TRAIN SMART- Don't over do it! When on prep I start with 4-5 weight sessions a week, mainly big compound lifts. I still train hard, but no more than 30 sets per session. Training like this and cleaning up my diet gets the ball rolling, and I start losing fat, with a goal of 1kg per week. When the fat loss slows down, then I introduce cardio or extra gym sessions. 4-5 sessions a week is enough to start off and leaves room for more as your body adapts to the training/diet.
EAT SMART- This is by far the most important part of fat loss! They say getting in shape is 30% gym, 70% diet, I'd say diet plays a bigger role than that! Your body burns calories whether you train or not, so if you live in a calorie deficit you will lose weight. But I don't want to lose weight, I want to lose fat. So I train smart and use the muscles I want to keep. I eat smart to fuel this training and maintain/repair the muscles I use, all while being in a daily calorie deficit so I lose fat.
DRINK SMART- Drink plenty of water! I drink 4 litres + a day when on prep. Basically, our bodies need to be fully hydrated to function at their best. If you don't drink enough water our bodies become dehydrated, forcing your metabolism to slow down. A slow metabolism will not burn fat efficiently. On top of a slow metabolism, if we are dehydrated then performance in the gym suffers too. If I'm only doing 4-5 gym sessions a week, then I don't want any of them to be wasted!
REST- Giving our bodies a chance to rest and recover is vital for optimum performance, both in the gym and for everyday functioning. I make sure I get at least 7 hours sleep a night. We all need sleep. This is when we have chance to mentally and physically recover and repair from the previous day. Listen to your body. I know if I train hard for 3 days in a row, then on the 4th day my performance in the gym suffers, so I always rest on the 4th day. I'd rather train twice in one or two of the 3 training days and have a complete rest day on the 4th, then over do it and have a sub-par gym session.
CONSISTENCY- Results don't happen over night, fat loss is a hard, slow process. Training smart, eating smart, drinking enough water and getting enough rest is how I did it. I was consistent over a long enough period of time, to actually get the results I wanted. To have a chance of seeing any real results, give yourself at least 2 months of the above.
My last competition took me around 4 months to get down to around 5% body fat, losing 15kg on the way. Thats 4 months of no alcohol, no chocolate and no pizza. Like I said, its not easy, but think of the end goal!