Fat Loss Momentum…The Secret to Rapid Fat Loss

October 18, 2007

The most unproductive part of any diet or exercise plan that is aimed at burning body fat is the first two weeks. It is tough because people need to have a little faith during the toughest time of a weight loss plan. My way of thinking about a diet is this…don’t plan on losing any body fat at all the first two weeks. If you do, just look at is as a bonus.

Fat Loss Momentum
[An amazing photo of a Space Shuttle Launch]

Burning Body Fat is a Lot Like Launching a Rocket

I’m sure you have heard that a significant amount of fuel is used just to get the Space Shuttle 100 feet off the ground during launch. In fact, more fuel is used the first few hundred feet, than the next 10,000+ miles. Losing weight is very similar in that you will expend a lot of energy your first two weeks without much in the way of results.

What Happens During This Two Week Launch?

It takes your body a couple of weeks to begin to switch to using fat for fuels when you diet. You see, when it is used to getting calories from food all the time, it burns food for fuel. One of the big reasons I am not a big follower of the 6 small meal per day method, is that you always have calories in your system. These calories are stored as glycogen for immediate use and body fat which is more of a “reserve” form of fuel. As long as your muscles are full of glycogen, your body will be less likely to use your stored body fat.

What Happens After This Two Week Period

Although I keep saying two weeks…each person is different. Some people take more or less time to get to “fat burning mode”. Once you get past the two weeks, things should be much easier for you. You should begin notice a visible difference in your body from week number 3 going forward. Many people never make it to this point, because they are frustrated at how slow they are losing body fat those first 2-3 weeks. It is kind of like the space Shuttle…if you didn’t know any better you would be stressed at how little progress it makes at the beginning even though is used over 1/2 its fuel.

The Momentum Phase is Great!

Once your body is in fat burning mode and has built up momentum, take advantage of it. When I know my body is dropping fat, it pushes me to workout harder and hit cardio for longer, etc. Basically anything you do when you have built up fat loss momentum, will be that much more productive. If running stairs normally works well for you, it will work that much better. If you really push harder and harder you will create more momentum, which in turn will help you get even better results.

Don’t Back off Once You Have Lift-Off!

What would happen if the Space Shuttle crew decided to cut the power after they reached one hundred feet? The Space Shuttle would crash down and have to start from scratch. The same thing is true with dieting. If you diet for two weeks and then go back to poor eating habits, you have to start over again. To me you are just wasting time and effort by doing this. You will rapidly reach your weight loss goals if you keep pushing. You will have a tough time if you diet 2-3 weeks on and one week off.

Note: Don’t get too excited about rapid fat loss at the beginning of a diet. Most of the time this is just a bit of water weight lost. This is however a decent sign that you have a sufficient enough calorie deficit to begin to burn fat once the body is ready.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Tyler Durden October 18, 2007 at 5:47 am

good article…you’ve outlined the main principle of fat loss.

sherell October 18, 2007 at 8:59 am

a very informtive site, most invaluable!

admin October 18, 2007 at 9:53 am

Thanks for the nice compliment…Glad you enjoy it!

Rusty

Burak October 18, 2007 at 11:22 am

Rusty, what about hitting a fat loss wall? For example, I’ve gotten down to a healthy level of body fat after a few months of training, but I’m aiming for a higher level of fitness. One thing I’ve found is that the body seems very stubborn, despite any momentum I may have had, when it comes to burning its last fat reserves.

You’d mentioned increasing the intensity of cardio in previous posts…I’ve done that. But if you’re too slow to match your body’s progress with more intense cardio, is it possible to lose that momentum and revert back to the pre-two-week state?

admin October 18, 2007 at 8:47 pm

Burak,

Yeah…I didn’t mention that in my post. The very last few pounds are tough to lose as well. For me…what works is to keep pushing to burn those last 2-5 pounds off, but they come off very slowly…like 1 pound every 2 weeks.

Once you have reached a really high level of fitness and can’t run much harder, then you have to increase the amount of time you do cardio…just a bit as well.

Rusty

Janice October 18, 2007 at 9:33 pm

hey rusty! great site.

i came across your site and haven’t stopped reading for about 2 hours!

i think all your articles make sense, especially the one meal a day ones.

i had one question, if i’m eating that ONE big dinner a day…do you think it’d be ok to have some small meals…like oatmeal or cereal? sort of like when you have protein shakes?

thanks alot! keep up the great site

Tyler Durden October 19, 2007 at 5:47 am

I need your advice on this one…how to lose the last 2-5pounds. I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time. Exercise vs Diet!!-should be a good post title:))
what strategy do you recommend? At this level where i am i think cardio is 80% and 20%diet. Calorie restriction is not enough if you want to have a fit body and not a skinny one. What would happen if now at this BFL i would try to lose the last few pounds without exercising just by creating calorie-deficit over the time? The main principle tells you it works just as the exercise. But i think there’s a huge difference how you create the cal-deficit! By undereating or by exercising!
And how long should it take to lose the stubborn fat? Should i lose it over months or in few weeks? I’m not in a hurry since i’m already pretty lean and summer season is over:)
I read the intro of Tom Venuto’s book and he claims that you get a ripped body not by the calorie deficit you create with cardio but more by the increased metabolism and hormones.
So what’s your idea on this one?
So in my case when diet alone should not be enough, cardio is very important right?

admin October 19, 2007 at 12:42 pm

Janice,

I’m glad you found my site. I love it when readers make comments. Thanks a bunch.

Anyway…in the morning it wouldn’t hurt to eat a small bit of solid food, but after that I would only recommend maybe 1-2 pieces of fruit.

If possible, try not to eat anything for 6 hours before your night time meal. This diet works best after a period of fasting.

Hope that makes sense,

Rusty

admin October 19, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Tyler,

I really enjoy Tom Venuto’s book, in fact it is my number one recommended book if someone was going to go out and buy a fitness book. What I like about his book is his mental approach to getting lean.

His methods as far as diet and exercise are different than what I recommend, but they do work (the thing about getting toned, is that there is more than one approach). I think my approach is a bit more effective, but I’m sure he would say that his approach is better.

I will do a post on this idea of diet vs exercise…great idea!

It could take as long as 2 months to lose that last 2-5 pounds if you are already pretty lean. This is why people who try to get in shape for summer in the spring time, never get quite as toned as they would like by the time summer rolls around.

If you want to look amazing for summer, start increasing cardio and eating better 5-6 months ahead of time!

Great idea for a post (as always)!

Rusty

Dwight October 19, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Rusty,

Okay, I’m a 43 year old male, stayed in shape until my mid 20’s, and am now not in shape. What can I do? I need help. This is a great website and I am looking to get back in to shape. When I was a senior at UT – austin in 1987 I could play basketball for 5-6 hours straight and not get tired. Now I can play for 15 minutes and get tired.

I need to loose weight, get in shape, and start looking as good as I can. I don’t want to bulk up. I don’t want to look like a body builder. I want to loose my beer belly, gets some abs, and flatten my chest out. I need help.

Your website has gotten me excited on the idea of getting into shape. Where do I start?

admin October 20, 2007 at 9:26 pm

Dwight,

I want you to read all the posts that I made about Aerobic Exercise in the “Categories” part of my blog. You can get there by going to the right hand side bar and clicking “Aerobic Exercise”.

Or here is a direct link:

https://fitnessblackbook.com/category/aerobic-exercise/

That is a great place to start, because a great body is built upon a foundation of effective cardio. I discuss quite a few extremely effective ways to get lean quickly in this section.

That would be a great starting point. Ask me questions as you go. It sometimes takes me a day or two to answer, but I enjoy helping out as much as possible.

Glad you found my site!

Rusty

Mark McCullagh October 20, 2007 at 11:22 pm

I try to keep my approach to fat loss “simple” and follow some guidelines: I grocery shop once a week and try to only buy the “right” foods and then I stick to eating meals based on those foods during the week. Tip: this way you don’t have any junk food laying around to tempt you and you eat what you have and BRING WITH YOU as opposed to eating fast food etc.

I try to eat complex carbs earlier in the day. Based on a 5 small meal a day plan the last 2-3 meals have no complex carbs. Just lean protein and chunky greens (salads or broccoli).

Post workout shakes are great – pineapple juice, whey protein, yogurt, a little fruit (berries), and a shot of creatine if you are so inclined.

I cheat on Saturdays and maybe once a week or so on one meal. That way, any cravings I have I just put off to Saturday and satisfy it then. Works for me. But I don’t go overboard and go on a huge binge – this isn’t like me anyway.

I make sure to take an essential fatty acid supplement, usually at least twice a day.

Sometimes when I feel hungry between meals but I know I can deal with it and not give in – I feel good because I know I am burning fat and I know I am being disciplined.

Of course, at the same time following a workout regimen with cardio and short, intense bodybuilding routines is essential. But the effect on your physique of adhering to a disciplined diet, one day at a time, for a few weeks and then a few months, is absolutely mind-blowing. You cannot believe what you can achieve through your diet!

Having said that, it must also be said that everyone’s body is unique and you MUST get to know what works for your own body.

Hope this is some help,

God bless,

Mark

admin October 20, 2007 at 11:44 pm

Mark,

That is great. There are so many approaches to diets that work. Just like you mentioned…it always comes back to healthy food choices. I have really gotten into fruits and vegetables as a much larger part of my diet…along with a high quality protein source.

I use to be a big meat and steamed rice guy, but now I eat lean steak, chicken, and a lot of fish. I’m also really into big salads. I eat differently than you in that I eat less often, but I realize that both ways can work well.

Great Comments!

Rusty

Mark McCullagh October 21, 2007 at 2:57 pm

Hey Rusty,

I have to apologize because I made that comment without actually reading your previous post regarding the “Warrior Diet” so my comment was slightly irrelevant.

I’ve been reading up on the Warrior Diet and I can see how it would work. I really can’t say if I will give it a try at this stage but I do feel this: eating less can give you more energy.

I’m no stranger to fasting for spiritual purposes and for cleansing and I have to admit that it is sometimes very tough.

Anyway, I could write a long commentary here but suffice it to say that my curiosity has been aroused and I may give this a try.

All the best,

Mark

admin October 22, 2007 at 12:09 am

Mark,

I really enjoy the diet, but I don’t follow it in the strictest sense. I try to eat 75% of my daily calories in that night time meal. Right now I’m drinking a protein shake in the morning…and a small protein shake or an apple around 12:00’ish. I workout at 6:00 and eat at 7:30 or 8:00.

The main point is that I allow myself to get a bit hungry and fast before my night time meal. I also do cardio in a fasted state which seems to burn off even the most stubborn body fat. The nice thing is that I have incredible energy all day long.

I keep around 8% body fat year round, but I’m betting in the future I’ll be able to be at 5-6% 365 days a year like Ori. He says he maintains that body fat level “effortlessly”.

Effective Way to Eat!

Rusty

Jay October 23, 2007 at 12:10 am

Hi Rusty,

I took your advice and did a bit of research on the Warrior diet. I came a cross a section where Ori talks about accelerated muscle growth – In order to accelerate muscle growth you need to “cycle between 3 – 4 days of extreme overeating and 2 – 3 days of moderate to extreme undereating (whole days).” When he says extreme overeating, does he mean you can eat what ever you want and as much as you want for a whole day (for 3-4 days)? Do you follow his cycle methods as well?

Thanks
Jay

admin October 23, 2007 at 10:16 am

Jay,

I don’t really concentrate at that part of the diet, because I’m not trying to gain muscle. From what I understand it does work well. I stick to the basic plan, which allows me to be really lean year round.

If you do decide to try it, post your results here. I’d be interested in seeing how it works for you! It would be kind of fun to eat whatever you want for 3-4 days. I know I could do some damage…LOL!

Rusty

Bobby October 26, 2007 at 2:08 am

Hey Rusty, I have been reading through your page and i really like your attitude towards weight loss and physique outlook. I just recently got done playing college ball last year and went from 5’11 290 to 250 where i am stuck at now. I was wondering what u would suggest calories and protein wise for someone like me who wants to get to about 200- 210lbs and how fast do you think i can lose it?

admin October 26, 2007 at 10:38 pm

Bobby,

Bobby…the general rule I recommend is multiply your ideal weight by 10 to get a general idea of the calories needed to drop to that weight.

Want to get to 200, then try to stick to 2,000 calories per day. If it works then keep at it…if not, then drop down to 1,800.

Protein…you can eat a bit less protein than you are used to and still get great results. Aim for 140-180 grams per day…but much less if you are following “The Warrior” diet that I recommend.

How fast to lose it…hard to tell. You could probably be at your target weight by next summer (which is when it really counts anyway). You could be lean and ripped by June and meeting tons of pretty young girls all summer long. I think that is a great goal to aim for!

Hope that helps!

Rusty

PS: Your face will look much different when you drop all that weight as well. You will look great!

Trey December 14, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Hey Rusty!
I ran across your site when I was looking for information about how Will Smith got so lean for his new movie “I Am Legend”. I love it! I keep checking back and I’ve been reading lots of different threads. I just ordered the “Rapid Fat Loss Handbook” based on your recommendation and I can’t wait to get a hold of it.

I see that a lot of readers are trying your one meal a day plan. I own the BFFM book by Tom Venuto…and it’s worked for me in the past. But it takes some time to get lean on his plan. I’ve put on some unwanted weight here recently and I would really like to drop about 15 lbs. of fat but I don’t want to spend the next four months doing it.

So my question is…for the average person on the one meal a day diet, how does it effect their cardio workouts? For me, I notice if I don’t eat shortly before I workout, I get lightheaded and struggle through my workouts. I’ve tried to follow the South Beach Diet before but eventually have to revert back to my old diet because of fatigue while working out. So personally, how does the one meal diet effect your cardio and lifting sessions and do you have any tricks to combat fatigue in the gym?

admin December 14, 2007 at 10:02 pm

Trey,

Tom Venuto’s book Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle is a great book, for sure. It is still one of the best complete fitness e-books on the Internet. I especially like how he talks about the work involved to getting really fit. I got a lot out of that e-book and have no problem recommending it to people…it is MASSIVE for how little you pay.

As far as eating before a cardio workout. I prefer to workout on an empty stomach, but something like an apple wouldn’t hurt…an apple is around 60-80 calories and you would burn that 30 minutes into your workout. If it helps you hit cardio harder than it is well worth it. Eat a few pieces of fruit if you are exceptionally hungry or your energy level is too low for an intense workout.

You will still get great results!

Rusty

PS: I like drinking green tea to give me an energy boost throughout the day, but eat fruit on the days I feel extra sluggish. Fruit is my cheat meal…LOL!

Angel January 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Rusty-
This is the kind of motivation I need! I’ve been focused on being serious about eating healthy for the past several days, but my offical 2nd day of the “One Meal a Day” plan is today. From yesterday, I have already lost a little over 2 pounds! Probably water weight, but I’ll take any drop in the scale I can get 🙂 Surpisingly, I haven’t been wrenched with hunger. I feel good!
Thanks so much – you’re a blessing! 🙂
Angel

admin January 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Angel,

Yeah…you will lose weight quickly and then it will stall a bit, before your body switches over to burning fat for fuel. This can take a couple of weeks, but once it happens it is just a matter of time for you to reach whatever level of “leaness” (is that a word?) you desire.

Rusty

Angel January 9, 2008 at 4:50 pm

You’re not kidding! That was the loss from when I weighed this morning. I couldn’t resist getting on the scale this afternoon (I know I shouldn’t!) and down another pound. I’ll remember to keep pushing through the stall period! Thanks!!

Shelly May 12, 2009 at 1:18 pm

What about watermelon and fat loss? Do you think this is an ok fruit and how much of it? I eat a lot of it and so far I’m still lean but want an expert opinion. Thanks.

Billy July 17, 2009 at 11:00 am

I plan on starting the warrior diet but I have a couple of questions. First I’m starting p90x, will I still see great results following the warrior diet instead of the nutrition plan provided. Second even though it says u don’t have to watch as closely what you ear, should I still eat pretty healthy at my one big meal. Third what kind of foods should I be eating at my one big meal. Lastly how many calories should this one big meal be. I know there ate alot of questions but I would appreciate it greatly if you could answer them to the best of your abality

ps. I’m already in pretty good shape but would like to loose some
bodyfat. Get thoes abs showing lol

Ed November 8, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Hey, I am really interested in this concept. I go to the gym about 2 times a week at least, I play rugby but i still have quite a bit of fat left especially on the front of my body. I have been quite fat for a long time, but over these few couple of years, I have started to lose it. I would like to know how many times i should go running and for how long. When i mean i go to the gym, i just lift weights. I would like to know how also to lose fat on my face, but obviously its just i would like to lose fat from everywhere. 😀 Recently i have also noticed i have this “fat patch” as they call it just below the waist. please can you help me? I would just love to start fresh with a new body when I go to University. So I would be very grateful for all your help.

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nathan April 20, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Rusty,

This aritcle is great! I have one question though, outlined with a few. This is article seems to be by running, are elliptical machines beneficial to burning fat with medium resistance? Also, many articles on the web are saying in order to get the six pack abbs and truly burn fat you must be burning more than your taking in. Is this true?

-Nathan

Andrea September 24, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Rusty,
Hi, I just read the articles about Jump Rope and losing weight and I wanted to ask something: I want to loose 6 kg, and a friend recommended me to start with Jump rope since in two weeks he lost 5kg, my question is once I will loose my weight I will need to continue doing this for life? I am not consistent with fitness and I was wondering what happens if I do it a few months and then just stop I will gain my weight back?
Thanks

Leon May 9, 2011 at 11:43 pm

A calorie ratio of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent proteins, and 30 percent fat minimizes your glycemic load (insulin) and thus the fat you retain. This balance also provides the three key macro nutrients needed to keep a body in hormonal balance.

Irene July 23, 2012 at 2:44 am

Your site is amazing! I feel so excited reading your posts on workout and diet plans cos I have this very big tummy and its been of great concern. Please I ll like you to put me through on the kind of meal to eat for the one big meal. Thanks a lot. Irene

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