Year in and year out weight loss remains the top New Year's resolution. Unfortunately, only 8% of those looking to drop extra pounds manage to reach their goals. 
If you think about it, most of us want to do more than just lose weight. What we really want to do is look our best after the weight comes off. This goal is fat loss, and is not the same as weight loss.
Weight loss is a process that only cares about the bottom line: what the numbers on the scale say. This is how success and failure are determined. Weight loss almost always involves the loss of body fat and muscle mass.
Fat loss, on the other hand, is a more precise goal. To look your best when you are done losing weight you must be committed to maximizing your gym time and maintaining lean body mass. While the scale is part of this process, the end goal is to look amazing in the mirror.
Almost everyone you know wants to lose fat. It is estimated that Americans alone spend $35 billion a year on weight loss products. But while many try to lose fat, most people fail.
Remember, the key to successful fat loss is planning, knowledge and consistency. Use the information on Muscle & Strength to equip yourself for success. Then execute your plan, and stick to it. This is how you will reach your goals.
This guide will equip you with the resources to succeed. We have compiled the best of the best from the Muscle & Strength website; articles on fat loss, diet, nutrition, motivation, cardio and resistance training.
Before you begin the fat loss process
Only 75% of individuals manage to stick to this resolution a week into the new year. 36% of people return back to their old habits within the first month. 
To reach your goals we recommend that you ease into training the first couple weeks. Make the decision to change your lifestyle and develop new habits rather than simply rushing to the gym to punish yourself.
When it comes to diet and nutrition, focus on creating a plan you can adjust and stick to after the fat loss process is done. If not, it is likely you will return to your old eating habits.
Losing Fat with Nutrition and Diet
Come January first gyms will fill up fast. Everyone will be rushing in to start burning fat, putting on mile after mile on the treadmill and step after step on the stairmaster. While cardio is a great way to boost your metabolism and improve your overall health, it is prudent that you establish a quality diet plan first.
A precisely crafted eating approach is the cornerstone of the fat loss process. Without a nutrition plan you are simply throwing darts in the dark, hoping that your gym time will be enough to yield consistent and quality results.
Exercise generally leads to an increased appetite. We all remember our mothers or fathers talking about working up an appetite. Without any form of calorie monitoring we could easily be taking in 300-500 more calories per day, which is likely enough to dramatically reduce the amount of weight we are able to lose per month on our diets.
Diet and Nutrition Expert Guides
- Expert Fat Loss Guide - This guide on losing fat and getting shredded helps you to understand dieting and nutrition basics. You will learn how to adjust your daily calorie, protein, fat and carbohydrate intake to reach your goals.
- How To Lose Weight - This is the ultimate weight loss guide. Take a detailed look at the obesity epidemic and the common causes of weight gain. Guide also takes a comprehensive look at 9 popular diet plans, helping you to decide which one is best for your needs and goals.
- Ultimate Workout Nutrition Guide - Workout nutrition can be confusing. Learn about the role of protein quality and quantity, carbohydrates, fats and nutrient timing in this complete expert guide.
- Ultimate Paleo Diet Guide - Just what is the Paleo diet, and is it right for you? This guide takes a deeper look at the history and principles behind this popular eating lifestyle. Included are sample Paleo recipes.
General Fat Loss Articles
- Lose Fat, Maintain Muscle - The art of cutting, losing body fat without losing muscle mass. Learn how you should eat and train if you want to keep your lean muscle mass and lose that excess fat!
- 3 Keys To Fat Loss - Fine tune your nutrition and exercise to maximize fat loss. This fat loss guide provides a wealth of information and tips to help you reach your goals.
- Calories In, Calories Out - Fat loss guru Tom Venuto presents his number one fat loss tip to help you reach your weight loss goals: exercise, but most importantly focus on achieving a calorie deficit.
- Why You Need To Cheat - Look your best, lose fat and keep your metabolism stoked by leaning how to plan your time, daily calorie intake and your refeeds and cheat meals.
- Cardio & Fat Loss - Unsure if steady state or high intensity cardio is better for the fat loss process? Bodybuilder Cliff Wilson explains the science behind fat loss and helps you to get shredded.
Nutrition and Diet Articles
- Basics Of Intermittent Fasting - Is intermittent fasting the real deal? Can you build muscle and lose fat without eating every 2-3 hours? Find out if intermittent fasting is for you.
- 40 Foods That Burn Fat - Maximize your fat loss progress by including the following foods: top 10 veggies, top 10 fruits, top 10 lean proteins, and top 10 natural starchy carbs and whole grains.
- Carb Cycling For Fat Loss - Carb cycling has been a staple of the bodybuilding world for decades. This article by Elliot Reimers details how to use it to maximize your lean bulk and fat loss efforts.
- Getting Ripped Without Cardio - Get shredded the easy way! Russell Branjord shows you how to rely on nightly carb feedings to lose fat and get that six pack.
- Get Crazy Ripped - Eight tips and tricks to get your cutting diet headed in the right direction. This article also include bonus hot tips that are proven to work.
- Truth About Calorie Counting - Do you really need to record everything you eat to lose weight? Can you eat "anything" and still shed the fat? These questions answered.
- 5 Diet Mistakes To Avoid - Are you a bonehead, blaming your lack of workout results on poor genetics? Stop playing the hardgainer card, and start building muscle today with proper nutrition!
- Want Six Pack Abs? - Learn how to (finally) get that six pack by setting proper goals, living a fitness lifestyle instead of a diet, and allowing yourself room to make mistakes.
Workouts to Help the Fat Loss Process
Now that you have your eating plan in order, it's time to hit the gym. The following resistance training and cardio workouts will help you to maintain your existing lean body mass while also boosting your metabolism.
By challenging the body with progressive overload, you will be giving it a reason to hold onto existing muscle tissue. This will help give you that fit, muscular and attractive physique you are after.
Resistance Training for Fat Loss and Lean Body Mass Retention
- Density Giant Set Training - The density set training system is a perfect workout for someone looking to drop fat, hold on to muscle, and train hard and heavy. Each session is brief and intense, but extremely effective!
- 6 Day Cutting Routine - This intense cutting routine hits each muscle group twice a week on a 3 days on, 1 day off schedule. Use this routine to burn fat and get ripped!
- 5 Day High Definition Routine - This 5 day routine is designed to retain muscle mass while stripping fat! It's a mixture of cardio and weight training.
- 6 Day Weight/Cardio Workout - A workout for people who have finished bulking and have excess fat to lose. It combines weight training with 3 days of cardio, and 1 day of rest.
- 12 Week Fat Destroyer - This is a complete 12 week program to help you get ripped. Feature includes detailed diet plan and cardio schedule, along with a 4 day upper/lower muscle building split.
- 40 Minute Blast - A cardio, weights and abs workout perfect for those days when you need to do something fun at the gym. Simply grab a heavy and light set of dumbbells and go!
- 4 Day Shred Cycle - Train insane 4 days a week. Combine your resistance training sessions with short bursts of cardio to maximize fat loss while maintaining existing muscle mass.
- Hardcore 40 - The Hardcore 40 combines a high-speed, fat burning workout system with HIIT cardio and a precision diet to melt away fat and leave behind muscle.
Cardio for Fat Loss
- Fat Burn And Core Workout - Potent, powerful and anything but boring. This hardcore fat burning, strength and core building workout will leave you looking and feeling great.
- 4 Fun Ways To Burn Fat - Unchain yourself from the boring treadmill and inject some fun into your calorie burning regimen with these 4 cardio suggestions from bodybuilder Brad Borland.
- 5 Cross Training Workouts - The following 5 cross training daily workout routines that contain a variety of exercises aimed at improving your overall conditioning.
- Hill Sprint Workout Plan - Go from slug to sprinting machine in only 8 short weeks. This workout plan is designed to help you build power, speed, endurance and burn fat too!
Get Motivated and Lose Fat
Got motivation? Muscle & Strength contains a wealth of motivational articles, body transformation stories and interviews with top fitness and physique experts.
One of the best way to sustain progress is to cultivate your motivation on a daily basis. Begin each day by reading an article or transformation story. This is a great way to reconnect with your goals and stay focused.
Here are some of the best resources from the M&S website:
- Body Transformation Stories - Amazing male & female transformations, learn how they did it!
- Inspirational Interviews - Interviews including pics and videos of the best physiques on the planet!
- Motivation Articles - Articles that teach you to self-motivate & stay on track for results!
Motivational & Tip Articles
- 100 Fat Loss Tips - Losing weight doesn't have to be a mystery. The following fat loss tips provide practical, real world advice that will help you get on track today.
- 10 Amazing Abs - An amazing ab-popping collection of some of the most phenomenal six packs and physiques in the natural physique realm.
- 101 Bad Ass Quotes - This no holds barred article contains uncensored opinions on strength training, muscle building, diet and nutrition from many of the lifting industry's top names.
- 150 Diet & Fitness Myths - You hear a lot of crazy and conflicting information in the muscle building and fitness realm. The following article will help you separate fact from fiction.
Amazing Fat Loss Transformation Stories
- Michael Lee Gets Shredded - Frustrated by a recent photo, Michael completely turned his life around in only 10 short months using a healthy diet, running and weight training.
- Kristen Adamson Loses 52lbs - After several major setbacks and failed attempts at "eating healthy", Kristen fought back and lost 52 pounds in a year while dropping her bodyfat in half!
- Noah Ellis: Ripped In 10 Weeks - Partying and a poor diet prevented Noah Elias from maximizing his gym time. In 10 short weeks he managed to change his physique from flabby to shredded.
- Marcela Perea Loses 43lbs - Marcela Perea was a self-proclaimed treadmill queen working her way through every possible diet and pill, until she found Crossfit and lost 43 lbs.
1. University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Published: 12.13.2012.