Many people starting with calisthenics do not just want to grow muscle, but want to lose fat too and get more definition. What is the best way to lose fat? How can you lose fat but at the same time maintain your lean body mass (LBM) or lean muscle mass (LMM)?
Diet is Essential to Losing Fat
Your diet is absolutely essential. About 70% of your weight change comes from you diet, and only 30 % from your exercise. The saying is kind of true. You are what you eat. This does not mean that exercise is not necessary. Diet and exercise compliment each other. And exercise has a ton of health benefits for you that you cannot get from diet. Be sure to regularly check our blogs on calisthenics exercises to help you achieve your goals.
Not Just a Diet
A lot of people lose weight by changing their diet. After several weeks or a few months you will notice a change in fat mass. If you want to maintain you new look and body you need to change you lifestyle.
To lose weight you need a caloric deficit. This means you must consume less calories than the number you use or burn. When you reach your body goal you can maintain your weight by not falling back into old patterns. You must maintain a balanced calorie intake.
There are many diets and weight loss programs as. Some popular ones are keto diet, low carbohydrate diet, high protein diet, etc. We do not recommend one above another. In fact, most of them seem to work as long as your calorie intake is in deficit.
Basic Adjustments to Lose Fat
To make a meaningful change in your eating habits you need to track your calorie intake. Also, learn about macro units such as protein, carbohydrate and fat intake.
We recommend this guideline for your total daily calorie intake:
- 45-65% carbohydrates
- 20-35% fat
- 10-35% protein
Every bodytype is different so you have to experiment a bit to see what works best for you. For building muscle or maintaining muscle while losing weight, we recommend a high protein intake. To lose fat mass we recommend around 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram lean body mass (LBM).
You can calculate your LBM like this: Total body mass minus fat mass is you LBM. For example, if you weigh 100 kg and have 20% body fat (20% = 20kg) your LMB is 100 – 20 = 80 kg.
Sticking to the recommend 1.4 grams of proteine this means 80 x 1.4 grams = 112 grams of protein per day. Do not take more than the recommend amount of protein. A surpluss of protein gets turned into fat, which is exactly what you are trying to lose. By sticking to the right protein intake, you will maintain your muscles and lose mainly fat mass.
Things to Keep in Mind
The most important thing while changing your diet and lifestyle is to have a goal and make it enjoyable for yourself. So don’t starve yourself to death! Losing weight takes time. Be patient. A calorie deficit needs to be around 10 to 20 percent to be healthy. By keeping that in mind you will keep more LBM and MM. And you will lose around 2 pounds (1 kg) per week while staying healthy. If you want to lose 50 kg it will take you around one year.
Replace unhealthy snacks with healthy ones. For example, instead of chips eat grapes. Use olive oil instead of butter. Take 1 spoon instead of 3. Drink water instead of sugary soft drinks. Do not put sugar in your coffee, etc. A glass of coca cola contains 100 calories. A glass of water contains 0 calories.
A new diet and lifestyle is hard to stick to the first few weeks. But your body adapts quickly to such changes. Make sure you get enough sleep. This is both important in exercising as well as in a diet. If getting enough sleep is a problem for you, get our tips here to improve your sleep.
Cheat Meals Can Help You Lose Fat
Guess what? Cheat meals are okay! In fact, they will help you. When you are on a calorie deficit your hormonal system changes. We won’t go into too much detail, but in the beginning your body goes into a state of emergency to keep as much fat reserves as possible. This means, you will burn less. By having a cheat meal once or twice a week you can trick your body. This will delay or stave off the normal changes. So on a cheat day, it is okay to eat more than your calorie need.
Alcohol and Drugs
It is very simple. Alcohol and drugs are not good for losing weight in a healthy way. Alcohol is high in calories and lowers your eating standards. Additionally, it increases internal fat around your organs. Weed makes you hungry. Synthetic drugs literally destroy muscle tissue. All drugs also greatly affect your liver and other organs. And all of this has a negative impact on healthy weight loss. Medication can also affects organs and make it difficult to lose weight.
Lose Fat by Variation
To keep healthy and fit it is important to vary your food. So if you are on a specific diet, make sure to eat a variety of different foods every week. Use varied sources of protein, like fish, chicken and meat. Eat different fruits and vegetables throughout the week and seasons. If you want tips, recipes and find out which foods will help you most, click here to read all about our Clean Eating Meal Plan. It will help you a lot in staying health, losing fat and keeping it enjoyable.
Take Home Message
Now you know the basic principles of a diet and how to lose fat. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not always easy. Tracking calories is something you need to learn and adjust to. Stress can also be a factor in how much fat you lose, despite a good new diet. And not all bodies are the same, of course. You need to find out what works best for you. Check our articles on nutrition regularly for more tips on diet and losing fat.
1: Soeliman FA, Azadbakht L. Weight loss maintenance: a review on dietary related strategies. J Res Med Sci. 2014; 19(3) 268-275.
2: Kandola A, Marengo K. What foods help burn fat. 2019 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324130 consulted on 25-05-20
3: Favier B. How many protein per day? 2016. https://www.puurfiguur.nl/hoeveel-eiwitten-per-dag/ consulted on 26-05-20
4: Favier B. Afvallen buik de geheimen van snel buikvet verbranden. 2015 https://www.puurfiguur.nl/afvallen-buik/ consulted on 26-05-20