July 5, 2017
If you’re sick of your chubby cheeks and double chin, and want to know how to lose face fat fast, then you want to read this article.
Face fat can be slightly baffling.
You can be fairly lean, with decent muscle definition and even a nice set of absunderneath your shirt, and still see double chins in every picture.
Why? And what the hell can you do about it?
Well, I have good and bad news.
Let’s eat the frog first:
There are no amount of face stretches or exercises that you can do to slim your mug. Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet or quick fix.
Now the good news:
You absolutely can lose face fat, and it’s easier than you probably think.
I can’t promise that you’ll get that superhero jaw or those superheroine cheekbones, but if you feel your face is too fat, there is something you can do about it.
So, let’s dive in and find out why some people’s faces seem disproportionately fat when compared to the rest of their bodies, and how to get leaner, more chiseled features.
Why Is My Face Fat and His/Hers Isn’t?
Your face is fat for one or both of the following reasons:
- Your body fat percentage is too high.
- Your facial structure and genetics predispose your face to roundness (like me).
The first reason is obvious.
Most of the fat in your body is stored just beneath the skin, and is distributed in varying degrees throughout every area, including parts that most people don’t think of, like the face, fingers, and feet.
Most of us have subtle facial features, so it doesn’t take much fat to mask them. This is why we have to get pretty lean before we see noticeable changes in our facial appearance.
Specifically, most men need to get to the 10% body fat range before they see a noticeable shift from facial roundness to angularity, and most women need to get to around 20% body fat.
In case you’re not familiar with what those body fat percentages look like, check out this image:
As you can see, 10% in men and 20% in women is quite lean.
That being so, while getting that lean is guaranteed to give you abs and arm vascularity, unfortunately, it’s hard to say if it’ll give you the face you want.
You’ve probably noticed that some people can be noticeably fatter than you, but with the exact facial features you want.
You’ve probably also seen others at more or less the same body fat levels, but with much fatter faces.
This, my friend, brings us to the second point noted above: anatomy and genetics.
All of our faces are built differently. Some of us have sharp features–high, prominent cheekbones, strong, jutting jaws, and so forth–and others have a more muted look.
Faces with bolder features naturally look leaner than rounder ones, and while we can reduce the amount of fat in our faces, no amount of dieting or exercise is going to change the underlying structure.
So, the point is this:
Some people are always going to have a leaner face than others at any given body fat percentage.
That said, that doesn’t mean you can’t lose face fat. You absolutely can…
How to Lose Face Fat
Are you ready for the big secret?
The one weird trick for losing face fat and dumping the double chin?
Here it is:
Just kidding. 🙂
Here it really is:
Reduce your body fat percentage.
That is, reduce the percentage of your total body weight that’s fat, or the amount of fat stored in your entire body.
You see, “targeted fat loss”–the idea that you can reduce the fatness of a specific region of your body–doesn’t really exist.
When you exercise a muscle group, it does cause fat to be burned around it, but the effect is too slight to be significant. That’s why you can’t get abs by doing crunches, and you can’t get a chiseled jaw line by doing weird facial exercises.
What you can do, however, is use diet and exercise to reduce your body fat levels, and as you get leaner, your face will get slimmer and slimmer.
How quickly is determined by your genetics, but as I mentioned earlier, most men that don’t naturally have strong facial features need to be around 10% body fat to have a sharp look, and most women need to be around 20%.
Let’s take a minute to look at some visuals from people that have transformed their physiques using the programs in my books.
As you can see, Caleb’s face went from round to trim after losing 120 pounds on my Bigger Leaner Stronger program.
When Shay started my Thinner Leaner Stronger program, she was slightly overweight, but very much normal by everyday standards.
6 months later, she was 35 pounds lighter, and check out how much her face leaned out.
Ryan, on the other hand, is a good example of someone who doesn’t naturally store much fat in his face.
As you can see, he went from “fluffy” to “shredded,” and while his face did sharpen up, you don’t see as much of a change as you might expect.
And, just for fun, let’s take me.
I’ve had fat cheeks my entire life, and have to be very lean to have the cleaner lines that you see on guys literally double my body fat percentage.
For example, here’s an old picture of me after a couple years of weightlifting (excuse my lack of gains–I had no idea what I was doing back then, haha):
I was around 13% body fat, and…dem cheeks.
Here’s another shot of me about 5 years later:
And a few years after that:
That’s about as lean as I’ll ever get (~6% body fat), and my face is fuller than you’d expect (most guys have that gaunt, hollowed-out look by the time they get this low).
And here’s how I look now when around 10% body fat:
C’est la vie. 😉
So, while some of us are genetically predisposed to have a fatter or leaner face than others, we can all reliably lose face fat by simply reducing our total body fatness.
In other words, the best way to get a lean face is to get abs.
1. Use an aggressive (but not reckless) calorie deficit.
Studies show that the only way to lose fat is to eat less energy (fewer calories) than you burn.
The reason you’re carrying excess body fat is, over time, you consistently ate more calories than you burned. And the only way to get rid of that excess fat is to do the opposite: eat less than you burn.
When you do this, you’re in a “calorie deficit” because, well, your energy intake is less than your body’s needs. It must get that additional energy from somewhere, though, so it goes after its fat stores.
Now, the larger the calorie deficit, the faster the weight loss, but if you make it too large (by eating too little), you’re going to run into various issues related to “starvation dieting.”
We want to avoid that, but we also want to push the needle as much as we can. That is, we want to be aggressive in our fat loss efforts, but not reckless.
This is why I recommend that you set your calorie deficit at 20 to 25% (eat 20 to 25% less calories than you burn every day).
Research shows that this will allow you to lose fat rapidly without losing muscle.
If you follow the rest of the steps in this article, hunger and cravings, shouldn’t be a major issue either.
Sure, you might feel twinges now and then, but nothing like what most people associate with “dieting.”
2. Eat a high-protein diet.
When we’re talking body composition, protein is by far the most important macronutrient.
Studies show that eating adequate protein helps you…
- Recover faster from your workouts.
- Gain muscle and lose fat faster.
- Retain muscle better while restricting your calories for weight loss.
- Feel more satiated by your meals (and thus be less likely to overeat).
The bottom line is high-protein dieting beats low-protein in every way, especially when you’re cutting.
So, what’s the right amount of protein?
Well, when you’re looking to lose fat, then you should eat about 1 to 1.2 grams per pound of body weight per day.
And if you’re very overweight (25%+ body fat in men and 30%+ in women), then this can be reduced to around 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass per day.
3. Do a lot of heavy compound weightlifting.
There are many ways to train your muscles, and when the goal is gaining size and strength as quickly as possible, nothing beats heavy compound weightlifting.
It’s better than workout machines, “pump” classes, bodyweight exercises, Yoga, Pilates, and everything else you can do to build your muscles.
What do I mean by “heavy compound” lifting, though?
Well, by “compound,” I mean focusing on compound exercises, which are those that target multiple large muscle groups, such as the squat, bench press, military press, and deadlift.
And by “heavy,” I mean lifting weights that are above 75% of your one-rep max(weights that you can do 12 reps or less with before failing).
The reason heavy compound weightlifting is so effective is it’s the best way to overload your muscles, which is the primary trigger for muscle growth.
By lifting heavy weights (and progressing to heavier and heavier weights as you get stronger), you create tremendous amounts of tension in your muscles, which tells them to grow.
I think you can figure out how this benefits you when you’re restricting your calories for fat loss.
In short, it allows you to minimize muscle loss while dieting, or, depending on your circumstances, even gain muscle while you’re losing fat.
4. Use high-intensity interval training to burn fat faster.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of cardio that involves short, maximum effort sprints, followed by short recovery periods.
I’m a big fan of HIIT for several reasons, but the main one is it allows you to lose more fat in less time than traditional slow steady-state cardio.
In fact, research shows that you can burn as much fat in 25 minutes of HIIT as 60 minutes of incline treadmill walking.
Another major benefit of HIIT is that it helps preserve muscle better than low-intensity cardio, mainly because you don’t have to do nearly as much to keep the needle moving.
To be specific, just 2 to 4 HIIT workouts per week, with each lasting just 20 to 25 minutes, is all you need to significantly boost your fat loss.
Yup, you really can lose weight fast doing no more than an hour or so of cardio per week!