When thinking about fat loss, people tend to associate it with a simple equation: calories in versus calories out. But is it really that simple? Honestly, if it were that simple, I would be out of a job. First, we want to look at achieving fat loss like any other goal. How can we get there in the most optimal way possible? Not necessarily the fastest way, or the easiest way, but the most optimal way? Remember, achieving something as quickly or as easily as possible doesn’t always lead to long-term success. When we think about fat loss, we have to take into consideration the efficiency and inefficiency of how our systems work. The best way to explain this phenomenon is to compare and contrast two completely different automobiles and how they operate. It may seem odd, but looking at how these cars operate, and why, will help us to understand how our bodies can maximize their fat loss potential.

So, which one are you? A Prius? Or a Ferrari?

Explaining how fat loss can be achieved most optimally is like explaining the difference between a Prius and a Ferrari. Let’s start with the Prius. A Prius is known for being extremely fuel efficient, meaning it burns fuel at a very slow rate, which in the car world can be a great thing. The more fuel efficient a vehicle is, the less money you need to spend on gas. Which is awesome because you essentially get more bang for your buck. It can also be more environmentally friendly, giving off less fuel while you’re traveling from day to day. But there is a downside to being fuel efficient. A Prius is basically weak and slow. Have you ever tried to put the pedal to the metal in a Prius? It is quite the anti-climactic scene. So, you have to downgrade in performance to save in your pocket. When we translate this to humans, think of the fuel as food and the Prius as your metabolism. If your metabolism is a Prius, it takes you forever to burn off calories. You are extremely efficient at maintaining your body’s homeostasis, and you are very adaptive metabolically. In some cases, such as survival, this is obviously an amazing trait! However, when it comes to body recomposition, this can be extremely frustrating. Your body is basically great at burning fuel as slowly as possible, then storing the rest for later use. So, no bueno when it comes to fat loss.

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Now, let’s move on to the Ferrari. We all know a Ferrari gets shit gas mileage to the gallon—a whopping 14 miles in the city and 22 miles on the highway to be exact. Ferraris are extremely fuel inefficient, meaning they burn off fuel fast as hell and cost us a fortune to keep the gas tank full. Just revving the engine will burn off half a tank. (Not really, but you get my point.) When translating this concept to people, if your goal is to lose body fat, you best believe that you want your metabolism to be a Ferarri. The more inefficient or less adaptive your metabolism is, the easier it is to burn body fat quickly. Meaning, you do not have to starve to lose body fat or spend years on the StairMaster. So, if you are looking to lose body fat or even to compete, being a Ferarri is the way to go.

March 2017: Ferrari 458 supercar parked at Circuit de Barcelona-

Image credit:  Alberto Zamorano ©

How do I become a Ferarri?

Well, how your metabolism functions is highly dependent on genetics. Some people just have roaring metabolisms and can literally eat like an asshole and never gain an ounce of fat. These people are just born Ferraris. But what about if you are born a Prius? Say obesity runs in your family, as well as maybe diabetes and high blood pressure. You exercise and eat well, but losing body fat is extremely difficult for you. Does that mean you will never reach your fat-loss goals? No! You may not be able to change your genetics, but you can manage other variables to potentially become a Ferarri. I am not saying it would be easy, but it is most definitely possible.

Identify dysfunction!

Before you dive into a fat-loss phase/journey, you need to really analyze and learn your body. Trying to manipulate your body composition if you don’t have a solid foundation of health, or if you don’t understand your body is a recipe for failure. I see this happen way too often in others, and hell, even with myself. I want you to take a solid big-picture look at your life and ask yourself a few questions.

  • Are you getting enough sleep daily?
  • Are you chronically stressed?
  • Are you eating enough of the right foods?
  • Are you getting enough basic daily activity?
  • What is your energy like most days?
  • How is your digestion?
  • How is your mood? Are you happy?
  • For women, is your cycle regular? Do you track it?

These are foundational questions that need to be addressed before attempting to lose body fat effectively. If you aren’t sleeping well, if you are chronically stressed or have anxiety frequently, if your eating patterns are inconsistent, etc., your body can potentially be in a state of complete dysfunction. All of the above can be hormone or metabolism-related and affected. If hormonally you are not sound, trying to lose body fat will not come easy, or it may not happen at all.

Good luck trying to lose body fat when your cortisol is through the roof from stress.

Good luck trying to lose body fat if you get only four hours of sleep a night.

Good luck trying to lose body fat if you have chronic mood swings and fatigue.

Good luck trying to lose body fat when your hormone health has been ignored.

Good luck trying to lose body fat if your high blood sugar or poor lipid profile is not addressed.

You need to make sure that your foundational health is in a good place! The sad thing is, most people ignore their own biofeedback and go straight to the fat burners and StairMaster. Our bodies are not stupid. You cannot trick a dysfunctional body into losing body fat when your hormones or even gut health are out of whack.

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My good friend (honored to say) Victoria Felkar, an amazing hormone researcher, has done numerous videos and podcasts on this very topic, so I definitely recommend taking a peek at some of her content as well. She explains the concept above by comparing the body to a house. When we experience dysfunction, it is like having cracks all through the foundation of the house. It is not stable or solid. But for so many, instead of fixing the cracks in the foundation first, we try to build our doors and windows and walls (jump into crash dieting, fat burners, and tons of cardio) on top of a shitty foundation that is about to crumble. What type of long-term outcome do you foresee here? Not a good one! You will either quit because nothing is working and you feel like shit, or you will have to go to drastic measures to see the fat loss you are looking for, which can potentially cause long-term health issues.

So, you want to know how to become a Ferarri? You identify any dysfunction in your life that you may have, and you take care of it first. Only then will your goals become attainable in a healthy way. There is no secret fat burner, and there is no secret HIIT protocol. There is no secret online coach. Becoming a Ferarri starts with taking care of YOU first, but on the inside.