Chubby Guy Secrets To Shredded (Case Study)

It’s brutal. It’s ugly. And it’s the truth.

And I can almost guarantee most of you reading this will not like hearing it.

You know how you’ve been struggling to lose that fat that’s crept up on you over the years?

You keep telling yourself it’s because of a lack of time, or your “genetics” have gotten worse as you age, or your dogs and kids have zapped every bit of energy needed to exercise (OK, that last point may be somewhat accurate).

Well, it’s not because your genetics suck. It’s not because you haven’t found the next breakthrough weight loss supplement. It’s not because you have a slow metabolism.

It’s because you haven’t put in the time to figure out what approach works best for YOU. (I was like this for YEARS – read my story here)

Think back to the last time you were in a big box corporate gym, going through the motions in another attempt to lose the weight that’s crept up on you over the years.

And while you hated every minute of it, in walked someone who didn’t come within a 100 yard radius of the cardio machine where you were plodding away, but had a leaner, more muscular body than you.

In fact, he probably left the gym before you did, didn’t he?

You probably assumed he was a “genetic specimen” or knew some secret drug or supplement protocol only reserved for those in the know…

But, here’s the deal…

There’s a way to have your cake and get lean, too.

The people that know how to get and maintain an awesome physique aren’t spending hours in the gym…

The people that know how to get and maintain an awesome physique aren’t eating clean, boring foods all the time…

The people that know how to get and maintain an awesome physique simply work SMARTER, not HARDER.

Sure, you’re going to have to do more than sit around and eat junk all day to look like them. But you already knew that.

But, it doesn’t mean going to extremes, either.

Remember those past efforts to get in shape? You won’t be working any harder, but instead you’ll be working in smarter ways that maximize your results.

The Curious Case Of Jordan

Take Jordan, for example. He was sick and tired of the same old and took action (reached out to me) to help him get unstuck. A full-time career, family and financial responsibilities took him from a former football star in high school to the out of shape, tired version you see below. But the guy lost more than 50 lbs in 3 months and added considerable muscle (his 365 lb squat was a testament to that).

“I had just gotten a new gym membership and was trying to lose some weight on my own for the hundredth time,” says Jordan. “I knew I would probably fail on my own like I had in the past so I took a chance and signed up for Mitch’s online coaching program. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

“The program provided the support system and knowledge base that I had been lacking in my past weight loss attempts and because of that I was able to stay on track. I am now confident and committed to a permanent lifestyle change and I have Mitch to thank for getting me started down that road.”

Fat loss is a science. Calories matter. Macros matter. You can lose fat in any number of ways, but the basics apply and yet some approaches will work better than others.

Take, for example, those who crash diet and starve themselves to look good for a span of a couple of weeks, and then blow up to their original weight (or worse) when they reintroduce calories. Any approach that isn’t sustainable in the long term is not sustainable. Make sense, ya? Short term gain, long term pain if you go that route.

But there is a smart way to work, it’s not just about working harder than the next guy.

I see a lot of men killing it in the gym on a daily basis, but they never change. There’s a reason for that. A strategic approach is necessary. The workout and diet that got you to Point A won’t get you to Point B. Your body takes every sign of change as a threat to its survival, and you need outsmart it constantly to continue moving forward.

Here are the 4 Secrets To Shredded For Chubby Guys

Rule #1: Determine your TDEE and reduce your calories by 15% to start. This is geared toward chubby guys who very likely underestimate their calorie intake on a daily basis (I was one of them for 23 years), so using a formula to set a baseline is a good rule of thumb.

Then you’ll need to track your calorie intake as closely as possibly in the early going (weighing portions is probably necessary) until you get to a point where you can eye ball portions and be near on the mark. You’ll also want carbohydrates to be NO MORE than 50% of your daily calorie intake to start, with protein at a minimum of 30%. I would get to a point where those two percentages are reserved, but that won’t be necessary to start.

Don’t believe the hype of a program that claims calories are meaningless. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. You need be in a deficit (through a combination of training and diet) to lose weight. For a very thorough review and case studies of calorie counting, check out my gym bro Jordan Syatt’s post on the subject (he’s short but deadlifts more weight than me…figure that one out)

Essentially, 200 calories from a pastry is no different than 200 calories from carrots on a thermodynamic level.  This means that weight loss must be a function of calories in (the total calories consumed by a person) – calories out (the total caloric expenditure, including metabolic processes, exercise, etc.).

This wizadry is a carrot pastry. It doesn't count as a "clean" food.
This wizadry is a carrot pastry. It doesn’t count.

But, that said, there are food choices that better fit into your plan, providing more in the way of nutrients, satiety and health benefits beyond the basic caloric measurement.

As I said, you want protein to comprise at least 30% of your total calories, and you can’t get that done eating nothing but pastries and refined foods all day. From the department of Captain Obvious, it’s also MUCH easier to overshoot your calorie limits eating pastries than it is eating carrots, so there’s another reason to focus 80-90% of your food from “clean” healthy sources if weight loss is a priority.

Rule #2: Every one is different. Two people can be on the exact same program and experience different results. But generally speaking, I like chubbier guys to be on higher volume weight training programs if fat loss is a primary goal.

This doesn’t mean you go from sedentary to 60 sets of chest exercises each week, but progressively build up your volume, keep rest periods fairly low for portions of your workouts and train as much as your schedules allows.

Rule #3: Cardio is still a friend for guys like you. There’s a trend in the fitness community that shuns cardio (expect interval training). I don’t fall into that camp, especially for guys with lots of weight to lose.

That’s not to say I prescribe running. High impact cardio is not necessary, nor is it going to help your performance in the gym. If you’ve got a lot of weight on your frame, running is going to wear you down. Plus, endurance training of this nature somewhat blunts the effect of strength training. An article from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests the more endurance work you perform, the more it will inhibit the work you do to build strength and size, but it’s not entirely one or the other… 

Instead, I like combining weight training (priority #1) with low impact, fun cardio activities on off days. We’re talking biking, fast paced walking, swimming and so on. Stuff that modestly increases your metabolism (“active recovery” as some call it) without taxing your CNS or joints. I don’t often introduce interval cardio (sprints) into a plan unless I’m working with an athlete far into a diet at low body fat needing a new “edge” to get past a sticking point.

The fact is, both internal training and endurance runs are taxing on your CNS and weight training should be prioritized first for the guy looking to maximize lean muscle while dieting down. Let the training be your primary focus if getting sexy, lean and muscular is your goal.

Ultimately, what it boils down to is determining your goal physique and finding a plan that can get you there which you can stick to over the long haul. As my striated Canadian friend, Bryan Krahn, emphasizes in this great post, focus on moving the big rocks first when it comes to fat loss. Stop looking for the next shiny object on the supplement shop shelf promising amazing results in 14 days, and instead take an investment minded approach and be prepared to put in the work.

Rule #4: Use every fat loss tool at your disposal. 

Glucose disposal agents are another tool in your weight loss tool belt. They help to ensure that carbs are stored as glycogen in muscles instead of fat. (They won’t make up for a poor diet of course.)

Here’s my go-to GDA:

Cinnamon: Cinnamon not only helps insulin do its job better, but it has insulin mimetic properties, which means it can have a modest impact on blood glucose levels.

This one is easy to implement into your diet right away. Everyone has cinnamon in his or her cabinet and it tastes good on a lot of things.

Some other important tools are explained in the videos below…

YouTube video
YouTube video

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Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.