Lose Fat & Gain Muscle on Your Terms:
The Definitive Guide

1. Science Fundamentals

Creating your own Moroccan Chicken recipe involves getting all the fundamental ingredients and then tweaking the flavoring to get the balance just right. But you wouldn’t start fussing over the precise flavoring without first understanding which fundamental ingredients even go into the dish, right?

Similarly, to create your own diet and workout plan to lose fat and gain muscle, you need to first understand the fundamental ingredients. This lesson and the next explain what they are and how they fit together. And lesson 3 onward we dive into the “flavoring”.

Science fundamentals are important so you understand the limits of the human body and don't cause irreparable damage to yourself

Ingredients you'll need to focus on

There are 3 ingredients that contribute to losing fat and gaining muscle - nutrition, activity or exercise, and sleep, stress and recovery.

How these ingredients cause fat loss

Inspired by Leigh Peele

Our ancestors didn't have a consistent source of energy so our bodies developed the trick of storing energy as fat for use during lean times.

How energy works

Our body uses energy for all sorts of activities - BMR, TEF, NEAT, NEPA, TEA - and how much we need depends on our size, age, gender and activity level. Our bodies
                        also always think famine is around the corner so if you keep eating more than you need, it keeps storing it as fat.

How fat cells work

Most of your fat cells were created before adulthood. You're only filling and emptying these existing cells when you gain or lose weight. Fat cells can also fill up
                    with water, which is why your daily weight fluctuates so much. This is related to the Whoosh Effect.

Sources of energy

Energy is available in your body either in circulation or storage. Fat is almost never in circulation and is stored. Fat gets used during low intensity activities like
                    sitting. Carbs are stored as glycogen and if in large excess, gets stored as fat. Carbs are used during medium to high intensity activities like running or lifting. Protein
                    cannot be stored. It's mostly used when in circulation and helps build muscle among other things.

How fat is lost

You need to eat less than your body needs for your current size and activity level. This causes your body to use up your fat stores, which causes you to lose weight. This
                    reduces the amount of calories you need to maintain your new size, at which point you need to lower your calorie target again to keep losing fat.

Now now, don't go nuts

Don't be in a deep calorie deficit because that'll cause your body to think you're starving. This in turn will set of a chain of events including making you feel lethargic
                    so your NEAT, NEPA and TEA reduce as well as pumping up your hunger hormones so you feel hungry all the time.

How these ingredients cause muscle gain

When you lift weights in 'hard' range, it causes micro tears in our muscles. When our body repairs the muscles during rest, we become stronger. At which point, we need to
                    progressively lift heavier weights in order to continue gaining muscle. Besides rest and strength training, it's also important to eat 10-20% more calories than maintenance for
                    muscle repairs. And since rest is when you build muscle, don't exercise the same muscle groups two days in a row. Even for those of us who only want to maintain muscle mass, it's
                    important to do strength training to prevent our muscles from shrinking as we grow older.

Choosing the right goal

Credit to Precision Nutrition

Every body fat percentage range requires trade-offs between effort and looks. In fact, when you're in single digit BF%, you are actually unhealthy. Before you decide
                    on your target BF%, understand what kind of lifestyle you'll have to lead and make an informed committment to it before you begin.

Prioritize what to do now

Primary goal: lose fat

Losing fat is mostly about eating right. If you exercise less than 3 times a week currently and have a BMI >25, then focusing on first losing fat is a good idea. To do this,
                    we recommend starting by eating 150-200 calories less than maintenance, changing 1 habit at a time until 80% of your foods are whole high nutrient foods, and add any activity
                    you enjoy as bonus.

Primary goal: gain muscle

Gaining muscle requires both eating right and getting productive workouts in alongside proper recovery. Choose this goal if your BMI less than 25. Start by eating 10% more
                    than maintenance, eating 0.8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight, committing to at least 3 exercise sessions that follow progressive overload, and getting adequate high quality
                    rest and sleep.

Primary goal: lose fat & gain muscle at same time

This is tough because to lose fat you need to eat less while you gain muscle you need to eat more. There are many cut and bulk cycle programs to accomplish this including
                    eating less (cutting) 20% than maintenance for 2 weeks, then bulking by eating 10-20% more, and some say to cycle every month instead. We recommend starting by eating 150-200
                    calories less than maintenance, eating 0.8-1g of protein per lb of bodyweight, committing to at least 3 exercise sessions that follow progressive overload, and getting adequate 
                    high quality rest and sleep.

Tracking progress

You should track your weight and waist size at minimum every week. Reason 1: The Whoosh Effect where as you eat in deficit, your fat cells retain water in place of the fat
                    you used up in anticipation that the cell will get filled with fat soon. After a while, the fat cell finally collapses after not getting fat - whoosh! You lost weight. Reason 2:
                    to keep an eye on muscle loss. Use a standard body fat percentage formula to calculate body fat and lean body mass, and if you're losing lean mass 2 weeks straight, then it's
                    time to tweak things. Pro-tip 1: don't worry about accuracy. Instead focus on trends. Pro-tip 2: Monday check-ins will prevent let-gos on weekends.

Evaluating progress

Inspired by Tom Venuto

Treat every week as an experiment and adjust your goals for the week after based on how your body reacted to the prior week. Think of it as the OODA loop for fitness. Click
                    on how your weight and lean body mass changed for actions to take next week.

Watch us narrate this lesson

Listen to us narrate this lesson