How to lose that last 5 off your gut?

Like many of us, I’d like to lose a few extra…my wife calls me and my friends “manorexics” because we are all pretty damn lean for middle aged men. But I know that i’m faster at 61 kg & 8% body fat than at 63 & 11%, And I don’t like how the bit of flab looks on me anyway.

The thing is it seems as all of my fat collects on my gut. And in doing research, that is the hardest place to lose it. I know…stop eating cookies. But is there a way to lose belly fat while training without losing muscle?

Hi @thom2544, oh man, that’s the million dollar question!

I hear what you’re saying about your look and feel at a certain body composition and weight, and that’s hard to argue if you see positive physical outcomes at one level versus another.

We can do a whole episode (or more) on this topic, but what you are experiencing is completely normal. And you identified one of the factors - those delicious cookies! Or more generally, “unnecessary” calories that don’t contribute to reaching our goals.

To keep this relatively short and to the point of your question, I will say that in my experience to date, there is a way to lose belly fat while training, without losing muscle. But (there’s always a “but” in this one!), the question I pose to my clients at this point is “what are you willing to change to make that happen?
You are already at an excellent body composition, and I always suggest that athletes try not to get caught out on smaller % changes in body composition, especially when we’re dealing with ~10% already for the simple fact that you might put all this work into it and see very little change.

Some basic principles to consider for such a goal would include:

  1. creating an energy deficit (ensuring it’s not so deep that it affects your performance)
  2. achieving an optimal protein intake for your needs during that phase, as this will help offset lean tissue losses and promote recovery while in an energy deficit
  3. get your veggies and fiber (to help with hunger, and because of the health benefits)
  4. strength train, typically higher weight/lower repetitions to recruit a large number of muscle fibers
  5. stay hydrated
  6. carbs aren’t evil, so don’t cut them out, but know that they too need to be optimized for your activity needs
  7. mentally put yourself in a position to know that this can be difficult (if you were 115kg and 45% body fat, anything we do would improve, but you’re at a very lean % already, so it takes more focus and commitment to make those small, consistent changes that will change your body over time).

Fat free mass (FFM) declines quickly with weight loss, and then fat mass (FM) losses surpass FFM over time, so this is not a quick change. It’s one that takes a longer-term approach with the understanding that there will be ups and downs.

I hope that helps a bit!
Coach Ryan