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 10-12 calories for every pound of bodyweight it would be hard NOT to lose fat. Most people stuff their faces every 2-3 hours to “crank their metabolism” or “stoke the metabolic fire,” and end up eating way more calories than they need.
Eating less is challenging. That’s why most people look for another answer. Consuming just 2000 calories per day requires some discipline and suffering. 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.
The added side benefit, in addition to the fat loss, is that your gut health will improve and you’ll feel better than you do now.
2) You’re Eating Too Many Starchy Carbs
Most average people have a terrible tolerance for carbs, crappy insulin sensitivity and simply don’t do enough physically demanding work to warrant too many carbs.
The more training you do and the leaner you are the more carbs you can tolerate. If you have a lot of fat to lose, however, cutting them would be a very important step to take.
That being said, I don’t recommend ultra low carb diets for anyone who trains hard. A hundred grams per day is usually the lowest you’d ever have to go as long as calories are where they should be. And even that would be overkill for some.
3) You’re Eating Starchy Carbs at the Wrong Time
The best times to eat starchy carbs are post workout and at night. Aside from some fruit, veggies and fresh juices you should avoid starchy carbs during most of the day time hours. Unless you train early. Then you could have some right after training.
During the day you want to be alert and focused, which is one reason why you don’t want to be pounding down starchy carbs during this time. Save for them for the night time when you want to optimize serotonin production and rest, relax and repair.
4) You’re Eating Too Much Fat
Some people 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. 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, if not worse, than eating too much fat.
A minimum of 20% of your calories 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.
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 I wouldn’t be slugging down three a day.
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. Most people eat ten handfuls. That can easily put you over your daily limit.
Nuts can also be problematic 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.
7) You’re Not Training Heavy
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 three 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. High reps have the same effect.
When dieting, the primary role of strength training is to maintain muscle mass.
That is the single most important thing. Don’t use it as your primary “fat burning” activity… UNLESS you are seriously overweight. If you need to lose more than fifty pounds or so that would probably be fine.
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; nothing more, nothing less. So the same principles that helped you get big and strong apply when dieting. Keep the reps in the low to moderate range and the resistance high.
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.
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 or three 10-30 minute sprint or sled sessions per week will be enough for most people.
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 to de-stress, mediate, laugh, do something fun and try not to take things so seriously. Stress management is overlooked key in 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.
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.
More sleep improves EVERYTHING. Make it a priority.
*** Shameless Plug Alert*** 12) You’re Not Following The Renegade Diet