I’d always wanted defined abs.
I would diet. Be super restrictive. Lose weight. Get skinny.
And ultimately rebound.
I came to the conclusion I just would never truly get definition.
I had muscle, but just felt abs were never going to be possible for me.
That’s when I finally stopped making excuses and embraced tracking macros.
Through tracking macros, I learned exactly what I needed to get defined abs.
If you’ve ever tried to get your abs to show I think you’ll agree that the struggle is real! It took consistency past the point where you want to quit.
In this video I’m going to show you 3 tips you can implement to see YOUR abs.
But first first things first you might need a mindset shift. You’ve got to get over the mindset that you can’t track. That it’s too tedious and boring and overwhelming and simply impossible to do every day.
I get the whole mindset against it. It’s a big change. And it is annoying to track everything you eat.
But it’s data you NEED to achieve something you’ve never achieved before.
Plain and simple.
Think about it this way, if you’ve never made a cookie recipe and aren’t a baker, you wouldn’t just randomly throw things into a bowl hoping cookies come out of the mess.
You wouldn’t even eyeball portions of ingredients on the list.
You’d weigh and measure everything if you wanted to guarantee the cookies turned out.
Same thing goes for creating a recipe for aesthetic results.
As annoying as it is, tracking helps us have the data we need to get the results we want.
So embrace the suck of tracking so you don’t have to suffer through the frustration of never achieving your goal!
Now what are 3 tips to help you lose that stubborn belly fat and how do I implement these into a full day of eating?
3 Tips To Dial In Your Macros For Stubborn Belly Fat Loss:
With clients I like to cycle ratios, and ultimately the ratios and calories they use will vary based on their metabolic rates, their activity levels, their needs and even their previous dieting histories.
BUT, no matter what, I implement these 3 tips when they’re struggling to overcome that hurdle and lose that last bit of stubborn belly fat to reveal abs.
Tip #1: Go High Protein.
If you want to get super lean and achieve ab definition you’ve never seen before, get ready to increase your protein.
High protein helps us build and retain lean muscle while in a deficit. Because it preserves lean muscle mass, which is metabolically costly to maintain, aka you need more energy to maintain your muscle mass, you will tend to burn more calories even at rest and your metabolic rate will stay higher.
Protein also keep us feeling fuller for longer, which is key when we’re eating in a deficit.
And protein has a higher thermic effect than carbs or fat.
The thermic effect of food is the calories you expend to digest and process different macros.
Protein takes the most energy to digest with about 20-30% of the total calories in protein eaten going to digesting it. Then carbs take about 5-10% while fats take 0-3%.
Studies have shown protein to have a thermogenic effect 5 times greater than carbs or fat!
And unlike carbs or fat, protein’s thermic effect is much more constant regardless of your current body composition. While fat’s thermic effect may be LOWER in obese individuals, protein’s is not.
It is also important to note that consuming more protein can increase levels of glucagon, a hormone in your body that can help control body fat.
When glucagon is released, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose for the body to use.
It can also help liberate free fatty acids from fat tissues aka provide fuel for cells and make that body fat do something useful instead of hiding our six pack.
And the final reason you’ll want to use macro ratios that really favor protein is simply because your calories have to come from somewhere.
While that sounds weird, it’s the simple fact. You need enough calories to not start catabolizing your muscle tissue, and protein helps prevent this. But because of the thermic effect of protein, you are also keeping your daily energy expenditure higher while getting to eat more.
So basically, since your calories need to come from somewhere, protein is a “safe” somewhere to have them come from to promote better fat loss results so you tap into those fat stores!
Tip #2: Embrace The Deficit. Realize Your Mind Will Try To “Trick” You.
Your body doesn’t like change. And you’re going to feel hungry, not only due to the changing source of energy with the macro ratio change, but also because you DO need to be in a deficit to really cause your body to tap into those fat stores.
Now you want to be conscious to increase this deficit slowly and not then try to out exercise your diet further or you’ll create metabolic adaptations that work against you.
But because your body adjusts to the fuel it’s given, over time you will have to adjust your calories.
Do this slowly and even find that balance of occasionally lowering your calorie intake from food, but also at times by making sure you’re moving more in general as we do tend to fidget and move less as our energy intake goes down.
Our body adapts and becomes more efficient and that can mean moving less to conserve energy.
But however we are doing it, we do have to embrace that deficit and know that hunger will be a part of it especially as our body adapts to a new energy intake and even macro breakdown.
And the leaner you get and get closer you do tread toward that essential body fat line, not to mention the longer you’ve been in a deficit, the more your body and mind will start to work against you.
Your body wants to survive and you’re taking it to a leanness level it has NEVER been at.
You’re going to get more cravings for things and be tempted to overeat even when you don’t truly need as much as you’re craving.
I think it is key to recognize this and have strategies in place to help you handle it.
Whether it is knowing it may be time to back off the deficit and do a diet break, include the occasional cheat or drink extra water and push through, you need to recognize that there will be points you will be hungry and have cravings to start.
Focus on finding a balance though too in your ratios, including very nutrient dense foods that give you a lot of volume, but also macro-friendly variations of treats or dishes you crave so you don’t add to those cravings!
Tip #3: Precision Is Key.
As much as I’m a big believer in creating something sustainable and balance and focusing on progress over perfection, if you want to see abs for the first time, you need to be precise.
This is NOT the time to focus on the lifestyle balance but work toward your goal, knowing that using macros you can transition into maintaining your results in a healthy and sustainable way.
But if you have this goal, you need to be precise and consistent past the point you want to quit.
You need to weigh and measure everything. No bites, licks or nibbles can go unlogged. You want that tedious perfection and precision to make sure you have 100% accurate data.
You want to be able to know you’re doing everything right not only to achieve results but to stay mentally focused on those things when you feel like results aren’t building.
Because there WILL be a dead zone where you even feel like things look worse because you’ve lost off of areas you don’t care about or don’t see and the areas you want to change haven’t yet.
So often we simply don’t see the results we want because we give up before they’ve had time to snowball.
That’s why you need to track everything to KNOW you’re being precise for results to build.
So What Does A Full Day Of Eating For Fat Loss Look Like?
I’m going to share with you a ratio that I’ve found works best in these situations. It’s extreme and not fun but what’s often needed to get rid of that belly fat that just won’t let go.
And that ratio is 50% protein, 30% carbs and 20% fat. Depending on the client I may switch the carbs and fat, and I will cycle this every 1-2 weeks with other ratios to maintain hormonal balance and even prevent more than necessary mental drain. But this ratio is almost always in that 6-pack cycle for clients no matter what at some point.
Now I want to show you what a meal plan for that may look like.
For calories you need to consider your activity level, previous dieting history, genetics, age and so much else. Too often we say a calorie intake is too low or too high judging what someone else is using without realizing that some of us are metabolically more or less efficient or may have even created metabolic adaptations from previous dieting practices.
So stop the judgment and figure out what you need! Often for cutting I will do 10-12x goal bodyweight for a client. If they don’t have a “goal” we may start with current weight even.
I will show a full day of eating for 50/30/20 at 1400 calories, which is over 12 x my weight.
For me, perfection in hitting those macros is no lower than 49% protein with 2-3% deviation from the ratio.
I shoot for 175 grams of protein, 105 grams of carbs and 31 grams of fat.
While I love fasting, I will often break my fast prior to my workout when on this ratio to make sure I have that little boost in energy and get some protein in prior to my training for fuel.
I love having a pre-workout, or breakfast, Coffee Protein Shake. The extra boost of caffeine never hurts and the whey is quickly and easily digested to fuel muscle repair and growth from my lifting session.
I’ll combine water with whey and shake to make sure it’s fully combined. I’ll add ice then two shots of espresso or coffee from the Keurig with even a little sugar free flavoring. I’m about creating meals that taste good and strike that 80/20 balance. I don’t want to restrict myself focusing on someone else’s arbitrary standards of eating clean!
SIDE NOTE – During My Workout:
During my workouts when I’m cutting, I’ll often also include BCAAs in my water. I’ll be 100% honest here…I love the taste of my personal ones and it encourages me to drink more water which is key with high protein and part of why I do it.
But I find it also valuable to improve my recovery because I’m more aggressive with my calorie deficit.
And while some feel that BCAAs aren’t beneficial if eating high protein already, when you’re in a deficit instead of a surplus, often you aren’t getting too much of anything. So bumping up your amino acid content to only aid in recovery and repair is never a bad thing!
Muscle is metabolically costly and helps us avoid metabolic adaptions so I want to use every tool I can to maintain and build it!
Post workout I may have a shake, but often because I train late morning or mid-day I’ll simply eat lunch right after.
I try to include more carbs post workout with higher protein and lower fat in that meal. This allows me to replenish my glycogen stores post workout and aid in better recovery. And the lower fat helps allows for faster digestion and absorption of nutrients.
I love having fish or seafood whenever possible so I’ll do something like halibut with rice and a veggies like broccoli or Brussel sprouts. I try to include a diversity of protein options, and actually carb sources and veggies as well for a better micronutrient diversity.
I love mapping in a meal of 8 ounces of halibut, 5 ounces of white rice and about 200g of broccoli because when I’m feeling lazy I can easily get this same plate at a local fish spot and actually sit out looking at the ocean! Not a bad mid-day break!
For dinner I love a slightly fattier protein source since I generally fast and skip breakfast. I may use steak or ground beef even. Sometimes making a quesadilla using a low carb tortilla or even a dish in the air fryer with veggies and potatoes.
I’ll usually do about a 6-10 ounce portion of protein, in this case steak. In the air fryer I may also do sweet potato and a veggie like asparagus.
I even like pre-cooking and prepping these things at times to just then reheat in the air fryer when I’m short on time!
Often I will plan in the thing I want most first. Because I love dessert, this is often dessert. Although I now have a few go-tos I like to cycle and pick one based on even other meals I really want that day.
While a staple has always been my greek yogurt with granola, I’ve fallen in love with the MegaFit protein snacks. Today because I wanted a bigger portion of rice at lunch and potatoes at dinner, I went with 2 protein balls for dessert. Just a nice little balanced way to end the day!
This puts my total for the day at….
1405 172p 105c 30f (51/30/19)
The key thing to remember is we need to work in things we enjoy while focusing on those nutrient dense, high volume foods that keep us feeling full and satisfied. There is something to be said for meals that have more bites when really trying to cut that body fat!
But just remember, if you’re going to push your body to achieve a level of leanness you’ve never achieved before, there is going to be some sacrifice. You need that precision in tracking your macros while focusing on protein to get rid of that stubborn belly fat for those of us who tend to carry our weight around our middles!
My 3-Step Fat Loss Formula…
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