I flipped open my Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM) book and looked through it yet again. Looking back, it’s one of the few fat loss and nutrition books that I’ve kept on my bookshelf as I moved from place to place. But the truth is, it took me a while to take action on its contents. I guess I’ve always been an expert at reading and thinking, but not so much when it came to acting.
Sure, the whole program made sense, I said to myself, but maybe it was just too complicated, or I wouldn’t be able to fit it in my schedule or I’d never be organized to actually follow through with something like this.
javier-burn-the-fat-challenge-625It’s no surprise then, that when I did get out of shape, it was implementing the BFFM plan along with training that allowed me to finally start getting results.
First, I just started with the most basic principles. I calculated my maintenance level of calories, split up my meals into five, and started eating at a deficit, making sure I got some lean proteins and carbs at every meal.
Then last summer I did the 98-day Burn the Fat challenge and got even better at implementing the principles. I got in great shape and reached my goals at the time.
So now faced with another mountain to climb, my goal was simply to do even better; to get in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I wanted to get as ripped as I could. I wanted to get below 6% body fat while gaining at least a pound of muscle in the process. I had seen other people do it, but I thought that it (“body recomposition”) wasn’t in my genetic cards.
I also knew that 49 days – the length of the winter Burn the Fat Challenge – is not a lot of time, so unlike the summer challenge when I eased into it, I wanted to hit the ground in a full sprint. For my exercise routine I decided on Tom’s TNB (“The New Bodybuilding” program – a two day split with an upper body day and a lower body + abs day).
For my nutrition plan I decided that on top of my knowledge of the Burn the Fat system, I’d see if I could make the “Holy Grail” (body recomposition) program work for me. I have to admit I had my doubts… That is, until I posted my results.
Before the summer challenge, I weighed 181 pounds and my body fat percentage was 13.4%.
During the 49 day winter challenge, I cut my body fat from 9.2% to 4.7% and I increased my lean body mass by 2.7 pounds. That’s not a huge amount of muscle, but I achieved the “Holy Grail” – losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time – in only 49 days.
Here are just some of the things I learned and found helpful along the way:
It’s easier to be 100 % committed than to be 90% committed
Growing up, I was always the guy who would first stick a toe in the cold water before slowly lowering myself in. It was a long and painful process. I wouldn’t commit right away. It’s much better to jump into the cold water with both feet all at once. It’s the same thing with this challenge. Committing completely and fully is much easier than doing this halfway or half heartedly.
There is no such thing as a perfect plan
I have a tendency to incessantly intellectualize. I’ve always had my head stuck in books. I wouldn’t want to start before my plan was perfect. This is a good method for not get anything done. There is no perfect plan. Every plan is only as good as the results we are getting. I learned a lot by reading the journals of those who had the most success. Thanks to all the past and current champions, as well as to all the other incredible successes in the Burn the Fat Inner Circle for leaving their path on the internet for others to follow.
Without fail, I noticed those who succeed adapt and change their plan along the way. It’s best to begin by implementing a little at a time, tracking my results in some way, and then making adjustments. Even though I was successful during the last challenge, there is no way I could have done then what I did this time around. What was complicated before became easier now, because I built on a foundation of skills and habits I had already developed. Start simple and build. Don’t wait.
Log everything
I found that it’s helpful to log everything. It’s amazing the data we can track now with all the gadgets. I tracked my workouts and my calories on my iphone. It sometimes makes me feel like an Olympic athlete; at other times it makes me paranoid and feel like every step is being monitored by big brother I tracked my steps and calorie expenditure on my fitbit. I logged everything on my team and online journal.
You can look at them too in my Inner Circle journal. There are no secrets. It’s easy to see what I did every single day (since practically the first day of the last challenge). While I don’t think you need to go to this extreme—it’s a way of keeping accountable. Besides, I am a bit of techie.
Get motivated
To me, motivation and mental focus is the most important aspect of this. It’s important to connect to a motivation that comes from a deeper place. It has to be more than just the results of the month or even the competition. If we can connect it to our core values, beliefs and who we are as a person, it can give us the resolve we need. Here is just part of my why:
• To give me the energy to burn that I need.
• To give me resources to allow me to live life to the fullest extent possible.
• To help people raise their standards.
• To give me the strength, energy, vitality and health that I deserve and need to accomplish what I want in my life and contribute to the lives of others.
For me not exercising or not taking care of myself is simply not an option.
Visualizing is an incredibly versatile tool. I’ve known about it for a long time, but am kicking myself for not really harnessing its power sooner. Not only did I use it to visualize my final outcome, I also found it useful to visualize potential obstacles and vividly imagine exactly what I would do to overcome them (like getting out of bed and exercising when I am not feeling motivated). I would also visualize a successful lift while I was waiting between sets, which helped me keep my mental focus.
Find your support
It goes almost without saying that support is a must for me. I had support of my family, my friends, and I was also fortunate enough to be part of a fantastic team at the Inner Circle. I really can’t emphasize enough how much easier it is to be surrounded by an enthusiastic, supportive group committed to the same goals. I’d like to thank my team. “The Rippers” – it was truly an outstanding challenge and you really took my focus to new heights.
Stay connected
While last time I was content to mostly “lurk” on the forum message boards, I was much more active this time around. I know firsthand how much external support is helpful for me, and so trying to provide some to others is a gratifying way of giving back and secretly it’s a way to stay on track.
I’ve done things differently this time around. I didn’t drink any alcohol and I decided to rely on much more whole food instead of shakes and smoothies. People already know me as the “healthy guy,” so in some ways it was easier. I didn’t have to explain myself to anyone.
I would say the challenge was a resounding success. I reached new highs in squats and deadlifts. I am the most ripped I’ve ever been and I’ve convinced myself that I can increase LBM while decreasing body fat – another limiting belief successfully shattered. I’ve continued to pick up new recipes and learn new skills to integrate into my life. This just makes it even easier to continue this lifestyle
I firmly believe in a synergy between our mind, body and the rest of our life. As I take care of my body, the concentration and discipline is reflected in other areas. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that opportunities have continued to be opening up professionally and personally. Fitness is no longer something I do but part of who I am – you better believe I am not stopping. This is too important.
burnthefat– Javier
Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle – Official Fat Burning System of the Burn the Fat Challenge
Burn The Fat Inner Circle – The Fitness Support Community For Motivation, Inspiration and Transformation

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