This is how I cut bodyfat % and gain strength
I recently entered a personal challenge with a few friends, to see how quickly each of us can build muscle and burn fat. While I'm not in particularly bad condition, part of my job as a coach is to get people to reach their goals as quickly as possible. Knowing is important, but without doing, here is how I'm trimming bodyfat % and getting stronger each week.
A few simple habits:
Eating every 2-4 hours. I do this to manage blood sugar, energy levels, preserve muscle throughout the day.
Eat complete protein with each meal. I do this to preserve muscle, recover from exercise and stress, boost metabolism and burn fat. I eat about two palms of protein with each meal (women I recommend one palm). I aim for about 40 grams of protein per meal and I eat about 5 meals per day.
Eat Veggies with each meal. I add in a cup of veggies per meal, which is 2 servings. Vitamins, minerals, water, alkaline load to balance blood ph levels, fiber for digestion and... do you really need more reasons to eat veggies? 2 servings per meal!
Greens for Grains: This means that instead of grains, pastas, breads or anything with flour, I eat fruits and veggies. This keeps calories a little lower than one would normally expect and simultaneously keep you energy levels high. This is one of the most important rules to follow if you want to get and stay lean.
Eat healthy fats! This is my favorite rule. My ideal ratio is between 20-40% of calories from fat. I liberally cook with coconut oil and butter. I put both in my oatmeal each morning (you can even put it in your coffee). I drink super shakes with avocado in them and I eat dark meat and beef from grass fed sources. I like fish, but since we've polluted every ocean, lake and stream on the planet I really don't know where to point you to non-radioactive commercial fish.
Fish oil- this is a great Polyunsaturated fat. Take 1 gram/percent of bodyfat. I'll take 13 grams of fat this month, and adjust it next month based on my bodyfat percentage each month.
Drink Water and Tea only- Unless you're doing a post workout super shake, there is no reason to have calories in your beverages. Your body wants you to get hydrated. Carry around a reusable water bottle with no BPAs, and get at least 80 oz of water per day. You can get more water if you mineral-ize it. Simply add a pinch of sea salt into your bottle of water, not enough to taste, just enough to add body and prevent mineral loss through sweat and urination.
Whole Foods over Meal Replacement Products (MRP). There is no substitute for real food, no matter how organic or awesome the bar is. Mixed nuts or bars may be easy to eat, but they aren't the balanced snack that you need to get the results that you really want. The vitamins and minerals in food are irreplaceable!
Prepare food in advance. Cook meals for 4 whether you're single or not. This will give you healthy leftovers to take to work with you, where stress will be high, options available will not reflect your specific body and goals, and you will need the quality energy more than ever. Think about what you need before you need it and you'll be WAAAY ahead of the game.
Eat seasonal foods with some consistency. Find 3-5 meals you love and stick to them for a while. Keep rotating these "default meals" every few weeks to avoid stagnation and you'll get good at making a few meals, you'll be ready for new ones when its time to move on, and you can keep your eating relatively in season. Substitute all of your fruits and veggies so that you'll have a good awareness of what you like, what is healthy and working for you, and how to prepare them.
Plan to eat off plan. Sounds oxymoronical and it is. But no one is perfect (least of all me). When you're hungry and showing your out of town friends around the labyrinth that is Powell Books, you may stop for a slice of pizza because... you're human. 90% compliance is what I can stick to. To some degree, the off plan foods, blood sugar highs and lows, etc., are good for you to reset sensitivity to hormones like leptin, but only if you've been eating on diet the other 90% of the time.
30 in 30. Tim Ferris's well promoted tactic of eating 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking is a quick way to move the needle in the direction you want for fat loss. A simple tactic is to drink a protein shake or smoothie with protein powder, but even an off-the-shelf myoplex shake will be effective at this game.