So you've been muscle building, eating big and making gains. Great. Now it's time to get ripped and strip off those extra fat layers you've inherited!

If you're an experienced bodybuilder you'll know that building muscle works in 2 basic cycles. First we have the growth cycle. While you're on the growth cycle your goal is to put on as much poundage as possible! This means eating loads of good calories like protein and complex carbohydrates. You should never feel hungry. The minute you feel hungry, it's time for another meal. Get the picture?

The second cycle is what's know as the cutting cycle. This is where you trim off your excess fat to give you muscle definition and a really ripped look. When cutting you want to strip off the fat quickly without losing any muscle size. This means a different workout and much different diet. In this article I'm going to give you my top tips for losing the fat.

I'm going to focus on the basics of weight loss. I'm not going to go into different cutting workout, that's an entire article in itself. Some people will find it very hard and frustrating to lose body fat. But if you stick to strict diet and train hard you will do it and it will be worth all the hard work!

Fat Burning Tips:

TIP #1: Cardio training Cardiovascular exercise is arguably the best way for you to burn fat. Even if you are eating the best diet possible, you will not see the full benefits if you do not do cardio exercise. When cutting you want to up your cardio to around 4 times per week. Start off at about 20mins per session and work your way up to an hour or so. When doing cardio you need to try and stay in the "fat burning zone", which is about 65-70% of your maximum heart rate. To determine your "fat burning zone" subtract your age from 220 and multiply it by 0.65. That is what you want your heart rate to be at.

TIP #2: Eat small meals, more often Today's western society is slowly moving away from the traditional 3 meals per day and there's a vary good reason for that. As soon as you start eating your metabolism starts to break down the food. It takes everything it needs from the food including nutrients and energy.

When you only eat 3 meals per day you metabolism has a chance to slow down in between meals. This is not good if you're trying to burn fat. You need to keep your metabolism fast throughout the whole day. The faster your metabolism is working the more fat and energy you will burn. Maintaining a high metabolism is imperative to losing weight and keeping it off.

It's often a good idea to use protein supplements or protein bars between meals to keep your metabolism up and make you feel full. Some people do not have time to prepare so many meals per day so this is a good option.

TIP #3: Don't eat before bed When you go to sleep your metabolism slows right down. If you eat before bed (especially carbohydrates) there's a good chance that your body will not burn the energy and you will store it as fat. Try not to eat and carbs for at least 2-3 hours before bed. A protein shake is ok before bed because your body will not store it as fat.

TIP #4: Up your protein intake If you want to keep all your hard earned muscle (and I know you do!) while burning fat it's very important that you keep your protein intake as high as possible. Because carbohydrates are the bodys main source of energy it will always use them up first. Once there is no carbohydrates left your body will turn to it's fat storage. If you do not have enough protein intake per day, your body will start taking protein from the muscles resulting in catabolism (breaking down of muscle tissue). Read more about whey protein.

TIP #5: Drink plenty of water Well, you should be drinking plenty of water even if you aren't trying to lose weight! The human body is made up of 70% water. So to me it's pretty obvious that we need a high daily intake of water to keep the body running efficiently. Water helps transport nutrients that you eat throughout your body. It also plays a role in determining how your cells use these nutrients. If you are not getting enough water intake each day, you are not making 100% use of the nutrients in your diet.

On the other side of the scale water also helps flush your system of waste and bacteria. It's essential for removing toxins from your body. So you can see that water plays a vital role in all bodily functions, so don't underestimate it.

TIP #6: Lower your carbs As I mentioned earlier in this article your body burns carbs first because carbs are the bodys primary food source. So if you do not lower your carb intake your body will just keep burning up the carbs and you will not see any fat loss. As soon as your carbs supply runs out, the body burns fat. Keep your carbs down and your body will start burning fat quicker. Try to eat all your carbs for the day in the morning. This was these carbs will be burnt off during the day and your fat store will start being used faster.

TIP #7: Avoid snacking If you snack throughout the day you're asking for trouble. While there are some health snacks available, most are full or fat, salt and sugar. If you plan your meals for the day you should not even feel hungry or the need to snack. If you cannot prepare enough meals for the day have a protein supplement or protein bar between meals. If you have to distance yourself from tempting items then do it.

Just to recap on what we've just been over here are some rules of losing weight and cutting that you should be sticking to.

  1. Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day
  2. Keep your protein intake high
  3. Keep your carbohydrate intake low
  4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  5. Don't eat carbohydrates before bed
  6. Incorporate cardio training into your weekly routine
  7. Don't snack betweek meals
  8. Get plenty of sleep every night (including weekends!)

No one said stripping that fat was going to be easy, even experienced trainers say that it's harder than building muscle! But if you stick with it, the rewards are fantastic - a muscle bound and ripped body! If you have any questions about cutting or losing fat come over an ask me or one of the other Muscle&Strength members on our forum!

Posted on: Thu, 10/26/2017 - 03:39

Im trying to loose fat and weight. I'm looking for a total body main problems are belly fat,muffin top,love handles, I'm looking for a effective diet plan

Pedro castro
Posted on: Sun, 08/20/2017 - 14:14

Ok im 5'11"and i weigh 290 pounds my doctor currently put me on a 1500 calorie 2000 sodium and 200 carb diet plus ive been weight training 5 days a werk and i walk 5 miles 4 times a week and on 3 of those times i run at 5.5 to 6 miles an hour for 2 miles of the five i have lost weight i started at 335 pounds my diet is a lot cleaner but im concerned about keeping that diet and not loosing muscle mass .i dont want to nessesarily build huge bulky mass .im a beginner on fitness so theres a lot i dont understand ,like howmuch protein im sappouse to consume while staying in that 1500 calorie diet i spoke about before. Last i checked i had 220 pounds of lean tissue i think that included water and bones .my goal with my body stucture is to be 230 to 235 pounds.can somebody help me .thank u and sorry if my spelling isnt the best,thanks again.

Posted on: Tue, 11/04/2014 - 10:19

I know this article was written a gazillion years ago, but ihave a question please.
I used to 211 lbs and now i am down to 121.5lbs, my body has not sagged except for my arms that look kinda annoying. What can i do about them? But my main concern remain to be my BOOBS, they were a C/D before my weight loss and now they are barely a B. They have not sagged as my nipples are still in their right position but they look deflated, will it get better with time or should i just get surgery? im 25 yrs old. and i actually go braless incase youre wondering how small they are now :(

Posted on: Tue, 05/20/2014 - 22:04

Hi I've been eating low carbs about 30 gr. Basically dr. Atkins. I jog/brisk walking for 45 minutes a day with added 3lbs weights and resistant band intervals for a couple weeks now but I'm gaining weight. Wanna lose 20 lb by June 10. I go down 2 lbs then the next day up 4lbs. Why? I feel my clothes getting baggie but no weight lose. :(

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2014 - 03:50

I'm 220lbs and I'm trying to lose the fat and gain muscle. I just started going to the gym 3days ago and I'm not sure what protein I should get and if I should get creatine

Rayyan Syed
Posted on: Sun, 11/24/2013 - 02:48

Seriously useful tips to note and implement for persons obese like me. I read it till the end but found a typo error in the article which I hope you should correct it.

"The second cycle is what's know as the cutting cycle." it should be
The second cycle is what's known as the cutting cycle.


Posted on: Sun, 11/01/2015 - 05:36

Are u serious? A spelling error. Check your head school teacher.

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 03:39

I'm 5'11 230 pounds and I'm getting back in to working out I want to tone my body up lose fat the gut the whole 9 an turn it into muscle I do light weight and alot of reps mostly and run 2 miles a day I don't want to lose alot of weight jus wouldn't look right skinny and don't want to gain an get fatter should I drink protein shakes or will this make me gain weight I have some now that is 60 grams per 2 scoops I try to keep a balanced diet with meat and vegetables would protein be ok to take in the morning before work and after or before my workout after work an how much protein should I include in my diet each day

Posted on: Tue, 07/09/2013 - 23:25

Okay, im a teenage girl and ive always been in sports i played tackle football for my highschool and this season im getting homeschooled.. so im gaining weight im 5'6 and weigh 130, and im gaining more and kore weight on my hips. Im starting to get uncomfortable with my weight. How can i loose the stomach fat and get back in shape asap...?

Posted on: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 16:21

I weight 140 pounds And i have like belly fat on my sides and stomach i wanna get rid of it bydoing cardio but at the same time i dont wanna turn too skinny i workout my arms and shoulders im seeinng really good results im 19 i just wanna burn of belly fat any suggestions?

Posted on: Sun, 05/19/2013 - 01:36

Hi am 40 years old been off work for 6 months with a back injury am 5ft11 my weight was 16 stone. Now my weight is 20stone 7pounds i was put on steroids for 3 weeks only and put on 1stone and ahalf also ive been aloud to go to the gym from i hurt my back and my doctor still wont let me as my back isnt strong yet. Also am a veggie. Can you help my weight is getting me very down .

Posted on: Mon, 04/22/2013 - 06:04

which is the best protein drink to have to lose fat and gain musle

Posted on: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 02:53

I do what ever is told to me but my weight is not loosing. After loosing 2-3 kgs of weight it got stuck for 3-4 months. Anyone tell me what can i do ?
Please Help

Nik Russon
Posted on: Sat, 03/23/2013 - 14:14

I am currently 14% body fat and want to cut down to 8%. I eat regularly and go to the gym 6 times a week with 3 cardio sessions a week, wanted to know what sort of foods i should be eating and what foods i should avoid and anymore tips really. My goal is to reach this by april 2014

Posted on: Tue, 08/28/2012 - 11:08

I jus what to ask I have been training for 1 yars straigt
I work out 4 times a week
I dont eat before training
I run 30-60 min every time i train at the gym
I do cycling 20 min
I do cardio 60-90 min with max interval training
I do legs workout 30 min.
I do pullups 20 min.
And last on my training normal weigt training
I do this every time i train but the result I am seeing is not fast enougt
I train 3-5 hours every time.
I only eat chicken and vegstabble with brown rise i eat 3-4 small meals a day
Do I need to
take supplements to see result.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 08/28/2012 - 12:05

Hey David,

No, you don't NEED supplements, but they can very well help you reach your goals. If you're not seeing the results you want, it will come down to your diet. I would also suggest finding a proven workout routine and sticking with it. 3-5 hours in the gym is probably too much. Take a look at our expert guide on losing fat:

Posted on: Sun, 08/19/2012 - 20:02

I have a layer of fat between my stomach muscles what is the best way to get rid of that I weigh 145

Posted on: Tue, 07/31/2012 - 13:20

I started bodybuilding about 1 month ago, and recently saw a dietitian. She stated that I am not eating enough calories..which I agree on, but, then she stated that I should eat more carbs, cut protein and low fat. She also stated that the body needs carbs and will not use fat as a fuel source. This goes against bodybuilding fat burning principles. help...what should I do?
I am 40 years old, not new to lifting, but, want to lose the spare tire before I start working on getting more muscle. I am currently doing cardio 5-6 times per week, 30 min, and am eating 2200-2400 calories per day, along with lifting on a mass program for 4 days per week.
I am scared if I follow her diet of 382g carbs, 152 protein, 61g fat I will gain all kinds of fat.

Posted on: Wed, 07/11/2012 - 23:28

Steve. I am a twenty year old female weighing about 170 pounds. I am also five four or five five. When I went to visit my mother june 5th I was 189. She seems to think I am crash dieting. I eat 6 small high protien low carb meals a day starting at 7 am ending at 8 pm. I drink nearly a gallon of water a day. I am doing the insanity workout program and the biggest loser Cardio max workout. I also every other day do weight training or walking. Am i losing too much too fast or is this ok?

Posted on: Sun, 07/08/2012 - 05:27

Hello, I just have a quick question.
I've been trying to lose some weight in my stomach, so I have been doing crunches. I've also been working on my Ab Rocket. I've been doing this for 3 days straight, early in the morning.
Is it natural to have stomach pains? I mean it probably is, but I can't move my stomach sometimes because of pain...

Posted on: Sat, 06/23/2012 - 01:26

Steve, I just started taking in whey protein to help with recovery and to rebuild the muscles I lost after multiply surgeries on going since 2010 and now, I've been very anemic since I had my kids and all the surgeries I am 24, 5'7, 145lbs, 23% body fat...My question is, "How can I keep the muscles I have and keep the weight off since I am still having surgery and in taking the protein for the recovery?" Right now I have weight restriction of 10lbs, but for life I can lift no more than 25lbs now. I use to lift my weight bench press and 290lbs on squats..I loved power lifting and it's out of the question not sure what to do.

Posted on: Tue, 06/05/2012 - 23:31

Hey im a 16 year old im 5'11'' and I currently weigh 165 lbs. I wanted to know if there are any recomended diets for me to go on to lose some of my body fat. I need to lose about 7% body fat to be at about 8% any tips

Posted on: Tue, 05/29/2012 - 15:17

hi steve. i am 5' 6" and weigh 180 pounds i was just wondering how much cardio training a week i should do? right now i do roughly an hour a week. and lift weights for like 2-3 hours. im trying to loose weight in my chest and stomach any sugestions for that?

Posted on: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 04:22

I am confused now !!! What is better .. Going to GYM and pump up my muscles or go RUNNING with sweden excercises ?

Posted on: Fri, 04/27/2012 - 02:43

Dear Steve,
I have been taking two fat burners every day when I wake up for about four weeks now, & waiting 30 minutes before I eat to boost my metabolism and I'm still rarely hungry and rarely eat at all. I usually only eat once or twice a day but when I do it's usually a turkey breast(or some type of lunch meat) or crunchy peanut butter sandwhich on whole grain bread. Is there anyway besides fat burners to get a faster or normal metabolism/appetite. I have been going to the gym and working out for 4 weeks now also and I'm not losing any weight even with cardio exercise.
I'm 6'0 and stuck at 202 pounds.

Thank you so much for your time! :)
I really appreciate it.

Posted on: Wed, 03/28/2012 - 05:46

Hi there.
I'm 22 years old and have never been greatly overweight, but I do have (what I call) a 'comfort layer'. I have love handles, a more rounded face and I'm sick of it. Most of my friends don't exercise and eat whatever they want and are perfectly slim. I exercise around 5 times per week and both of my workplaces have me moving around most of the time. I try and eat well (today for example I had a protein shake for breakfast, a turkey salad for lunch and salmon and mushrooms for dinner; dried fruit and nuts as snacks), but I'm not perfect and do do things wrong (eg today I had a hot chocolate with skinny milk). I don't know how I can give my body the kick in the butt it needs.
Any suggestions?

Also, I know why fat burning zone isn't an overly intense workout, but staying in this heart rate I feel like I'm not doing anything and should be letting loose on a boxing bag or something instead, am I better off keeping it down even if I'm barely working a sweat?

Thanks :)

Posted on: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 16:24

Hi Steve!

In your opinion, would a glass of milk be OK to have before bed? I ask because I want to get the slow-digesting protein that milk contains. But sadly, milk has about 12 grams of carbs (sugar) per serving. Do you think that this could impact my fat burning goal at all?


Posted on: Sun, 02/12/2012 - 09:38

Hello guys.
I hope you are all doing great.

I have been in a hard diet consuming almost 800 calories per day ,i lost a lots of pounds , my weight is now 154 lbs ( great success ).I do cardio every day , i run for about 1 hour , plus i do aerobic exercise one day and i switch to weight lifting the other day. I burn many calories and i have been doing very good , feeling healthy ( regardless of the low calories intake ).

Lately i have a BIG problem , MY BODY JUST STOPPED BURNING FAT.
All my fat from my entire body is gone but i still have some fat stored in the belly era witch doesn't seem to leave no matter what i do. With a lot of research i discovered that my body stopped burning fat and now is burning only muscle.
I am still eating very little calories a day , and i hope you guys can give a some king of advice on how to start burn fat again and maintain my muscles.
What can i do for my body to burn only fat and NO MUSCLE AT ALL.
I want to lose the little fat in my belly.

My weight is 154 lbs , my height is 5.74 feet. How many calories should consume a day.
Maybe the problem is the protein. Maybe i should increase protein intake , right ?

Posted on: Sat, 03/31/2012 - 18:58

My guess would be the calories. You aren't taking in enough to maintain muscle mass and therefore not enough protein.

Posted on: Mon, 01/02/2012 - 23:39

Hi Steve

I have just started working out from last 2 weeks. I do Cardio with my weight workout. I do cardio because i have belly fat which i want to decrease asap. I do cardio for 30 to 40 mins which includes fast walk and running for 15 mins, elliptical walk for 10 mins, jumps for 5 mins and sometimes cycling for 5 to 10 mins.. after this i do normal weight exercise according to the day.. example monday for chest tues for back and so on.. i wanted to know is there any harm to take whey with this kind of work out.. will this workout help me to reduce my belly fat.. i do abs exercise also .. for 10 mins.. i work in night shifts so my diet starts in the evening which is milk and 2 indian breads as breakfast.. 3 indian breads and vegetable later as lunch.. and den i go to workout and after coming from work out i drink protein with water in 15 mins after workout... i sleep after 1 hour of my work out... sometimes i also have snacks.. but not heavy ones..

i wanted to know if i am following the right diet or not.. i work out total of 1 to 1.5 hours...

Posted on: Sun, 11/27/2011 - 22:48

It's very misleading to say "As soon as your carbs supply runs out, the body burns fat" Body do burn fat all the times, whether carb supply run out or not.

Pls dun stop taking in carb becos of this misleading post

Posted on: Sat, 11/19/2011 - 03:20

I'm a 15 year old looking to get a slim look I'm not extremly overweight, but I want to lose about 20 pounds, I can't attend the gym much because of school sometimes I can't even get there once a week are there any other ways that I could lose this weight. Also I have been taken out of sports due to a head injury and running creates headaches for me.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 14:48

Hi Jason,

My best advice is to not focus on losing weight but rather focus on eating as healthy and clean as possible.

Anthony Attard
Posted on: Thu, 10/20/2011 - 16:42


I am trying to keep fat down but gain muscle. On my gym days I eat around 280g of Carbs. Is this too much? I am 6'4 and weigh 80 kilograms. I want to hit 85 kgs but with muscle not fat of course. I am going to be 24 and when 17 I weighed 140kilograms of fat. Hence my wish to stay lean. I started gym in January and have gaine 4kilograms since [btw I had gone down to 70kilograms and was 76 when I started gym].

My Carbs involve:
Muesli and a fibre rich cereal
2 light yogurts a day
4 pieces of wholewheat bread with oats
1 piece of 4grain bread with peanut butter
Banana [on gym day] or another 1 or 2 fruits.
White bread 1 piece [only after gym when I go]

My diet is quite repetitive. I wake at around 6.20am and sleep at around 11.15pm so I eat all this [just mentioned the Carbs here!] in that time. On a non gym day maybe I eat 200-215g Carbs.

Before bed I always gobble down 200g of Cottage cheese along with the raspberries and some vegetables!
Is all this advisable? I would really appreciate info. I have built up very well but feel that around my chest especially I could lose some flab.

Thanks mate.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 10/22/2011 - 17:41

280 grams of carbs is probably not too much. You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here are some articles that can help:

Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2011 - 22:38

I am a pretty skinny guy. 6'0, 158 lbs and 15 years old. The most common thing people tell me is how skinny i am. What they don't know is that i have that stubborn belly fat that is covering up my abs. I can feel the size of my abs and they impress me but they are still covered. Is this right for me if I still want to work out? I am doing a 3 day workout ( and i try to run every other day, except for Saturday, so I am active 6 days a week. I also go to school so i can only really have 3 meals a day.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/29/2011 - 14:06

Hi Joe,

That workout is a good choice. You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:

Posted on: Tue, 08/09/2011 - 11:35

hi steve, i wanted to ask something about my current height is 187cm and my weight is around i still have to focus on burn fats or muscle building plan??im quite confused about my weight for my current height.thx in advance.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 16:15

What are your goals? What does your dream physique look like?

Posted on: Thu, 08/04/2011 - 18:36

Hi steve, I recently had twins and i cant seem to get rid of the baby belly. i try to do cardio at least 3 times per week what else can i do.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 08/04/2011 - 19:16

Hi Anny,

We need to get your diet squared away. What does your current eating plan look like?

Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2011 - 14:15

Steve I'am trying to get my man boobs tighter or that area what is the best weight lifting exercise for that and how often can I do it each week,Iam 44 yrs old.Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 08/04/2011 - 16:36

Hi Tom,

Fat reduction is all about proper diet.

Posted on: Mon, 06/13/2011 - 21:30

how do i know how much weight i should lift?for fat burning and toning ?

Posted on: Wed, 04/27/2011 - 10:45

Hi i am 23 years old and i am going to gym for last 2 months and have not lost weight. I am 6 feet tall and my weight is around 85 kg. My trainer says it is better to lift heavy weight then doing cardio. Can you please suggest which one is better as i want to lose 10 kg of weight.
Also i am in taking almost 200gm of chicken breast to increase the strength is this the reason why i am not losing the weight.


Posted on: Fri, 04/01/2011 - 20:35

I m doing exercise, since last 3 months. But there is no effect in my body and my room mate who is also going to same gym, having same diet, equal rest bt his muscle are growing. Please help me .

Rob H
Posted on: Thu, 02/17/2011 - 12:46

I'm 34YRS old and I have at this for 4weeks. I lift mon,wed,friday. And tues, thur, sat, sun I do cardio
I have seen a couple of inches come off my belly and only lost 6lbs. Here is my meal plan. Let me know if I'm on the right track.

1. 1 cup of cereal
2. Fuji apple/ 12 almonds
3. 2 chicken thighs / 1 cup of brown rice/ fuji apple
4. Banana / 12 ALMONDS
5. Salmon or chicken/ 1 cup brown rice/ spinich salad or carrot x2

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 02/17/2011 - 12:54

Hi Rob,

If you are looking to maximize, or keep your existing muscle you will need to eat more daily protein.

6 pounds over 4 weeks is a good pace if you are trying to retain muscle, but if you merely want fat loss you might try dropping your calories by 200 per day and see if that speeds up the weight loss.

Posted on: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 11:29

Hi, i was curious im doing a 3day split on M,W,F would running T,Th,Sat,Sun be enough to keep losing weight

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:37

Hi Dillon,

Possible. Fat loss is primarily about overall daily calories. Here is an article that can help: