The Fat Loss Hierarchy
Before I understood the Fat Loss Hierarchy, I always wondered how others made getting (and staying) in shape look so easy.
To be honest, it made me angry. I felt I was working so hard and not making progress while others seemed to breeze right by me and reach their goals in only a matter of time.
Today I’m going to quickly break down break down the exact process I discovered after years of frustration.
It’s not a “theory,” or my idea of fat loss either.
What I’m going to break down is a Fat Loss Hierarchy that’s proven by science and can be adapted to fit your individual lifestyle to make your transformation much more sustainable as well.
It’s the exact same hierarchy that I use myself, and with all my clients to lose stubborn fat and get in great shape with an INDIVIDUALIZED approach.
This isn’t a hierarchy that restricts food groups.
This isn’t a hierarchy that forces you to do a bunch of unnecessary cardio.
And it’s definitely not a hierarchy that’s unrealistic for you to stick with in the long run.
Instead, it’s a hierarchy that’s made to fit into your life to not only make creating the body you want more achievable, but sustainable long term.
Without further ado, here’s the Fat Loss Hierarchy I’d use to build YOUR plan so that it’s suitable, sustainable and realistic for you to achieve your fat loss goals:
1 - Foods You Enjoy
Your plan needs to include foods you enjoy. If you’re following a restrictive based diet… your cravings will increase, your life will involve unnecessary sacrifice, and you’ll ultimately not make it long term. Yes, I’m saying include some sugar, processed foods, and anything else deemed “unhealthy” by the nutrition world. It’ll HELP your results in the long run. No single food can make you fat. Just like no single food can make you skinny.
2 - Energy Balance Control
This is how to include foods you enjoy and still create results. Through controlling calories in vs calories out to control weight loss. Simple science. Create a calorie deficit. The law of thermodynamics doesn’t seem to be getting debunked anytime soon. A calorie is simply a calorie. It less calories than your body burns to lose weight. Eat more calories than your body burns to gain weight.
3 - Adequate Protein Intake
Instead of emphasizing carbs or fats, simply worry about eating enough protein. This will help keep you full, help you build more lean muscle to create a “toned” look, and it will speed up your metabolism to create more efficient results. Gone are the days of restricting carbs or fats. Instead, focus on eating more protein. Somewhere between .7-1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight has been proven to be best.
4 - Veggie & Fruit Intake
I did say include foods you enjoy that might be deemed “unhealthy,” but that doesn’t mean ignore whole food sources that are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Aim for 2-3 servings of veggies and fruits each day to not only get the vital nutrients you need, but to stay fuller through the process as well. Including low calorie, high volume foods becomes essential the longer you stay in a calorie deficit to combat hunger, as well as to keep your body healthy with all the micronutrients that veggies and fruits provide your overall health.
5 - Resistance Training
When you think fat loss, you probably think burning calories through cardio. I stongly disagree. You’ll look better by the end of your journey by focusing your attention on getting stronger instead. To appear “toned” or defined, you need lean muscle. Jogging, cycling, walking, running, plyometrics, etc, will burn calories, but resistance training will help you look better by reserving and building lean muscle as you lose fat. Doing a bunch of cardio without a focus on resistance training generally leads to a “skinny fat” look overtime. Don’t ignore this one!
6 - Cardio &/or Step Goal
Just because you’re now focused on resistance training, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain active through cardio or having a step goal though. I’m just saying it shouldn’t be your main focus. I like to add 1 cardio session for every 3 resistance training sessions. Or you could just shoot for a step goal each day (my preferred method). Different individual lifestyles will need different step goals, but typically the step goal should be AT LEAST 8k steps per day. This will keep your NEAT higher which will make fat loss easier with time.
7 - Learning to Maintain
Maintenance gets left out the most, but if you don’t have a goal of “maintaining” your progress… you’ll end up losing that progress and end up having to start all over. Being in a calorie deficit isn’t something you should do forever. Learning to maintain the progress you’ve created should be the overall goal. Meaning you’re going to have to increase calories at some point through a proper reverse diet and maintenance period.
Chaz is the co-founder/owner and head coach at Lost & Lifting. He also owns his own gym - Fit Factory, located in Preston, Idaho (his hometown). Chaz works with clients all over the country to take control of their body composition through evidence based and sustainable strategies. His passion has turned from building his own body to educating and helping others do the same through his online coaching platform.
Lost & Lifting Talk
L&L Talk (hosted by Chaz), is the Lost & Lifting podcast where we dive deep into nutriton, training, and lifestyle to help you become more educated inside your journey to produce the result you want faster, and in a more sustainable manner