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469: The Ultimate Secret to Fat Loss with Ted Ryce

Millions of people all over the world are struggling with excess body fat. They try different miraculous diets, they eat super healthy foods, they kill themselves at the gym, but the results are not the expected ones. 

So they end up blaming their metabolism, hormones, genes or age when the real cause can be somewhere else.

The truth is that the secret to fat loss is very simple. And it is not about exercise. It’s not about what foods you eat either. It’s all about calories, more precisely, it is about achieving a calorie deficit and consistently staying in that deficit until you reach your goal.

Sounds too simple? Wondering what that means and how it works? Listen to this new Legendary Life podcast episode to find out all you need to know about the ultimate secret to fat loss.

This episode is a part of Ted’s Ryce coaching course that we decided to release exclusively for you for a limited-time ONLY.  We will be releasing a few episodes that are lessons from his course, so you have the opportunity to have a sneak peek at his online course.

In this lesson, Ted is going to talk about what is a calorie deficit is and how to achieve it. He will also explain why a diet without exercise is not enough to create the body that you’ve always wanted. Plus, he reveals the best types of cardio training exercises that are going to totally transform your body.

So, if you want to learn the ultimate secret to fat loss, tune in for this new special episode!


You’ll learn:

  • What is calorie deficit and how to achieve it
  • Why diet without exercise is not enough
  • The difference between activity and training
  • What types of exercise are best for cardio training?
    • Running or jogging outdoors
    •  Walking
    • Treadmills
    • Stationary upright bicycle
    • Stationary recumbent bicycle
    • Outdoor cycling
    • Stair-climbers
    • Elliptical machine
    • Rowing
    • Swimming
  • Pick the cardio you enjoy and mix it up if you choose
  • Cardio is as important for your health, brain, and energy levels as it is for fat loss.
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

451: Concurrent Training: The Ultimate Cardio Strategy

438: The Easiest Cardio Workout You Can Do (That Actually Works) with Ted Ryce

366: 5 Cardio Myths You Need to Stop Believing with Ted Ryce


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1) Want to learn the simple 5-step process my high achieving clients over 40 are using to skyrocket their energy and build younger leaner bodies while enjoying life? Watch my brand new Masterclass.

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Podcast Transcription: The Ultimate Secret to Fat Loss

Ted Ryce: Welcome to “The Ultimate Secret to Fat Loss.” So, the secret to fat loss is so simple, it’s a tragedy that hasn’t clicked yet for the millions of people struggling to lose fat. 

The secret to fat loss is not exercise. It’s not what foods you eat either. The ultimate secret here is achieving a calorie deficit, and consistently staying in that deficit until you reach your goal. I’m going to repeat that one more time. So many people—and before I repeat it, I want to say, there’s so many people I talked to, “Oh, hey, so, what are you eating?”

Or no, I say this: I say, “Listen, you’re overweight.” And they say, “But I eat so well.” And then they go on to tell me what they’re eating: “I have a green smoothie in the morning, I have salmon with the salad at lunch.” I don’t care!

If you are overweight, if you are over fat; if you’re a man and your body fat percentage is over 20%, if you’re a woman and your body fat percentage is over 30%, you’re not even in the normal range, right? Get in that normal range. And normal is in between 20 and 30 for women – and that’s not killing it, that’s just normal. And normal range for men is somewhere in the 15 to 20, somewhere around there.

So, let’s get clear, shall we? The ultimate secret is achieving a calorie deficit, it’s not about the foods you’re eating. That’s part of it. But it comes down…And what I’m saying is, of course, the foods matter, of course, exercise matters, but I want you to keep focused on this fundamental concept. Because so many people don’t realize, if you’re eating healthy foods and you’re in a calorie surplus, you gain weight.

And that’s easy to do, even if you’re eating salmon, salad, soups, and all healthy foods, and you’re not touching ice cream or cookies, or pizza, or anything like that. That’s the problem, especially if you’re not exercising enough. 

So, let’s move on now. Nutrition is only one way to achieve the deficit; you decrease the calories in, and of course, keep the protein high, right?

Training is on the other side; you increase the calories out. So, your gut reaction on reading this may be, “You know, it can’t be that simple. I’ve heard that my whole life, it hasn’t worked, it doesn’t work for people.” And that’s because they don’t understand it properly and don’t do it right.

Because what I am saying here is I didn’t say eating less and exercising more is the secret. I said maintaining a calorie deficit is the secret. So, if you’re trying to out-train a poor diet or you’re just ignorant of how many calories you’re eating, it’s not going to get you far, and that’s why so many people fail.

Training more to increase the deficit, on the other hand, accelerates fat loss every time. So what do I mean by that? If you are consistently losing fat and seeing changes in your body, but you’re looking to accelerate the changes, training more can help accelerate those changes. That’s what I’m saying.

So, focus on the deficit. It’s a simple concept, but it’s not easy to manage in the real world. Our lives get busy, we lose track of things. We don’t want to track things in My Fitness Pal. We travel. It’s like, what do I do when I travel? I’m eating so differently here. It takes knowledge, awareness, diligence, discipline, honesty, and consistency.

So, I’m going to help you with this to give you the right numbers and the right amount of physical activity so you’ll never have to worry about body fat again. But it’s crucial that you understand this concept so that when you leave the coaching program, you’re able to maintain it on your own. And that’s what I’m able to do and you can do it as well.

I don’t exercise excessively. I don’t push myself crazy hard. I just know what to do. And I’ve done my homework, I put in the work, and I’ve been consistent with it and I’ve also been honest with it, and you can do that too. So, if nutrition gets ranked as the most important element for fat loss and you can lose weight with diet alone, then why bother training, right? Why not just cut calories and save yourself some time and sweat at the gym?

It’s not an unreasonable question. But here’s the problem. If you burn fat with training and nutrition, your body gets better. You lose, specifically, fat, instead of weight. And unfortunately, a lot of people lose muscle mass when they lose weight. We want to minimize that. We’re not trying to cause you to drop a lot of weight; we’re trying to cause you to drop a lot of fat.

You see the difference? It’s a subtle, but extremely critical nuance. Because that leads to better health, better fitness than if you start the fat with diet alone. And let me tell you something, if you’re over 40, you can’t afford not to exercise. So many of us we think, “Oh, I don’t have time to exercise.” No, you don’t have time not to exercise.

Because age is going to kick your ass. And really, it’s not age, it’s disuse—perhaps misuse, but really disuse and neglect. So, you can’t afford not to exercise if you’re over 40; you just have to put it in your mind that it’s as important as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, being a father or mother, being successful in your career, showing up to work on time.

You do all that other stuff, even when you don’t want to. This is something that’s going to lead to massive benefits, massive benefits! And it’s going to prevent so many problems, so commit to it. 

And it can also help you get results faster. So, losing weight without exercise leads to, like I said, muscle loss and a slowing of your metabolism.

That’s because metabolisms don’t really slow down, we just lose muscle, meaning they don’t slow down hormonally or something like that, right? Except for cases of hypothyroidism, where someone’s thyroid hormone is less and they need to be medicated. But short of that, what you’re experiencing, if you’re experiencing a slow metabolism, is you’ve lost a muscle and you’re not doing enough to either maintain it or grow it.

And when you’re not doing exercise, it also makes it easier to put back on weight. And exercise also helps you with your appetite. It’s so important, this last concept. 

The other issue is that you can only cut so many calories before you end up starving and bad stuff happens so you have trouble sleeping when you’re dieting hard.

A ton of issues can happen when you aggressively cut calories and stay that way for a long time. You end up bingeing stressed, or maybe even just give up. So that’s where cardio training can come in-on the ‘burn more’ side of the equation, and it’ll help you boost your attention, focus, and make you feel great. So cardio is great for your brain, in particular, great for your mood.

Although cardio may not build muscle like resistance training, it’s just as important and maybe even arguably more important for optimal health and energy levels. Of course, depending on how you train. You can train resistance training in a way to get a cardiovascular workout as well. But that’s another presentation.

So the better you feel, the easier it is to do what you need to do in life. Isn’t that true? And that includes staying in your calorie deficit. I mean, why fight with one hand tied behind your back, we want to be more effortless in what we’re trying to accomplish. 

So, you can lose weight without training, but without some type of vigorous physical work, you’ll never burn fat at the maximum possible rate, you’ll never look and feel as good as you could otherwise. And it’s not just important for losing fat now, it’s crucial for keeping the fat off in the long term. 

Even experts who promote only dieting for weight loss admit that exercise is vital for weight maintenance because there are just so many studies showing how powerful it is. Simply eating less does nothing to make you stronger, fitter, more athletic. Diets can actually make you a smaller version of your old self—weighing less, but still flabby and weak. That’s not acceptable.

So, if you want a new body that’s lean, muscular, and looks as good out of clothes as it does in clothes, training is mandatory. If you want to be mentally sharp, learn at a faster rate and get rid of the brain fog that you think is a result of age, training is mandatory, so just embrace it.

And let’s talk a little bit about the difference between activity and training. So, all physical activity counts. Even yard work, walking around town doing errands, vacuuming the house. I was just sweeping a little while ago, but obviously, some activities don’t burn much or have much effect on carving out a muscular body, a lean, strong body so we don’t count them as formal training.

In fact, that miscellaneous activity is called in the science world, research world, NEAT, “Non- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.” Now, I’m not going to test you on it, you don’t have to remember that, I’m not going to test you on at the end of this presentation. But just understand, doing activity is not formal exercise, it’s not structured, purposeful exercise, it’s activity. And it’s great for you.

In fact, the more you walk, the more activity you get throughout the day, the better, in general. Unless you have injuries, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, something that can be aggravated by physical activity. Again, that’s for another presentation. It all adds up and can nudge along your fat loss nicely over time. In fact, I call the NEAT a secret weapon for myself when it comes to fat loss.

I’m in Medellin, Colombia right now, and I walk a lot here. And I walk up hills because the hills are pretty steep, and I’m staying in a building that is up this hill, and it’s a three-minute walk, but it’s quite challenging. And, you know, I’ve been walking a lot. And I’ve actually been eating more and eating more calories, specifically, and it’s done a lot.

So, staying active really matters, but it isn’t formal training; I do both. So, again, low intensity activity doesn’t burn the same amount of calories and doesn’t get you into peak cardiovascular shape. So, we’re going to focus on moderate and high-intensity exercise, because that’s what will really transform your body quickly and dramatically.

So, there are two types of formal training: resistance training and cardio training. Now both can help burn large amounts of calories and help you lose fat. But I want to consider them two separate endeavors because they have distinctly different purposes,

You’ll focus on weight training or resistance training for gaining strength, building muscle, and shaping your body. You’re going to focus on cardio training for heart health, longevity, conditioning, and burning fat. In fact, you burn more calories, minute to minute with cardio versus weight training.

So, once we get you built up—we’re going to talk about this more, but I’m just going to throw it in now a little prematurely, but I just can’t help myself here. I focus mostly on cardio training. I spend more time doing cardio training and less time doing weights, and still able to keep my muscle and sometimes even improve it, but it’s super easy to stay lean, and my energy levels are through the roof, okay, I feel like I’m in my 20s.

And it’s not because I’m dead lifting a lot of weight or bench pressing a lot of weight, because I’m not, it’s because of all the cardiovascular training that I’m doing. So, let’s get into this: what types of exercises are best for cardio training?

So our definition of “cardio” is any exercise that’s rhythmic in nature, involve large muscle groups, usually your legs, but it can be your upper body to like rowing, or boxing. And it raises your heart rate and breathing, and which you can sustain for extended periods of time, that’s really important there.

So the idea here is to pick an activity that has the potential to burn a lot of calories. And let me tell you: you’ve got plenty of choices when it comes to that. So, running and jogging outdoors on the pro side is great workout, fat-burning potential is very high, it’s free, it doesn’t require equipment.

On the con side, you may live in a place where that’s not happening. And another issue is that it may be too intense for your joints, may be too intense for your heart, you may not be able to start with that. So, if you’re getting aches and pains from your exercise program, it’s not going to be sustainable for the long term, and that’s what we want. So please keep that in mind.

Whatever you choose here, it has to be making you better, not making you worse. And if you ignore this advice, you’re going to end up with an injury, it’s going to get chronic, that knee or that foot or that hip that bothers you every once in a while, is going to start bothering you every day and then it’s going to get worse and we don’t want that to happen, so don’t do that.

However, if you’re in fairly good shape, if you know that you can get away with running, go ahead and go for it. Personally, I don’t do it; my knees are too damaged to go running. I can run, and I do run sometimes, but I don’t run for workouts, do you see the difference? I walk uphill on the treadmill. We’ll talk about that in a second. But I want to say this, if your knees are fine, you don’t have to worry about the knee-damaging effects of running.

In fact, the best evidence shows that a lot of the problem here is that we’re not moving enough, not that we’re running too much, right? So running seems to actually help with the cartilage and help with other things. So just keep that in mind. 

Let’s talk about walking, because walking is ideal. And I’ll tell you this: I am in my 20s, and thankfully, nobody who works with me now knows me from back then.

But I used to think walking was just—if you’re doing that, you’re just really wasting your time and not doing the right thing. But it’s really ideal if you’re overweight or beginner, or if you don’t have the disposition for intense types of trainings. In fact, I walk all the time.

So if you enjoy being outdoors, and you have open spaces, parks, trails, or long stretches of beach near your home, you can get some nature, you can get out, get some fresh air and get your workout in and it won’t even feel like you’re doing anything. Pop in the headphones put on a podcast, put on an audio book, or some great music, and you’re just off.

There are a few downsides, though. For example, you’re not going to burn a lot of calories per minute, so you want to push the pace if you want to burn more. Walk at least 40 to 60 minutes for the best results. You don’t have to do it all at once. You can split it into shorter sessions if you want. Personally, I use my Oura ring to track my daily steps and activity, and I feel it’s the best wearable out there.

But a pedometer works great and people like Fitbit a lot as well. In fact, I’ll even share with you, you know, yesterday I got in 19,678 steps. Today, I only got in 3,800 but I rode the bike for 30 minutes. And I’ve been very active today even though I haven’t gotten in a lot of steps. I also charged my ring. So that’s a way also of tracking just how much movement you’re getting, how much walking you’re getting in.

Treadmills – now, here’s my favorite, right. I don’t love treadmills in terms of the excitement factor, but what I do love about them is that when the weather is bad, you can’t beat the convenience of going to the gym and walking on the treadmill. And what I love about treadmills is they reduce the impact forces and it tracks your heart rate, lets you dial in certain things like speed and incline.

In fact, one thing that I want to tell you…Well, let me tell you this before we talk about inclined, but forget about the calorie readouts on cardio machines, they’re not even close to being accurate, okay, so please just forget about them. Never even worry about that stuff. If you’re getting it, worry about whether you’re seeing results in the mirror or not.

So, let’s talk about this; walking uphill can increase the fat burning potential, and it’s a type of cardio almost anyone can do. In fact, what I want you to do if you’re interested in using the treadmill is always look to increase the incline over time before adding speed. Add enough speed so you feel like, “Okay, well, I’m walking at a decent rate here.”

But after you get to that point, see if you can challenge yourself with incline, and don’t add any extra speed until you’ve maxed out the incline. That’s what you should be working on, maxing out that incline. Let me tell you: that is the way to getting a great cardiovascular workout and toning your legs at the same time.

And also, you don’t have to do this, it’s a bit extreme but it’s possible, is wearing a weighted vest, it can bump up the calorie burn even more but you’ve just got to be careful, because if you fall on the treadmill with a weighted vest, it has the potential to create more injuries than if you weren’t wearing a 20-pound weighted vest, okay? Should be obvious, but just wanted to mention that.

Stationary upright bicycle – it’s a super workout for your heart and legs, it’s slow impact, injury potential is very low. But you’ve got to, again, you’ve got to pedal vigorously and you’ve got to find that…Again, I always recommend using resistance, you want to find the perfect combination of resistance and speed to get to the right intensity. And we’ll talk about how to find that in a bit.

So, I want to tell you this: a client of mine once complained he wasn’t losing much weight, even though he was riding the stationary bike for an hour a couple times a week, I said, “Man, you’ve got to crank up the resistance, because you’re literally just spinning your wheels here.”

So many of us, we don’t add resistance to cardio machines, I don’t know why; I think maybe just nobody has ever told people to do it. But really, focus on adding resistance, not as much as you can, but enough to give you the right challenge. And don’t go for speed, always look to add a combination of both and really emphasize resistance. And although this goes for every piece of cardio equipment, you can watch TV or listen to music to occupy your mind while getting in your workout.

One common complaint about cardio is that it’s boring. So personally, I turned my cardio workout into my learning time. I always—not always, but the majority of the time, probably 90/95% of the time, I listen to an audio book or podcast that I know will fire me up and get my mind working. So that’s where my mind is while I’m doing cardio. And that’s what I recommend to you as well.

Now, the recumbent bike’s a bit different, it’s supposed to be more supporting for your low back, I just feel like it feels more comfortable on my butt. Because if you’ve got a boney butt like I do, if you don’t have much fat to cushion your ischial tuberosity on the bike seat, it gets really uncomfortable.

So that’s it, if you have a disc herniation or back pain, you’ll have to experiment to see if the stationary bike or recumbent is more comfortable. And speaking of comfort, turn up the resistance and crank up the RPM, again, if you want to maximize the calorie burn, don’t just go fast, add a combination of resistance as well.

Now outdoor cycling, I’ve got a client of mine, Rich, who is huge into cycling. And I know a lot of people get into it, it is a great way to burn fat, it’s a great way to get out there and connect with a group of people. So that community support is incredibly beneficial. And it’s a great way to disconnect from all the craziness of our lives.

So, I recommend that you try it, okay, I recommend that you try it. If you have any interest at all, try it, it can be a great thing to get into. And again, so many people are bikers. And you can be part of the group that puts on all the special clothing and jams up traffic. I’m just kidding about that.

But it’s a great way to be part of a community to get great exercise in, just watch the city that you do it in, because if the air quality is bad, you’ll have to wear a mask so that you avoid damaging your lungs while you’re getting in shape. So another thing to consider is that mountain biking or cross country cycling is a great hobby as well, in addition to being great cardio.

So if you dedicate yourself to a physically challenging sport you love, it can go a long way toward ending the struggle with body fat and ending the struggle of trying to get yourself to exercise because it’s something that you enjoy doing. For example, I do martial arts, martial arts is basically high-intensity interval training, and it just does it for me, just works for me.

So again, this is a little bit off topic and a little bit tangential but not by much. What I’m asking you to do here is think about these things, try these things, but also try to find something that you love doing; it really makes it so much more easy.

So stair-climbing machines give you an intense cardio workout and they’re excellent calorie burners, making them ideal for fat loss. Just don’t lean on the handlebars or side rails. I really shake my head when I see people do that.

And it’s great because it provides a non-impact workout, although the repetitive motion can aggravate your knees with people with pre-existing problems. So keep that in mind, if you have issues with your knees. I don’t use stair-climbers for long periods of time, although I might, I walk upstairs, but I don’t use it for long periods of time.

So, in other words, I’ll use it, but I don’t do it for any longer than 5 or maybe 10 minutes, and then I switch to a different cardio machine. And by the way, that’s another pro-tip. There’s nothing in the books that says that you have to get on one piece of cardio equipment and stay on it; you can switch to different pieces of equipment to get the workout that you’re after and to keep it more interesting.

So elliptical machines, they’re great, really enjoy them, and they can help with if you have issues with your joints, ankle, knee, hip, back, it can be very easy on your joints, however, you’ve got to make sure that it’s not a super awkward one, because some of them are super awkward, and they can aggravate your knees.

So, a pre-quarter is pretty good. There are several others that are fairly good, just make sure you try it out, make sure it feels right and make sure it doesn’t hurt you. So, in other words, you can’t just say, “Oh, it’s an elliptical, so it must be good.” You’ve got to try it out; ellipticals are different. I’m sure you felt what I’ve just explained here.

Rowing can be a superb cardiovascular workout with very high fat-burning potential because it’s really intense. It’s a complete exercise as well, working your lower muscles as well as upper body pulling muscles. It’s non-jarring, impact-free. So it’s a good option if you’ve got issues in say, your knees or hip or something like that. Just make sure that if you have bad pain, you’ve got to be careful, and you’ve got to use perfect form.

If you get tired and start to lose technique, it can end up being pretty bad for you, so you don’t want that. So don’t let yourself get sloppy, make sure you’re using good technique. And again, you don’t have to stick with one machine, you could get on a machine for 5 or 10 minutes, get on a different one for 5 or 10 minutes, get on a different one for 5 or 10 minutes. And just keep doing that, tat’s fine.

Swimming is a great way to work your heart and lungs, it’s very challenging for your upper body. Something that’s kind of interesting is that there was this sort of debate going on about swimming not being good for losing body fat. It was later discovered that exercising in water, especially cold water can increase your appetite. So we don’t want to eat back the calories that we burn. That is one of the things that leads people to not getting great results, even though they’re exercising.

Another thing about swimming that’s important to mention is that yes, it’s low impact, very easy on your body, it takes away the force of gravity on you, for the most part. But that gravity is actually what strengthens your bones, so it’s not a great thing to only focus on unless you have to for some reason. So you want the force going through your bones, you want that gravity because that helps strengthen your bones to a high level.

So, what I want to tell you now is pick the cardio that you enjoy and mix it up if you choose. I’ve already said that, but I’ll say it again, the most important thing is to do it. It’s important for your health, your brain, and energy levels. It’s not just about fat loss. And again, if you’re over 40, I’d say you don’t even have a choice. If you’re tired of being low energy and suffering from brain fog, you must get in your cardio.

And as you get in better cardiovascular shape, you’ll notice that your heart rate doesn’t go up as much, your energy levels stay more even throughout the day and you’ll be much sharper mentally than before you started regular cardio. So, again, don’t stress too much about the details or which cardio exercise is best, just get started, get it in, and as you start to get better or figure things out, then you can dial it in to where it’s right for you.

Just be careful not to do too much too fast. Listen to your body. If your knee or foot is aching after going running, then start with incline walking on the treadmill or biking. If biking aggravates your back, try walking the elliptical or stair-climber where you can keep a neutral spine while you exercise.

Personally, I use a combination of martial arts and cardio machines to get my cardio in. It works for me, keeps me mentally sharp, and the way I do it, I don’t stress my joints. So ultimately, it’s going to take some experimenting to find what suits you best and what suits your lifestyle best.

So the best way to do it is to get started, even if you’re already doing cardio, try some of the things that I mentioned here, try some of the different exercises, get someone to show you the proper form on how to use a rowing machine or how to work the Stairmaster, try things, get out there and experiment, see what works for you, and that’s all you got to do. 

That’s it for now, speak to you soon!

Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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