Getting superhero lean isn't easy. It isn't even moderately easy... but that's a good thing. If it was easy, everyone would have a next level six-pack and that would make you just another person in great shape. As the challenge is hard and the results take effort, few people will achieve their dream body. You have a distinct advantage; you are motivated to do this and are looking into expert knowledge. With the right training, nutrition and supplement plan, you will be amazed by the results you can achieve. You will find your motivation will grow as you progress and get close to your goals too. Just like when building muscle, the first step is to look at your training and nutrition. The emphasis is nutrition here. No matter what you do with your training and supplements, with poor nutrition you will not achieve your goals.
So let's do this...
PART 1: NUTRITION
There is a simple calculation to consider: calories in versus calories out. Essentially you need to burn more calories than you are consuming. This is the fundamental idea behind losing weight but there are a few other things to consider.
You need to keep your protein content high in order to reduce the amount of muscle lost during a fat loss phase. You want to hold on to every bit of muscle you have; it helps you burn fat and without it you are not going to look awesome.
Carbs are not your enemy. A common misconception is that carbs have to be cut entirely to get lean. This isn't true and they can actually be pretty useful on your journey to being shredded. Carb timing is important though. If you keep them to around training time, specifically weight training time, your results will be accelerated.
Fats don't make you fat. Fats used to get a bad rap but now the world has started coming around to the fact that eating them won't make you fat unless you are eating more than you are burning. Good fats will actually help your fat loss goals! Foods like avocado, nuts, seed and good quality oils will play an important role in a fat loss plan.
PART 2: TRAINING
1) Do Your Strength Work
When trying to drop body fat, don't forget that muscle mass you have worked hard for. You'll want to keep hold of that stuff. To help maintain muscle mass when leaning out, do your strength sets on the big lifts - even if it's just a couple of times per week. A great example of this is the classic 5x5. If you are completely new to weights you may want to start with 4x6-8 for the first couple of weeks; with 2-3mins recovery time between sets. These strength sets will fuel an anabolic response within your muscles creating a better environment for muscle growth.
2) Do Your Mid-Rep Range Reps
Work in a range of 4-5 sets of 8-15 reps. Supersets are also your new best friend and keep the rest nice and short to up the intensity. Aim for 0-60seconds between movements; and make sure you sufficiently replenish your carbs post-workout like you would when aiming to build muscle. Just keep the overall calories and carbs lower throughout.
3) Do High Rep Work And Circuits.
Using circuits to add intensity to the end of these sessions is great. Pick 5 total body exercises (goblet squats, DB clean and press, Burpees, push ups as an example) do 4-5 rounds of 12-15 reps of each. Keep the rest short to keep the heart rate high.
4) Add Some Cardio
Cardio should still be included in a muscle building plan to an extent but it should be a major feature of a fat loss plan. Do intervals and some low intensity cardio to maximise this. The less time you have the more the focus should be on intervals. Sessions can be short but if they are they have to intense, so make sure you are committed.
PART 3: SUPPLEMENTS
When trying to achieve effective fat loss, the best 3 supplements to use are:
1) Green Tea Extract
Some studies have shown that green tea extract to be useful for obesity management since it induces thermogenesis and stimulates fat oxidation due to its rich content in polyphenols and catechins. A type of catechin in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), increases resting metabolism and stimulate fat-burning. EGCG has the potential to increase fat oxidation and may contribute to the anti-obesity effects of green tea.
Chromium is pretty epic. It helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, fight fat, curb sugar cravings and combats insulin resistance. I often pair it with cinnamon for the ultimate sugar control duo.
L-Carnitine helps to prevent your body from storing fat, as well as increasing your aerobic capacity allowing you to burn more calories from fat. This product came up in my beginners guide to supplements. It is back again as it is one of my top picks for fat loss. L-carnitine is very smart! It transfers long-chain fatty acids, such as triglycerides into mitochondria, which can then be oxidized to produce energy.