how to measure fat

(Sigh..) Not knowing how fat loss really works hurt me for 17 years.  Clients, friends, neighbors have asked me some form of this question. What should I eat? What’s the fastest way to trim my waist? How do I get rid of this? To help anyone, I first needed to help myself. No one likes a fat trainer. And sadly, I was a fat trainer.Personal Trainer Tony Arreola experiencing personal fat loss failure The answer surprised me and it will surprise you. You only need to master two keys to succeed in fat loss. Just two. Master fat loss with these two keys.

What You Need to Know for Fat Loss to Work for You

  1. Understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss
  2. Understand calories and how many you should eat
  3. Make sure you’re moving enough 
  4. Drink enough water
  5. Execute your plan

Master Fat Loss with Five Principles

Take a moment and quiz yourself. Do you know your specific answers? Even after my first training certification in 2002, I didn't understand all five. Epic freaking fail.

Frustrated man slamming head on desk because of fat loss failure

1. Understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss

Do you remember the last time you checked out at the grocery store? Did you glance at the magazine headlines? Some celebrity always loses 10 pounds in 3 days, or 15 pounds in 10 days with a “new” diet. Can this be true? Or are they lying?

It might actually be possible…

Say What?


But weight loss and fat loss are not the same.

Weight loss can happen instantly, but true fat loss always takes time (sometimes a long time.) Fat loss is the process of your body converting fat matter into usable energy. Fat loss and weight loss are very different.

trainer tony arreola explains the dangers of fat loss failure

Have you ever tried to grab water?

Have you ever grabbed fat?

You CAN grab fat, but you CAN’T grab water.



If you can grab it, you can lose it.



Why Our Weight Changes Daily

  1. Water (Body is 65% water)
  2. Carb Intake (Carbs hold water: Carbo – HYDRATE)
  3. Sodium Intake (Salt retains water)
  4. Bowel Movements (Poop, if it’s in you, it’s IN you)
  5. Time of the Month (Females)

A daily weight change of 2-5 % of total weight is normal. In 2002, two years after my brother’s passing. I didn’t care about anything…including myself. I crept up to 192 pounds. For myself, a daily weight change of 4-9 pounds is normal.

I wish I would've known this back then. In college, fast food was the norm. My diet attempts included ordering a #1 with no mayonnaise, no cheese and a diet coke. The next day I would jump on the scale. Boom, down five pounds! But, the next day, I would walk off the scale up seven pounds (instant sad mode.)

2. Understand calories and how many you should eat

“I didn’t realize it was so simple.”

I’ve heard this phrase from my clients dozens of times when they first learn about calories. I can teach you about carbs, fats, and proteins, but why? To lose fat, you don’t need to know a lot, you only need to understand calories.

Calories. I know, I hate the word, too.

But for us to have any chance of reaching your goal. You need to understand calories. Especially, how they relate to fat loss. Many diets, cleanses, and media promise you calories don't count. I wish it was true, but sadly, it isn’t. If you ignore this basic fact, you will struggle with fat loss.

Calories always count, always.

An energy deficit results in fat loss, this is the only way fat loss can happen. Any successful diet claiming you're not counting calories, still places you in an energy deficit. Meaning you're still eating less calories than your body burns.

Calories always count, always.

Every successful diet makes you eat less calories than your body burns. So, even if you're not counting calories, you're still counting calories. Sorry.

Calories always count, always.

I know you don't like calories. And you hate watching calories for the rest of your life. So, I'll give you a moment.


Like my mom always told me. “It doesn't matter if you like it or not. Get it done.” Calories are a fact of life. Calorie management is a basic governing law. Calories, like money will always matter in your life. Your feelings won't change the facts.

Calories always count, always.

But what are calories?

Calorie: a unit of energy, defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius.


The non-nerd version:

Calories are the currency of energy. A calorie is just a form of energy, 1 pound of fat = 3,500 calories. To burn one pound, you have to burn 3,500 calories.

“How many calories should I eat?”

Too much equals too much fat loss failure

If you can’t answer this question, you will never lose the fat. In 2002, I had no idea what a calorie was, at all. Nobody told me, I was never taught in school, the internet didn’t exist. But lucky for you and my clients, we know how many calories you need to eat to lose fat.

A good gauge would be to add a zero to your body weight.  I weighed 192, I should eat 1900 or less calories. As your weight decreases the number of calories also decreases. Use My Fitness Pal to help monitor caloric intake.

3. Make sure you're moving enough 

Caloric intake is only one side of the solution, the most important side and the easiest to control. If you’re not losing weight, you're not moving enough for your body to burn the extra calories on your body. Use a FitBit or other fitness tracker to measure caloric output.

Here’s the good news:

Calories function exactly like money.

Managing calories is like managing money. If you want to lose fat, burn more calories than you eat. If you want to be rich, make more money than you spend. Using an activity tracker will help you keep you active, logging your nutrition will show you how many calories you’re eating. Manage your caloric budget like money, every savings of 3,500 will equal one real pound of fat.

4. Drink enough water

Stop reading this and go pee. Check the color of the pee.

*More steps required for females*

Go ahead, I’ll wait.


What color was it?

Yellow, light yellow, brownish, clear? If it wasn’t clear you’re not drinking enough water. 

Water consumption should be equal to half your body weight in ounces.

Ex: weigh 192 lbs = drink 96 ounces = approximately 12 glasses of water.

I know it sounds like a lot. Most people think they’re hungry, when in fact they’re actually thirsty. Imagine if all this time, when you thought you were hungry, you were just thirsty. Water might be the easiest way to lose fat, ever.

Take a moment and re-read the four principles. Do you understand each one? I cover these principles first with all my clients. If they can’t understand these fundamental principles to understand how fat loss works, the party stops here. Once they fully understand the basics, then we can move into the more challenging part of the solution.

Oh, you thought it would be easy?

I wish it was, but once you know the information, you must be willing to accept the difficult part:

5. Execute your plan

Back in 2002, a potential client told me. “I don’t need a trainer. I know what to do.” This statement hurt my feelings. After all, this was my profession. And I was still a fat trainer (not a good look.)

He wasn’t in great shape, and I believed him. I believed everyone for years. I thought I knew what to do, but as a chubby trainer. Did I really know what to do?


Knowing what to do and doing what you need to do are very different. I spent the next 2 years losing the weight while gaining invaluable insight.  I ran into the same landmines you do. Like having a plan, then failing during the weekend, giving in to peer pressure in the break room, and overeating at parties.

After 17 years of experience, 2 degrees, and 7 certifications I can tell you the answer is simple. The reason we struggle is because we eat more than our body needs.

Move More and Eat Less

“That’s it!”

While it is a simple theory, it is difficult to apply.

Here are some tips to get you started on your fat loss journey.

image showing how decision can help you get rid of old habits

Start with Small Changes

If you start with drastic changes, you’ll struggle.  That’s why most diets don’t work.  Start with making less mistakes. Like no mayonnaise, candy only once per day, fast food only on weekends.  Build off your wins as you work to create new habits.

Have a Strategy for Dinners/Weekends

If you know you’re going to overeat, (family dinners, bdays, parties, etc.) Plan for it. Eat less before the event, like a soup or salad.  Save your calories for the event. The plan will work exactly like a budget, save what you want to spend.

Make It Simple

Don’t waste energy complicating matters.  How much sugar? How many grams of carbs? Focus on less calories. Blah, blah, blah. Stay away from “Del Taco.” Don’t have seconds and thirds.  Junk food is called junk food for a reason.  And eating while intoxicated usually leads to a poor choices.

Download Your FREE Fat Loss Failure Prevention Guide

I’ve been there. I've walked the walked. Through trials and tribulations, I found the answers to your struggles. After years of working directly with fat loss clients,I learned the simple strategy to avoid fat loss failure. I call the solution the MAD Plan. I’ve used it successfully for years. You can have the plan for FREE!


  Click HERE for Your MAD PLAN


Download the plan, learn the simple way and understand how fat loss really works. I'm no longer a fat trainer, and my clients don't need to waste time or money with techniques that don't work. After you download your free guide, let me know in the comments if you found the guide useful.

Tony Arreola

NASM Master Trainer

Best Selling Author, Get Me Skinny


PS: Download the Secrets of the Skinny NOW


  1.  Clark, M.A., Lucett, S. C., & Sutton, B. G. (2012). NASM Essentionals of Personal Fitness Training (4th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.
  2. Merriam Webster. “Definition of Water”
  3. Merriam Webster. “Definition of Fat”
  4. USGS “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body” Retrieved on Sept 21, 2019
  5. Jessie Szalay. “What are Carbohydrates?” Retrieved on Aug 14, 2019
  6. Cleveland Clinic “Feel Bloated? 5 Odd Reasons for Your Stomach Pain” Retrieved on July 1, 2019
  7. Abdominal fat and what to do about it. (2015).
  8. Cummings, JH., et al. (1992). Fecal weight, colon cancer risk, and dietary intake of nonstarch polysaccharides (dietary fiber).
  9. Diarrhea. (2018).
  10. How often does the average person poop? (n.d.).
  11. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Chart of high-fiber foods.
  12. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Weight-loss basics.
  13. Picco MF. (2018). How long does it take to digest food — from the time you eat to the time you excrete it?
  14. Slavin JL. (2005). Dietary fiber and body weight. DOI:
  15. Cheuvront SN, et al. (2013). Physiologic basis for understanding quantitative dehydration assessment. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.112.044172
  16. Gorczyca AM, et al. (2016). Changes in macronutrient, micronutrient, and food group intakes throughout the menstrual cycle in healthy, premenopausal women. DOI: 10.1007/s00394-015-0931-0
  17. Guarino M, et al. (2011). Progesterone receptors and serotonin levels in colon epithelial cells from females with slow transit constipation. DOI:
  18. Inam QU, et al. (2016). Effects of sugar rich diet on brain serotonin, hyperphagia and anxiety in animal model of both genders.
  19. Jenkins TA, et al. (2016). Influence of tryptophan and serotonin on mood and cognition with a possible role of the gut-brain axis. DOI:
  20. Julian R, et al. (2017). The effects of menstrual cycle phase on physical performance in female soccer players. DOI:
  21. Kohndoker F, et al. (2017). Serum calcium and magnesium levels during different phases of the menstrual cycle.
  22. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Edema.
  23. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Menstrual cramps.
  24. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  25. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Water retention: Relieve this premenstrual symptom.
  26. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). (2015).
  27. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). (2018).
  28. Racine SE, et al. (2011). Differential associations between ovarian hormones and disordered eating symptoms across the menstrual cycle in women. DOI:
  29. Sawai A, et al. (2018). MRI reveals menstrually-related muscle edema that negatively affects athletic agility in young women. DOI:
Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *