9

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Start Here: The definitive guide to improving body composition

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 19, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Hey. I have noticed that this is not yet a thread and there are A LOT of questions about weight (fat) loss here scattered about the archives. I figured, why not create one, epic thread where everyone shares their two-cents (n=1) on what they have learned and what works for them. Maybe we will see some common trends that we can then generally apply to everyone.

Please, do share your experience. What key point have you found that work for fat loss and boy recomposition? What do you think is the best way to get the body that you want?

Thank you very much, and hopefully we can all learn so much from each other through this thread.

7e13e284a1bafd7b4de14a50ee96140c

(322)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:39 AM

Practical, no-bullshit adivce!

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 19, 2012
at 10:54 PM

Hey, maybe this isn't the place to comment, but I'm a competitive long distance runner so cardio, cardio, cardio is my thing. I'd feel like a musician who never practiced if I didn't train the way I want to perform, however, I do lift weights, (40 minutes, intense) 3-4 times a week and run 5-6 times a week (each run b/w 4 and 8 miles and I'm pretty random depends on how much time I have), I'm recovering from a broken toe that started this whole Paleo beeswax and fell into it via researching crossfit. Ilost 25lbs in 4 months training the same way pre-injury. Paleo nutrition being the difference

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 19, 2012
at 07:04 PM

Yes, Julie, I think that you are right.

Aa748fb43334ffd2db3934aa00874bbe

(458)

on September 19, 2012
at 07:00 PM

I agree with most of this (especially butter in coffee being gross). However, number 10 is kind of a problem- some people have such crazy body image distortion that the mirror lies, and listening to what other people tell you about your body seems like a minefield. So, yeah, fuck the scale, and body composition is what really matters at the end of the day, but feeling good/healthy/strong is at the heart of it, I think.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 19, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Word .

91119f53c3827f5c7fc90b98cab85b04

(799)

on September 19, 2012
at 05:52 PM

agreed, many great points that I also practice myself

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:59 PM

...I gotta ask though, why do you think IF is important? Do you actually think that it is the 16/8 window that is magic, or do you think it is rather allowing you to stick to your daily calorie/macro goals?

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:53 PM

Sleep is so underrated!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:51 PM

Yes, Good point on the HIIT vs running and the grass fed vs grain fed meat.

98266ae0c87836d4bb714b6d31cacbf9

(1632)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:37 PM

Great post, especially 7,8,9. +1

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:04 PM

What a great idea to end the daily, "help, I can't lose weight" stuff. Hopefully, if people answer, this gets put into the FAQS page as commonly asked questions.

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6 Answers

12
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on September 19, 2012
at 04:29 PM

  1. (Maybe) Do not eat (100%) paleo: THis is personal, but I find I have better results eating mostly, but not totally paleo. That means yes, 80-90% of food should be paleo-friendly, but strategic use of certain foods/supplements can be helpful for improving body composition. For instance, casein protein or cottage cheese before bed (in a calorie deficit, this will help preserve muscle mass while dropping fat, because you're keeping your muscles supplied with amino acids through the night). Another example would be finding a starchy carb source that works best for you, and sweet potatoes aren't perfect for everyone- it doesn't have to be strict paleo....just something that you tolerate.

  2. meal timing and IF is irrelevant. The benefit of IF for some people is that it allows them to consume fewer calories and stick to their meal plan. That is it. It is no better or no worse than eating the same amount of calories over an extended period of time in smaller meals, and not 1-2 large ones. Also, despite claims of freeing up time, it can also be more tedious than just eating when hungry, regardless of the time window.

  3. All that matters for weight loss (or gain) is calories. However, for fat loss, the kind of calories and the timing of macronutrients matters. Personally, I find that eating carbs in the right times works better than just eating them at night (which is the new bro science), ceterus paribus. For me the only okay times for carbs is in the morning so you can burn off during the day or post workout.

  4. Overall carb count matters, but the kind of carbs do to. Starch (glucose) is much better for fat loss than fructose. Starch is stored as muscle glycogen if you are insulin sensitive. They are not burned off for immediate use (turning you into a sugar burner) and nor are they stored as fat. Fructose is a lot easier to store as fat as it is not stored as muscle glycogen. Eating fructose (fruit) temporarily kicks me out of fat burning mode.

  5. weight training trumps cardio for fat loss and generally looking good without any clothes on. I don't really feel the need to explain this.

  6. Cycling carbohydrates between low carb days and high carb days (high carb means 1g/lb of desired body weight in for me) aids in fat loss and also takes the monotony out of eating, as every so often you get a guilt-free splurge on some of your favorites (sourdough rye bread, oatmeal, etc).

  7. Do not take advice or recommendations blindly. Experiment. If someone says you should eat sweet potatoes over potatoes and definitely over grains, then first try to understand the logic and then try to experiment on yourself. Personally, I prefer grains to tubers, I do not tolerate coconut oil, and butter in my coffee grosses me out.

  8. Results ALWAYS trump (pseudo) science/theory. Do not take diet or fitness advice from someone who has not mastered their own body and is not at the level of fitness or health I aspire to be at.

  9. Do your own thing and do not copy what others do expecting it will work for you. Everyone is different. Even if we were the same, we have different workouts and rhythms. Do what works for you- take what works and discard what does not.

  10. It is okay to never touch a scale for the rest of your life. Go by the mirror, measurements, skin caliper tests, and what others are telling you.

  11. Diet trends eb and flow, but certain principles are universal- Among them are carb congruence (eating carbs only in accordance with activity), the best abs exercise is pushing away from the table (never binge and always use common sense portion control), and eat real foods.

  12. When in doubt, order a salad, no croutons, with dressing on the side.

  13. be consistent with exercise, diet, rest, and recovery.

  14. Do not let food become your vice. Develop a healthy relationship with food.

7e13e284a1bafd7b4de14a50ee96140c

(322)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:39 AM

Practical, no-bullshit adivce!

91119f53c3827f5c7fc90b98cab85b04

(799)

on September 19, 2012
at 05:52 PM

agreed, many great points that I also practice myself

98266ae0c87836d4bb714b6d31cacbf9

(1632)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:37 PM

Great post, especially 7,8,9. +1

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 19, 2012
at 07:04 PM

Yes, Julie, I think that you are right.

Aa748fb43334ffd2db3934aa00874bbe

(458)

on September 19, 2012
at 07:00 PM

I agree with most of this (especially butter in coffee being gross). However, number 10 is kind of a problem- some people have such crazy body image distortion that the mirror lies, and listening to what other people tell you about your body seems like a minefield. So, yeah, fuck the scale, and body composition is what really matters at the end of the day, but feeling good/healthy/strong is at the heart of it, I think.

3
F76e0742f9992a37f213220c81195686

(105)

on September 19, 2012
at 06:20 PM

This is such a great idea. As you can tell from my "rep" I'm rather new to the boards but have been trying to find My Perfect "Paleo" for about a year with some starts and stops in between. I hope I will have more data to provide, and will edit for that...but for now...(although consistent with some comments already made), this is what I know to be true for ME based on tweaking, tweaking again,and tweaking some more based on detailed recorded results of my diet (how am I feeling, how am I looking, how is my digeston, etc.) and then deciding whether or not something is right for me based on my health goals.

1) Nuts/nut butters do not support my weight loss goals. Could be I was eating too many, but then I starting tracking consumption in line with an overall calorie deficit and still no change. I am no longer including them in my diet.

2) I must limit my fruit consumption to support weight loss. I'm currently down to berries only, but may wind up cutting them too as I slowly ween myself down.

3) I must limit dairy consumption to support weight loss. I'm down to just cream in my coffee. I have a feeling that if I dropped that, I would start to see more significant results, but I'm honestly afraid to be proven right. I was fine losing grains, most sugars, etc. Losing the cream frightens me.

4) My weight loss sweet spot is at about 50 grams of carbs.

3
06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on September 19, 2012
at 04:42 PM

  1. Eat a clean paleo diet for at least 30 days and then experiment with introducing foods back into the diet

  2. Pick up and lift heavy stuff (man or women). Do bodyweight and heavy compound movements.

  3. Sprint/Sprint/Sprint - I only "jog" sometimes for relaxation. Why do something for an hour when you can get more benefit from 15 minutes.

  4. Learn how to cook and prepare food. Eliminating prepackaged refined food from your diet is a HUGE step, it does take more time to fix food.

  5. Pack your lunch EVERY day (use leftover dinner from the night before).

  6. Intermittant Fasting - I have had great success with 16/8 and throw in an unscheduled 24 hour fast.

  7. Read all that you can, listen to podcasts, learn as much as possible. There are a lot of n=1 experimenters out there with a lot of good info to share.

  8. Know how to separate good and bad info and experiment for yourself.

  9. I noticed a difference with grass-fed vs. grain-fed meat in my body comp. Try it for yourself.

  10. Get some rest! Sleep is vital, make sure your sleep isn't sabotaging your weight loss!

-Matt
PhysiqueRescue.com

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:53 PM

Sleep is so underrated!

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 19, 2012
at 10:54 PM

Hey, maybe this isn't the place to comment, but I'm a competitive long distance runner so cardio, cardio, cardio is my thing. I'd feel like a musician who never practiced if I didn't train the way I want to perform, however, I do lift weights, (40 minutes, intense) 3-4 times a week and run 5-6 times a week (each run b/w 4 and 8 miles and I'm pretty random depends on how much time I have), I'm recovering from a broken toe that started this whole Paleo beeswax and fell into it via researching crossfit. Ilost 25lbs in 4 months training the same way pre-injury. Paleo nutrition being the difference

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:51 PM

Yes, Good point on the HIIT vs running and the grass fed vs grain fed meat.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:59 PM

...I gotta ask though, why do you think IF is important? Do you actually think that it is the 16/8 window that is magic, or do you think it is rather allowing you to stick to your daily calorie/macro goals?

2
Def298f1cba2c162f47cc5d3c6f50a26

on September 19, 2012
at 05:40 PM

Specifically, cutting out fruit entirely has proven the most helpful in losing fat for me. No other changes were made and I went down in BF. I love IF and know if I fluctuate a couple lbs I just need to incorporate that once or twice a week. My tastebuds have changed since starting paleo (since dec) and that really helps me avoid potential fat causing foods.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 19, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Word .

2
Acf3f15ef2f914d0684960ed21a81bd5

(155)

on September 19, 2012
at 04:59 PM

Adding to what's been said already:

  • Cheat days, cheat days, cheat days. 1 or 2 days every week/2 weeks in tandem with a caloric deficit. If I don't eat from 500-1000 calories over my normal BMR on cheat days, my fat loss stalls indefinitely. It's important to keep leptin in balance and to rev up your metabolism. It helps me to keep my cheat days fructose free, dairy free, still under 150 grams of carbs, and still paleo.

  • Switching to low carb. Yes, the cravings do eventually disappear, so long as you supplement any deficiencies correctly. This isn't absolutely necessary for me, but being in ketosis helps keep hunger at bay.

  • Calculate your minimum macronutrient ratios each day for fat and protein and then plan your meals ahead of time to hit these ratios. It's a lot easier to binge or sabotage/rationalize away bad choices when you've got nothing prepared ahead of time.

2
3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

on September 19, 2012
at 04:03 PM

I am going to start :)

  1. Cut down on nut consumption: This stalled me for some time, and sure enough, cutting out nuts jolted me right back on track again. They are also hard to control the portions of, so dieters should be ware that they pack a calorie punch.

  2. Intermittent Fasting: I have had so much success with this method, and have taken my body down to be finally at the level of leanness I am happy with.

  3. Do not cut calories too much. When I first starting trying to really get into shape, I cut calories a lot, and ended up skinny but not fit and lean looking. Starting to IF and eat 2 big meals post workout helped me add the muscle without the fat.

  4. Weight training improves body composition better than cardio. This is a no-brainer, but it was difficult to battle the "cardio for heart health" thing when I first started.

Hope this adds something useful!

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