Breaking down what you need to do to lose fat and gain muscle is pretty simple. "Losing fat, building muscle, getting & staying lean . . . all you really need are these 10 things," fat-loss coach Carter Good wrote in an Instagram post.
"Choosing to focus on what's most important for getting results and disregarding the stuff that's not — eliminating certain foods, taking silly supplements that don't work, etc. — is a gigantic step in the right direction." He added that once you have the "big rocks" in place, you can put most of your focus on implementing strategies and building habits to make eating healthy, fitness, and weight loss simpler for your life.
Here are the 10 things he recommends:
- A calorie deficit: Figure out how many calories you burn in a day using this formula. Once you figure that out, dietitian Jim White, RD, ACSM, recommends eating in a calorie deficit of 500 fewer calories a day to lose one pound a week. But figuring out an appropriate calorie deficit will take some trial and error, so monitor your calorie intake for two to three weeks. If you don't see a change, decrease by five percent.
- Whole foods: Choose foods that are made with one ingredient and limit the processed junk, refined carbs, and sugar.
- Protein: You need about 0.8 to 1.8 gram per pound of body weight, depending on how active you are.
- Strength training: "Women should lift four times a week if possible," Jillian Michaels told POPSUGAR. "Train each muscle twice a week with two days of rest between training days."
- Daily movement: Aside from a workout, try to move throughout the day, getting at least daily 10,000 steps.
- Consistency (not perfection): Stay consistent over time with both your calorie intake and your workouts.
- Time: Make time for workouts, meal prep, and self-care.
- Patience: You didn't gain weight overnight, so don't expect your body to lean out overnight either.
- Coffee: Because for many, coffee = happiness. Also, the caffeine can help curb hunger.
- Chipotle: Because yum.
OK, so those last two aren't necessary for everyone, but they are for Carter. The point being: it's important to include parts of your weight-loss plan that work with your lifestyle, work with your needs, and make you happy. Your plan should also keep you compliant on a regular basis. "HOW you lose weight matters a lot more than how quickly you lose it," Carter wrote. "Knowing that, your goal needs to be building a plan that makes eating well and exercising regularly an enjoyable part of your life."