Are you tired of being the butt of every “skinny fat” joke? Are you ready to say goodbye to your love handles and hello to ripped abs?
If so you’re in the right place because I’ve got a four phase plan that will turn you from a scrawny fatso into a ripped Adonis (or at least something close).
But before we dive into the plan, let’s talk about some key concepts that are important to understand when it comes to fat loss and muscle building.
Fat Loss 101
- When you create a calorie deficit, your body turns to stored fat for energy, leading to fat loss.
- To lose fat, you need to create a calorie deficit, meaning you need to burn more calories than you consume. This can be done through diet, exercise, or a combination of both.
- It’s important to create a sustainable calorie deficit that allows you to still fuel your workouts and get enough nutrients, rather than drastically cutting calories, which can lead to muscle loss and a slower metabolism.
Muscle Building 101
- To build muscle, you need to consistently challenge your muscles with progressively heavier weights and good form.
- You also need to make sure you’re getting enough protein, as it’s essential for muscle repair and growth. Aim for 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, depending on your goals and activity level.
- In addition to protein, it’s important to also get enough carbohydrates and healthy fats to fuel your workouts and support overall health.
- Building muscle takes time and consistency, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are killer biceps.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into the four-phase plan.
Phase 1: The Recomp Phase
- In this phase, we’re going to tackle fat loss and muscle building at the same time because, let’s face it, no one has time for multiple goals. This first phase lasts 12-16 weeks.
- Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But building muscle takes forever!” And you’re not wrong. But hey, at least you’ll have plenty of time to perfect your gym playlist and stalk Instagram fitness models for motivation.
- To get started, we’ll set up a moderate calorie deficit because who doesn’t love a little bit of hunger? Just kidding, we’ll do a moderate deficit so you can still fuel your workouts and get enough protein for muscle growth without feeling like a hangry monster. I suggest eating 300 calories under your total maintenance calories. We don’t want to go too crazy with your calorie deficit here – that comes later.
- This phase is all about consistency and gradually getting stronger in the gym. Just remember, every time you struggle to finish a set or add weight to the bar, you’re one step closer to looking like the next Arnold (without the accent or the politics).
Phase 2: The Lean Bulk Phase
- In the lean bulk phase, it’s time to turn up the gains (but not the body fat). You’re going to be fully focused on adding muscle for the next 8-12 weeks.
- To do this, we’ll slightly increase calories to support muscle growth while still keeping body fat in check.
- This phase is all about being strategic with your calorie and macronutrient intake to maximize muscle growth and minimize fat gain.
- Just remember, abs are made in the kitchen, so don’t skimp on those protein shakes and chicken breasts.
- You’ll also continue to focus on progressively getting stronger in the gym and perfecting your form because let’s be real, no one wants to be that guy with big biceps and chicken legs.
Phase 3: The Cutting Phase
- The cutting phase is where we lose the last bit of body fat and show off all that hard-earned muscle. Set aside 12-16 weeks to go full shred mode.
- To do this, we’ll set up a calorie deficit similar to the one in the recomp phase because cutting is basically just a more intense version of recomp. This time we are going for 500-700 calories below maintenance. Shred season has arrived and it’s bringing the heat and a little hunger.
- This phase may require a little more attention to diet, as well as ramping up activity. Gone are the days of eyeballing things. Time to track your food like a big dog. I suggest tracking food and tracking steps. 10,000 steps per day is a great place to start.
- Your workouts should continue to be focused on adding strength and building your intensity levels. There willl be days where you don’t want to train so be prepared. Visualize your lean and shredded body coming into full focus. And if all else fails, just remember, sweat is fat crying.
Phase 4: The Maintenance Phase
- Finally, we’ve reached the maintenance phase, where we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor and maintain our dream body (or at least a decent approximation of it)
- Firstly, if we’ve done fat loss right, we’re going to need to do a small, what I call, reverse diet. This means we’re going to want to start increasing our calories again, but being mindful to focus on maintaining our weight, not gaining a bunch of weight. Our metabolism most likely slowed down a little bit as we were getting leaner, so we want to build that back up responsibly. I don’t want you going from a fat loss phase where you’re eating 800 calories below maintenance, all the way back up to 300 calories above maintenance where you’ll start to see rapid fat gain, because your metabolism just can’t handle that. So, we add back in calories systematically, a few hundred calories every week, before finally getting back to maintenance, and then moving to a more intuitive approach.
- I don’t want you having to track calories all the time. I want you to be able to look at food, know what you need to eat, and start to listen to your hunger cues, so that you can actually just live your life. This is really the lifestyle phase, where you need to pay attention to how you’re feeling, what your body’s doing, and occasionally hopping on the scale just to keep yourself honest and accountable.
- In this phase, we’ll find the perfect calorie and macronutrient balance to maintain muscle mass and control body fat.
- This phase is all about finding balance and being consistent with your workouts and nutrition.
- Just don’t get too comfortable, because you never know when a beach vacation or hot date might pop up and you’ll need to bring your A-game.
Now, these four phases work together really, really well, especially for the skinny fat need where you just need to build your body and lose body fat throughout the course of the whole entire process.
Here’s the beautiful thing though: you can do this process as many times as needed to get your physique to where it needs to go.
The only thing I’ll mention here is that sometimes these individual phases need to be a little bit longer, or even in some cases shorter, depending on where you are in your experience and in your own personal journey.
For example, if you get back to the build phase, you might want to stay in the build phase for a longer period of time this time to really add some serious size, but just once again be mindful not to add too much body fat.
And if you aren’t carrying as much body fat the next time you hit the burn phase, well good news: you may not need to cut for 12 weeks.
You may only need a six week cut. This is how you start to develop an intuition when it comes to your fitness as you go through the rest of your life.
So there you have it, a humorous yet effective guide to overcoming skinny fat and achieving your dream body. Just remember to be patient, consistent, and most importantly, enjoy the journey.
After all, who doesn’t love an excuse to eat more protein and lift heavy things?