- 1) Don’t be afraid to drop calories harsh and fast
- 2) Make cardio progressive
- 3) Opt for intervals over steady state
- 4) Keep protein high
- 5) Use stims as a tool
- 6) Monitor steps and day to day activity
- 7) Take pictures as well as weight
- 8) Don’t let sleep suffer
- 9) Manage stress
- 10) Have someone/something to be accountable to
In recent years, weight loss trends have shifted to slow, steady and sustainable methods. For those who struggle with binging and yo-yo dieting, that can certainly be the way forward. If you are more advanced and have a good relationship with food and body image, there is no reason why you can’t implement a quick and aggressive diet to strip the fat off.
There are several benefits to this. For a bodybuilder, for example, who has let body composition get sloppy, a short mini cut can help reset insulin sensitivity, bring back appetite, improve digestion and remove some unwanted fat, and be done and wrapped up before any diet fatigue has set in and performance in the gym has had to take a big hit.
You might also be under some sort of deadline. In the last year, a lot more of us have been booking spontaneous holidays, rather than organising a year in advance. You might have even had to change the date of a wedding or event, or decided to kick off a competition prep late in the season.
Whatever your reasoning, here are our top 10 most intense tips to get shredded fast!
1) Don’t be afraid to drop calories harsh and fast
This isn’t relevant to everyone, but if you’ve been bulking for some time you’ll probably have a lot of calories to play with. If you’re gaining on 4000 calories, don’t expect a 50-100 calorie drop to be enough to take you out of a surplus! If calories are around the 3000+ mark, there is no reason why you can’t remove 500 calories (from carbs and fats) right out the gate.
We’d suggest prioritising protein intake and peri-workout nutrition. That is, what you eat/drink before, during and after training. By doing this, you shouldn’t see any immediate decreases in strength or recovery. Most people actually start to feel better in the gym when they realise that they’d previously been walking around in an all-day carb coma!
2) Make cardio progressive
Progressing cardio doesn’t just have to mean more. Say, for example, week 1 of dieting you are super motivated and food is still high. You complete 20 minutes on the stairmaster on level 8. By week 3, you are a dragging a little and only use level 5 for 20 minutes and weight loss stalls.
Treat cardio how you would your weight training sessions and don’t let intensity come down. If anything, as you get fitter and lighter you should only be doing all you can to make it harder!
3) Opt for intervals over steady state
If you are able to keep cardio and weights separate, we’d certainly suggest giving interval cardio a go. While it might wear your legs out more than low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio, you’ll get your heart rate up to higher zones, burning more calories not only during the cardio session but in the hours that follow.
If possible, perform your HIIT cardio on an empty stomach, with fat burners if you wish, eat a few meals and then train later in the day. For most people, this would mean splitting sessions pre and post workday.
4) Keep protein high
While you’re likely to want to grip on to those precious carbohydrates for as long as possible, it’s protein that will help you maintain your hard-earned muscle and keep you satiated as food drops. We would recommend at least 25-30g complete protein per meal, so that’s things like chicken, eggs, whey or tofu. The more muscle an individual has, the more protein they are likely to need!
5) Use stims as a tool
If you’ve been hammering a gram of caffeine per day during your bulk (something that we would not EVER recommend), your tolerance to stimulants will be high with little of the effects we will want when dieting, such as increased energy and motivation and elevated heart rate.
While food is still high, ensure that this is your main tool for energy. intra-workout carbs and a pump product such as Ether should be enough to give you some phenomenal sessions! As calories drop, stims can come in to keep you feeling good. We’d suggest starting with around 200mg daily from a fat burner or pre-workout.
6) Monitor steps and day to day activity
As we get leaner and more fatigued, it’s normal for us to simply move less. Normal tasks like a walk to the shop or housework can feel like a chore. If we let this set in, without even realising we begin expending less calories. What does this mean? More cardio and less food!
Monitoring things like steps is a good way to keep NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) consistent. You can use something like a Fitbit or Oura ring, or even get an app on your phone to do this. You can also increase step count as a low-stress way to increase a calorie deficit.
7) Take pictures as well as weight
Now… it’s easy for us to convince ourselves that we look better when the scale hasn’t budged just because we don’t want to drop food any further. But if you can be honest and accountable, this can be the case. A recomp effect is especially pronounced if your effort in the gym goes up due to a surge of motivation from the diet. If intensity and strength are increasing, you could well build muscle while on lower food.
In additional to taking a weekly average weight (to account for fluctuations), you should take weekly check in photos. For consistency, ensure that there are always taken fasted in the same clothing, spot and lighting. If weight is the same but midsection significantly tighter, that’s a win!
Remember that scale fluctuations are normal, and therefore taking an average weight or at least knowing when to take the number with a pinch of salt can be beneficial. Many factors might play into the scale increasing, from poor sleep to high stress to changes in hydration/sodium intake and the menstrual cycle.
8) Don’t let sleep suffer
It’s not going to be news to anyone that lack of sleep can make us feel rubbish the next day. But poor sleep can also affect our ability to burn fat, gain muscle and recover from training. If that high stim pre-workout before an evening session means you’re up until early hours of the morning, it might be time to reassess!
9) Manage stress
High mental/emotional stress can easily translate over into our physique progress, especially when dieting. Stress can skew digestion massively, meaning that food isn’t absorbed as well and we can become bloated, gassy, constipated or the opposite! While some stessors can’t really be avoided, like responsibilities at work or misbehaving children, we can help manage how we respond to stress. We’d suggest having an adaptogen like Ashwagandha or Emoxypine on hand for post-workout or pre-bed.
10) Have someone/something to be accountable to
Lots of people work best with some sort of pressure or deadline. This might be the thing that you want to be in shape for, like a photoshoot or holiday. It could also be a coach or personal trainer that you want to make proud. Whatever it is, have a clear reason for doing what you’re doing and not veering off plan the first time you see a tasty looking treat!
A rapid fat loss diet isn’t the best way to create sustainable healthy habits, but in the right context it can work a treat. How many of these tips are you already following, how many are you going to implement and are there any you disagree with or think we’ve missed? Share your thoughts over on our Instagram page @PredatorNutrition and sign up to our email list for more content!