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    Nutrition/Fat Loss

    How to Lose Fat?
    1: Reduce calories to lose 1 lb / week.
    2: Strength Training 3-4 times a week.
    3: Eat .7-1g protein / lb lean body mass.

    These factors have insignificant effect for body composition:
    1: Cardio and fat burners.
    2: Meal timing and meal frequency.
    3: Protein / Carb / Fat distribution throughout the day.
    4: Carb / fat ratio.
    5: Sodium intake.
    6: Moderate alcohol intake.
    7: Use of supplements resp. meal replacements.

    Nutrition:
    As long as you keep your calories below your maintenance level, you will lose weight. That doesn't mean that you should eat like crap. As long as you eat clean food and stay away from the processed crap, you will be fine. When you are trying to lose weight, you have to be smart and stay away from the foods that have high calories. Example: Complex carbs, like bread, pasta, and rice, all have a lot of calories per serving as compared to simple carbs like vegetables.

    Logging your Food:
    Losing body fat starts with calories. I've tried many programs in the past to log my food and by far, the best one available is MyFitnessPal. You can download the app on most smartphones and/or use their website. It is a free app and registering is also free.

    When you download the app, or use the internet version, after you register, start off by entering your age, height, and current weight and set it up to maintain your weight. This shows you how many calories you have to eat per day to maintain your current bodyweight. Then set it up to lose 1/2 lb per week and see the difference. Then finally set it up to lose 1 lb per week.

    Example of a 170 lb male:
    Maintain Weight: 2200 calories per day.
    Loose 1/2 lb per week: 1950 calories per day.
    Loose 1 lb per week: 1700 calories.

    Using the above example, as long as you stay under the 2200 calories, you are going to lose weight. The biggest mistake people do is they try to lose the weight too fast and go under the recommended calories to lose 1 lb per week (I don't recommend reducing your calories by more than 500 calories per day.). What is really nice about MyFitnessPal is that it also calculates your Exercise into the amount of calories you can have per day. So if you are eating 1700 calories per day and you burn 200 from your exercise, you will actually eat 1900 calories that day.

    NOTE: If you are under 200 lbs, I recommend losing 1 lb per week, but if you are over 200 lbs, you can lose 1-2 lbs per week.

    Type of Workout:
    When you are trying to lose fat (cut weight), the best exercise you can do is strength training (The type of strength training is up to you.). The reason for this is because when you are cutting, your body will cut both fat and muscle. If you do strength training, you will be building muscle, so your body will burn more fat because you are building muscle a the same time. You can add some cardio, but don't overdo it. There is also a misconception that you will always lose strength when you cut weight. That is not true if you are smart and don't overtrain. When I'm cutting weight, I just workout 4 days a week. May not seem like a lot, but as long as you bring the intensity on those 4 days, it is plenty.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Here is an excellent article written by Cody of CrossFit Southbay. It is written about women, but it applies to everyone.

    Skinny Fat:
    One of the most difficult things to fight as a coach is the thought that “Lifting weights is going to make me ‘bulk up’” from women. My first response is to shake my head and contemplate shoving my hand in a toaster to cure the frustration… Yet, when I stop and think about it, I honestly like the way CrossFit makes my body look. And I know there are many of us in the gym that wouldn’t be as enamored with CrossFit if we didn’t see aesthetic results in combination with fitness results, so I do think it is a valuable question that needs to be answered.

    The first thing you need to do is look around the gym at girls that have been CrossFitting for a long time. If we created “bulky bodies”, you would see them at CFSB. All the above are CrossFitters that have been with us a long time… Strong, not bulky, don’t you agree?? (Sorry for not including all our awesome girls, but I only went back three pages on flickr).

    Definitions and Misconceptions:
    To begin, we need to address some misconceptions about how the body works…
    • You cannot “tone” a certain portion of your body. Your body will not lose fat in one spot at a time, it will only lose fat. Thus, you must reduce your overall body fat percentage to see results in the area you want. This is why the “ab-(insert attention-grabbing verb)” you see on TV won’t work to help you get a better midsection.
    • Lean – having little to no surplus fat - Thus, to look “lean”, you need to have low levels of body fat.
    • Toned – seeing muscle definition on a human body - Thus, to look “toned”, you need to have low levels of body fat combined with having enough muscular development that you can see the shape of the muscle under the skin. This is usually accomplished at below 20% body fat on women, and below 10% on men.
    • You will never “bulk up” overnight, except from maybe an ice cream and beer binge (guilty). You will never wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and realize that you just built bulky muscles in your sleep.
    First, I want to establish that having muscle doesn’t mean being bulky…
    The first thing you need to do is compare these two women:

    For reference, the girl on the left is a runway model and the girl on the right is an elite CrossFit athlete. Both have approximately 12-15% body fat. Both are doing something they love, and the bodies they have created help them do that.

    On the left, we have a runway model who has almost zero muscular development while also having almost zero fat deposits. She has enough essential muscle to not fall over walking, but not much more. If you want to look like the woman on the left, sorry, but we cannot help you get there. Although, if you have an apple and a cigarette a day for about a year, you could get close (it supposedly worked for Christian Bale in the Machinist). However, CrossFit South Bay will not help you create that type of body.
    The female on the right has spent years developing her strength and muscle. She has battled heavy weights and pushed herself to the limit to squat, deadlift, and lunge heavier weights every time she comes into the gym. She weighs approximately 35-40 lbs more than the runway model due to the large amount of muscle that she has acquired. She is likely approaching her genetic limits in the amount of muscle she can develop without going on a bodybuilding routine. Between her and the runway model, there is likely very little difference genetically, yet there is a huge difference in training and diet (more on this shortly).

    Same elite CrossFitter, now dressed up, still bulky??
    Thus, you can have a large amount of muscle without ever looking “bulky”. Don’t you agree??

    Now that we know that muscle doesn’t make you “bulky”, what does??
    Well, the answer is fat. Excess adipose tissue will result in less than satisfactory aesthetics. This is regardless of the amount of muscle you have. This is easily seen in the image below:

    The image at left shows a female figure that has a large amount of fat, while having a very small amount of muscle. This is described in the fitness community as “skinny fat”. While not overly “bulky” she doesn’t have the aesthetics that most of us work so hard to attain. The woman in this image is likely at a level close to 30% body fat and likely has a similar amount of muscle as the runway model. So even though she may look fine wearing a sweater, it is a different story at the beach.

    The trick is how to fix this. Well, option 1 is to eat less and do tons of cardio, surviving on a diet heavy with running and light on food, and you will end up looking more like the runway model above. Option 2 is to develop muscle to burn away the excess fat while doing cardio, resulting in looking more like the elite CrossFitter above.

    Ok, so we have started to establish that building muscle isn’t a bad thing, right?? Yet, you are afraid that by squatting and deadlifting, you are making your legs and butt bigger, thus getting more “bulky”, correct??

    Here is the kicker, the reason your legs (and shoulders and arms and back) are getting a little bigger is that you have now started to add some muscle to them. Now, that muscle will burn more calories, starting to help whittle away at the amount of fat you have on your body, even while you sleep. You now are able to achieve that “lean” and “toned” look, as your body fat levels have decreased, and your muscle is starting to show, giving the “toned” look.

    Additionally, you cannot have a “toned” look without muscle. This is because that “toned” look that you are going for is the result of seeing muscle that is underneath a layer of fat. If you have too much body fat, it acts as a shielding layer. For those of us that require a visual, imagine your muscle as an apple sitting on a hard surface. Now cover the apple; what you cover it with is representative of your body fat. A wet paper towel=very low body fat. A dish towel = low body fat. A comforter = high body fat. As the covering gets thicker, it becomes harder to see the apple, which is exactly what happens as you gain body fat. Now, more muscle makes the object bigger, imagine the apple is now a grapefruit. Less muscle makes the object smaller, imagine changing the apple to a cherry. Even with all the objects being similar in size, it is the covering that determines how “bulky” they look; same with body fat.

    Bad cardio and worse cardio…
    Some people keep saying to be leaner they just need more cardio and less strength. Well, yes, if you just do “more cardio”, you will lose more fat, but you would also lose muscle because without anaerobic and strength training, your body burns muscle as well as fat. So, instead of looking more like a Victoria Secret model, you start to look more like a runway model. Then, once you stop doing “more cardio” you will gain fat even faster now that you don’t have the muscle to burn the extra calories, resulting in the “skinny fat” look. You can see this in ex-athletes that have tried to “get leaner” by doing “more cardio” only to result in having more fat with less muscle.
    Skinny vs Strong

    This can also happens as we age, as the muscle we built by running, jumping, and playing in our childhood and teens atrophies due to under-use with a more sedentary life, so people in their early twenties are seen as having “high metabolisms”, supposedly not having to work to maintain lean body shapes. This “high metabolism” is because the muscle they built-in their teen years is burning excess calories and fat, and with the low body fat levels, you can see their “toned” muscle underneath. However, as they take day jobs and do not stimulate their bodies, their muscles atrophy, burning fewer calories and thereby lowering their “high metabolism” and leading to increased body fat as they age. Usually, people try to do “more cardio” to regain their lean, toned bodies that they had when they were younger. However, since they do nothing to build new muscle or maintain their current muscle, they slowly transition to a thin, but “skinny fat”, look as they age.

    Train like an athlete…. Look like an athlete…
    Most people can agree that they want to get “toned” and “lean”, but have you ever asked someone who was “toned” and “lean” what they have done to get that way?? You should, because almost every athlete I know that looks “toned” and “lean” has spent years working to develop strength, power, speed, endurance, and stamina for a sport. They move HEAVY weights quickly.

    Lastly, you will never be able to create muscles like a man lifting weights.
    A WOMEN THAT LOOKS LIKE SHE HAS MUSCLES LIKE A MAN HAS LIKELY TAKEN STEROIDS!! This is the defined truth, a woman’s muscle development is much different from a man’s. Unless a woman has a very different genetic make-up (a very, very small portion of the population), it is almost impossible to build muscle like a man. (And, as much as you might think it is true, you only have a 1 in a million chance of being the 1 in a million that has the different genetics, so stop saying, and believing, it)
    This is because males have 20-30 times the testosterone of women, resulting in deeper voices, more body hair, and more muscle development. Women just physically cannot build muscle like men can, sorry but it is a scientific fact. Some of the maximal amounts of muscle you can put on a female frame with CrossFit training can be seen below. These are women that built their bodies using sports and strength training.

    An extremely high level of muscle on a female will look like the pictures above, but again, only with many YEARS of weights training and a focus on a clean diet.
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    Here is a great article on Body Fat Pictures and Percentages by Leigh Peele:

    What is the minimum body fat percentage for human beings and how do we decrease it?
    There is currently no definitive answer for what is essential body fat. Looking at research though we assume a range of 5% for men and 12% for women is landing in the essential range. For hormonal and reproductive reasons women need to store a higher level of body fat than men. It is thought that 15% is the lowest range women should maintain. There is some argument about this, but technically the data isn’t there to conclude if it is body fat or lifestyle/training habits that cause problem. In my personal opinion, I think women should tread lightly trying to maintain body fat levels below 15%.
    To decrease body fat, you need to take part in a deficit based program.

    What do different body fat percentages look like?
    T
    he level of accuracy on body fat levels is difficult even with machine use. Still, there is something to be said for photography hints towards varying body fat levels at lower levels of body fat. Is it possible to use pictures to estimate body fat percentages? I think it is as relevant as other basic methods. How can we utilize pictures to determine a rough estimate for body fat pictures? See below.

    Male Body Fat Percentages by Picture

    There are various tell-tale signs of body fat levels for men and women. If we look at the lean body mass of a muscled skeleton and compare it to a human counterpart, it shows up quickly how close to low body fat level they are. If you consider the skeleton model to be 0% body fat, then you simply use the male model in this picture and determine how close they are in relation.

    Looking at the diagram above for the male, we see clearly defined chest striations (1), serratus anterior (2), upper abdominal (3), and quadriceps (4). For men, generally speaking, these are going to be the last areas for fat to be lost. People generally claim much lower body fat percentage than they should. Look at some of these percentages below and compare them to the muscled skeleton. You will understand why they are at higher body fat levels than you once might have thought.

    Lowest body fat and possible comparison to skeletal muscle.

    You can start to see loss of definition as levels increase.

    After 30%, there is truly no need to attempt visual estimations.

    Female Body Fat Percentages by Picture
    Females follow a lot of the same rules as males do with a few slight alterations. Lower body fat levels can really be registered by taking notice of their face (1) chest separation, (2) glutes (not shown), iliacus/quad, (3) and breasts (4).

    *The woman pictured is likely on steroids and is flexing*
    These pictures give you a more accurate look at varying body fat levels and percentages in females.

    Lowest body fat and possible comparison to skeletal muscle.

    You can start to see loss of definition as levels increase.

    After 30%, there is truly no need to attempt visual estimations.

    Does everyone look-alike at the same body fat percentage?
    No, not at all. Body fat percentage isn’t an indicator of your amount of lean body mass. The amount of muscle your body has is going to make a significant difference in your overall look. What is the right look? This is up to personal preference and program design. This post isn’t about judgment, but more so a definition of the difference between the two.

    Take these two males in the picture below. Both are roughly at 10% body fat. As you can see, there is a noticeable difference in their looks and muscle composition. Again, this isn’t about judging, but simply stating a noticeable physical difference. The man on the left has a legitimate 15 more pounds of muscle than the guy on the right.

    The same is true for these females below. The first is a fitness competitor and the later is a fashion model. You may or may not like one or the others appearance, but that isn’t the point of the comparison. The point is both are roughly 15% body with varying levels of water depletion. As you can see, there is quite a stark difference between the two.

    There are also other variables and factors to take into consideration when looking at body composition. One of the main factors is carbohydrate and water manipulation. I discuss in detail how to manipulate both in the Water Manual. Water manipulation or advanced super-compensation techniques can have dramatic differences on your appearance. The 15% woman on the left is likely utilizing those techniques. It is often done by bodybuilders and figure competitors.

    Closing point
    As you can see body fat percentages range and methods for measurement vary. You can also see training will greatly affect what you look like at various body fat percentages.

  2. #2
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    Very interesting and informative thread. Thank you and I will definitely pass this on.

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    When talking about losing weight, losing fat weight is only perceivable by the appearance of tonality. The
    emphasis should not be on overall weight, because if one incorporates physical activity, along with diet, to
    lose excess fat, muscle will be gained, thus keeping one at or near their overall weight at the start of the
    program. This would not be necessary true for obese people, since losing water during exercise can show
    some overall weight loss immediately.

    Basically, one is sculpting their body, so a 180 lb person with 30% BF, can end up weighing 175 lb, with 12
    to 15% BF, and would need to buy tighter fitting clothes.

    No need for a scale when your clothes are a good indicator. Obviously this doesn’t apply to body builders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun View Post
    When talking about losing weight, losing fat weight is only perceivable by the appearance of tonality. The
    emphasis should not be on overall weight, because if one incorporates physical activity, along with diet, to
    lose excess fat, muscle will be gained, thus keeping one at or near their overall weight at the start of the
    program. This would not be necessary true for obese people, since losing water during exercise can show
    some overall weight loss immediately.

    Basically, one is sculpting their body, so a 180 lb person with 30% BF, can end up weighing 175 lb, with 12
    to 15% BF, and would need to buy tighter fitting clothes.

    No need for a scale when your clothes are a good indicator. Obviously this doesn’t apply to body builders.
    I agree 100%. Unfortunately, people that need to lose a lot of weight/fat just care about the scale. Then as they start to see the results, then they actually start to listen and realize that it is all about fat, not actual weight.

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    One of the best posts I've obtained information from so far here. Thanks!

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    Great information here. I just lost 32# in May and have gained back 3. It's a very healthy weight for me and maintaining it has not been difficult. Reading the OP answered some of my "why" questions. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. #9
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    Paulo that app you suggested is awesome. Easy to input food when it's on your phone.

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    Here is a sample food day for me:

    Breakfast:
    Coffee with cream (I try to hold off eating as long as possible to burn more fat). Coffee controls the hunger.

    Morning Snack (10AM):
    2 hardboiled eggs
    1/4 cup of mixed nuts
    1 piece of fruit

    Lunch (12-1PM):
    1 piece of meat
    Lots of veggies

    Or a big chicken or steak salad

    Afternoon Snack (3PM):
    2 hardboiled eggs
    1/4 cup of mixed nuts
    1 piece of fruit

    Dinner (6-7PM):
    1 piece of meat
    Lots of veggies

    Or a big chicken or steak salad

    Sounds boring, but my wife makes all kinds of great foods just with meats and veggies. The best part is that I'm never really hungry because I'm always eating. Sometimes for breakfast, I'll have some oatmeal or a nice omelette.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UWone77 View Post
    Paulo that app you suggested is awesome. Easy to input food when it's on your phone.
    That's what I like about it. Very fast and easy to use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulo_Santos View Post
    Here is a sample food day for me:

    Breakfast:
    Coffee with cream (I try to hold off eating as long as possible to burn more fat). Coffee controls the hunger.

    Morning Snack (10AM):
    2 hardboiled eggs
    1/4 cup of mixed nuts
    1 piece of fruit

    Lunch (12-1PM):
    1 piece of meat
    Lots of veggies

    Or a big chicken or steak salad

    Afternoon Snack (3PM):
    2 hardboiled eggs
    1/4 cup of mixed nuts
    1 piece of fruit

    Dinner (6-7PM):
    1 piece of meat
    Lots of veggies

    Or a big chicken or steak salad

    Sounds boring, but my wife makes all kinds of great foods just with meats and veggies. The best part is that I'm never really hungry because I'm always eating. Sometimes for breakfast, I'll have some oatmeal or a nice omelette.

    This is very similar to my routine. I do have a small protein shake for breakfast. It's about 100 calories and 25g. of protein. I also eat a lot of raspberries and strawberries. It's worked well for me in helping maintain my weigh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P39 View Post
    This is very similar to my routine. I do have a small protein shake for breakfast. It's about 100 calories and 25g. of protein. I also eat a lot of raspberries and strawberries. It's worked well for me in helping maintain my weigh.
    I actually have some Protein with Creatine in the morning after my workout. I forgot to write that for some reason.

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    Excellent post Paulo! I finally took the time to read it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by browcs View Post
    Excellent post Paulo! I finally took the time to read it.
    Thanks.

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