Once you’ve made progress and lost serious body fat, you face the most frustrating & tedious part: losing the last little bit of fat. A question I get asked regularly is exactly that; “how do I get rid of this last little bit of fat?” To get to the 8-10% body fat for men or 15-18% percent for women required to achieve a super lean midsection, you’ll need to invoke greater dietary diligence. I’ve worked with hundreds of people and most find that as they get leaner, it gets harder to fine-tune your physique and get even leaner. I’ve gotten to the 7% body fat range both with and without the strategies discussed below and I can say definitively that they noticeably speed the process up.
Your body is in a “fasted” state when insulin is at a low level and fat stores are become the primary source of energy. As you probably guessed this is always first thing in the morning & sometimes during the day if there had been a significant gap (3hrs +) between meals. The size and composition of a meal determine how long it takes for your body to process an absorb the food you eat and enter a fasted state.
The bottom line is the larger the meal, the larger the insulin response and the longer it will take to come back to a fasted state, hence why most people that train fasted do so first thing in the morning. So, why bother with fasted training? Because 6 hours or more of fasting increases your body’s ability to burn fat, especially if used in conjunction with a few supplements (which I’ll cover shortly). Insulin blunts lipolysis (the breakdown of fat cells for energy) and fat oxidation (the burning of the fatty acids resulting from lipolysis), and that’s why the higher your insulin levels are during exercise, the less fat you’ll burn during these workouts.
There is one major downside to fasted training – breakdown of muscle tissue. This unwanted effect is due to the calorie deficit, which is necessary for losing fat, puts you at a protein turnover disadvantage (balance between protein synthesis and protein degradation). Thus, higher amounts of protein degradation can result in more muscle loss. Fortunately, you can prevent this with proper supplementation.
To lose fat, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. Sounds simple enough right? The problem is if you go too low you run into some serious health problems that could stall your fat loss long term. One being a complete shut down of your thyroid! You’ll also experience things like fatigue, lack of motivation, poor immune system & gastric distress.
So how many do you need? For you, someone looking to lose that ‘last little bit’, who works out five of more times per week I recommend a minimum of 22 calories per kg of body weight. This is the number that has worked for me and worked on my clients in the past – I found 20 cals too low, and 25 cals slightly too high.
Every time you eat something, your body will use the calories, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that you ingest. They will either be used by muscles and organs for fuel, or stored as fat. Nutrient partitioning is how your body chooses where the nutrients will go, and how they will be used.
The manipulation of carbohydrate intake is the key to effective nutrient partitioning. Carbohydrates are fuel. If you’ve ever been on a low carb diet you may have lost fat, but you probably noticed a drop in strength & endurance as well, depending on how much time you spent in a carb-depleted state. If you ingest most of your carbs within an hour window after your workout, your body will use the resulting blood sugar for fuel and attack the fat in your body. You’ll have high energy for performance, and your insulin levels will quickly return to normal after the post-workout carbohydrates.
In a nutshell, anyone can improve their nutrient partitioning abilities. It is largely a matter of regulating insulin through carbohydrate manipulation and then ensuring that you get an adequate amount of protein and fat while consuming your daily calories.
Getting rid of that ‘last little bit’ can be a real pain in the ass, but with hard work and consistency rest assured that you CAN get rid of it. Implement these three stubborn fat loss strategies, and you’ll lean out faster and when you do I’d love to hear about it.