Believe it or not, getting lean and staying lean is fairly simple. Once you understand how the body works, your body more specifically, it's all a game of manipulating variables. In this article, you'll find simple diet hacks that'll get you lean and keep you there!
At the most fundamental level, fat loss is an energy balance game. If your caloric intake exceeds your body's requirements (caloric surplus) you will gain weight. If your caloric need is insufficient in comparison to your body's needs, you will lose weight.
Fundamentally, it's that simple. However, the body has a series of checks and balancing systems in place to ensure it's survival. Knowing these systems and adaptations can help you hack your diet and speed up your play fat loss efforts.
Supply & Demand
The most fundamental principle in business also applies to our very own body. The supply and demand principle is illustrated in the graph below:
The graph above illustrates that finding the equilibrium between supply and demand is very important. Let's discuss this as it relates to the human body.
You go to the gym and create the demand for your muscles to adapt and grow. Without that demand, your body will not be in a rebuilding state. Once you've created the demand, you must then supply it with the nutrients it needs to adapt and grow.
In this case, equilibrium is certainly the goal. An inadequate supply of calories and macronutrients will not allow you to get the most out of your time spent in the gym. While more calories than necessary could potentially lead to weight/fat gain.
So what do you need?
Protein is the priority when it comes to maintaining and building new muscle tissue. The individual amino acids (Branch Chain Amino Acids specifically) are a critical part of the supply you need to properly refuel after a workout.
The proper amount of carbs are necessary to refuel muscle glycogen. Muscle store energy in the form of glycogen. When these glycogen stores are empty, you can expect a big drop off in performance. If your workout routine is intense enough, you can expect for you glycogen stores (in the particular muscle worked) to be depleted.
Fats are another critical element that you must have in your diet. Fats are responsible for a number of things including, but not limited to, brain health, joint health, eye health, and regulating cholesterol levels.
Fats, carbs, and proteins all play an important role in your overall health, fitness level, and aesthetics. But, you can't just blindly throw a random amount of protein, carbs, and fats together and hope for the best.
Your macros must meet the demand you've created by not only your workouts, but also by your daily activities.
You may have never heard of macronutrients before. You may not even be familiar with proteins, carbs, or fats. No worries. In a few short minutes, you'll discover several tools and tricks that'll help you become a dieting pro and effortlessly find yourself in some of the best shape of your life.
Tools and Tricks
When it comes to tracking your macronutrients, MyFitnessPal is a clear front-runner. It has thousands of foods pre-programmed in. All you have to do is search for the food, input the amount you've eaten and boom, it keeps track of your macronutrients consumed. It really is that simple.
One of the best styles of eating for staying lean all year long. Combine intermittent fasting (IF) with a macronutrient counting strategy and you'll see results for years to come. Not only will this method get you lean, it'll keep you there with relative ease!
Intermittent fasting is by far one of the most lenient of eating methods out there. Once lean, you'll be able to get away with eating foods, you thought lean people never ate. Keep in mind the supply and demand principle though, as IF is not immune to the energy balance state of the body.
How It Works:
Under the IF umbrella, there are a few different methods to implement. It mainly depends on your personal preference. In some cases, people will respond differently than others. In which case, it's best to find the right fit for you!
Intermittent fasting really deserves it's very own article and there have even been whole books written about it. Here we'll focus on the overall principles that make IF so effective.
By intentionally fasting during periods of the day, you open up a fat burning window of time. Long-term fasting can result in muscle loss and eventually death (obviously). But, that's not intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is a strategic fast that helps the body utilize stored body fat for energy. Like anything else, there is an adaption phase but once the habit is formed, you'll love the results!
I highly recommend you check out Martin Berkhan's website, as he discusses all the mechanisms behind intermittent fasting. He's considered by many the “Khan of Intermittent Fasting.”
#2 If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM)
You may have seen the abbreviation before and never knew what it meant. Well, now you do. This method of eating allows you to eat whatever you like, as long as you can fit it into your macronutrient goals.
Now, you can't expect to throw together a random selection of macronutrients and expect to get the results you desire. They need to be calculated based on your current state and specific goals.
IIFYM is a very flexible way of eating. It allows you to enjoy the foods that most diets tell you to avoid but in a strategic matter. It has proven itself to be very effective and really hones in on the lifestyle component of health and fitness. Most people would agree that they won't avoid eating their favorite dessert for the rest of the life.
So, why not strategically make it fit into your plan. After all, if it's part of the plan, it's hard to beat yourself up over it, which tends to happen in many dieting attempts.
Ava is something that's really exciting. It takes the concept of MyFitnessPal and makes it even easier. With Ava you no longer have to guesstimate or weigh out your food before you can get your macronutrient numbers, and they even have a free trial you can try.
With Ava, you simply snap a picture and it give you the macronutrient info. Ava will also help you out with your goals and help piece together a meal plan for you. Ava is still in the beta testing stages, which is great for you because that means you can try it out for free and help make Ava one of the best tools available for the fitness and health conscious individual.
Ian Brady, AVA's co founder says:
“We’re using artificial intelligence to assist nutritionists in estimating calories as well as making recommendations, factoring in historical eating habits, diet patterns, location and behavioral analysis against a database of roughly 50,000 meals,” Ian Brady, AVA’s co-founder and CEO, tells Digital Trends.
You're busy enough so why not making tracking your dietary habits as easy as taking a picture of your food. You know you're already snap chatting to your buddies anyway. Take a few seconds and send that picture to Ava as well!
Don't let the simplicity of these tools and tricks fool you. Getting lean and staying there is actually very simple. Most won't tell you that because complex and tricky protocols can sell for high dollars.
Pay close attention to these tools and start to implement them in your daily life. Notice, that all these tools will fit in to your life. They do not require special time allocation or expensive investments. Rather, they are merely tracking and modification tools to help you looking your best!