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Six Unconventional Fat Loss Tricks

Fat Loss

Fat loss: The formula is simple, but the execution is difficult.

And sometimes, we need a little boost. These six unconventional fat loss tricks help my clients stave off hunger and achieve awesome fat loss results.

But first…a story we can all relate to.

It has to do with that those annoying friends we all have. They drop fat at the drop of a hat. Their abs look great. And all this despite how much they eat and how little they work out.

Flashback to summers during my student days. I spent my afternoons at the University Ropes Course, belaying kids 30-40 feet up in the air.  After about eight hours, I’d call it a day. Then I’d hit the gym before heading home. Then, like most dudes my age, I’d hang out with friends, act like a fool, and drink cheap, shitty beer.

This lifestyle leads most dudes to gain the dreaded Freshman 15.  Well, except for one guy: Seth.

No matter what Seth did (drink lots of beer, lots of crappy food, no exercise) he stayed shredded. We’re talkin’ Instagram filtered shredded.

 It was ridiculous.

This is an extreme example, but my point is this: When it comes to fat loss and getting lean, everyone is different. We all have different genetics, abilities, and motivation. All these factors play a role in fat loss. But there is one overarching rule.

Fat loss is about energy balance: calories in vs calories out. You can increase the number of “calories out” with higher expenditure (exercise) or reduce “calories in” by eating less. It’s a simple as that. Rather than making up some claims like “just spike your growth hormone, bro.”

I’m going to help you get into a caloric deficit with six simple methods

1. Shrink Your Feeding Window

One of the most effective strategies is limiting the time frame during which you eat each day. The less time you have to eat, the fewer calories you’ll consume. Which is where intermittent fasting can be an awesome tool.

Problem is: you’ll struggle to jump directly into a fasting you’ve never tried it. Restricting your eating to the point where you want to gnaw your left arm off is a surefire way to falter and fall off your diet. Long fasts are something you’ll need to work up to.

A Restrictive 16/8 fast?

Maybe not.

A better option: Break yourself in slowly. Eat your first meal one hour later, and eat dinner one hour earlier than normal.

By making a small change in your eating window, you’ll take a smaller step towards your weight loss goal.You’ll eat fewer calories without fatiguing your willpower.

In time, you’ll consume fewer calories and prepare yourself for longer fasts.

2. No Starches at Restaurants

I love good restaurants. No dishes to wash. Good service. And great experiences with cool people. What could go wrong? Plenty! A restaurants job isn’t to make your food healthy. It’s to make your meal so damn tasty you’ll come back and spend more money.

That means more oils, sugars, and flavor enhancers. On top of the hidden fat and carbohydrates, most restaurant meals are huge. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to uncover tons of hidden calories that are terrible for fat loss. But you’re not going to stop going out to restaurants. What’s the solution?

Instead of dropping restaurants altogether, make smarter choices.

That begins with a healthier restaurant and focusing on getting the entree you want, rather than blowing your diet on truffle fries and mac n’ cheese.


Excellent grub at Honor Society in Denver. This might be a new go-to spot 👌🏻🍳🍳🍗🍗

A photo posted by bachperformance (@bachperformance) on


Doesn’t resonate?  Think of it this way. When you go to a steakhouse, what are you going for? Chances are: it’s the steak, not the mac ‘n’ cheese or the loaded potatoes. Stick to your guns and get the entree you
want, but ditch the starches for veggies or side salad.

3. Drink Before Each Meal

No, not beer. Try drinking either 12 Oz. water with fresh squeezed lemon or a protein shake before your meal.

Lemon water works well as the acid helps blunt the insulin response to your meal. slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates. This keeps your blood sugar from huge spikes from carbs while stimulating more saliva, beginning the process of digestion.

By having a shake of 20-30 grams before you eat, you’ll fill up with high-quality nutrients before a meal.

It takes roughly 20 minutes for satiation signals to go between your brain and stomach, signaling that you’re getting full.

You’ll push the fork away before gorging on desert then and collapsing the couch in an insulin and guilt induced food coma.

4. Chew Gum When You Get Hungry

This one is simple. I’ve found that 14 hour days of training clients (sometimes without a break for 8 hours) can leave me ravenously hungry. Rather than be hangry (that’s hungry and angry, folks) with my last clients, I’ve tried everything under the sun to stay focused.

The best tactic?.Gum. Lots of it.Chewing gum occupies your brain and mouth, giving the sensation of eating without actually doing so. Next time you get a sudden urge to devour a freezer full of Ben and Jerry’s, pop some gum into your mouth and wait it out.

5. Eat Satiating Foods

Ever notice the day after crushing a full bag of Cool Ranch Doritos (or other low-nutrient density foods) you’re hungry and craving similar foods?

Despite their salty, fatty, and sweet goodness, low nutrient dense foods allow you to mindlessly overeat.

To the detriment of your willpower and taste buds, these foods don’t really address your physiological hunger or need for quality nutrients.

Make it a point to get a veggie and lean protein source with every meal, even if you’re indulging on less healthy options. Hell, just eat more steak and you can’t go wrong.  More fiber, more protein, and less refined sugar keeps you fuller longer. It improves our health and discipline with your fat loss diet.

6. Walk Everywhere

Going out to dinner? Cool, where can you walk?

By adding 15-30+ minutes of walking to your day, you’ll burn hundreds of additional calories weekly. That adds up to big fat loss over time.

Make it your goal to get 10,000+ steps every day, starting with a morning walk. Even if you’re busy, spend time walking listening to audiobooks or getting business calls complete

Bunts and singles add to up to runs just like home runs. Small behaviors over the course of time add up big time, building momentum and taking steps towards your fat loss goals.

Want Some Expert Help?

At Bach Performance, we give men and women the expert guidance, accountability, and support they’ve been missing to help them achieve the dream body that’s eluded them for years.

Sure, the world of nutrition and fitness can be a confusing place. But it doesn’t have to be. In our coaching program, we’ll push you to build your best body and most confident mindset.
each month you’ll get leaner, stronger, and more energetic as you transform your life.

And it all starts with a Free ten-minute call. No pressure, no sales. Just talking about how you can improve your life today.

So, if you’re ready to build your best body and transform your life– while taking stress away from working out and being held accountable to get great results– this is your chance.  

How to get Shredded for Summer

shredded doorway

Can you lose fat and get shredded in 30 days? 

I’ll cut to the chase. The answer is “yes, you can still get shredded this summer. ”

But it raises the summer dilemma: choosing between getting shredded for the beach and the delights of beer and barbecue.

What does all this have to do with the choices we make on the road to becoming our best selves? Everything, as I recently discovered. My choices were starker than most, at a time my training had stagnated. I had to undergo the rigors of hard dieting for a recent photo shoot.

What I learned along the way was a revelation. And it can help you. Because I’m a lot like you: imperfect.

Here’s my story. It concludes with how I can help you apply what I learned. You, too, can get shredded fast.  

So please read until the very end.


Willpower is a Finite Resource

Willpower is the power to create change, even when you don’t want to.  

It’s the grit to suck it up and head to the gym at 5:00 am, even though you didn’t get to sleep until midnight.

Or switching to club soda after a single beer when your buddies are still ordering round after round of the good stuff.

And while these all appear like simple decisions, they’re not easy. Examples include your decision to take the train instead of driving to work. Or picking out your outfit. Or deciding what to eat for lunch (mmmm broccoli.)

My surprising suggestion? Automate.  Here’s how:

Set a morning routine and stick to it. For me, this is waking up and heading to the gym for 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio. After a few days, it’s  no longer a decision. It’s just something you do.

Set a deadline. How far away is that wedding or special event for which you want to look your best?  Start working towards it. If there’s no event or deadline, create one! This will encourage you to say no to the chicken and waffles temptation and stick with the egg white frittata.

Prepare. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t change to accommodate your decision to change your body. Like you, I went to a Memorial Day cookout. My friends were hanging in the pool, playing beer pong, and crushing handfuls of chips, burgers, and dogs.No, it wasn’t fun passing on a good time, but I made the best of it. I prepared for the razzing by telling told most of my friends I wouldn’t be drinking. Any shit-talk was over and dead before we got there. Then, I made a few steaks —  enough to be part of the event without being the macro-counting dweeb in the corner.  

Increase Training Frequency

Train more to get better results. Duh! It’s hard to beat this for a statement of the obvious.  Less obvious is why this is so: momentum and physiology.

First, training more reinforces your goal. We’ve all missed workouts. Suddenly, one missed workout turns into to two and you realize you’ve eaten like shit for a week. Keep the momentum going in the gym and good decisions expand from there. Hit foam rolling sessions or cardio between lifts. Warm up. Do something — anything —  to build momentum.

Second, increase the physiological responses to training. That means you’ll activate muscles and burn stored carbs and body fat more often. Since muscles contract with training, you’ll increase protein synthesis to hold onto lean muscle. You’ll increase exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC), leading you to burn more calories when you’re resting.

Try four 30-45 minute lifting workouts, two high-intensity conditioning workouts, and two low-intensity cardio workouts builds momentum maximize discipline and accelerate fat loss.

Example Week

Monday: Upper Body Push

Tuesday: Low-intensity CV, 30 minutes, P.M: Low Sprint

Wednesday: Upper Body Pull

Thursday:  Lower Body

Friday: Sprint

Saturday: Total Body Lift

Sunday: Low-intensity CV, 30 minutes

Drinking Really Jacks You Up

While it’s possible to drink — even get drunk — and still make progress, it’s a slippery slope. More often than not, a night out sends momentum barreling away from your goals. You know what I mean. Five drinks later and you’ve got an acute case of the “fuck-its.”

You wake up to an empty pizza box, skip your workout, and spend the next day on the couch. Now, I’m not saying you can’t drink. You’re a grown up. YOLO. But be reasonable.

If you drink, go with a vodka and soda with lime.

Or try a
Nor-Cal Margarita: 
2 Shots MezCal. Two full limes, squeezed. Club soda to chase.

Tip: Keep it to 3-5 drinks per week, max, and avoid drunk food. Want more guidelines? Watch my dude John Romaniello explain God Mode.

Do Shorter Workouts

When you’re dieting down, your workouts exist to maintain muscle, testosterone, and metabolism. That’s 95% of it. Keep the workouts short, sweet, and to the point. Each week had two upper body days, one total body day, and two conditioning days. Plus: 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio 3-4x per week.

But the workouts weren’t long. Many of my lifting sessions were 45 minutes from warm-up to cool down.

If it’s not essential, eliminate it. Pay close attention to your rest periods. Save for lifting heavy once per week to hold onto strength, keep rest periods 45-60 seconds on most exercises.Yes, you’ll have to drop the weight a bit at first, but you’ll eliminate a lot of wasted time scanning Facebook between sets.

Focus on the task at hand.  Get wired in knowing your workout is short, and put in high-quality work. Focus on the essentials. Eliminate the trivial junk.

Lift Heavy Once Per Week

During fat loss diets, most people jump into endless circuits and short rest periods. This is a mistake.

While some high-density work is okay, you’re better off keeping lifting for what it does best: Improving  anabolic hormones and muscle retention. You’ll get stronger as your diet creates a caloric deficit to burn fat.

Once a week, use a compound lift and push the weight for 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps. I chose the chin-up and front squat, but you can pick whatever you like as long as there is an upper body and lower body exercise.

Fasting, Hunger Pangs, and Dietary Discipline

I love to cook and eat. A lot. So it was hard to stick to my macros when dieting down, especially since I’m the primary chef at the Chateau Bach.

I adopted an intermittent fasting protocol, abstaining from food for 16 hours every day, and eating only in eight-hour windows. There are sacrifices in all diets. Skipping big meals with my wife, Lauren, was not something I was willing to do. So fasting during the day allowed more flexibility at dinner.  #Marriagegainz

Beyond sipping BCAA’s and creatine throughout the day, three strategies help me stave off hunger and stay disciplined.

Hydrate like it’s going out of style.

Most folks still mess up and don’t consume enough water. Aim for ½-1 oz of water for every pound of bodyweight.  Beyond the metabolic and health benefits of proper hydration, additional fluids will help you feel fuller, longer. If you’re still struggling, try carbonated water. The carbonation takes up more volume in your stomach to make you feel full and gives you a kick of flavor.

Eat “Clean”

I admit, I hate the term, but for simplicity, eating “clean” means natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein, rather than Ben and Jerry’s and stacks of poop inhibiting quest bars. Natural foods give you more bang-for-your-buck and fill your belly full of essential macronutrients and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. They are less calorically dense. Translation:  despite crushing three cups of spinach, they’re low in calories. So stock up on veggies and lean protein.  

We’re All Way Different

Dietarily speaking, your kindergarten teacher was right when she said you’re a special little butterfly.

But she didn’t know she was referring to your diet. What we all need to remember is what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you. That’s why actual experience working with humans—not just an IG account of half-naked selfies—is so damn important..

On one side of the scale image an ex-athlete, muscular dude.

He’s sort of a douche, so we’ll name him Chad.  

Chad has trained for ten years, is strong as an ox, but needs to lose the beer gut.

On the opposite, we have your aunt Mary.

Mary has been dieting for years.

But it’s yo-yo dieting. Mary has gained and losing the same 20 pounds like it’s going out of style.

There’s no way in hell that the basic “ bodyweight/lbs x12” calculation to determine calories works evenly for both Chad and Mary. Chad’s actually a bit easier in this case and will drop body fat fast if he lays off the burgers and beers for a few weeks.

But not poor Mary. She’s been dieting for years and as a result, her metabolism is jacked up and her metabolism is down-regulated. 

Basically, that means she’s been in a deficit so long her body holds onto fuel and her hormonal systems are jacked up.  

In this case, even calorie calculations that are considered very restrictive (10x BW/lbs for fat loss) is a lot of food for your poor aunt Mary.

This all brings me to my point:

If you’ve been dieting long-term, there’s a good chance you need to repair your metabolism.

Eat a well-balanced diet for a slight excess. Yes, this is a mental mind-fuck. I get it. And yes, the scale will go up—but that’s taking one step backward, repairing damage, and setting you up for ten massive steps forward.

Fitness Photo’s and Cuttin’….This Shit Ain’t Natural

I’ve never thought myself a “bodybuilder” or physique dude. To me, training has always been about building a better high-performance machine. But, I still train for vanity because, in the end, I want to look awesome in a t-shirt, and butt naked.  Or for a photo shoot.

So there was nothing natural about my photo shoot preparation.

But my basic approach didn’t change. It has always been to get amazing results through the ruthless execution of the basics.

Those fitness models in the magazines? The Ryan Reynolds in Blade or Brad Pitt in Fight Club?

These physiques we see and idealize are the result of incredible dedication. They work hard for a time, but the results are mostly short term.  

Ordinary people like my clients have the same issue. They can’t sacrifice their careers and family life to look their very best all the time.

I had the same issue with my photo shoot prep. But  I was feeling stagnant in my training. And I wanted to better understand the industry I work in, all its glory and craziness.

If you’re  dropping fat, depleting  your body, and improving  insulin sensitivity… you become ultra-receptive to both training and a higher calorie diet.

If you’re struggling to build muscle, your best bet is to dial back and go into a cut, getting to 6-10% bodyfat.  Then, ramp back into a muscle building diet. You’ll find your body is adding muscle, not fat, and at a much higher clip than before.

Diet down to boost your ability to build muscle. It’s cheat code for gains.


A few months ago, my brain was spinning. My business was growing, but I was spending all my time working with my clients to the detriment of my own training. I wasn’t in bad shape. But I wasn’t accountable until I set an ambitious  goal. Going through an aggressive fat loss phase forced me to take action and be accountable.

Finding Out What It’s Like

I have no intention of ever competing in bodybuilding. And I no longer play competitive sports. So the discipline required for the hard cut was essential to best serve my clients and readers.

I needed to better understand their struggles.

You see a “beginning photo” and a final shot. But but you don’t see the 5:00 am workouts or 1300 calorie struggles after a killer sprint session. And I won’t mention again manning the grill on Memorial Day while your friends and family drink beer and hot dogs, knowing you’re relegated to chicken and broccoli.

A Personal Challenge to get Shredded for Summer

Life is pretty cushy in 2016. Our biggest concern is what other people think of us, not whether we’ll have a fire to stay warm, or be able to impale a rabid Saber Tooth tiger before he rips your arm off.  

To grow physically, mentally, and spiritually, we need a challenge.

Adaptation must be forced.

It doesn’t come naturally.

Changing your body and going all in is one way to do that. When times get tough, you must persevere, kick the resistance in the face, and keep on  truckin’.

Bit I’ll admit it. During the cut, I sometimes wanted to quit.  And I fucked up a few times. Poppin’ bottles until four A.M. (because “networking”)  was not a good idea. Neither were the missed a cardio session or taking cheat meals a little too far.

But in all cases, I looked in the mirror and asked, “Really? Is that all you’ve got?”

Then I got back on track, made up the workouts, and kept moving forward one meal at a time, one workout at a time.

Push yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you accomplish mentally and physically. ‘

shredded, eric bach fat loss, fat loss, shredded for summer

How to get Shredded for Summer.
It worked for me. And it can work for you. Here’s How.

I’m giving you my top secrets to build your best body in the next Month 

Willpower is limited. That’s why having a coach is so important. Together, we’ll create the perfect plan that improves your life, rather than consumes it to build your ultimate body.

Apply Now: Only Five Spots Remaining  

Five Fake Health Foods That Sabotage Fat Loss



Eric Bach here, sharing an excellent guest post from RD Megan Ware. Megan’s story is one we’ve all heard at one time or another. The big take home points will help you hone in on your diet. You’ll eliminate the fat-loss sabotaging foods that are keeping you from your ultimate body.

Over to you, Megan. 

fat loss” I know what to eat, I just don’t know execute.”


I was there, just pondering what to say next.  I’ve had this chat hundreds, if not thousands,  of times as a dietician. I nod and smile, as she continues by saying: “I never eat fast food, only Chick-Fil-A.”

“But, there was this one time I lost 20 lbs. taking bee pollen, until my heart started racing and hair starting falling out. Then, I gained all the weight back.”

Unfortunately, fad diets and “miracle cures” are embedded in the fabric of the fitness industry. Most dieters attempt weight loss on average of 6-10 times per year, without much luck. The intentions are admirable. But “fake” health foods like “light bread” and gluten-free muffins, make up a huge portion of most diets.

How many times have foods labeled “healthy” on a shiny new box helped you lose body fat?

Further, do any of these foods make you feel healthy, or do you have six Special K bars to feel full?

Eric’s Note: Personally, I can’t eat protein bars or other bars without having at least 3, making them a terrible fat-loss food for me. 

Without Further Ado, Megan presents to you…

The Top Five Fake Health Foods Sabotaging Your Fat Loss 


  1. Gluten Free Healthy

Crackers, cookies, pasta, flour, hot dog buns, and pizza pies:  oh my. I won’t be surprised if there’s Coke labeled gluten-free soon. In now way o the words gluten-free equal healthy, more nutritious or less “fattening.” Having a triple cheeseburger, but opting for the gluten-free bun,  makes zero difference if fat loss is your goal.

If you have Celiac’s disease or a proven gluten intolerance, gluten-free options are great. But, that’s a small fraction of people. 99% of dieters have been duped by clever marketing and fear mongering.

You have been duped into buying products that are twice as expensive and offer you no additional nutritional benefits.

A handful of gluten-free crackers made with 35 ingredients (most of which you can’t pronounce) are not good for you. A gluten-free chocolate chip cookie is no better for you than a regular old Chips-Ahoy. When in doubt, Glute Free labels are out.

  1. Fat-Free Cheese? Oh, Please.

Yesterday was Taco Tuesday, and I’d venture to say, some of you opted for  fat-free shredded Mexican cheese because you’re on a diet.

Good choice right? Well, not so fast.

Satiation is important when dieting. Less filling, flavorless cheese leaves you likely to grab for twice as much cheese to achieve the same flavor and texture of the real stuff.

Further, fat-free cheeses take a simple product and add a plethora of ingredients like potato starch, “processed cheese food,” inulin, cellulose powder, artificial colors, yeast, xanthan gum, locust bean gum…. do I need to go on?

You know what I want in my cheese? Cheese.

Cultured milk, enzymes (which turn the milk into cheese) and maybe some spices.

Bottom line: If you read an ingredient and your brain doesn’t register it as food, neither will your body.


  1. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter Should Be IllegalIt sounds good in theory, but fails in execution. Why would you want a product that takes out the good fat and adds in more sugar? If you’re looking for a healthy peanut butter, go to the bulk section of the grocery store and grind your own, or search for the most natural form you can find. Look at sugar amounts and ingredients, is there more than 5 grams of sugar?

Keep it simple, and get your peanut butter as natural as possible.

  1. Fat-Free Dressing

Similar to peanut butter, most salad dressings labeled fat-free have pulled out any semblance of healthy fats and replaced them with sugar to stimulate your taste buds. Somehow, someway they need to make your ranch dressing palatable.  Instead, opt to make your own dressings.

Balsamic vinegar and  extra virgin olive oil with fresh black pepper will make any salad healthier and more satiating.

Try adding some healthy fats to your sandwich by using avocado in place of your creamy spread. Add hummus or whole grain mustard if avocados aren’t your jam.

Fat has been demonized in the past few decades, leading us to buy anything and everything labeled reduced fat or fat-free. The irony is, we’ve only gotten fatter.

  1. Rice Cakes

Serious question: Why?

Does anyone actually enjoy eating rice cakes? Sure, they’re 3 calories a pop but have you ever had a rice cake then thought, “Damn, I’m glad I ate that?”

Stop eating filler foods that have no actual nutritional value just because they’re low in calories or fat, especially when you end up dumping five spoonfuls of peanut butter on top to make them palatable.

Go for whole, natural, unprocessed, nutrient dense food to maximize satiation and fat loss.

Hunger vs. Craving

If you’re hungry, truly hungry, then eat something! Pay attention to your body and listen to your hunger cues.

There’s a difference between a craving and hunger.

When you’re having a craving, you want a particular food like chips, chocolate or lasagna and only that food will curb the craving.

Hunger is satisfied by any food: an apple, a bowl of cereal, a steak, whatever. If you’re trying to decide whether you’re hungry or you’re having a craving, ask yourself, would an apple satisfy me? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably hungry. If the answer is “no” but a Snickers bar would, then you’re just having a craving.

Stop Sabotaging Your Fat Loss

Manufacturers make crazy claims to make us think their products are healthy. There has been pushback from the fitness community, but we need to do more. There’s always a new hot topic news feature touting some new diet or super food.

Celebrities are endorsing their favorite quick fixes and Dr. Oz finds a new supplement that will help you lose 10 pounds every other day. Nutrition information (and misinformation) is everywhere.

Push back by reading ingredient labels, questioning where your food comes from and, finding out what’s in it. The closer you can get to a cleaner, more natural diet and steer clear of boxed foods and drive-through’s , the faster you’ll accelerate your fat loss and build a healthy, leaner body.

About Megan Ware, RDN, LD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Megan Ware is an Orlando dietician. She strives to educate and provide her clients with the tools to take control of their health and optimize performance. Megan has been featured in Today’s DietitianEntrepreneur MagazineUS News & World ReportPrevention and Huffington Post. Join her on Facebook.


5 Mistakes that Will Derail Your Fat Loss Efforts


As most who read this site know, I spent this past weekend in Atlanta, celebrating a family wedding. Between dancing my face off and singing “Im On a Boat” like T-Pain), fitness conversations came up.

The hot topic? Fat loss, and more specifically, how damn hard it is for most people.

Despite crushing my share of brisket and other Southern delicacies, one overwhelming factor stands out above all the others: Dietary consistency. 

Truth: The Table below will derail your fat loss efforts. 5 Mistakes that Will Derail Your Fat Loss Efforts
Truth: The Table below will derail your fat loss efforts.

Oh, and Weekends count too.

You can’t be the dude crushing a 6-pack for every NFL game, eat chicken wings, and maximize your fat loss efforts. If you’re not consistently in a negative caloric balance, or eating less than you expend, you won’t lose body fat.

With Fat Loss on my mind, I have an excellent guest from coach Nick Smoot, whom I had the privilege to meet and hang out with at this past year’s Fitness Summit.



5 Mistakes that Will Derail Your Fat Loss Efforts by Nick Smoot

If you’re like most people, you’ve attempted to lose body fat. And you probably made some mistakes along the way.

I certainly have. 

The mistakes can prevent you from reaching your ideal physique. Hey, it happens. But making mistakes can actually be a good thing.

Trial and error is the foundation that this whole “fitness” thing is built upon.

If you’re not making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and then using what you’ve learned to propel you to a higher level of success, you’re not doing things correctly.

Today’s article, focusses on the top five mistakes I’ve seen — and how to avoid them.

1. You Try to Lose Body Fat Before You’re Actually Ready to Lose Body Fat.

Sounds a little “out there,” I know. But the truth of the matter is this:

A lot of people *say* they want to lose body fat when in reality what they really want is something completely different (or at the very least, they want something else more).

And, this comes down to values.

Some people value getting bigger and stronger.

Some people value getting faster or more athletic.

Other people value drinking and partying it out with their friends.

And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. Whatever floats your boat.

The problem arises when what someone *thinks* they value (i.e. fat loss), and what they actually value (something else), don’t line up. Why?

Because values drive motivation.

They also drive habits.

And if you’re not motivated to lose body fat – or you have habits set up that are aligned with a different goal – your fat loss journey will be infinitely harder.

What to do instead: Be honest with yourself. Assess whether or not losing body fat is what you truly value (right now). If it is, go after at. If it’s not, chase what you currently value until fat loss moves up on the priority list.


  1. You Don’t Build a Foundation of Healthy Habits.

A lot of people think that the key to dropping body fat is having an extreme amount of willpower.

That’s not true.

In fact, I’d argue that most people who’ve achieved incredible physiques have will power no better than yours.

It’s not willpower that separates those that are successful at losing body fat, and those that aren’t.

It’s their habits.

It’s the stuff they do day in and day out that they DON’T have to think about.


Because willpower is a limited resource, and eventually it’ll burn out.

A lot of people think too much.

All that thinking leads to excess stress.

And too much stress – if not controlled and allowed to accumulate for a prolonged period of time – leads to giving up.

What to do instead: Before you start worrying about the smaller details of your fat loss plan, build a foundation of healthy habits. There are ton of habits you can choose from, but some simple ones to get you started are as follows:

  • Eat a protein source with each meal.
  • Don’t drink your calories.
  • Fill up 1/3 of your plate with veggies.
  • Drink a glass or two of water with each meal.
  • Put the fork down in between bites.
  • Chew slower.
  • Choose whole, nutritious foods over processed, less nutritious foods 80% of the time.
  • Eat with Chopsticks.
  • If you think you want to dessert after dinner, wait 30 minutes and then re-evaluate if you still want it.
  • Don’t bring “junk food” in to the house.

3. You Don’t Train.

 Training in the weight room isn’t a necessity. Bbut not doing so will increase the difficulty of your fat loss efforts tenfold.


Because training helps you gain – and maintain – muscle mass.

Muscle mass is extremely metabolically active (i.e. it requires a lot of energy to maintain).

Carrying around more metabolically active tissue leads to an increase in metabolism, and the ability to diet on a higher food intake. Bot are extremely important.

Muscle mass is the foundation of your physique. No, scratch that, it IS your physique.

Fat loss is already difficult, time consuming, and painful.

The last thing you want to do is diet for six months, drop a bunch of body fat, and then wind up looking “skinny fat” because you don’t have enough muscle mass to fill out your physique

What to do instead: Train at  least 2-3 times per week. Again, it’s not a necessity. But strength training is extremely beneficial, and probably the only activity on this planet that can dramatically change your physique.


  1. You Don’t Pay Attention to Calories.

 “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” I’m sure you’ve heard that cliché before. But tis true. ‘You can’t train your butt off in the weight room . It’s important, but only one piece of the puzzle.  You can’t ignore what you’re doing in the kitchen and expect to lose body fat.

Why? Because the energy equation matters.

If you take in more energy than you’re burning on a daily basis, you’re going to gain weight.

And if you burn more energy than you’re taking in on a daily basis, you’re going to lose weight.

People have a knack for rewarding an intense workout with extra food. That’s not to say training and consuming a bunch of nutrients isn’t important. It definitely is, and all three variables go hand in hand. But, when it comes to losing body fat, calories do – and always will – reign supreme. Never forget that.

What to do instead: Track your calories. Or at the very least, try to be consistent with the type and amount of food you’re eating on a daily basis. If you don’t measure your food intake (in some fashion), you can’t adjust it. And if you’re not making adjustments to keep yourself in a caloric deficit, you’re not going to make any progress.

  1. You Don’t Eat Enough Protein.

I remember someone telling me awhile back that when they eat meat, they think of it as “stealing that animal’s muscle and putting on themselves.”

Kind of a sick – yet cool – way to look at things. But the importance of eating protein cannot be overstated.

Protein is the most essential nutrient when it comes to losing body fat.

Carbs and fats are important too (balance is key), but protein is number one on the priority list because:

  • It helps you maintain muscle mass while you’re in a caloric deficit.
  • It keeps you full (it’s the most satiating macronutrient).

Being hungry all the time? That sucks too. Not only is it wickedly uncomfortable, but it makes your ability to withstand overeating virtually non-existent.

You can avoid all of this by eating a good amount of protein.

Of course, some people manage to lose body fat and develop a nice physique WITHOUT eating a lot of protein (barely any). But, those people are rare. And their quest to lose body fat was probably a lot harder.

What to do instead: Eat protein. If you track macros, aim for between .8 and 1.5g per pound of body weight (1g per pound of body weight makes things simple). If you don’t track macros, try to get in a protein source with each meal (the size of your palm or two palm-fulls).

Wrapping Up

Making mistakes is part of the fitness process (a valuable part), but it’d be kinda silly if we all kept making the same ones.

Don’t try to lose body fat until it’s something you currently value.

Don’t rely solely on willpower.

Don’t neglect strength training.

Don’t forget about calories.

And don’t eat a bunch of carbs and fats without eating an adequate amount of protein.

You avoid these mistakes, and you’ll be 80% of the way towards reaching your fat loss goals.


Author Bio:

Nick Smoot is a strength coach and nutrition consultant out of Newport News, VA. He got his start in the fitness industry back in 2012, and since then he’s spent countless hours helping clients become the best versions of themselves possible. In his free time, he enjoys lifting heavy things, eating, writing, traveling, nerding out on Harry Potter, and eating.

Visit Nick’s blog here, or feel free to connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.

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