First of all, what is fat? Fat, stored on the body is stored energy. So when you think about it… to lose this fat, you need to do exercises to burn it off, and to prevent any more fat from being stored you must cut the fat out from your diet and watch both your calories and your carbohydrates. Sounds easy, but for anyone who's tried it, they know, it's not exactly a walk in the park. Now I don't know about you, but I hate cardio with a passion, but, until that magic pill comes out, we're stuck doing it. You just can't avoid it. What we can do is reduce it. Do as little as possible. This is one of the first steps.
Do your cardio first thing in the morning, BEFORE you eat. This by far is the most important and most effective technique for losing that unwanted fat. By doing cardio first thing in the morning you are burning up to 300% more fat than doing it at any other time throughout the day. Think about it, when you wake up in the morning you have no energy right? That's because you haven't had any carbohydrates in at least 8 hours. So by doing a cardiovascular workout your body is forced to get energy from what is stored on you, and like I said earlier, fat is stored energy. I like to do at least 30 minutes on the treadmill or stepper. The key is to get into a good fat burning mode. You can figure out if you are in an optimum fat burning mode by monitoring your heart rate. A good general rule of thumb is to go 60 to 80% of your maximum heart rate (m.h.r.) Now, to get your m.r.h., provided you're an average healthy person, take 220 and subtract your age, then to figure your fat burning range, take 60 to 80% of that. So, for example, I am 19 years old, so my maximum heart rate is 201 bpm (beats per minute). My fat burning range is 120 bpm to 160 bpm (60-80% of 201) To get my heart rate; I count the beats per 10 seconds and times this by 6 to get bpm. Now as far as cardio later in the day, I like to do my cardio after my strength training. The reason for this is I have already burned up a lot of energy during my weight training, and therefore my body has one less energy system to burn before getting to fat.
So, now that you are doing cardio to burn off the fat stored on your body, how do you ensure no more fat is being stored? When figuring out a diet, the first step is to find how many calories your body burns during the day. This is easy to do with step by step calculators on the Internet, try https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bbprotein.htm.
This will give you an idea of the calories needed to maintain your current bodyweight. I would reduce this by at least 200 calories to ensure fat loss. I will use myself as an example: According to the calculator I need 3400 calories per day to maintain my current bodyweight. So I subtract 200 to get 3200. (Just a tip, try using more than one caloric calculator and take an average, some are more accurate than others). So, 3200 Cal per day is what I want. Now, where do these calories come from? Well most important to me is protein to ensure I keep my muscle mass. So I weigh 195 lbs, and because I am doing heavy strength training I want about 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight. This gives me 195 grams of protein per day. (Find your daily protein need at https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bbprotein.htm) Every gram of protein has 4 calories, so I know 780 calories should come from protein (4cal/gram X 195 grams = 780) So let's round up and say 800 Cal from protein, it's not going to hurt to have more protein.
So this brings my daily intake down to 2400. Now, in an average diet there is always going to be some fat, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Your body needs some fat to function. So we will say we want about 10% of my calories to come from fat. 10% of 2400 is 240. This is the number of calories I want to come from fat. There are 9 calories per gram of fat, so 240 divided by 9 = 26 grams. So I am ok having about 26 grams of fat per day in my diet. Now, the rest of the calories, 2160, will come from carbohydrates, so that gives me 540 grams per day. (4 Cal per gram of carbohydrate) Now, hopefully I didn't confuse you with all of that. Let's recap: I want 3200 cal/day, 195 grams of protein (789 Cal), 26 grams of fat (240 Cal), and 540 grams of carbs (2160 Cal). I figured out my numbers knowing that for every gram of protein there are 4 Cal, for every gram of fat there are 9 Cal, and for every gram of Carbohydrate there are 4 Cal. Now, what does this do for me? Well I want to eat smaller more frequent meals, 6 a day is ideal. So I divide all my values by 6 to find out what each meal should contain. Protein/Meal = 195grams/6 meals = 27.5 grams per meal. To make it easier I am going to round up to 30 grams per meal, more protein isn't going to hurt me. Carbs/Meal = 540grams/6meals = 90 grams per meal. Fat per meal = 26grams/6meals = 4.3 grams per meal. Again to make it easier I am going to allow myself 4 grams per meal but obviously I am going to try to keep this lower if possible, never adding fat to any meal, rather choosing meals that contain my fat allowance.
Now, not all foods have a label to read. A great site is http://carbcounter.thinner.com/ it gives the breakdown of almost every food. Now, by doing this, I have been able to burn fat very quickly. I guarantee if you take the time to figure this out for yourself you will not regret it. It is kind of annoying figuring all this out and figuring your meals out as well, but trust me it is a small price to pay to achieve that ripped physique. A good book for awesome tasting easy meals is "The BodyArt Cookbook" by Tanya Mein. She and her husband are bodybuilders and have come up with easy to make, quick, high protein, but best of all tasty meals ideal for bodybuilders and people looking to tone up.
As for supplements, I use the products found on Bodybuilding.com. Personally I like ECA stacks. They help with much needed energy for that goddamn, I'd rather be punched in the face, morning cardio. However this is not for everyone, to find the best fat burner for you go to https://www.bodybuilding.com/store/fatloss.htm. Now as for strength training, I keep training heavy throughout the year. After all that's what builds muscle. To tone up, I throw in some cable exercises such as cable crossovers and do some drop sets at the end of each exercise just to tone up a bit. As for getting those abs, I am devoting a whole article to abs, so check back soon. Keep training hard. I can be reached through email anytime, and would love to hear what anyone would like to have an article on.
Best of luck!