. I have been eating 1500-1800 calories a day, I now understand this is wrong. How much should I eat and what results should I expect?
A. One of the simpler algorithms to find your cutting calories is to multiply your bodyweight by 15 to get an approximation of your maintenance calories, then subtract 500 to get your cutting calories. So a 200 lb man would have a maintenance calorie level of 3,000 calories, and can lose weight on 2400-2600 calories a day. If you've been under eating (starving) for a prolonged amount of time, you may gain weight when you begin to eat more. Don't get discouraged and keep eating. Treat your body good, give it fuel to run off of. The only time this formula does not work is when you are extremely overweight, in which case I would not recommend ever trying to cut on more than 3,000 calories (and never less than 1800).
Q. Should I just do cardio and cardio only until I lose the weight?
A. No. You might lose a lot of weight by doing just cardio, but you will be losing muscle in the process. Lifting weights is the only true way to transform your bodie's shape. By lifting weight you will retain and possibley put on muscle, thereby increasing your metabolism, making it easier to burn fat, and improving your physical appearance. Lifting weights should be your priority, cardio can come second.
Q. I am 250+ pounds, and am about to spend a zillion dollars on supplements, is this a good plan?
A. Absolutely not. You do not need to spend money on supplements/thermogenics at this point in time. The only supplements recommended to newbies are the following:
- Whey Protein for after intense workouts
- Fish Oil (Essential Fatty ascids, this is a general health issue that can help spur fat loss)
Q. So what am I supposed to be eating?
A. Wholesome unprocessed foods. Now that you're ready to start losing fat the "right way", you are going to make a new dedication to learning about nutrition. YOU (not me, nor this post, nor anyone on this message board) are going to spend time searching the forums and the internet for information on how to eat properly. In general you will be eating things like chicken, tuna, brown rice, yams, walnuts, and other tasty treats, but the topic of nutrition and food choices is much too large to answer in this FAQ.
Q. Cardio fasted in the morning is better?
A. I don't know, I don't care, it's been argued to death and no one can agree on one answer. The fact that you DO the cardio is much more important than WHEN.
Q. I don't have a gym membership, what do I do?
A. Get one, it is the most important and rewarding investments you will ever make in your life. Scrounge up change, bring back cans to the store, or beg on the streets if you have to. Get over your social axieties. Go to the gym and lift weights there. They have all of the equipment you need. While you're there, see about getting a personal trainer for a few sessions. A personal trainer will help you get started in the world of weight lifting, they will watch your form and give you a basic plan you can start with.
Q. Is it true that I only want to lose 2 pounds a week?
A. Absolutely, anything more than that is unhealthy. The only time this rule does not apply is when you are very over weight (280+lbs), in which case, losing 1% of your total bodyweight per week is completely acceptable.
Q. What's a refeed? How do they compare to a cheat?
A. A refeed day is one day a week where you eat a surplus of calories. This does not mean you get to binge out on pizza, and it does not mean you can stuff your face all day long either. What this means is that you eat the same foods you normally eat only in a greater quantity. This will help keep your muscle full of glycogen, and help keep hormone and metabolism levels normal. Cheats are "dirty" refeeds, and include things like pizza and icecream. Avoid meals like these at all costs.
Q. My schedule makes it hard to eat 6 meals a day, are protein bars or protein shakes okay?
A. No. Protein bars are nothing more than glorified candy, and protein shakes by themselves do not constitute as a "meal". I don't care how crazy or hard your schedule is, there is a way for you to scarf down a 3.5oz piece of chicken on organic whole wheat bread in a dark corner when no one is looking. You must eat real food. If it tastes like chocolate, it's probably not the best thing to be eating. Also please mind not to eat too much protein (see the answer about nutrition).
Q. How can I stay motivated?
A. There are NUMEROUS ways to help stay motivated. Something that I found helpful was keeping a log of my weekly weight in my signature here on the forums, between that and posting with other people in similar situations, my motivation has stayed on track. Other things you may want to try is starting a "weight loss journal" on the board here so people can help motivate you and discuss your regimin with you, or you can try making a goal sheet. Lifequest did a wonderful job of explaining them here.
Q. Now what? Where do I go from here?
A. Now you lose the fat. You do it the smart way. Most of all, and I can not stress this enough, you will dedicate a few minutes of your time each night to studying nutrition, fitness, and fat loss. You will become great friends with search engines like http://www.google.com and you will become acquainted with the searching mechanisms here on the board as well as on the bodybuilding.com supersite.
Q. What should I eat before a workout? What should I eat after a workout?
A. Pre and Post workout nutrition are a large topic, have been heavily debated, and already have a wealth of resources available. In the very least, you want to have some whey protein after your workout, but this topic does a much better job explaining
Q: I just got invited to a wedding -- what's the easiest way that I can lose 50 pounds in six weeks?
A. You can't. You should have thought of this 6 months in advance, not 6 weeks.
Q: Can I lose fat without lifting weights? I'm afraid that I'll get too big if I do.
A. It takes many years of hard work and dedication to get "big". I assure you that you would not be able to get "too big" if you TRIED.
Q: I'm 5'11" and 140 pounds, and I can't get rid of this gut. Help!
A. Eating healthy, eating more, and lifting weights will correct your problem. You do not want to lose weight, you want to gain it. If you continue eating a reduced calorie diet your belly will never go away.
Q: I’m impatient and won’t listen I only want to gain muscle and lose fat, what is the best way to do this??
A. By dieting and exercising. As a "newbie" weight lifter, you will lose fat and gain muscle at the same time for approximately 6 months. Consider it your weight lifting honeymoon. After which time, it's either one or the other and there is no in between.
Q: My friend eats pizza and deep fried ice-cream all day and doesn’t lift and he is 6% bf and huge, why can’t I just do what he does? It works for him!!
A. Because he has different genetics than you. Some people are just "born beautiful". It's okay to hate them, I know I do. It's just important that you understand what works for them won't work for you, and you are going to have to work a lot harder at it than they do.
Q: Wait?? Eating more=fat loss? I don’t believe you
A. If you don't believe it, go look at 90% of anorexic people. They have puffy cheeks, terrible skin quality, and a puffy pot belly. I don't think that's how you'd like to look, I know I wouldn't.
Q: OMG I cheated this weekend and I’m 5 lbs up on the scale I’m ruined!!!
A. Yes, you are ruined. Well, maybe not That five pounds is mostly "water weight" which boils down to water retention and more blood from the increased food ingestion. But don't kid yourself, part of that cheat was converted to fat, just not all five pounds.
Q: I don’t want to drink water because it makes me look bloated
A. The more water you drink, the less water your body will retain. The best cure for water retention and bloating is to drink more water.
Q: Why should I supplement EFA’s, I don’t want to get fat and fat makes you fat
A. Dietary fat does not make you fat. ONLY a surplus of calories can make you fat. Fat is actually very healthy and needs to be part of your diet.
Q: Why would you want to do 40/40/20 if carbs and fat make you fat, shouldn’t you just eat protein like on atkins?!?!
A. Atkins diet involves eating a lot of fat. You should read the book he wrote before making wild assumptions. Fat and or carbs do not make you fat, only a surplus of calories will make you fat.
Q: All this stuff seems like it’s directed at men, I’m a woman, I don’t want to look like olga the war beast, I just want to be slim and fit, does all of this apply to me?
A. Women do not have the hormones necessary to get big and bulky and would not be able to get that way even if they tried. The only exception being women who use steroids. All of this advice given on this website applies to both men and women.
Q: I was 250lbs 35% bf now I’m 165 20% bf, what happened?? How do I get to 8% body fat?
A. Spend time researching nutrition and fitness, and restructure your fitness program. If you are in this situation either your diet was horrible or your did not lift weights, or both. Fix these things to fix the situation.
Q. What about fat-loss supplements? What is this ephedrine/EC stuff and is it safe for me to take? How much should I take?
A. You're talking about the very popular EC stack (Ephedrine and Caffiene). While for the most part this thermogenic is safe, it can be dangerous especially if you have high blood pressure or other heart related problems. If you insist on using it, start your dosing very low to see how your body reacts. Typical dosing for an EC stack is 25mg Ephedrine and 200mg Caffiene with an optional 320mg Aspirin, 3 times a day. Some people will take as much as 50mg of Ephedrine in each dose. When starting ephedrine, start slowly with just one dose of 12mg per day and work your way up. It's important to note that even though you will build a tolerance to the jitters/energy it gives, it's fat burning effects will still be present.
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