Lose Fat, Then Build Mass – 4 Week Fat Loss Template
Ready to Bulk? I think not. If I had to guess, you’re too fat to truly benefit from a bulk; or at least the way you would bulk. Therefore, I suggest to lose some fat before you start – Here’s why
Do you want the exact diet I use with clients to shed body fat? I detail it all in my book – Feast.Fast.Fit. – Train Your Body to Torch Fat, Build Muscle, and Never Diet Again
A lot of nutrition/training consultations start the same way, “I want to be big and lean.” Oh yeah? I would have never guessed. I assumed you wanted to be small and fat. Of course you want to have a lot of muscle and low body fat, a lot of people dream of attaining that.
If you’re a powerlifter or strongman competitor, you may not give a shit about your body fat and that’s fine too. This wouldn’t be the right program for you but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve body composition, decrease body fat AND get stronger at the same time, because you can.
Anyway, when I have these consultations, if they are a distance client (online), I make them send photos to assess body composition. After we talk for a bit, my advice is usually as follows:
- You need to lower your body fat first. If you’re 19% body fat and want to go on a “bulk” to get muscular, you’re setting yourself up for a disaster. You are not in a prime position metabolically to handle excess nutrients. If anything, you are in a prime position to add more fat. The leaner you are, the better, in terms of nutrient repartitioning. The hormonal issues at play here are outside the scope of this article but I touch on it in some of my other articles. Read: Is Your Fat Making You Suck?
- Be realistic. Everyone overestimates how much muscle they have and underestimates the amount of fat they have.
- Progress will not happen as fast as you want, that’s just human nature, get over it.
- You get what you train for. If you are training purely for strength, don’t expect a ton of hypertrophy.
- Genetics play a huge role in your physique, the only way to change this is to find new parents. Good luck.
Phase 1: Maximal Fat Loss
This first block of dieting/training should be focused on maximizing fat loss to improve nutrient repartitioning for your mass phase. As I mentioned earlier, you can decrease fat and gain strength but it’s a slower process and would be used during a “recomposition phase” not a fat loss phase. Depending on how fat you are, this will likely need to last longer than 4 weeks.
There are many ways to set this up from a nutritional stand point, the type of diet doesn’t matter too much as long as:
- There’s a deficit (don’t be afraid to really dig this deficit deep as it’s only a short time period)
- You are taking in enough quality proteins to retain muscle tissue
- Macronutrient ratios are conducive to your goal
- There is progress
If that’s carb cycling, intermittent fasting, or whatever the hell you want, just make sure those four things are occurring. But how do I set my macronutrients? I hate questions like this. And people hate my answer, which is, it depends. From my experience working with clients from varying backgrounds, the higher your body fat the more likely I am to start you with a lower carb approach. As you get leaner, we adjust carbohydrates and raise them.
4 Week Fat Loss Template – (Lower carb approach)
Potential Supplements: Fat Burners/thermogenics, ECA, EGCG/Psyllium husk for appetite suppression.
- Start at your caloric baseline and reduce by 15% for the average caloric intake for the week
- Introduce cardio (I prefer fasted but fed is fine) 2x at 20-30 minutes (on off days)
- Follow a high/low approach with more calories on training days/less on off.
- Lift 4 days per week
Sample of a male whose caloric baseline was around 3100 for week 1.
Training Day (4) Non-training Day (3)
3,300 calories + 1,800 calories = 2,657 weekly caloric average
- Add an additional cardio session for 30 minutes with at least 2 on off days
- Increase total lifting volume, lower intensity
- If fasting, increase total fasting hours
- Lift 5 days per week
- Lower calories by an additional 10%, pull the majority of the calories from your off days
- Add 15 min of HIIT to 1-2 of your cardio sessions
- If fasting, increase total fasting hours
- Lifting days stay between 4-5
- Add an additional cardio or training session. If you choose a training session, perform it on a day where you follow “off day” calories.
- Include one day with a long fast (from dinner the night before to dinner the next day) – 500-800 calories at your one meal that night.
- At the end of this week, If you are relatively lean and feel flat, have a refeed (high carb, low fat, moderate protein) this week. However, if you are starting with a higher body fat you won’t likely need one at this point.
This is roughly what I followed for 4-6 weeks before I wanted to “bulk” up a bit. I say roughly because I personally opt for larger cuts in calories vs. cardio. For me this is a personal preference and a time issue.
Here is where I ended:
Now you are ready to slowly reintroduce calories and begin your lean gain phase…
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