Muscle for life

7 “Easy” Weight Loss Tips That Actually Make Sense (and Work)

7 “Easy” Weight Loss Tips That Actually Make Sense (and Work)

If you’re sick of all the confusing and conflicting weight loss tips out there and just want to know what actually works and what doesn’t, you need to read this article.


I wrote this article because articles like this normally suck.

Most collections of “weight loss tips” are random assortments of cliches like “eat healthily, don’t diet,” “eat less sugar,” “eat less carbohydrate,” and “detox your body.”

It’s all a bunch of nonsense.

The key to reliable, healthy weight loss isn’t finding and following the right combination of “tips” or “tricks.”

You can lose weight eating junk food, including sugar, carbohydrates aren’t the enemy, and fasts and “cleanses” help you lose weight because you’re essentially starving yourself, not because you’re “resetting your hormones” or “unclogging your system.”

In this article, I want to share with you a handful of evidence-based weight loss tips, but I also want you to understand them in the context of the fundamental physiology weight loss so you can better judge all the other weight loss advice coming your way.

You see, when you understand and use these laws to your advantage and you can benefit from the right weight loss “tips.” Remain ignorant of the laws, however, and you can waste years chasing shortcuts and never get anywhere.

Easy Weight Loss Tip #1
Create a Meal Plan

The very first thing you must understand about weight loss is the basic physiological mechanism that governs it: energy balance.

Energy balance refers to the relationship between calories (potential energy in food) eaten and calories burned. A fitting metaphor for how energy balance works is a checking account.

If you put your more calories into the account (through eating) than you spend (expend through exercise), you’ve created what is known as a “positive energy balance,” and your body will store a portion of the surplus energy (calories) as body fat.

If you put less calories into the account than you spend, however, you’ve now created a “negative energy balance” and presented your body with a problem. The trillions of cells that comprise it still need energy to function, but you’re underfeeding them. And if they had no other way to get the energy they need, you would simply die.

Fortunately, our bodies have a rich source of “backup energy” for surviving periods of energy deficit: body fat. The energy our bodies don’t get from food can be obtained by breaking down and burning body fat.

The longer we remain a calorie deficit, the smaller our fat stores become as they are continually being tapped.

This is weight loss and gain in a nutshell. Weight gain requires feeding your body more energy than it expends and weight loss requires feeding it less.

This is why calorie counting, when properly done, works so well. And why so many mainstream diets that try to skirt the realities of energy balance fail for so many people.

Now, what does all that have to do with this weight loss tip of meal planning?

Well, a good meal plan for losing weight does several things.

  1. It ensures you’re keeping your body in a state of negative energy balance so it has to continually tap into and reduce body fat stores.
  2. It ensures your diet is well balanced in terms of macronutrient intake (protein, carbohydrate, and fat) so as to preserve muscle and health while losing fat.
  3. It ensures you’re eating foods you like on a schedule that works for you, which is vital for long-term dietary compliance and success.
  4. It teaches you to play down the importance of eating and maintain a healthy relationship with food. Many people strongly associate food with pleasure and reward seeking and struggle immensely with food “addiction,” binge eating, and the like.

If you’re curious as to what a well-designed meal plan looks like, here are two of mine that I’ve used in the past:

A Meal Plan of Mine for Cutting

A Meal Plan of Mine for Maintaining

As you can see, it’s simple but structured.

It’s also a “living document” in that I can change the foods at any time so long as I stick to my numbers. I don’t tired of foods easily so I don’t make many changes in actual practice, but it’s comforting to know that I can revise any meal and continue losing fat.

If you’re struggling to lose weight, an effective meal plan may be all you need to get the scale moving.

Weight Loss Tip #2
Monitor Your Progress

I seem to be running into more and more people these days that don’t weigh or measure themselves while trying to lose weight. Instead, it seems, they’d rather just hope for the best.

This is silly and counter-productive.

I know, I know, they’re trying to avoid becoming too obsessed with short-term results and the disappointment of nothing changing, but it’s still silly and counter-productive.

You see, losing weight isn’t a religious experience. No leap of faith is necessary. It’s a cold, secular science that operates in accordance to physical laws as absolute as gravity.

Thus, if you’re not losing fat, something very tangible (and often very simple) is wrong. You need to find out what and remedy it.

And the only way to know whether you’re doing it right or wrong, and whether you should carry on or change course, is self-monitoring. This is why research confirms that self-monitoring is indeed a powerful weight loss tool.

Regularly facing the scale and measuring helps you achieve your weight loss goals in two ways:

  1. It makes you think twice about committing dietary sins and thus improves program compliance.
  2. It gives you vital feedback that shows your efforts are paying off or that you need to make a change.

You see, if your weight or waist measurement (a reliable indicator of changes in total fat mass) remain unchanged for 7 to 10 days, this isn’t reason for despair. It just means you need to find the leak and plug it. Maybe you’re passively overeating. Maybe you’re not burning as much energy as you think you are. Maybe your metabolism has slowed too much and you need to reverse diet.

Now, my telling you to simply track your numbers isn’t quite enough because there are two big pitfalls to watch out for:

Unreal weight loss expectations.

1 month to abs this, 10 pounds in 10 days that…many people expect fat loss to be much faster than it actually is.

Here’s the truth:

If you’re extremely overweight, healthy weight loss is a reduction of about 2 to 3 pounds per week.

If you’re slightly to moderately overweight, healthy weight loss is a reduction of about 1 to 2 pounds per week.

If you’re not overweight but are dieting to get very lean, health weight loss is a reduction of about 0.5 to 1 pounds per week.

Misleading weigh-ins and measurements.

If you weigh and measure yourself once per week, you can be dismayed by the results without realizing that you’ve actually lost fat since your last check-in.

For example, increased water retention can throw off both weight and waistline measurements.

Weighing and measuring yourself every day isn’t necessarily the answer, either. This will likely drive you mad as you see numbers fluctuate up and down every day.

The most reliable way to monitor your numbers is to weigh and measure every day and then calculate an average every 7 to 10 days.

So long as the average is moving down over time, you’re on track.

Weight Loss Tip #3
Eat the Right Types of Foods

If reading that made you cringe and brace yourself for a litany of all the yummy foods you “shouldn’t” eat if you want to lose weight…you can rest easy. I’m not that kind of guy.

The truth is there is no such thing as a “weight loss food.” You can, theoretically, lose weight eating whatever you want.

That said, certain foods are more conducive to weight loss than others.

The reason why some foods are “better” for weight loss than others boils down to the amount of calories they contain and how those calories break down into protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

Generally speaking, the best foods for weight loss are those that provide an abundance of micronutrients and are filling while also being relatively light in calories and in dietary fat and added sugar in particular.

When you focus on eating these types of foods, you’re much less likely to struggle with hunger issues and overeat.

For example, my favorite “weight loss foods” are…

  • Low-fat varieties of protein like lean types of meat (chicken, lean beef, fish, and so forth), low-fat dairy products, egg whites, and even grains and vegetables. While protein powder is convenient, it can leave you hungry if you have satiety issues.
  • Whole grains like wheat, brown rice, oats, and barley.
  • Vegetables like green beans, carrots, broccoli, and artichoke.
  • Legumes like green peas and beans.
  • Tubers like white potato, which is incredibly satiating, and sweet potato.
  • As you can see, a bunch of high-fiber, unprocessed foods that taste great, provide your body with plenty of micronutrients, and keep you full.

The foods you want to avoid when dieting to lose weight are those that are very calorie dense, high in dietary fat and added sugar, but which aren’t all that filling.

Highly processed junk food like chips, candy, cookies, and other “goodies” and caloric beverages fit this bill, of course, but there are quite a few healthy foods that do as well.

For instance, I love nuts, oils, and butter, but have to limit my intake of them while dieting because they pack a ton of calories and dietary fat without doing much of anything to fill me up. The same goes for foods like dried fruit, chocolate, avocado, and whole-fat dairy–all foods I love, but that I avoid while dieting.

Weight Loss Tip #4
Drink Coffee and Tea

Coffee supports your weight loss efforts by supplying caffeine, which accelerates fat loss by increasing fat cell mobilization and raising basal metabolic rate (which is the amount of energy your body burns at rest).

Coffee and caffeine are also associated with several other health benefits, including increased longevity, anti-depressive effects, improved mental performance, and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Green tea supports your weight loss efforts by supplying chemicals known as catechins, which help you lose fat faster in two ways:

Interestingly, research has also shown that the catechins in green tea can help reduce abdominal fat in particular.

And, like coffee, regular tea drinking is associated with several other health benefits including a reduced risk of various types of disease, improved cognitive performance and immunity, and more.

Weight Loss Tip #5
Don’t Drink Your Calories

One of the most common weight loss mistakes I see people making is drinking calories.

Unfortunately, if you can’t give up the caloric beverages, you’ll probably stay fat forever.

The major problem with caloric beverages, ranging from soda to sports and energy drinks to fruit juices, is they don’t trigger satiety like food.

You can drink 1,000 calories and be hungry an hour later, whereas eating 1,000 calories of food, including a good portion of protein and fiber, will probably keep you full for 5 to 6 hours.

Here’s a quote from researchers from Purdue University, who investigated the influence of meal timing and food form on daily energy intake:

“Based on the appetitive findings, consumption of an energy-yielding beverage either with a meal or as a snack poses a greater risk for promoting positive energy than macronutrient-matched semisolid or solid foods consumed at these times.”

That is, people that drink calories are much more likely to overeat than those that don’t. This is why research shows a clear association between greater intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain, in both adults and children.

So, ditch the caloric beverages and opt for water or naturally sweetened zero-calorie alternatives instead.

Weight Loss Tip #6
Use the Right Types of Exercise to Maximize Fat Loss

Exercise isn’t necessary for weight loss–a calorie deficit is and you can accomplish that through regulating food intake–but exercise and diet deliver far superior results than diet alone.

This probably isn’t news to you, but what you may not know is that not all exercise is equal when it comes to fat loss.

For example, most people associate “weight loss exercise” with some sort of low-intensity cardio like walking or jogging, but don’t know that the body adapts to this exercise over time to increase efficiency and conserve energy. The result is a “diminishing returns” as far as weight loss goes as your body decreases the energy cost of the exercise, which in turn decreases the amount of fat you lose from it.

This is why I highly recommend high-intensity interval cardio for supporting your weight loss efforts.

This style of cardio, which has you alternate between high and low periods of all-out and recovery effort, beats low-intensity cardio in every way: it burns more fat in less time while preserving more muscle.

Many people also don’t realize how important resistance training is when dieting to lose weight.

Training your muscles regularly not only helps you lose fat faster, it also preserves your muscle mass and ensures you lose fat instead.

This latter point is extremely important because when it comes to losing weight, preserving muscle is equally important as losing fat. The goal isn’t to just “lose weight” but to lose fat.

Weight Loss Tip #7
Get Enough Sleep

This point isn’t nearly as important as the others but sleep deprivation, even if mild, is prevalent these days so I thought I’d include it.

A large amount of fat loss occurs while you sleep for two reasons.

Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised that research shows the amount people sleep has a marked effect on weight loss.

In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, 10 overweight adults followed a weight-loss diet (calorie restriction) for 2 weeks. One group slept 8.5 hours per night and the other 5.5 hour.

The result: the 5.5-hour group lost 55% less fat and 60% more muscle than the 8.5-hour group and, on top of that, experienced increased hunger throughout the day.

This correlation has been observed elsewhere as well. Research conducted by scientists at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine associated shorter sleep duration with increased levels of body fat.

There’s also evidence that acute sleep loss causes insulin resistance to a level similar to someone with type 2 diabetes, which can increase the rate at which your body stores carbohydrates as fat.

Sleep needs vary from individual to individual, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night to avoid the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

Since genetics and age affect how much sleep your body optimally needs, a simple way to determine what’s optimal for you is to pick a two-week period such as a vacation and go to bed at the same time each night without an alarm set.

Chances are you’ll sleep longer than usual at first if you have “sleep debt” to cancel out, but toward the end of the second week, your body will establish a pattern of sleeping about the same amount every night. And it’s trying to tell you something: That’s exactly how much sleep it needs.

The Bottom Line on Weight Loss Tips

As I said in the beginning of this article, I wrote this article to both warn and educate you.

The vast majority of “weight loss tips” you’ll find in Google searches, magazines, books, podcasts, and the like, are absolute tripe.

They choose to ignore the “boring” realities of energy balance and the “mundane” strategies relating to regulating food intake, getting the most from exercise, and managing hunger and cravings and, instead, try to sell you on “weird tricks,” specious pseudo-science, and other bullshit.

I hope this article has given you some actionable insights on how to best go about losing weight as well as a healthy “immunization” against the more virulent forms of weight loss quackery.


What are your thoughts on these weight loss tips? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!










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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • The 7 biggest muscle building myths & mistakes that keep guys small, weak, and frustrated. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy with ease…eating foods you love (yes, including those deemed “unclean” by certain “gurus”)…and never feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”
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  • Dean

    Excellent, well thought out ways to lose weight! Thanks for all of this information!

  • Michael Scalzo

    Awesome as always mate!

    How much coffee and tea would you recommend daily when cutting and not wanting to spend too many precious calories?

    Also, what coffee and tea is best? There are millions to choose from and I have no idea?

    Thanks for all the amazing info!!!!

    • YW!

      I don’t spend any calories on beverages. I sweeten my tea with stevia. 🙂

      Whatever you like most! I think Teavana tea is decent. I don’t like coffee.

      • Michael Scalzo

        Words Of Wisdom!!

        Thanks for your time mate I’ll defs check it out

        • Great!

          • Guest

            Teavana tea tastes great, but I just found out that it has a lot of pesticides, so I’m going organic. Numi tea is organic and I’m going to buy organic tazo tea which is good. I like their darjeeling if you like black tea.

          • I don’t think that’s true. They issued a statement about it basically debunking it.

            That said, nothing wrong with sticking to organic.

  • laura E

    As you lose weight do you continue to lower your calories as your weight lowers?

    • Generally speaking, you don’t reduce calories until you’ve hit a plateau, which is no fat loss for 7 to 10 days.

      And before you cut calories, you increase exercise, but you can only take this so far before you run into overtraining issues. For me, I can’t do more than 5 45-minute weightlifting sessions and 4 25-minute HIIT sessions per week when cutting or I start feeling run down. This is a matter of learning your body.

  • DK

    Your articles are first rate and so informative. I have just started a cut after spending 3 months bulking. I gained little but was just starting to find my calorie level when another article of yours prompted me to seek your advice. You advised me to cut as I am around 17% bf. I’m worried though because although I have some fat around the gut, my arms and legs are thin. I have developed some muscle on my arms and chest which is good but I’m worried that I will lose the muscle gained over the last 3 months. Or that I’m missing out on the optimum period for newbie gains by cutting. Btw I’m not doubting your advise, just hoping for some intellectual reassurance
    really grateful for your advice


    • Thanks DK!

      You won’t lose muscle or miss out on newbie gains. It’s much better for the long run to start lean and bulk and cut properly…

  • Matt

    Hi Mike – as always another great article, so thanks!
    In relation to overall food and nutrition, do you have a guide or maximum limit for what percentage of protein and/or carbs could come from supplements?

    Also when bulking is there anything wrong in drinking a few glasses of low fat milk or oat milk to easily consume an extra few hundred calories (I do count/track my daily macros).

    • Thanks!

      Generally speaking I try to get 60/70%+ of my daily protein from food.

      No, nothing wrong with that.

  • Pingback: 7 “Easy” Weight Loss Tips That Actually Make Sense (and Work) | georgeherman205()

  • Gabriel Cortez

    is there anything inherently bad about canned foods besides the sodium? I’ve found some low-sodium varieties of beans and other vegetables that I’ve been experimenting with for quick meals. For example an entire can (I did the math for the 3.5 servings) of low sodium black beans has about 29% DV for a 2000 calorie diet. Given that I eat 4 meals a day and eat almost 3000 calories a day that sounds pretty reasonable.

    For the sake of argument lets say I’d only be adding minimal sodium for the rest of the meal. Is this something I could (should) eat on a daily basis?


    • Gabriel Cortez

      Before you scold me, yes I’m staying away from “processed” canned foods like pasta or things that I know to have a high GI 🙂

    • Nope totally fine AFAIK. I use canned beans and tomatoes all the time.

  • Serge

    Mike, I wonder what would happen if a person will be in calorie deficit, but mess up with macros – i.e., instead of 40/40/20 (pro/carb/fat), macros are like

    30/30/40 (or %fat is more than 20% with reduction of pro and carbs)? Will be still a fat (not weight) loss?

    • Minor changes like that aren’t a problem but if your protein goes too low, you start losing muscle.

  • Eli

    Thanx again for the first rate no b.s. Article! I’m starting to cut this week and will defiantly utilize these tips! Just wondering, if I’m at around 15% bodyfat, do I have enough time to get to 8% by June?

    • YW! Great!

      That will take 12ish weeks I think, so maybe end of June.

  • mfmaxpower

    Hey Mike, about sleep and fat loss – what is it an indicator of when you’re cutting and you’re having issues with waking up at night on a regular basis?

    I’m trying to lose the last 5 lbs or so but getting a good night’s sleep is a major struggle. Each and every night I wake up after ~5 hours and wake up frequently thereafter. It’s making it not only harder to have good workouts but also stay consistent with my diet.

    • Sounds like hormonal issues. Could be related to elevated cortisol levels. How long have you been in a deficit for?

  • Ron

    Mike, I am currently eating 185/80/35 and 5’7 weigh 168. I started a program 16 weeks ago at 173, but I feel I am undereating and not seeing results because of it. I have a sedentary desk job, but do cardio 5 times a week at 450 cals per and 1 HIIT session and still have a ponch. Can you please offer me some advice? I just purchased BLS and am a really enjoying it.

  • Rob Lopez

    Hey Mike, another status update on my cutting progress to date:

    I started cutting at a 20% deficit (starting TDEE of 2800, down to 2400 cals) on February 1st, 2015, so I have been cutting for a little over 6 weeks now.

    My training has consisted of lifting heavy 5 days a week and doing 2 days of HIIT for 20-30 minutes a week.

    I started at 200 lbs on an empty stomach and 16% bodyfat (165 lbs of LBM) and a month later (one week ago) I tested again at 197 lbs and 14% bodyfat (169 lbs of LBM).

    I know you talk about newbie gains possibly being the reason why I gained muscle and lost a little fat at the same time, but can you explain the actual science behind this? I have been lifting for around 5 years now, but started BLS about 8 months ago– lifting in the 4-6 rep range and tracking my progressive overloading and macros consistently. First, I completed 7 months worth of bulking and now I am cutting, and I am not really sure how my body has been able to build muscle out of thin air when I have been on a consistent deficit for over 6 weeks now. I honestly haven’t even had one day since cutting yet where I have refeeded and gone over my TDEE on calories. All my friends that follow BLS as well are confused as shit. I am natural, so this doesn’t make sense to us. Eff science?

    Your thoughts? Also another question, have I been cutting for too long? How much longer do you think it is okay for me to cut without damaging my metabolism? I was planning on implementing re-feeds once I get below 12% since I heard the leptin benefits don’t happen until you are this lean.

    My overall goal is 8% bodyfat or 185 lbs, whichever comes first.

    Thanks brother! Keep killing it.

  • Mallory

    This is seriously the best and most concise article I’ve ever read on the topic. Thank you for all this. I was wondering if you could give me some feedback.. I started eating healthy and working out 4-5 times a week about 4 months ago and have lost about 22 pounds (154 to now 132), I’m a 36 year old female, 5’5″. I did a somewhat low carb diet to jump start my weight loss and have now slowly increased my calories to about 1500/day – and I aim for 40/40/20 macros. All the online calculators say my calories is too low for someone as active as I am.. but I’m a little hesitant to increase much beyond that, especially since I’d like to lose some more body fat (I’m currently about 30% body fat and my tummy is my biggest issue), while maintaining this weight (maybe lose 2-4 more lbs but not beyond that). So I’m unsure what to do next. Do I increase my calories? I plan to continue working out at least 4x a week but now I’m only doing 1 HIIT cardio and mostly strength. Thank you in advance.

  • Mandi Carroll

    I have been following your exercise program for about 9 months and have been eating perfectly – hitting my macros 40/40/20 for 8 weeks. I have only lost a couple pounds and am wondering if I need to reverse diet. I’m 5’7″ and I weigh 151, have about 21%bf and lift weights five days a week and do hiit three days per week. I was eating 1715 calories per day, but this week I decreased to 1655 to see if that will make a difference. Every week I’m consistent with my workouts, and I have no cheat days or meals. I’m trying to figure out what gives. If I reverse diet and do 30-35%fat, what should my carbs and protein be? Thanks!

    • Hey hey I replied to your other comment.

      • Mandi Carroll

        Yes, sorry about that! In response to your question – I’ve lost 3 pounds in eight weeks.

        • No worries.

          Hmm this may not be a problem because you can gain weight in the form of muscle and water and glycogen while losing fat, which makes it seem like you’ve lost more than you have.

          How has your waist been shrinking?

  • Oze

    Hi Mike, like another correspondent, I cannot download your second edition of BLS from Amazon. Tells me I already have a copy of BLS 1st edition. True, but I want to update to the second edition, that is shown as available on Amazon, but I have found it impossible to do this without it morphing to the first edition! The other correspondent I saw with the same problem was told just to hit update but I did not see this on Amazon and the enable automatic updating tab on my Kindle for PC, didn’t achieve anything either.

    So what am I missing here Mike? I was wondering if anyone else with the first edition on their Kindle for PC, has downloaded the second edition from Amazon successfully – and how?

    Cheers, Oze

    • Hmm some people are having this problem and some people aren’t. I’m not really sure what’s going on.

      Amazon can refund you yours though and you can then buy it again…

  • Poppy

    Great recap thanks.

  • Mary

    I weigh 165 pounds. Can I lose 2 pounds per week by eating 1200 calories and exercising 200 or more calories everyday using HIIT. Is it a dream or can I really do that?

  • Leslie

    Hey! Great article I do have a question though I would like to burn fat but not loose weight I’m 5 foot 5 125 pounds but would like my body fat percentage to drop from about 23 to about 18 percent. How would I go about doing this?

  • RL

    Hi Mike, I have been reading your articles and I really feel I have learned a lot.
    I have a few questions that I’d love your help with.
    I am 52 F. I was always thin until my second pregnancy which was difficult and started the yo-yo dieting.
    I started dieting last June and in 6 months I had lost 42 lbs.
    I am down to 116, (my weight stays pretty stable, fluxuates a few lbs up, but easily goes back down if I’m careful with what I eat).

    I still need to lose in my stomach as I can grab fat still and I don’t want that, however my legs are pretty thin.

    I like to burn my extra calories by treadmill or treadclimber. I do the HIIT but I work out for an hour usually burning between 700-800 cals.

    I see in one of your articles that you say not to do cardio longer than 30 minutes at a time because it affects muscle, which I don’t want to happen, first question is: Would this really hurt my muscle mass? Would it be better to do 30 minutes take a 15-20 minute rest and do another 30 minutes, or could I do 30 minutes do my weight and floor exercises and then do my other 30 minutes? (I do weights every other day and 5-6 days I do cardio).

    Another question is, after I lost the weight I have noticed somewhat loose skin under my butt, (I’m assuming it’s because of losing too quickly). Is there any way (besides surgery) to tighten this?

    Also, is there a way to lose and tighten my stomach without losing more in my legs?

    Thank you for your help.

  • Eric Whitesell

    I have been on a cut now for about 7 weeks and lost about 15 lbs. I had a very immediate loss of strength when I started restricting calories (2010 calories 230 protein 200 carb 35 fat, starting weight 190). I know that you say you should lose about 5% of your strength but I noticed that some of my lifts are down more than 10% while other lifts are almost back to where they were when I started cutting and some are at about 5%. This is really confusing me. I also see that the lifts that are having the greater loss of strength are the ones that were making the slowest progress when I was mass gaining. Could it be a form issue or do you suspect diet?

    • Great job! That can happen. Some people’s bodies respond better than others’ to calorie deficits and we definitely have exercise weak points. For instance, my bench press has always been a lagging exercise (probably mainly due to my really long arms) and I lose strength there first when cutting…

  • Jon

    Hi Mike. Thanks for the upfront and non bs approach! I’m on week 12 of my cut (started at 185 down to 160) and have made some great improvements. However, I believe I’m around the 12-13% BF mark and wanted to get your quick opinion on moving forward. I’ve been lifting on and off heavily since 14 and am relatively strong for my size. However, this is my 1st cut to sub 10%bf and my intention is to slow bulk once the goal has been reached. Honestly, I feel like I’m gonna have another 4-5 weeks before reaching this level of leanness which will put me at a pretty lengthy cut. I recently watched your podcast of ‘Starting what you finish’ and am determined to just keep going until I hit my goal. Any thoughts from you would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    • Glad you liked the article!

      Great job on the cut. I like your plan. Check this out:


      What do you think?

      • Jon

        Thanks Mike. More great info. I will apply these tips coming out of my cut & monitor progress & metabolism. I honestly just think I was a lot “fatter” and not as big as I originally thought as this is the 1st time I’ve followed thru with a cut to being lean. I track every calorie diligently and think my deficit is about right at the moment (1800 cals/day) 3 WL sessions & 2-3 cardio per week). Macros are in line 40/40/20 daily. Haven’t really hit many plateaus thus far & have never really felt hungry along the way. Anyways, almost there and will keep plugging away w/excitement. Thanks again Mike for your response, info, and dedication. It’s appreciated.
        Jonny – Seattle

        • Great let me know how it goes. Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

      • Jon

        Also, congratulations on the business end of things. As a fellow businessman/entrepreneur I know how difficult ventures can be. From one of your recent podcasts, it sounds like you’ve created great opportunities for yourself. Best of luck to you.

  • Jon

    Apologies Mike…correction “Finish What you Started”

  • Caitlin

    Hi Mike,

    I am a female ~163lbs, 5’4” and a ‘guesstimated’ body fat percentage of 35-40 based on pictures. I have been on and off the diet I planned based around Thinner, Leaner, Stronger for about a year, not being able to stick with it for more than a week or two before exams and studying would push me into a stressful eating binge. I calculated my macros out to be 168g protein, 122g carbs, and 32g fats for a grand total of about 1450 Calories/day, and this is the setup I always return to after my frequent binges. I am currently about to recommit to diet and exercise, and I have a couple of concerns as to whether my yo-yo dieting has impacted my metabolism. I also recently started taking SSRIs, and it’s unclear if they slow metabolism, but weight gain is supposed to be a side effect. I am wondering how can I gauge whether I need to adjust things due to a slowed metabolism once I start my program? If I don’t see results the first week, should I be concerned?


  • Carl

    Hi Mike,

    How long would you suggest someone can maintain a deficit?

    I was 168lbs 16% body fat at the end of my bulk. I have been cutting for 8 weeks and am 155lbs at 14% body fat. My abs are only beginning to show now but still have a way to go. I have lost strength in the gym and have had to drop weight in my bench press and dumbbell press. Can maintain deadlift, squat etc. Is this normal?


    • Carl, a cut will take as long as it needs to. Slight decrease in strength is normal once you’re this far into the cut. Once you reach BMR and aren’t losing weight anymore despite all the activity you can pack into your schedule, stop the cut and reverse diet before cutting again.

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