Here is the simplest guide to fatloss you’ve ever read. It’s free too! 1. Restrict Calories - Calorie Deficit ***Eat at least 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass ***Eat .45g of fat per pound of body weight *If very overweight, per pound of lean body mass ***Fill the rest of the caloric deficit with whatever you want (carbs, fats, protein, etc...) 2. Resistance/Strength training 3x per week (full body) Here is a Calorie Requirement Calculator to help step 1. Done and done. That’s pretty much the fundamentals of solid cutting. If you're going to cut/diet, the best one if the one that you can stick with. I could end this thread now. And if you feel confident enough that you understand these basic rules without further explanation you can save yourself the time of reading further. -Calorie Deficit is King – Daily expenditure of energy (calories) has to be greater than the intake of energy (calories) for fatloss to occur. To simplify this concept further, eat less/move more and you'll lose weight. This is scientific fact. As Lyle McDonald explains in his article about the energy balance equation, The only way to lose fat is by creating a caloric deficit. Creating a caloric deficit can happen happen in three ways. 1. Eat Less calories than your body's requires 2. Exercise more to increase energy output and raise daily energy requirements 3. Both Fact. - So Is A Calorie a Calorie? - The short answer is yes. The long answer is, pretty much yes, but it requires an explanation... There are four macro nutrients which all posses energy (calories). These four Alcohol, Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates. Each has a different value of calories per gram. 1g Alcohol = 1g = 7 calories 1g Protein = 1g = 4 calories 1g Fat = 9 calories 1g Carbs = 4 calories However, there is a discrepancy between listed values and real values, which is explained the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). For example, protein is listed as 4 calories per gram. This is true. However, in order for your body to digest protein (hardest to digest of all macros) your body must work harder (energy output) and therefore it's real value is considered to be more like 3.2 calories. Same for alcohol. Alcohol is 7.1 calories per gram, but because of TEF, it's really about 5.2. There are some negative calorie foods like ice water (body must warm itself) and celery for example. However, for the purposes of dieting, use the standard values. Each macronutrient offers something different. Here is some text on Macros. I'll just do my own explanation of things otherwise. Alcohol will not be covered. If you want to learn about alcohol and it's relationship to health and fat loss, go HERE. Martin Berkhan's thoughts on the subject are considered the standard by nutritional experts. Protein- Is King of macros. The word is derived from greek, meaning the first, which is where it ranks on the hierarchy of macronutrients. I don't want to sit here and describe all the benefits of protein, as it would take a while. It's your muscles primary source of fuel, provides the most satiety (feeling full), and just generally kicks *** all over the place. You need at least 1g per lean body mass as this will provide the minimum grams of protein needed to repair muscle. Some nutritionalists say 1.2-1.5 is best, esspecially if lifting (which you should be, we'll get to that). More protein is always a great idea. Lyle McDonald has some interesting thoughts on why studies that show "calorie is NOT a calorie" (basically, people who think carbs are bad) are misleading. Read Me. Eat.Your.Protein. Carbs - The devil himself. The most hated macronutrient the world has ever known (or at least since that idiot Dr. Atkins made a book). If you want to lose weight, you MUST AVOID CARBS BECAUSE THEY MAKE YOU FAT! AT THE VERY LEAST, STOP YOU FROM LOSING FAT! Read THIS to see the carbs are evil myth get destroyed. Martin Berkhan also debunks some carb myths. I can go on if further proof is needed. EDIT: One more for road Carbs are awesome. They're delicious. They provide energy, both short term and long term (in the form of glycogen). Carbs are really important (IMO) when weightlifting because lifting really burns out your muscle glycogen. A lot of people frequently report that low carb diets (all KETO basically) make them lose strength in the gym and ultimately muscle. This because if you lack energy, you will not lift your heaviest. You need the snap energy. Our goal is to maximize fat loss, not just weight loss. We're not 15 year old girls here (and if you're, you should still cut and follow this guide, rather than "diet". Thank me later). Carbs are also important from a hormone standpoint. If you read the article just above, you already why to some extent. However, other hormones are screwy without carbs. Namely your neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is the feel good hormone. Serotonin and carb connection. If you can't stick to a diet, what good is it? It's a huge reason why dieters fail. In fact, hormonal **** ups from lack of protein, carbs, fat, or all of the above are why people fail most of the time. Maybe you don't need carbs. Maybe you haven't eaten more than 50g of carbs in a day in 5 years. Cool. You don't HAVE to have carbs to survive. It doesn't mean their bad or worthless. And no... There's NO such thing as good carbs or bad carbs. Ice cream or an apple? If you can fit it in to your calories and macros, who gives a ****? Whatever makes you happier. Fats - Hormones, hormones, hormones. To start, dietary fat does not equal body fat. Too many calories equal body fat. Eat some fat. Saturated fat especially. When dieting hormone production drops (depending on the size of the deficit) some. Don't exacerbate the problem. EAT FAT. Try and avoid trans fat, as that is the only fat that is bad. Will a little hurt weight loss? Not at all... It might actually help as it clogs your arteries and makes your heart beat more. Just kidding... Not really. Maybe? Probably. It kind of puts a damper on the whole "healthy" thing. 2-3 grams a day isn't going to do very much harm to you. Keep the TF number in mind, but don't be all weird about it. Now, someone might be saying, I'm not at either extreme (obese or rail thin)... But I can't eat X, Y, or Z because A, B, or C. At one point, someone on this board actual told me that deficits don't work because we're all different. Lyle disagrees... I can't find my Martin Berkhan interview (I'm looking for it), where he points out a study that shows people are pretty normal despite their perceptions they're bad with certain macros (carbs specifically). It's pretty much bunk. Most people are good to go and are just so wrapped up in concepts repeatedly discussed ad nauseum, it has become truth. Are some people more sensitive to certain things? Yeah, I imagine to some degree. But it doesn't mean you have to or even should cut out any macros. Extremism doesn't correlate to success long term. And it's proven not be anymore efficient. If It Fits Your Macros - Everything in moderation The concepts of the diet that I outlined at the start is best described by the diet known as If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM). For example. Let's say someone is eating 2,000 calories per day to create a calorie deficit or their choosing. They have 150lbs of lean body mass. This means they must eat (at minimum) 150g of protein (4 calories * 150g protein = 600 protein calories). They also must/should (I say must because fat content depends on body fat) eat .45g of fat per LBM (45g fat * 150lbs LBM = 67.5g fat, which is 607 fat calories). Now this person has a lot of room to play with... 1200 calories (150g protein, 67g fat) are allotted to the minimum daily requirements. 800 calories are left over. These 800 calories can be spent on ANY macro. Want more protein? Eat some more. As I said, more is better. Want more fat? That's OK too... Want some tasty carbs? Go for it. As long as you reach your minimum requirements, the rest is up to you. So does this mean I'm telling you that you can spend your 2,000 allotted calories per day on ANY food as long as you meet your macro's and don't exceed your caloric limit (exceeding your calories per day isn't the end of the world if you're usually diligent, FYI)? YES. Can you eat cake everyday if you wanted to? Yes. Can you eat fast food everyday if you wanted to? Yes. Can you eat "healthy" foods everyday if you wanted to? Yes. It's up to you. What if I eat too little fat one day, is it the end of the world? No. What if I eat too little protein? Try and be consistent and hit your protein goals or suffer the consequences. One or two days will not kill you. Read Me This guy took Layne to heart, I guess... He ate "unhealthy" twinkies. Guess what? Body fat dropped from 33.4 (clinically obese) to 24 (close to normal). His bad colesteral dropped, good colesteral raised, and tricglicerides were down almost half. How? He ate a deficit... Calories make you fat and unhealthy, not "unhealthy" food. Healthy or healthy is a matter of perception. Google the cookie diet and tacobell drive thru diet. Same concepts... Foods that appear "bad" but when eaten in a caloric deficit, suddenly can be good for you. Just like eating "healthy" foods can make you fat and unhealthy if eaten in a caloric surplus. Calorie Deficit IS KING for fatloss! Before you do ANY diet, get your calories in check! How do I create my calorie deficit? This Total Daily Energy Expenditure calculator is my favorite calculator. I find it to be very accurate. If you know your body fat %, use that instead of height. If not (which you probably don't as BF% measurement is tough to do), just type in height. When filling out the exercise info, try and figure out general energy output per day (averages!!!). Try and be modest, it's for the best. Make adjustments as you go"]Again, we'll have to adjust as we go along anyway so it's not life or death that we're accurate in the first 2 weeks. After you get your number of calories spent per day (on average) we need to do some simple math. In order to lose 1 lb of fat you need to create a 3500 calorie deficit. In order to lose 1lb of muscle, you need only a 600 calorie deficit. In order to lose 50% muscle and 50% fat, a 2000 calorie deficit is required. This is why protein is so important (and weightlifting!) If you're really fat, you can afford a larger deficit. However, all things being equal 1000 calories per day deficit is about as far as you want to go. It will be easier to adhere to long term and the odds of muscle loss are slim (assuming you even have a lot of muscle). 1000 cals per day is 7000 cals per week, divide by 3500 is 2. 2lbs per week. Assuming protein intake is adequate and you're lifting weights, most, if not all weight loss, should be fat. As Lyle points out, inessential lean body mass will likely be lost too. No big deal. It's the essential LBM we want spared. There are two rules of thumbs as far as deficits go. 1). If you can't sustain the deficit (cravings for food become overbearing) add calories. 2). If you're suffering from strength loss in the gym, add calories. Also be warned, if your deficit is too large, it can hinder fat loss. I've experienced that myself. Your TDEE - X calories cut (Caloric Deficit) = Max cals per day. Counting calories and Macros - You must count calories and/or macros. This is NECESSARY. Without knowing your calorie count for the day, you risk sporadic weight loss, no weight loss, and/or weight gain. As Lyle explains Measure twice, cut once, no excuses. If you want something badly enough you’ll do what it takes. If not, best of luck to you and your fitness goals of 2012 and beyond. How to count – 1. Get measuring tools -This includes food scale (that weighs ounces at least, but one that does grams is nice too), measuring cup, and measuring spoons. To be clear, not all food has to be measured. If there is a nutrition label and the servings of XYZ food are separated already, your good. Drinking a can of soda? Calories are added up for you. If you’re eating chicken, knowing how many oz is imperative. 2. Get an app - I use MyFitnessPal with my droid x. I like MFP because it adds up cals/macros, has a huge database, adding food is simple and quick, very easy to navigate, and a barcode scanner. That is a unique feature that I love. No other app has that to the best of my knowledge. If you're technology illiterate, pen and notebook work too... You can eat and track on the fly or plan ahead. Whatever works for you. - Exercise - Did I mention that cardio isn't necessary for fatloss? Good news then, because it isn't. As I said before, weight loss (fat loss) is about creating a caloric deficit. If you eat 1000 calories less than you require, it is no different than eating 500 calories less and also using 500 calories worth of energy for cardio. 1000=1000. There are some benefits for cardio though, one of which is being able to eat more since you’re burning more calories. However, be careful. Overtraining can hurt your weightlifting. You use your leg muscles more than any other and if you’re constantly running and training them, it’s going to be hard to recover for your next workout. You already have a caloric deficit, recovery is hard enough. . Walking is probably best. Do it when you can or want. Strength based resistance training – This is where the meat and potatoes are. You should lift. Why ? 1. Losing muscle slows down metabolism because muscle requires energy to be sustained. 2. You can gain some muscle (n00b gains or muscle memory) which helps metabolism. 3. You’ll look more aesthetically pleasing. Skinny fat sucks. 4. Psychologically feeling awesome Pretty straight forward… I can really relate to #4. When I first started lifting seriously and consistently (redundant?) I never felt so good. Adding weight to the bar is awesome. I love the measuring stick it provides. Also, the testosterone boost creates a great feeling. It’s hard to describe. It’s also kind of addicting tbh. I’ve walked in the gym feeling depressed or blah, and left king of the world. Nothing beats it. Get a gym membership. Worth every penny. So what workouts do you need to do? Strength based workouts. 3 sets, 5 reps per set, and 3 min-5 min rest. I’ll find the article later, but that has shown to be the magic numbers for maximum testosterone production. What lifts? Compound lifts. CL are lifts that require the use of multiple muscles. No machines or dumbbells. If you’re new to lifting, get your strength in order and learn to lift properly to start (barbells only). Bench Press, Standing Shoulder Press, Lat pulldowns, barbell rows, Squats and Deadlifts are the best 6 compound lifts to start with. Don’t pass over squats or deads either… They suck. But they’re King and Queen for a reason. Here is a good place to start and find a good workout regime. If you're new, don't jump in and start your own routine. Better to do right by listening to the vets. Myths and outright lies 1. Eating X number of meals makes your metabolism fast! - Alan Aragon's response here. and also here. or 2. Skipping Breakfast hurts weightloss! - Nope. 3. Your Body can only absorb X amount of protein at a time! - Still not true... 4. Don't eat food (or carbs specifically) after 8pm/9pm/10pm/etc...! - Lies! 5. Eat "clean" or "healthy" food to lose weight! - Still not true... 6. Calories don't matter! - Uhh what? 7. The Paleolithic Diet is Superior for Health! - Added this one for a special someone... you know who you're I’ll try and hang around and edit/add in the future. I kinda rushed my end a bit. This took a minute and was kind of a pain. I have a ton more articles and **** I can add. I will definitely put up some websites of interest and things like that. Also a myth section as there is some much crap people believe that has been disproved over and over (like 6 meals a day stokes the metabolism!).