How to Start (A Simple Guide For Fat Loss Or Muscle Building Goals)

You want to get lean and toned.

You want your clothes to fit better.

To feel more confident.

To not feel winded going up the stairs.

You’ve tried so many things before, but the thing is, what you’ve tried hasn’t worked.

  • Clean eating
  • Whole 30
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Fitness challenges
  • Booty burn boot camp
  • Running
  • Copying “influencers” workouts

…it only gets you so far.

And you’ve tried googling things, too.

Trust me, I’ve seen what comes up.

It’s either…

  1. Gimmicky detox teas, waist trainers, pyramid schemes, that Vshred guy, etc. or
  2. Articles that contain decent information, but don’t hammer home the “big rocks”, letting the fundamentals blend in with the fluff.

So what do you do?

That’s exactly what I’ll be outlining In this article.

Below is your plan of action for nutrition, training, and movement. No fluff.

This is what you’ll want to hone in on for body composition goals (lose fat, build muscle, or both).

Step 1. – Take a non-emotional approach to tracking food intake

Use MyFitnessPal or a similar food tracking app. If you want to start with a pen and paper or notepad on your phone, that’s fine too. Just start.

Avoid wasting mental energy wondering:

  • Are carbs bad?
  • Is sugar bad?
  • What’re better: white or sweet potatoes?

You don’t need to worry about the details. Just collect some data and learn about trends in your eating habits.

And no, not everyone *needs* to track food intake to lose fat or get in better shape, but for the kind of results you want, you’ll need to have a pretty good idea of calories and macronutrients of foods you eat often.

It’s highly unlikely it will happen by accident if you’re simply guessing.

Some things you might learn in the process:

  • That “healthy” cookie you eat daily has a lot more calories than you thought
  • Nuts and beans don’t have nearly as much protein as you thought
  • You used to beat yourself up over having a few slices of pizza, but it’s actually calorically equivalent to the açaí bowl or Starbucks drink that you considered “healthy”

Next…

Let’s say you track for two weeks and maintain your weight.

Reduce this intake by 10% to create a calorie deficit for fat loss, but be sure to keep protein intake high.

You’ll want to aim for .75-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.

Why?

Protein will help you preserve muscle as you lose fat. No one wants to just get smaller and flabbier. Right?

Protein will also help you feel more full and satiated which is especially important if you’re in a calorie deficit.

Be flexible.

Emphasize whole foods, but include your favorite foods in moderation.

Yes, you can have a slice of pizza if you want it.

Yes, you can enjoy mimosas at brunch.

And no, you don’t need to track forever.

But you do need to track for as long as it takes to get a handle on how to eat to make progress.

For some people, this is a few weeks, for others, it could be months.

You can read more about tracking food HERE.

Need ideas of what to eat? You can plug your calorie target in HERE and get some ideas.

That’s as far as I’ll go for now on the nutrition side of things.

Next up is…

Step 2. – Training correctly, properly, productively…whatever you wanna call it

Two important things to note:

  1. Productive training isn’t about how many calories you can burn, how sweaty or how sore you can get in a session. Chase these alone and you’ll be wildly unproductive.
  2. Training for body composition goals (less fat, more muscle) requires building muscle, which should be the priority of your training.

HERE is a basic workout template from Bret Contreras.

And *basic* doesn’t mean ineffective. The people who get the best results from their training emphasize the basics with consistency and quality.

HERE is a glute training program from Bret Contreras.

Yes, it’s hitting glutes and legs 4 days per week. No, you don’t need to follow a body part split (ex: chest day, arm day, etc.) to build muscle. Although, if you scroll down in his article, you’ll find a plan for that.

If you’re working out at home with minimal equipment, you can follow this program 3 times per week on non-consecutive days.

Fill a backpack with books or household items heavy enough to make the exercises challenging.

  • Hip thrust
  • Single-arm bent-over row
  • Squat
  • Push-up (can do incline)
  • Deadbug

Perform 2-3 sets of 8-15 reps of each taking 1:30 between each set.

If you can do more than 15 reps of an exercise, increase the weight.

Time your rest periods and be sure to take the full rest time.

Enough rest = ability for more productive work.

Key: It’s not just what you do, but how you do it. For more on this, check out my YouTube training playlist HERE.

Step 3. – Movement 

You might find this hard to believe, but most of my clients don’t do any formal cardio, but rather solely focus on steps.

Why?

  • You can more conveniently squeeze in short bouts of walking throughout your busy day
  • It’s easier to recover from and doesn’t interfere with building muscle as much as intense cardio does
  • You could do multiple cardio sessions per week, but be sedentary enough outside of sessions to cancel the potential deficit you aimed to create through cardio

With that said, you can track your activity with a step tracker like THIS.

If you track your steps and are already getting between 8-10k per day. Cool. Keep doing that and hone in on your nutrition and lifting.

If your step count is on the lower side, start by increasing your target by 1-2k more than what you’re currently getting.

I find it easiest to have a walk built into my schedule.

For me, if I walk for 45-60 minutes ~5 days per week, it allows me to effortlessly hit 8-10k/day without the hassle of constantly checking my watch.

I encourage you to use a similar method in a way that makes sense for you.

And last but definitely not least…

Step 4. – Now, it’s simply a matter of being consistent

Key: being decent consistently matters far more than being perfect occasionally.

Doing things like…

  • Setting up your environment for success (cook progress-supporting meals ahead of time, lay out gym clothes the night before)
  • Eliminating obstacles (get your workout done in the morning before interruptions of the day come up)
  • Making your eating and training more routine (train at the same time on the same days, plug food into MyFitnessPal the night before)

…can all help tremendously.

Don’t worry about being motivated or having willpower.

Those will come and go.

Focus on easily repeatable habits and you’ll be golden.

Oh, and make sure you avoid randomly stepping on the scale or stressing about day-to-day fluctuations in weight.

Be sure to monitor progress correctly using the steps outlined HERE.

That’s it for now. I hope you found this article extremely helpful.

Please feel free to share it with as many people as possible!

Talk soon,

Devon

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