TL;DR: Count your calories, get lean, wear a life jacket because you’re drowning in pussy.
I don’t contribute much original content. But I see a reoccurring theme. LIFT, LIFT, LIFT! Great advice, and an important thing you need to do to change the way you look. But there’s a bigger piece of the puzzle: what you eat. And it doesn’t get a lot of relative attention.
I’m not going to rehash any lifting advice. /u/sepean nailed it in this post, in my opinion. Lifting is important, but nutrition is the key that many guys are missing.
I’m no nutritionist, personal trainer, PhD, etc. I’m a 49 year old dude that’s 6’3”, 195 lbs, and currently 9% bodyfat. So take this post with a grain of salt and shot of tequila. Or pour some good whiskey over ice and read this while you sip it.
Let me let you in on my worldview. I see fat creatures. Everywhere. Fat girls, fat guys, fat kids, fat dogs, fat cats. A first-world issue for sure. The majority of the first-world is fat, and can’t seem to get a handle on their weight, their fat, their health. Because they eat like shit.
But what if you could completely control your weight? Your look? Your progress at the gym? Would that make your life easier? I mean, the one thing that the vast majority of people have no control over, you can control. Easily.
So you’re sitting here reading this, and you’re thinking, “I’m in pretty good shape.” Well, “pretty good shape” is fine, if you’re OK with it. But the truth is, you’re a fat fuck. But what if you walked through life, and 99% of the time, you are the most fit, most shredded dude around, regardless of your age?
Get a grip on what you’re eating.
First and foremost, you need to develop some objectives (goals are broad statements of direction, like “Get ripped/shredded”; objectives are measurable, like “Be 10% bodyfat”).
So you want to “get shredded?” What does that mean? In my mind, that means you carry very little body fat, there are veins running all over your body, and you have visible unflexed abs and an Adonis belt (much more impressive than a necktie, and serves the same purpose of drawing attention to your business). Women will say stuff like “I don’t like muscular dudes,” or “I like a Dad Bod.” That’s just insecurity and hamstering. Watch what they do.
I’ve been 20%, 15%, 12%, 10%, and 7% bodyfat. At 15%, I became visible to hot women. At 12%, hot women were smiling at me and initiating conversation. At 10%, I would get complimented on my body at least once per week by strangers. At 7%, I was getting swolested by the neighborhood women, touching me, begging me to take my shirt off. They were begging me in front of my wife. So you know how that turned out.
You owe it to yourself to get lean. You’re making all these other improvements, but still a fat fuck at 15%? Own your shit.
When you’re lean, people treat you differently. At less than 10%, you become a special snowflake. Or, more accurately, a snowflake with “angles.” And I’m 49 years old. So imagine what some of you younger guys can pull off.
So lean the fuck out.
Let’s start with downloading MyFitnessPal, because you’re going to count what you eat. And don’t half-ass it. Count everything. Because you need to know how many calories you’re consuming.
You’ll need a food scale, and a good digital bathroom scale.
Now, its time to find your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is how many calories you burn in a day, including your basic functions and activities. Find an online calculator. It doesn’t matter which one you choose; you’re just using the number it spits out one time. If you’re cutting, pick ‘Sedentary’ as your activity level. Let’s say you’re 6’3” and 200 lbs and the calculator spits out 2,500.
So you want to lose weight. One pound equals 3,500 calories. So you’ll need to consume 3,500 calories less than your TDEE to lose 1 lb. Simple enough, right?
Now, track your weight every morning when you get up. And record it. I like to make a spreadsheet for my weight and my calories, so I can create a moving average for my weight, and add up my calories for the week. Do this for at least 3 weeks, don’t worry about the fluctuations that you see (yet). You’re losing water weight, retaining water, depleting glycogen, etc. Lots of shit going on the first few weeks.
I like to create a 7-day moving average of my weight. I also figure out my weight loss or gain weekly, usually on Sunday. Just subtract this Sunday’s average weight from last Sunday’s average weight. And I like to add up my weekly calorie total and divide by 7; this tells me how many calories I averaged. I usually average my calories on Sunday, but it doesn’t matter when you average them.
Miss a day of weighing yourself? Just put the previous day’s weight down. Miss a day of counting your calories? No problem, divide by 6 instead of 7 at week’s end.
By keeping up with your moving average of your weight and how many calories you’re consuming in any given week, you can easily determine what your true TDEE is, compared to the number you started with.
How much should you lose and how fast? Good guidelines to help preserve your strength are:
- 18-19% body fat: -1.7 lb/week
- 15-17% body fat: -1.5 lb/week
- 12-14%: -1.3 lb/week
- 9-11%: -1 lb/week
- <8%: 0.7 lb/week
When leaning out, you can do a straight cut or you can cycle your carbs/calories. A straight cut is easiest and its literally impossible to fuck it up. You just eat this number. Every day. The downsides are that you wind up eating the same thing every day. And once you get into the “lean” territory, you may run into unwanted side effects if cutting for an extended period. For example, I did a straight cut once and when I got down to 10%, my immune system quit and so did my sex drive. That sucked.
So now, I cycle carbs/calories, because I can add variety to my diet and I can avoid most of the unwanted side effects. You can try both, and see which is easier to adhere to.
OK, so you’ve figured out your objective, you have your daily calorie number to reach your objective. So what should you eat? My advice is to pick your favorite foods, because you’ll find that you eat the same things over and over, mainly because they hit your numbers.
Get lean, get laid. Womenz be crazy over a lean, shredded man.