Fat Loss Hierarchy

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Often times to reach your goal you must do things that you don’t want to do and suffer through a few weeks of things that aren’t fun.

The biggest problem that I see with most people starting their fitness and nutrition program is that they start at the wrong end of our fat loss hierarchy.  They start with the stuff that should be saved for the end and have no idea what to do when it comes to getting in the best shape of their lives.

I am unveiling our Fat Loss Hierarchy to you today.  Use it to figure out where you are at, what you need to do, or if you have been doing it all wrong!


1.  Change you nutrition!

The very first thing that you should do is change up your nutrition to fit your goals.  You need to do an assessment of where you currently are and what the biggest obstacle is for you at the moment.  We have basic rules/principles that we follow and work through to ensure that people are on the right track.

– Eat 4-5 meals a day

– Eat Protein with every meal

-Eliminate starchy carbs except after (60 minutes or less) your workout

-Eat vegetables at every meal

-Drink only water, unsweetened tea, coffee (no extras unless it is artificial sweetner), green tea, or a small amount of diet soda.

– Eat healthy fats daily

If you do these things you should be off to the right start.  If you don’t eat breakfast, we should start with that first.  If you drink alot of sugary drinks we will eliminate those first.  We start at the thing that is holding you back the most and eliminate, or add in one thing each week.


2. Start a Workout Program

My recommendation would be to do a strength training or metabolic training program like what we have at Force.  However, if you can’t do that just start something. Even if it is walking 30 minutes a day for 3 days a week.  If that is better than what you are currently doing we will take it.

For your biggest bang for your buck you want to do implement a good strength and conditioning program.  It should be geared towards your goals, involve some type of assessment to determine your needs and have some type of accountability.


3.  Be 90% compliant with your nutrition

Once you have stared making changes you need to start tracking your compliance.  The goal is 90% compliance.  If you eat 5 meals/snacks a day you will eat 35 meals/snacks over the course of a week.  This would mean you have 3.5  meals that can be non compliant.  This means skipping meals, cheating, eating something you shouldn’t, drinking something you shouldn’t, etc.  anything that isn’t in the plan is non compliant.

Planning your meals out and planning your non compliant meals will help with staying on target with this goal.  Until you can reach 90% compliance for at least 14 days you have no need to move forward with your nutrition.

4.  Add metabolic conditioning

Once you have your nutrition in line and have implemented a strength training program you have built a good base to work from.  This base will allow you to push forward with your goals and put forth the energy that is needed to start increasing your metabolism.  Metabolic conditioning is interval training, density training or many of the other things that we do at Force.  We have ways to fit this to any level and include it in all of our programs, however if you are doing this yourself you need a good base first.

5.  Control your portion sizes

Now that you are 90% compliant you can start to watch portions.  I never said count calories, because we all know that sucks!  All you have to do is balance your intake and calories will take care of themselves.  Each bigger meal should include a protein portion the size of your open palm (not hand, just the palm).  You can then fill the rest of your plate with veggies.  This is one of the best guides I have ever seen from John Berardi and the Precision Nutrition Team:

6.  Add extra days to your training

Once you have done the above it is time to step up your training game.  If you started with 2 days per week due to schedule, find some time to add in a third.  If you do three add in a fourth.

The extra days can alternate between strength and metabolic.

My typical schedule is MWF strength TRSat Metabolic Sunday Rest

This works well for me and for many people.  Although, 6 days per week of training is taxing and I would only recommend 4 to most people at this stage

Two days of strength and two days of metabolic work is ideal.

7.  Cycle your calories

Now that we are into the nitty gritty of fat loss we have to start cycling calories and carbs based on our workout schedule to help boost our progress.  During strength days carbs should be slightly higher than metabolic days.  You should also eat more calories, but limit fats on these days.  During metabolic days you will eat a baseline of calories and limit your carbs. This would be a mostly anytime meal day.

During your rest day or non training days you will eat a significantly lower amount of calories, say 25% less than baseline and keep it high fat and protein, NO carbs.  Only veggies and meats.

This cylcing is tough because you have to know your baseline, figure your calories and plan your weeks well.  This is what it is at the tail end of your heirarchy.

If you have trouble with this you can add in a fast for 18-24 hours once per week.  You would eat your last meal on a training day, before a rest day at 7 or 8pm and not eat again until 8pm the next day.  This won’t kill you and will teach you how hungry really feels.

8.  Move up the intensity, change your workouts, add in more days or time to workouts.

This is where it gets tough.  We are having to sacrifice other things to get what we want.  You will have to spend more time in the gym, in workouts or really crank up the intensity without letting anything else change.

9.  Add in steady state cardio

I am at this phase currently.  For two weeks I am getting up 30 minutes early, changing my work schedule or sacrificing 30 minutes of work in the morning to do some fasted cardio.  This is simply walking with a vest, riding the bike, jumping rope, doing jumping jack intervals all for 30 minutes.  Anything to get the heart rate up, get a sweat going and burn some extra calories.

I will not be eating noncompliant meals, no cheats, fasting 18 hours once per week, training 6 days a week with strength, metabolic work, intervals and steady state cardio.   That is a lot to put on someones plate!

This steady state cardio is in place for the final stages to attempt to burn off fat calories in a fasted state after you wake up.  I get up, do my morning routine, take supplements and then get on my cardio.  After cardio I have  a shake and coffee and start my day.  It is going to be a tough two weeks, but that is what it takes.

The purpose is to burn extra calories without adding a lot of increased stress to the body or depriving it of more food.  I need the food to keep muscle mass and maintian my workout schedule.

If all goes to plan I should have dropped from 13%-8 or 9% body fat over the course of 12 weeks.  Not bad considering I also added about 4 lbs of lean mass to my body.

This is stuff that anyone can do, you simply need to work through the hierarchy!

If you need help with the nutrition, we have a great  8 week course starting January 25th that you can find out more about HERE

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  • Geoff Pritchard

    Thanks for posting the hierarchy. I appreciate you adding the Plates pictures from Precision Nutrition. Great stuff!

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