The vital few and the trivial many...
the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle claims that in any endeavour 80% is trivial while 20% is vital to success.
Lifting weights, fat loss and fitness in general is made out to be a far more complicated beast than it really is, with the large supplement companies and workout regimes being pedalled to thank.
I'm currently 1 week away from finishing my cutting diet and I can honestly say I have never been as lean (or have had as small of a waist) as I do right now.
Is it hard sticking to a strict protocol?
Yes of course, it takes discipline.
Is it complicated and hard to follow?
No, not at all.
The majority of guys in the gym that struggle to shred fat are focusing on the 20%, the trivial minor details that don't matter.
Pay attention to the things that matter, there's not many of them... and, if you get them right the 80% won't even matter.
Performing cardio in the morning or evening, switching to higher and higher rep ranges, getting in branch chain amino acids before, during or after their workout?
If you're spending the majority of your time focused on the above it comes as no surprise to me when you fail to attain the low body fat percentage you're chasing.
Meal timing, cardio timing, supplementation and switching workout regimes are all very minor details when it comes to cutting body fat.
The 20% Of Getting Shredded Includes...
You can spend as many hours are you wish chained to the treadmill or cross trainer but if you're eating too many calories you're shooting yourself in the foot. Fat loss is a direct result of your body being in a caloric deficit. It's far easier to induce a caloric deficit via diet (by eating less) than it is by eating a caloric surplus (more calories than your body requires) and attempting to burn them off with cardio.
When it comes to cutting (or bulking!) your caloric intake is king. Forget the supplements, the rest periods between sets, the number of hours of sleep you're getting each night... Instead focus on your caloric intake otherwise you'll be fighting an uphill battle.
As mentioned above, caloric intake is king. The average Joe will burn fat being in a caloric deficit as I described, however if 90% of your calories are coming from carbohydrates with the remaining 10% coming from equal parts of dietary fat and protein then you're going to find it extremely difficult to maintain any lean muscle mass you may have. This is where your macronutrient breakdown comes into play. You must ensure you're getting sufficient amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats from the foods you're eating that make up your caloric intake number.
Lifting heavy. In order to maintain lean muscle mass (the goal while losing fat, as unless you're a complete newbie to the gym you won't be building muscle while simultaneously burning fat) an emphasis must be placed on heavy compound movements in the single digit rep range. Endless isolation exercises in the double digit rep range will not help you on your quest to getting shredded, more on that shortly.
3 Things Is All It Takes (And How To Perfect Them)
How many calories should YOU be consuming? Here's how we find out...
A caloric intake is like a finely tailored suit, it's designed for one specific individual. I may have a fantastic suit, but it won't fit you anywhere near as well... the same is true when it comes to dieting.
Why is this? Your caloric intake is calculated based on your height, age, weight and activity level.
Use this guide to find out your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and subtract 500 calories from it. This is now your daily caloric intake for fat loss.
What's the best macronutrient breakdown for getting shredded?
Low carb still remains the fad when it comes to fat loss. Low carb is also the way to ensure you're running low on energy and struggle to get through your workout.
Carbohydrates receive a bad wrap when it comes to fat loss, however as you now know it is excess calories that deserve the bad rap.
I recommend a split of 40:40:20.
That's 40% of your daily caloric intake from protein, 40% of your daily caloric intake from carbohydrates and 20% of your daily caloric intake from dietary fats.
Having experimented with low carb, extremely high carb, high fat, low fat and every variation in between the difference in performance for me both in and outside the gym are optimized when I keep a moderate amount of carbohydrates in my diet.
High reps, low reps? What works for getting shredded?
When in a caloric deficit the importance of applying progressive overload to your muscles via lifting is paramount.
Attempting to confuse your muscles and shock them into getting shredded by switching rep ranges and exercises is a fools game.
Go back to the basics. The squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press in the 4 - 6 rep range coupled with a small amount of accessory work (isolation) is all you need to maintain your muscle mass and strength while placing your body in that caloric deficit. No fancy tricks required.
What's your take on the 80/20 rule when it comes to lifting? Let me know in the comments below.
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