread that nuts contain healthy fats they think they’ve a free rane to scoff them no end. I haven’t got into sled running ret but I encourage a lot of resisted runs, shuffles and bearcrawls in bands.

    Must start dong some sley runs and too.

    Thanks man :)

  28. Shawnya March 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Hi Jay-

    So avoiding carbs in the evening (even on off days) is a bad move? My only challenge with doubling the protein per sitting is digestion (more than 4 egg whites at a time makes me nauseous!). I’ll give it a try though.

    I do agree with the insulin spike with the protein powders ( I always say they make me hungrier although they can be convenient).

    Thanks for your blog!

  29. Niel Rishoi May 17, 2012 at 7:45 am #


    FYI to add to Jason’s words.

  30. Kevin Davis May 17, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Great post Jason, ESPECIALLY number 10…I can’t say that enough to people!!!

  31. John May 17, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Just hafto say that everything i have learned about strength traning, it’s from this guy. Your awesome, keep it up!

  32. Patrick May 17, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Good stuff J. You hit the nail on the head…these are my EXACT issues. Too much fruit, too many almonds/pistach./cashews, Not enough sprints/sled work. I’m lifting pretty heavy, but I could stand to up the intensity a bit. And of course, I go to sleep at 11-11:30, and wake up at 5:45am. Not enough sleep. I operate much better when I get to bed around 10pm. Thanks for kickin the knowledge!

  33. Joy May 17, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Great post and worth sharing- I especially liked the points on overdoing cardio, not training heavy enough, and the issues with whey protein- all are key for coaches like me who train athletes who compete in weight classes, both male and female. many MMA athletes don’t sleep well, push the fine line between doing enough training to be ready at any time to fight ( not necessarily peaking), and need a better understanding that nutrition when it’s done right, is a powerful weapon for both recovery and the increased demands of Combat Conditoning

  34. Jackie Shaw May 17, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    I fear I may be missing a point here… but if I restrict carbs (other than leafy greens and the occasional fruit), and I consume no more than 20% healthy fats… should I be aiming for 75% protein for the day?

    • Jason Ferruggia October 1, 2012 at 11:56 am #

       Jackie- You can up the fats quite a bit if your carbs are low.

  35. Matty C May 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Jason, all of your work is always spot on. But I believe this is some of your most important reading for every person on this big ball of dirt! Take heed of Jason’s words people…eat better, train smarter, rest & live a healthy fulfilling enjoyable life!
    Keep it up mate!
    Matt, NSW Australia.

  36. Rachel May 23, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Jason, this is a great article thank you! The US needs more of this information like this in their face to understand why there is such an obesity epidemic in every city in our country! Thanks again!

  37. dfasdfsdf June 2, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    So we should use wide receivers as proof of what works No doubt we all have the same metabolism as them.

  38. KGmorton June 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    should use wide receivers as proof that short, intense sprints and other athletes like them, are proof that being lean while maintaining muscle mass is a common by-product of that type of training. Some people seem to need more fiber than others.

  39. Jae @ Combat Sports Fitness July 12, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    Wow. So much good info here. I’m glad I took the time to check it out.

  40. Jacqueline July 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. I recently became very serious about weight loss so I started eating nothing but fruits and salad and no veggies. The only vegetables I was consuming were from the salads I was having. Then I happen to meet a guy who does bodybuilding. I was telling him about my 1,200 calorie a day diet with only a fruit shake every morning. I told him I was blending my own fruit and how I was eating salads and fruit shakes for dinner. He then told me to stop immediately. I told him I couldn’t because I’m trying to get lean. After some lecturing on dieting he set up a meal plan for me. Which cut out fruit completely and raised my calorie intake. I was very reluctant because I don’t want to get fat. He told me as long as they are clean calories I’m fine. So I now eat several times throughout the day and always have 4oz of meat with veggies. I wasn’t sure if cutting out fruit would be smart but I’m 180lbs and trying to get lean in a very short time. After I read your article I feel a lot better about the situation. I do have a question though…Is it ok to eat right before bed? Mind you I’m having 4oz of chicken,spinach, and half a serving of almonds. This is what was recommended to me. I just want to make sure I’m not eating right before bed then getting fatter while I sleep. If anybody can help with this question that would be great. Thanks…=)

    • Jason Ferruggia August 10, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      @Jacqueline- Yes, you can eat right before bed.

  41. Thom July 27, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    Great article!

  42. Megan August 8, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    It’s nice to read some not-total-bullshit for a change.

  43. rose August 8, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    Do you have any meal plans or what to eat in a day? I’m not fat I just have a little fat I would like to get rid of, thanks .

    • Jason Ferruggia August 10, 2012 at 8:19 am #

      Rose- Check out The Renegade Diet

  44. Lisa Bigness August 8, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Awesome article. Sharing on F/B, hoping that it reaches people who need the info!

  45. Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength August 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Fantastic article! Clients ask me all the time if we are doing enough cardio for them to lose weight. ;-)

    • Jason Ferruggia August 10, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      @Amanda- Haha. How annoying is that?

  46. Rob August 9, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    All this sounds great, but for a novice like me it can get very confusing as to what you should eat and when.

    Lay it out for me, please. What foods would you expect to see a person eat that is trying to drop weight? I am 5′ 10″ 200 lbs, and I want to be at 180lbs. I just started walking/jogging 4 miles in an hour 4 times a week. I have not done much weight training.. I know I should be though. I don’t care so much about getting ripped as much as I do about dropping fat. I work 11 hours a day, so it is rather hard to put in over an hour training a day.

    Help a guy out, all this “eat this, don’t eat this” stuff is very confusing. EVERYBODY says they have the right way of doing it.

    • Jason Ferruggia October 1, 2012 at 11:53 am #

       Rob, I can’t lay out a whole program here but it’s all in The Renegade Diet. And you have to strength train and do some sprinting

  47. Danny August 13, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    This is by far the easiest to understand/best fat loss advice article I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot. (my SOB love handles won’t go away). I agree with literally every point you make. Bookmarked. Do you offer the renegade diet book for sale in paperback?

  48. Ken Roetman August 14, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Great article Jason! Extremely well written and informative!
    Thanks buddy!

  49. Mark Kingston August 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm #


    Loved your article, however, I didn’t understand this comment in your article:

    “Excessive amounts of cardio lead to an overproduction of cortisol which leads to more abdominal fat and numerous health problems.”

    I know that “excessive” is a subjective term, and wasting can occur from long bouts of cardio over time, but would your statement apply to most normal people in the gym?

    Lastly, I find your cortisol statements interesting. My wife has been diagnosed with “Chronic Elevated Cortisol” by her Dr. My spouse put on about 50 lbs the last 2 yrs. while eating HEALTHY, but simply cannot get the weight to come off, no matter what she does. She eats as cleanly as you can imagine, but is limited with the types of cardio and strength moves she can do, due primarily to a bad left knee that will need surgery in the near future. She needs to get the weight off to help her knee, but the knee is inhibiting her ability to do what she needs to to loose any weight. And around we go.

    Any ideas?? She is desperate and is losing herself…


  50. IRONMAN August 17, 2012 at 3:38 am #

    Actually reading this at 3:30 AM, nice.

  51. Marlon August 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Would anyone out there agree with this idea
    For losing body fat..,
    Carb cycling

    Protein & fats for breakfast. Then I have my carbs at my mid morning snack and lunch and on my pre workout meal again I just have protein.Having carbs again post workout and dinner and just protein and fats for bed.

  52. Chamin August 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    No self respecting man should ever be spotted on an elliptical machine.

    • John swit June 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

      It is good to loose weight and not get fat

  53. AJ August 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    “No self respecting man should ever be spotted on an elliptical machine.”

    Ha! I know the article’s geared more towards fat loss-ers. Nevertheless, I’ve been forced to the elliptical! Unfortunately, I developed bad knee tendonitis, and if I want to continue training for my triathlon while it heals, the elliptical is the best substitution I can make for running. But hey, if anyone knows a better option, I’d like to hear it. It’d be nice to have my self-respect back :)

    • Jason Ferruggia October 1, 2012 at 11:44 am #

       Haha. No worries. You gotta be smart when you’re injured. Try kb swings and battling ropes as well.

  54. Richard August 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    i actually chuckled that i was reading this at 2.30am lol

  55. jenraider August 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Many of your points seem to be speaking directly to my situation…I’m female, 5′ 7 1/2″ and now weigh 156 lb; last week-ish I was closer to 150, and last month down to 148. I have no appetite, and mainly was drinking Ensure type drinks and diet shakes just to have calories, still mostly don’t make it to 1000 cal/ day. I knew I was not losing weight because I don’t eat enough, but it is almost impossible. I try sometimes and will force myself to get a sandwich down each day, but now I have to cut out the shakes all together, or just limit? I just don’t crave anything- at all. The shakes range from 130 calories, 180, or the latest one- which said “healthy weight” was 350 calories. I started them last week, and figured it backfired and made me gain about 5 lbs. I orginally thought it was better; I could drink less shakes b/c it had more calories- duh. I feel so upset that I have no problem with overeating, and I’d thinkI’d be a toothpick, but instead my body thinks-“starving!” and holds the fat. What is the least amount of calories I can eat to stop gaining/ start losing weight. I do crunches and dumbbells at night . Thanks for any help. Oh, and i just turned 40, have always been slim- just not toned- now fat in middle and arms. 2 kids. Thanks again

  56. Kim Pham August 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Great fitness read, #3 is SO ME! Extra bacon & mayonnaise please!

  57. Ana Ross August 29, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    I am training to run a half marathon which means I am currently runniing at least 40 minutes every other day (with a rest day). I am pretty skinny at 5’4″ and 107 lbs (maybe closer to 105 lbs now) but i want to get ripped too like huge ironman muscles. Any hope, advice? I hope I am not doomed to be a skinny runner. I see traithletes who are big.

    • bandit October 24, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Your husband gave you the evil eye for eating chicken and a salad? wtf?

    • Stan sol January 22, 2013 at 3:25 am #

      Training, can only make someone slim if the training is too hard for the person. Let’s assume that you are very lean, and you make a decision to be a gamer, when the game is too hard for you. Wht do you think will happen to you. Think first.

  58. Grainne September 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Is that 20% body fat figure for men or for women? A woman at 20% would be in decent shape; a man, not quite so much.

  59. pam September 17, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Hi i am 53 years old i can jogging about 5 miles every another day. i am 8 st 3pound weight but i use to 7an half stone but i cant lose half stone plse could help me . I cant stop eating fruit i tried thanks

  60. maha September 22, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    I am 42 years married and have three children, I have been experiencing dieting around my whole life, when I got married at the age of 22 i was 65 knowing that my height is 154cm, my weight is 173 pounds, tried so many things and iam exercising but not more success

  61. Jason Ferruggia October 1, 2012 at 11:55 am #

     Good stuff, John. Yeah, cutting all carbs definitely leads to muscle loss most of the time.

  62. Esgee October 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    how do you start a sprint routine?can i do it on a treadmill?

  63. Copasetic08 October 2, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    As a scientist who truly understands the chemistry behind much of the physiology you are discussing, I would just like to say that you sir are an idiot. You should not be allowed to spread your misinformed information to the masses.

    • Josh Maz October 2, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      As an intrigued reader, if I were to believe your claim of being a scientist learned in all things bio and physiology related, which points in this article to you disagree with specifically and why? In other words, why should the readers trust in your cockily presented apparent knowledge over Ferruggias’ ? An explanation should have been provided as you are calling out an obviously well qualified fitness professional on his own website, rather than just the name calling. What are you, 12? Can’t wait to hear this. . . .

  64. mistermark123 October 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Way too complicated.

  65. Yourmom23 October 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    a lot of misinformation in this article by an obvious meat head.

    • Tim March 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      As with the other commenter who didn’t like the article, please provide counter points or where it is wrong rather than just slingin insults.

  66. JR October 11, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    Jason, recently started back into a routine after taking some time off to take care of my nutrition habits. I have recently switched to a whole foods plant based life. it’s been to great to see a number of athletes tackle this lifestyle and I’ve been following their blogs to see how they’re making out. I’ve had stomach issues and thankfully I’ve made this switch. I found your plant based recipe book and my wife I just love it. my obstacle now is I need to lose fat while on this lifestyle. Ive got your great cookbook, I’ve bought a ton of weights, bars, benches, rowing machine, kettlebells, stability balls and a trx system. I’m stuck on the workout. part and don’t know where to start. Any help would be much appreciated, from anyone.

  67. Karim Kinch October 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Great  article Jason.  I think I should just get all my clients to read this.

  68. Max October 15, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Hi again, I forgot to add that up to 20 minutes of cardio is okay, then take a break to avoid detrimental effects.

  69. bandit October 24, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    After 60 pounds of weight loss I thought I knew all of the tricks, but this clarified so much for me AND helped me to see areas I need to clean up my act after getting sloppy over the last 2 years. Just 15 more pounds to go, or 5% fat – whichever leaves the most muscle :)

  70. Charlotte November 6, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Jason, great article, could read for hours! Im a PT and finding this really interesting..I don’t suppose you develop/ employ trainers? Want to be a great PT not just average..
    Thanks, Charlotte

  71. Alex November 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    This article is spot on on fat loss, taking under consideration that most people are meat eaters.
    However I have to say that there is one more category of people, raw food dieters, who eat more than 2 servings of fruit a day, along with other foods you mentioned, and enjoy the same fat loss effects.
    An adddition, to a very informative article, in order to satisfy all those who search for a way to lose fat instead of simply weight.

  72. Healthy Weight Supplements November 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Thanks for the tips, the 2 the struck were eating fruit & Overdoing Cardio. I will take note both of this as it help me with my weight control. I have some belly fat not much that’s what I am working to get rid of.

  73. Bella December 1, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Big fan of your books & blogs Jason! Thanks for all the good tips. I am not seeing fat loss results on the Renegade Diet despite my best efforts, and need some guidance from you or your faithful followers.

    I am a 27 y/o female, 143 pounds (65kgs), 168cm tall & regular fitness-freak/healthy eater – I’ve switched from regularly eating breakfast & doing an hour of cardio everyday to training EXACTLY as your book suggests for a female, strength training 4 times a week, hill sprints on off-days and 10 mins of cardio finishers a couple of times per week after my strength training (I have always sworn by cardio but I’m taking your advice & cutting right back!) I fast for 16 hours, have egg whites & greens, train for 60 mins & only eat chicken, salad & vegetables for dinner – all prepared & weighed by myself. I rarely drink (a beer or two once a week) and have cut out tofu, milk, anything you say I shouldn’t do but for the life of me I can’t get results. My boyfriend has seen amazing results gaining muscle on the Renegade yet neither of us can figure out what I’m doing wrong. I had great results with a low-carb (one cheat day per week) diet a couple months ago with heavy cardio/no strength work, the fat just fell off… But I really want to believe the hype about how good Renegade can be.

    We started me off with 1500 kcal per day & I saw no results, so I’ve dropped back to 1200 kcal but still I’m not seeing fat loss on the scales or measurements. I’m getting stronger in my training but that’s about the only thing. Macros are- Fat per day: no more than 50g, carbs 50g or slightly less, protein 132g CONSISTENTLY (with only one protein shake per day, all lean chicken breast) and 1200kcal. And I average 8 hours sleep per night.

    It’s starting to really wear me down that I am not seeing results. I am following everything to the T. Anyone see any suggestions for improvement? Would love some feedback.

    • erika January 25, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      have a blood draw to check your thyroid function (T3 & T4). request from your primary care physician or better yet, find a reputable naturopathic dr. to facilitate this. ND’s take this sort of thing more seriously and actually treat it if it is on the lower end.
      proper thyroid function is an important factor to weight management. if your thyroid is not functioning to optimum standards then all the healthy eating and exercise will not get you where you want to be. just a thought that may help you …
      btw I have personal experience with hypothyroid and a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition.

    • Alex January 25, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      Are u cheking your body fat %, maybe youre losing fat but not losing weight because you are gaining muscle, as a newbie in weigth training you can gain muscle, even on a calorie deficit..

    • N2CP0 March 30, 2013 at 6:05 am #

      Upping your fiber to 40 grams per day will up your carbs to 100 g max, but that’s ok, plus your getting to must protein that is causing weight gain. 75-100 g protein max. most people can only process 30 g of protein per any given meal and the rest turns to fat basically.

    • Django September 21, 2013 at 5:45 am #

      I’ve been reading some articles on this site and found some of it interesting, but I hadn’t realised that he recommends cutting out tofu and milk.

      I honestly have to wonder about cutting out such incredibly healthy protein/fat sources. Especially when Jason himself claims to have a “philosophy rooted in old school Physical Culture” – guys such as Clancy Ross, John Grimek, and Bernarr MacFadden all swore by milk as part of their diet.

      Jason, if you read this, my apologies for being so blunt, and I agree with most of your other points, but…what’s up with the milk?

      • Django September 21, 2013 at 5:53 am #

        “Dairy can cause inflammation and excessive mucus production. I have had several clients and family members actually cure themselves of asthma and other respiratory problems simply from getting off dairy products.”

        Just found this comment on another post. So, the suggestion would be for people with similar problems – i.e. lactose intolerance – to cut out dairy? Because there are many people who benefit from it…

  74. Brian December 24, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    How do you get good sleep when raising kids?

  75. Dave March 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Great tips here Jason – I tried loosing weight a few months back by just eating nuts for four full days – couldn’t understand that after four days no loss of weight at all – Too true about nuts having heaps of calories. I’ve been on a sugar free diet (you should do a post on this) for about six weeks now and the pounds have dropped off – I think you naturally get much more careful about what you’re eating anyway when you go sugar free.

  76. Mike March 12, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    My brother is skinny-fat at 5′ 10″, 156 lbs., and approx. 23% body fat. With not much muscle there to maintain or hold on to, what would be the best approach? I’ve introduced him to The Renegade Diet but he is a bit hesitant since most of his friends involved in bodybuilding have had great success using a Vince Gironda style of no carbs with a reload carb meal after 4 days and higher volume/lower weights/short rest periods (30 seconds) between sets. Basically, they follow similar advice as #2 in this article but the opposite of #8 and get pretty shredded. These guys are a mixed bag of regular joe’s and some natural competitors. After focusing on martial arts for many years, he finally wants to get serious about training, although he wants to do it more from an aesthetic angle. I’ve always approached it from an athletic one. What are you guys thought on this? Thanks!

  77. HOw to be a model March 17, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will eventually come back down the road. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great job, have a nice day!|

  78. Stephanie March 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    Hey Jason,

    Had to ask you about women not getting enough protein. So if I were to follow your intermittent fasting guidelines my day would look like this. Post workout in the morning, I’d eat my brown spotted banana (that’s about 27 carbs), if I’m aiming for fat loss at 130lbs I’ve only got about 12 carbs left in my day correct? And then I may have a protein shake or some lean protein around noon (keeping it under 20g to prevent my parasympathetic nervous system from kicking in). That means at night I still need to eat 110g of protein – we’re looking at like 6 salmon fillet’s. How does anyone do that?!

  79. Salcosco April 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Well, that was a post I was not expecting. It does not contain all the usual fluff about eating less and exercising more. Well, it does but it goes into more depth on what specific things to target. Just stumbled into it and very useful. Thanks.

  80. Christian April 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Its really much to think about for me, dont eat that and eat more of that and do that, goosh i really dont know where to start anymore, for me i guess the problem is mixed with lots of things, im trying to eat not that much but still lose fat, not sure if that works but its always good to try.

    But still its a good article and its giving me hope that i might reach my goal someday :)

  81. edd May 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    if u want to get lean , eat things that come from the ground, plus lots of fruits and chicken , stay away from bread , cereal, pasta, and sauces . Eat what a human was put on this earth to eat , screw sitting by the bench press for an hour if you wanna work it off you have to crossfitt train you better leave that gym exhausted ,exercise after exercise its like working cardio and weights at the same time , if u find your self eating something that is from a box or a can (MINUS TUNA) do not eat it , follow that concept and you will get shredded……….. BOOOOM

  82. Ashley June 3, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    It is very simple – Calories taken in should be less than calories burned. I have seen people eating hamburgers and pizzas when they are doing wieght loss excercises. It is impractical to expect positive results in such cases.

  83. Steve June 5, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    I have been working out like a mad man, but your insight into nutrition has helped me tremendously. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  84. Miriam June 10, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    I don’t know if I should start lifting weights. I’m fourteen, and don’t freak out now! I’m not talking big heavy weights with 40 pounds on each side, just some at the gym. Like shoulders, bag, biceps and triceps. If yes, what should I do? And how many? I really want to get lean, because right now I still have some fat to loose.. but I also want to have a bit muscle. Especially biceps and triceps.

    Sorry if my english isn’t correct. I’m from Denmark. ;-)

  85. Vlad June 20, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    Enjoyed the article and agree with most of it but have two points to add. One, cardio may not be the solution to weight loss and getting ripped but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to have fun in life. I happen to get my cardio mostly through playing tennis and squash but the elliptical trainer is fantastic for people who don’t get to play. Besides, one can vary the elliptical routine with high intensity interval training. I don’t see much difference between the elliptical trainer, tread mill of the stationary bike, with the latter being used by hockey players, I believe.
    The second point is, and you probably need to be older to get this, it’s not a good idea to make intemperate macho pronouncements in an inclusive public forum. First, a lot of this stuff remains to be proven and we’re all just doing the best we can. Moderation above all. Having said that, I recently watched a marathon and felt sorry for the latter stragglers who ran in bad form and obviously would be better off varying their fitness routine. I enjoy your posts, your are well considered and you have a passion for this.

  86. Jay June 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    I agree with most of these points. I do however drink 3 protein shakes a day, one in the morning with breakfast, one during/after my workout, and a slow digesting one before bed. It is not that I don’t eat other protein, I eat a lot of poultry, eggs, and fish. I am trying to consume 1.5 grams of protein/pound of body weight
    .5 grams of healthy fat/pound of body weigh
    .5-1.5 grams of carbs/pound of body weight

    If I am cutting I will usually go as low as .5 grams/pound of body weight.

    The other one I don’t really agree with is carbs at night, I eat most of my carbs in the morning, lunch and before training!

  87. Jay June 24, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    If I am cutting I will go as low as .5 grams of carbs/pound of body weight, but fats and protein stay the same.

  88. Cat July 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    So, I’m EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED! I eat very clean and even recently went veggie-vegan, I have stayed in the same range 152-156 for 5 months with 104 of those lbs being muscle. I do Insanity (45-60mins) 5 days, run 3-4 miles twice and also twice a week I do 2 a days including a fitness bootcamp (cardio and plyo for an hour). I cannot figure out why I am not losing weight nor body fat. I’m 5′ 5″ body fat stays between 27-30% and weight once again plateaued at 152 when I average 1300-1500 cals daily. I can see and feel my body getting more tight which would make me think muscle gain, but no difference in weight nor BF. Could it be a persons physical heredity is just not conducive of having a lower BF %?

  89. Jay B August 1, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    Wow, this is a great post, I will refer my clients to this post for the helpful tips and advice regarding healthy eating and training.

  90. Tim September 13, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    Great article. Thanks for sharing.

  91. Joy October 18, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    13) You’re pregnant.

  92. Samantha October 22, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    Whoever wrote this article must compete in bodybuilding shows. I followed all of these steps when cutting for my show. It worked very well!

  93. rikcy October 31, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    i read the 2am part and looked at the clock, 2am exactly haha

  94. richard stadnyk December 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    Definitely a very big problem people are having is getting enough sleep. They work all day 12 to 14 hours at times and then go home sit down do nothing to recharge the body like exercise. And they watch T.V. all night 4 to 6 hours a night and then say I have no time to train………LOL…..Really?
    Just get your sleep and you are on your way to a good start! Thank you

  95. John December 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    That’s so thue. I am reading this at 1 am. I will now get some sleep.

  96. Y December 25, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    Great article! Thank you so much!
    A question though:

    I’m a 17 years old girl – 5’2 – 123 pounds – 20/25% bodyfat
    I’m trying to lose fat and get a lean physique. I’m eating clean, around 100/110g of protein a day, 1400/1500 calories, 1 serving of oatmeal as grains for the day and 2/3 pieces of fruit a day. I’m lifting ”heavy” 3/4 times a week but I was curious if I really need to do cardio or hiit? I find it boring but I’m also ”scared” that the muscle gain will make me bigger if I don’t do any cardio to lose fat. I know I don’t have enough testosterone to get bulky but I already see my legs getting a little bigger instead of slimming down..

    Should I be patient and will my legs slim down after a couple weeks, or should I do some cardio too?

    Greetings from the Netherlands!

  97. Nicole January 14, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    Hi Jason,

    I am a 45 year young lady that weigh 179lbs. How much carbs should I eat in a week to lose weight. My goal is to lose 30lbs. Please help!

  98. Matthias February 22, 2014 at 5:05 am #

    Whether you’re gluten-sensitive or hosting a gluten-free house guest, don’t stress. The items can help bring in even more money for an incredibly worthy cause.

  99. Damon February 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Hi Jason,
    I am trying to lose body fat and trim away the blubber from the winter, etc.
    I am really wondering why you suggest to have the starchy foods in the evening..as I would
    have thought it would be best during the day to burn off the energy from the carbs
    and at night the body needs less carbs..well at least I thought..??
    So, potatoes or rice in the night and not for the day? What about fruits? I think
    they are important antioxidants and fibers..When is best?

  100. jose March 28, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

    I think is important to mention that eating too few calories can actually lead to poor results. Cutting too many calories from your diet could eventually lead to fat loss, but also muscle loss. You might get thinner but you wont get leaner!. Cutting calories by 15-20% of your daily needs should be enough.