I’ll be the first to admit that I like quick fixes. There, I said it. While it’s definitely more important to have long term goals and a healthy maintained lifestyle when it comes to fitness and, well, life in general, we live in a world of instant gratification and want things now. To say otherwise would mean you’re either kidding yourself or you’re extremely Zen-like and you need to teach me the ways!
For the mortals out there who are with me, you can Google “fat loss” or a similar search and most of the so-called “experts” will all tell you the same thing – that 2 pounds of fat loss a week is the absolute maximum you can/should be shooting for. Well if you have a lot of fat to lose, or need to drop body fat quickly for an event, vacation, the beach etc., then that might not be a quick enough approach. I’m going to show you how to make your life hell for a day but lose a pound of body fat as your reward. Whether or not you’re a fan of this type of extreme approach, I believe that at times it can be useful – and want to empower you with the knowledge of how to accomplish this, should the need ever arise.
By no means a fun day, but you can lose this much fat in a single day
Losing a Pound of Fat in One Day
Anyone and their grandma can lose a pound in a day, but there’s a huge difference between weight loss and fat loss. With water weight, obviously a person can lose over a pound just by using the bathroom, no big deal. To lose a pound of body fat, you have to create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to be exact. To figure out what you need to do to accomplish this, it comes down to basic math.
Billy Joe Is Going To Lose a Pound of Blubber Today!
Let’s take our subject here, and let’s call him Billy Joe, because that name makes me giggle. Billy Joe is a fairly active dude and has a Basal Metabolic Rate of 2200 calories. He’s also moderately active throughout his day and that puts him up around 2600 calories to maintain his body composition. If Billy Joe (*giggle) were to implement an Eat Stop Eat day in there, well he would be at a net caloric deficit of 2600 calories for the day. He’s got to hit 3500 to achieve that pound of fat being burned off, so aside from his regular activities that put him at a 2600 calorie maintenance, he’s got to burn an additional 900 calories through activity, ie. gym, cardio, hiking, whatever.
So if Billy Joe (*giggle giggle) hops on the treadmill for an hour and maybe throws in a depletion style workout he may well burn off that extra 900 calories. It makes for a not-so-pleasant day of course, no food and probably a 2+ hour workout, but it will be a loss of a pound of body fat, and likely 3-5 pounds of scale weight. Low-carb diets naturally drop water weight fast, and since no carbs (or food) was ingested by Billy Joe (*giggle) he likely will lose quite a bit of water weight along with the fat.
He could have also eaten a light meal of maybe 400 calories at some point throughout the day, but that’s another 400 calories that would need to be burned off by working out or other form of activity to hit the 1 pound mark. Other factors will come into play, especially when doing a hardcore type diet for even a few days in a row. BMR will decrease slightly, EPOC will kick in, etc. That’s for another day, but a pretty hardcore diet CAN be a useful tactic from time to time if needed. Lean active individuals need to be more careful with extreme calorie reduced diets like this, because if your body fat is already low, lean mass can be compromised if done for too long.
Not quite as extreme, but still extreme
For a short span, especially after a period of high calorie eating, extreme diets can be even more advantageous. After you go through a period of high calorie eating, your leptin levels increase, and your body will be burning off incoming food at a higher than normal pace. This is the basis behind Lyle McDonald’s Rapid Fat Loss Handbook. He recommends for lean individuals, a maximum of 11-14 days before implementing a high carb refeed for 2 days (which is awesome). Calories will vary based on gender, height, weight, etc. But basically a lean protein source and fibrous veggies is all you get for that span of time. It’s not a fun diet at all, but it’s effective as hell.
If you don’t mind living off steamed chicken and plain broccoli for 10 days or so, you can actually expedite fat loss to a crazy degree. You’ll actually look terrible at the end of the 10 day span because although you lost a lot of body fat, your muscles will have deflated like crazy! But a few days after you resume normal eating habits and your muscle fill back up with glycogen, you might look so ripped you won’t even recognize yourself.