Here we go again.. [cue ‘Animal’ by Neon Trees music].
I’ve become a fervent believer in fast fat loss.
To further test my fat loss theories, I’ve decided to construct an experiment that involves fast fat loss and a substantial decrease in calories vs fat loss with many more calories and daily cardio.
There’s a lot of theories online as to which is best, so n=1 to the rescue. I want to see for myself.
On March 17th, I weighed in at 181 pounds. I decided to throttle my caloric intake down to an average of 1,000 calories for exactly 30 days. I performed one cardio session on the 23rd and all the while I was on the treadmill, I was questioning the necessity and effectiveness of what I was doing – does excess calories and cardio have an advantage over simply limiting your calories?
I finished up the 525 calorie burn and ate an extra 400 calories that day. But on the way home from that particular workout, I had the spark for my latest diet/fitness experiment. I’m going to construct a test and see if there is any noticeable difference in my body composition when getting 1,000 calories a day for 30 days as compared to 2,000 a day and burning 1,000 a day with exercise.
The only way my results are accurate is if I start at the same weight, train the same way and eat the same thing – so that’s what I’ll be doing.
No more cardio this month. I’m just going to stay at 1,000 calories until April 17th and see how I end up looking. I suspect I’ll be down close to 160. And for part II of my experiment?
Part II will be next year – same dates, same workouts, twice the food and lots of cardio sessions – enough to burn 1,000 calories a day for the entire 30 days. Since I have to get back to 180 before testing again, I’m just going to build up to it again as I did this year, through the winter – eating pretty much what I want. I was 160 (on average) last summer, as well, and this is my preferred summer weight, as it lets be be lean all through the summer.
The first 10 1/2 days of my diet thus far are as follows (total calories and macros included):
I’ll attract my fair share of critics with the above diet, since I’m including no veggies or fruits and I’m quite hypocaloric in my method. That’s fine – and any contempt will be understandable, but I’ll likely disagree with most of the critics. I’ve already shown that a seven day fast with absolutely no calories did not result in muscle loss for me so I’m not too worried about that. Metabolic damage? I believe in it – but I believe it only happens after months of hypocaloric intake. I know that in fact, because it happened to me after several months of extreme dieting. 30 days though? Cake – and no consequences. The hormones only get jacked up after prolonged caloric restriction and 30 days at 1,000 calories just isn’t enough to cause a problem with me. I’d add fruits and vegetables if I could, but my extremely low caloric intake won’t allow for it – but it’s very short-term. I’ll be OK.
If you’re wondering how low that calorie intake is for me, here’s what my data has showed me over the last three years:
At 180, my TDEE is about 3,000 calories a day. Eating is the best part of my winters. I get to have a huge bowl of cereal every day (I’m a cold cereal junkie) and I eat more than my fair share of ice cream – Blue Bell chocolate chip being my preference. Seriously, I probably eat that three or four nights every week at 180. I don’t get too crazy with the food though because I still try to stay high protein and having been 240 pounds at one point in my life, I know I can balloon right up if I’m not careful.
At 170, my TDEE is right at 2,000 calories a day. If I get beyond that, the scale almost always goes upward. 170 still allows for a pretty satisfying amount of food and this weight is probably the best place for me. I don’t have near the fat as I do at 180. I don’t quite look ripped either but I can live a much more normal life in terms of eating out once in a while and enjoying food and I can still shed my shirt at the pool without feeling embarrassed.
At 160, my TDEE is 1400-1500 calories. The body doesn’t require nearly as many calories as you become lighter but this is still always a challenge to maintain. My appetite doesn’t seem to diminish that much – so I’m often hungry. I just rarely eat before 3pm at 160. Despite the little extra suffering, I usually stay at 160 all summer long and it’s worth it to me. It’s the place I have to be to see my abs.
All this to say that 1,000 a day is extremely low for me at any weight.
So there it is – my two year plan to compare the effects of cardio on fat loss and body composition. I took a before pic on March 17th. I ‘ll take an after pic on April 17th and post them together. Same thing next year. I’m already anxious to see the differences – if any.
If you’re interested, sign up below and I’ll shoot my new posts out to you. Next year will be here before we know it and the results will be in.
Are you curious?