A guide to shredding fat when you’re not a science geek – if fat loss is just not your thing…
Is it any wonder that the science of fat loss is confusing? If everyone had a guide like this, they’d all be walking around with a shredded six pack.
Thermodynamic principles, adipose tissue physiology and whatever else the fuck is in those dusty library science textbooks make calorie burning, cutting and shredding sound so boring that the only way you’d burn anything was if you set those sonoffabitches alight.
You’d need to be Good Wil Hunting to make sense of those calculations too, right?
Well this article is here to change that. Why? Because i know how you feel.
We’re all idiots when it comes to something. I’m a complete dumb fuck when it comes to cars. There, I said it. Who cares. I don’t know the difference between a carburetor and a manifold pipe… but I do know the difference between a carburetor and a carbohydrate.
We all have our own knowledge and if your’s isn’t in fat loss then don’t worry, that’s where I come in.
What I’m going to do in this titanesque, biblical-length monster cockslap of a guide is tell you everything you need to know to drop your body fat to single digits.
I can’t guarantee that it’ll make you any better looking, but it’ll certainly give you the confidence to at least try and get laid.
You want rock hard abs without having to get a degree in sport science first?
You’re in luck my man. Welcome to Fat Loss for Idiots Read on to find out more…
Calories – You can’t escape them; they know where you live.
Let’s set the scene…
It’s a dark night and you’re walking home alone. It’s misty, grey and the air has that damp autumn smell that’s cold and dry in equal measure.
As you walk cautiously home, You hear a noise. Footsteps. You daren’t turn around for sheer fear. You quicken your pace. But the footsteps get faster.
And louder. They’re gaining on you. You can feel their breath on your neck. And then silence…
You ded. They gots you bro.
Was it an escaped patient from the local asylum? A Dexteresque serial killer? A deranged axe murderer?
Nah mutha fucker. It was a calories. Bitch ass excess calories. They jumped your ass and now they’re stuck on your, erm, ass.
You are the fat cell. The killer was excess energy. And when excess energy’s around it’s getting pushed into the fat cell whether you like it or not.
So calories are like murders in the night?
Sort of. Calories are like friends. You love em, they’re your life. But they can also be absolute cunts that you’d love to smash in the face with a shovel and bury deep in the everglades never to be seen again as well.
We need food to survive. But that doesn’t mean we should eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat.
But unfortunately, calories is where we need to start this journey because energy balance is the most important part of fat loss.
Energy Balance explained for Idiots
Calories act within the laws of thermodynamics – a term you might have heard in high school physics that explains what happens to energy.
When you eat the same amount of calories than you burn off you give yourself enough energy to fuel your brain, muscles, digestive system, eyeballs and dick to do their daily jobs without any issues.
This is what’s called maintenance and because you use all of the incoming calories for important jobs, with nothing spare, you don’t need to store any spare energy in your fat cells. You lucky fucker.
If you eat more calories than you burn off your body has a lightbulb moment. It thinks ‘okay, I’ve got some spare energy here. I’ll store it somewhere for now just in case I don’t find my next meal* for a while’.
And where does it store extra energy? In fat cells. And what does it store it as? Fatty fat fat. It doesn’t matter if those extra cals were from fat, carbs or protein – eat too much and it gets stored as fat.
The result? A positive energy balance… Dude, you got fat.
*from an evolutionary perspective our brain still thinks we’re cavemen with nothing to do but fuck loads of cavehonies (according to that Adriana Luna caveman porn I ‘researched’ for this article, anyway).
But take in less calories than you eat each day and guess what? No, not more cave porn unfortunately.
You achieve a calorie deficit.
And the result of that is that your brain makes up for the lack energy by tapping into your fat cells and letting you use those spare fatty acids to get through your day.
God damn celebration time.
You’re not fat anymore.
Working out your calories – do you need to be Stephen Hawking?
Do you need to work out your own calories using your old high school scientific calculator? Fuck no, there’s an endless amount of apps that’ll do it for you these days. So use them.
You don’t get bonus points for calculating it yourself. We all know that a maths geek gets laid less than anyone else on the earth.
Even less than scientists – and I can vouch for that one because that’s what I do for a living.
“You’re here to get paid, get laid and drink Gatorade… so download a calorie tracker and leave the calculations to the computer”
Energy balance and the importance of numbers – Fat Loss for Idiots
The purpose of a calorie calculator is to give you a more precise number of calories to achieve fat loss.
They use built in formulas and algorithms that are well-evidenced and tried and tested…
(just in case you want to bolster that knowledge base, most use either the Schofield or Mifflin St-Jeor equations to work out your energy needs)
Basal metabolic rate
Based on your age, gender, height and hair color (not really), these calculators will firstly give you your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
This is the number of calories you’d need to properly fuel your heart rate, brain function and other basic needs at rest.
If you’re currently a student you’ll get this – it’s measured by sitting on your ass for an 8-hour period doing nothing but blinking.
Basic BMR functions account for up to 70% of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). And like me right now, that’s pretty high.
So if your BMR was say 1500 kcal and you didn’t move all day other than to eat 1500 kcal worth of food you’d maintain weight and your body wouldn’t chance. More calories and you’d gain fat. Less and you’d lose it.
It’s going to be a low number because you’re not expending really any energy at all.
But do you sit like a proverbial lazy ass all day? Of course not. You’re more active than that. So we’d need to factor in all other aspects of energy expenditure.
Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
NEAT refers to any activity that is unstructured and includes day-to-day activities such as walking, fidgeting, foot tapping and masturbating to that cool new Lisa Ann film.
Not only does the term ‘NEAT’ give you endless puns to work with, it also accounts for a pretty high energy expenditure – as much as 30% if you’re an on-your-feet, fidgety kind of bro (and if you are you probably annoy the shit out of your friends with your fucking incessant thigh tapping and Dave Grohl-like pretend drum playing. Dick).
Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT)
Oh the irony. The juicy, throbbing irony. Why would you make an acronym that spells ‘eat’ related to fat loss?
Anyway, EAT refers to the structured physical activity that you may (or currently may not) take part in. Cardio, strength training and the discopump arms workout you squeeze in before you hit the bars for the weekend are all EAT.
And whilst smashing the gym might be tough and feel like a great contributor to TDEE it only accounts for around 15% of your daily calorie burn.
Thermal Effect of Food
The final contributor to TDEE is called TEF. It refers to the small (only 5-10%) of TDEE your body burns digesting the food you eat.
So when you eat those oats, salads or fucking jumbo burgers your body has to work hard to digest it. And that takes energy.
Interestingly, each food source or macronutrient has a TEF value:
- Protein: 20-35% of calories burned through processing
- Carbohydrates: 5-15% of calories burned through processing
- Fats: 0-5% of calories burned through processing
So when you eat protein you use twice as much energy to digest it as you would eating carbs. Interesting and useful information. Let’s have a look at macros in more detail…
Just as a final note on this; if you’re savvy with numbers and added all of the TDEE percentages up, you’ll have noticed that they total more than 100%. Remember, these are relative values and are individual to you. We’ve noted just predicted maximums for each energy cost.
Factor in your activity levels
So as you can see, EAT and in particular NEAT play an important role in TDEE. That means that the more active you are, the higher your calorie expenditure each day.
This is where you have to be honest. Fucking Christian truth serum honest.
Because if you’re not telling the truth about how active you are then the whole house of cards falls down and you’ve just wasted half an hour reading this intelligent yet witty article.
Once you’ve worked out your BMR using the online calculator you need to factor in your activity levels using a ‘physical activity level’ (PAL) score. These are dead simple to work out.
Take your BMR and multiply it by the following (see guidelines for assistance):
BMR x 1.4 if you are a lazy ass man or woman
BMR x 1.6 for a woman that is moderately active
BMR x 1.7 for a dude that is moderately active
BMR x 1.8 if you are a jacked female that loves training on the regular
BMR x 1.9 if you are a manly man who likes to do lift heavy things in the gym (this is me by the way)
Once you’ve punched a few numbers into your calorie calculator, you’ll get a number. That’s your maintenance total – the number of calories you need to stay the same weight and not drop any fat.
If we take Joe Shmoe, a 250 lb, 6 foot tall guy at 40 years old then his BMR would be 2,266. Joe is a snapback-wearing, selfie-loving douche.
But he doesn’t want to be a fat douche so he wants to work out his calories.
He’s always at the gym because other than his job selling poor quality weed to high school kids he doesn’t work. Joe takes his 2,266 and multiplies it by 1.9.
His total maintenance allowance each day is 4,305 kcal.
Now we need to work out the calorie deficit
Now that we have your maintenance cals sorted we need to work out a deficit that will help you drop fat quicker than my ex girlfriends panties, that’s what.
We take off 20% from maintenance. That’s it. Simple.
Is 20% some magic industry secret? Nope. It’s a starting point, that’s all.
But that 20% is a perfect balance between a fat shredding deficit and going too aggressive (which is harder to adhere to, could lead to loss of muscle, and more than likely turns you into a ‘hangry’ bitch ass).
Let’s use Joe again. His maintenance cals were 4,305. Minus 20% and we get 3,444.
That’s it. That’s Joe’s calorie deficit sorted.
Macros and Dropping Fat for Idiots
Once you’ve worked out your calories you next need to start thinking about what makes those calories up.
Here’s what you need to know:
There’s a reason I’m starting with protein. And that’s because when you’re dieting to drop fat it’s the most important macro.
Protein gives you an energy value of 4 kcal per gram.
When you’re in a deficit your body likes to not only use stored fat as fuel, but lean muscle too. But keeping protein high helps to maintain lean mass by elevating what’s called muscle protein synthesis, even at a 20% negative balance.
Not only that but protein also has the highest TEF value out of all of your macros too – around 30% of the energy in that Nando’s chicken is used to help you digest it.
And because TEF is negatively correlated with feelings of hunger, eating protein-rich food helps to keep your appetite down and reduce overall energy intake for the day.
Bravo protein, bravo.
Recommendation: 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Carbohydrates and fats
The next thing to look at once you have your calorie deficit and protein requirements laid out is to fill up the remaining calories with carbs and fats. This is dead simple too.
There are so many myths, misconceptions and straight up untruths about carbs that they might as well be called carboLIEdrates. Yeah, I went there.
In fact scrap that. Carbs are so nice that I’m gonna call them carboMYdrates.
Anyway, now that I’m out of grainy (ha) carb puns let’s look at how this nutrients fits into your fat loss goals.
Firstly, do carbs make you fat? No, unless you eat so many that you hit a calorie surplus. Dumb fuckers like Gary Taubes (I’m not linking him in this article because you seriously don’t need to read his shit waffle stomp writing).
At 4 kcal per gram, carbs have the same energy yield as protein. But it’s not as satiating and has a TEF of 5-15%.
Although technically you could live without carbs (your body can make its own by using a special process called gluconeogenesis), we wouldn’t advise it. Carbs are the body’s primary fuel source and despite the popularity of low carb diets they aren’t special.
When it comes to fat, it’s much like carbs – it won’t ‘make’ you fat unless you eat too much and fall into an energy surplus. And unlike carbs it’s essential for making steroid hormones such as testosterone that regulate reproductive, metabolic and vascular health.
The only thing to bare in mind with fat is that it is higher in calories than both protein and carbs – 9 kcal per gram. And it has a very low TEF of up to 5%.
Here’s where preference comes in…
If you’re the sort of person that likes their carbs then you can add more carbs into your remaining cals. And you just drop fat to accommodate it. If you aren’t a carby person then prioritize fat at around 0.6 grams per pound of body weight and then backfill with carbs.
Just don’t go over your remaining calorie allowance!
Recommendation: up to 0.6 gram of fat per pound of body weight. The rest from carbs. But adjust based on preference – if you want more carbs just take fats down to compensate.
Let’s use Joe Schmoe as our example again
Okay Joe, take those Rohypnol out of your back pocket and come over here a minute will you?
Nice one, thanks.
Right, so in terms of Joe’s macros, remember he’s a 250 lb guy. So protein is dead easy to work out – it’s 250 grams per day. Sorted.
Because protein is valued at 4 kcal per gram we need to multiply 250 by 4 to get the calorie count on that…. (*punches calculator buttons)…. That’s 1000 kcal.
Take 1000 kcal from Joe’s 3,444 deficit and were left of course with 2,444. That’s 2,444 of fats and carbs to play with.
Let’s say for arguments sake that Joe wants prioritize fats (because he knows that having optimal testosterone gets you jacked).
We take his 250 lb body weight and multiply it by 0.6 (remember, that was the recommended fat intake value) and we’ve got 150 grams of fat to eat per day.
At 9 kcal per gram we can get calories from that – it works out at 1,350.
If we had 2,444 calories from fats and carbs and Joe’s just used them to swallow up 1,350 worth of fat that’ll leave him with 1,094 (273 grams) of carbs per day.
- Calorie deficit = 3,444 kcal
- Protein = 1000 kcal (250 g)
- Fat = 1,350 kcal (150 g)
- Carbs = 1,094 kcal (273 g)
Joe is going to be one jacked up, ripped son-of-a following these macros. He’ll still be a lil unaware and an idiot when it comes to fat loss though (because he’s not read this article).
How do you know which the best diet for you is?
The info for Joe above presumes that a normal, ‘balanced’ diet of macros will take him to absville.
It’s well calculated and takes into account the deficit as the major goal, without neglecting any particular nutrient.
But not all diets use a balanced approach when it comes to macros…
Keto, carb cycling, intermittent fasting, Atkins, clean eating so on and so on. They’re all different kind of diets that involve either completely taking out one or more macro or reducing them significantly.
You know why people lose weight on these diets?
You’ve got it – it’s because they create an energy deficit. Not some fucked up voodoo shit. They only work because they allow you to reduce overall calorie intake and therefore tap into stored fat.
No-one gives a shit which diet you decide to follow. If you drop fat and you can stick to the diet without it having a negative impact on your job, family, health and (most importantly) sex life, then that’s the diet for you. Adherence is key to fat loss dieting.
Footnote – have you ever noticed that the more ‘out there’ the diet is, the more cultist it becomes. If you’re not careful you’ll end up in a 4-hour argument with these people about their dumb shittery. And as fun as that is you just can’t change some people’s minds.
I have a friend named Chad. He’s a privileged lad and because of his parent’s wealth he gets to kick back most days, and use his home gym to make gains.
Now his counselor told him that the best diet is low carb – it ‘annihilates fat’ they told him. ‘It’s the best diet ever’.
Well fuck Chad, his pleated khaki shorts and pink Ralph Lauren Polo.
And definitely fuck his state-of-the-art home gym that he uses to bang prostitutes in at night (yeah, we all know Chad). Because low carb isn’t the best diet. It might work for him, but it might not work for you.
The key is to keep it simple.
There you have it. Order your gown and mortar board because you’ve just graduated from gainz school. Whilst some of this stuff might seem daunting at first, take your time and break down each part of this article.
There’s no rush and the more confident you are with what’s been covered, the easier you’ll be able to apply it.
No doubt we’ll cockslap you with a part 2 soon, but for now… enjoy your fat loss shred.