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The Hierarchy of Fat Loss

When it comes to fat loss, there are certain things we can implement that are very effective and others that may be less effective. When time is limited and we need to ensure we are getting the best results possible there is a hierarchy of fat loss to follow. Certain things have to take precedence over others.

Far too often people look for the 0.0001% difference when there are things that they could focus on that would be closer to the 10%. This comes in many forms but you can get that there are plenty out there who are looking for the wonder supplement to help get them lean (the 0.0001%) whilst at the same time sinking a bottle of wine every night (the 10%). In this instance the Mega Lean 2.0 isn’t going to do jack unless you stop being best friends with Ernest and Julio.

So, what are the most important things when it comes to fat loss, what will give you the most bang for your buck? Below we look at what I deem as the hierarchy of fat loss, a list, in order, of the most important things to get right when trying to get lean.

Eat Right

The old saying goes, you can’t out train a bad diet. Drinking wine and eating cake too frequently is never going to get you the body you want. Similarly at the opposite end of the scale, under eating and failing to nourish your body with the right nutrients will halt fat loss in its tracks.

What can you do to ensure you stay on track?

Make sure you consume a diet rich in good fats, protein and the right amount of carbs for your body and exercise levels. If you are overweight and have had a poor diet for a long time, you really do not have to do anything crazy here. It’s a case of eating regularly and ensuring you eat nutritious foods. Calorie counting, splitting your macronutrients up or anything more technical such as carb cycling is pointless at this stage, getting into a habit of eating well is the most important thing you can do.

Once you lean out to 15% or so, then maybe you will need to look at slightly more advanced methods, until that happens, nail the basics.

Weight Train

In my opinion, weight training is the most effective form of fat loss for various reasons, firstly because you will burn more energy (calories) post workout, meaning your body will be leaning up whilst you rest. Secondly, adding even a small amount of muscle will help your body to burn more fat, as your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) will be raised. Lastly, weight training has a more positive effect upon your hormones, increasing key fat loss hormones such as testosterone, ensuring your body is primed for fat loss.

Learn the basic movements such as squats, deadlifts, lunges and pushing and pulling movements and their many variations and you can put together a program that can help you to get lean, strong, fit and healthy.

The caveat I will add to this section, is that weight training needs to be done effectively, so if you aren’t very good at pushing yourself, then hire a personal trainer who can get you the results you want.


High Intensity Interval Training or H.I.I.T, in my opinion runs a very close second to weight training for some people. It is an extremely effective form of fat loss and in certain populations, I will often prescribe it over weight training, if I think they will conduct it in a more effective manner.

Short bouts of intense exercise are followed by periods of recovery and repeated for an amount of time dependent upon the goals and experience level of the trainee.

An example would be rowing as fast as you can on a rower for 20 seconds, before slowing to a recovery pace for 40 seconds, repeat this process 15 times.

As with weight training the effects can last long after the training has actually finished, meaning your body could be leaning up 48 hours post training. As always it is the way you train that matters most, “all out sprint” means exactly that, so if you perform H.I.I.T whilst reading a book in your local Mega Gym, then chances are you aren’t quite sticking to the protocol.

I have devised protocols that are proven to help you lose weight, they are designed to be effective for all experience and fitness levels, from complete beginner to seasoned gym goer.


Low Intensity Steady State cardio or L.I.S.S is the name give to periods of low intensity exercise such as a walking, slow steady state running or cycling. There are many out there that would say that it isn’t beneficial to fat loss or in some will actually have a negative effect on fat loss due to the potential for increases in cortisol levels. As always it’s a case-by-case thing.

For the stressed out executive who works 100 hours a week, going for a 20km run might not be the best form of exercise for him/her. Adding more cortisol onto this persons’ already cortisol laden lifestyle isn’t a recipe for fat loss.

However, if you are in the final stages of a transformation or have been dieting for a while and have reached a plateau with your fat loss, adding a couple of steady state cardio sessions into a training plan that already includes weight training and H.I.I.T may be beneficial. As always it is your ability to recover from exercise that will dictate volume and frequency.


The final section in the hierarchy of fat loss is supplementation. Always a controversial topic within the fitness industry, the use of supplements these days is big business.

My view on this these days is fairly simple, for the vast majority of people out there, there are plenty of things they can be doing that will have a more positive effect on their body composition. It’s not to say supplementation can not be useful, it can be, and I use supplements with certain clients, it’s just that for most people it can be a waste of time as they do not follow the other steps in the hierarchy of fat loss.

I’ve seen it plenty of times before, people spending hundreds of pounds per months on supplements, yet not getting very basic nutrition right. Even worse are the “diets” being touted by major companies, where by their clients get to drink a shake for breakfast and lunch and lick a grape for dinner. Whilst the client may lose some weight initially, it won’t be long before they seek the help of a professional because their body is so screwed up by this BS regime.

However, if all the afore mentioned elements in the hierarchy are in place, there can be a time and a place for supplementation in the general population to improve results.

In conclusion, you can use this guide if you are ever stuck or have hit a plateau with your training. If you are not getting the results you want then look at this table and see if you are doing each element in order, if not, then get the basics right and the results will follow.

A better option still, is to enlist the help of an expert in the field. I have designed and written personal training and nutrition plans for hundreds of people from all walks of life, to ensure that they don’t waste time with their training and get the best results possible. Don’t hesitate to contact for additional support.

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I hope you found this article useful. If you would like additional support, book in for a complimentary 30 minute coaching call using the form below. I can help you with any exercise, nutrition or weight loss issues you are currently facing.


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