Want to lose some weight? Of course you do. Want to become healthier and reduce your chance of weight related health problems? Who doesn’t? Want to look better naked? Duh. One of the most common questions I get asked is “how can I lose more fat?” so I thought I’d create a quick “top 5” list of my most common suggestions. Enjoy!
1- Have a good portion of green veggies with breakfast.
There are many reasons to have your first meal of the deal full of big leafy greens, like broccoli. First off, they are good for you! They are packed with micro-nutrients and fiber that most people don’t get enough of. Second, If your first meal of the day is started with a food high in fiber or complex carbs it will help you avoid an insulin spike right off the bat, which means your body won’t go “holy crap, look at all this sugar! We need to start processing this right away! All hands on deck!” and then make too much insulin and end up hindering the fat burning process. Third, green veggies are filling! If you are like me, then you struggle with eating too fast (and binge-eating, but that’s an issue for another post) and end up having way to many calories before you realize that you are full. If you eat a cup or so of veggies first, it will slow you right down and fill you up with way less calories. Have you tried to eat a whole crown of broccoli in 1 minute? It’s not possible. By eating your veggies first, you’ll be forced to slow down and you will realize you are full before you reach for that second piece of toast.
There are many benefits to fasting, such as weight loss, mental clarity, how we perceive when we are hungry vs habitually eating, etc. It can be very effective and is worth trying out. I have been intermittent fasting for almost a year now, and I don’t think I will ever go back. Not only was I able to lose about 20 pounds in a few months, but it has simplified my diet and life a great deal. Instead of having to plan out 4-6 small meals a day, I usually just make sure I have a healthy breakfast planned and am free the rest of the day. There are a few different forms of intermittent fasting that I’m sure you’ve heard of: 16:8, 5:2, One Meal A Day (OMAD) and all of them can be great options. I do 16:8, which means I eat all my meals in an 8 hour window and have ZERO calories during the other 16 hours. Talk to your doctor first, especially if you have major health issues or concerns, such as diabetes, and don’t just listen to “some guy” on the internet!
3-Get some HIIT in.
High Intensity Interval Training is awesome! It can be the most time efficient way to work out, and it torches your fat, because you usually use up your glycogen stores quite quickly (or are working out in a fasted state) and then your body will have to switch to fat for fuel. My favorite form of HIIT is a nice jump rope routine. Simple 5 minute warm up, then BANG. 1 minute intervals of fast spinning with different jump techniques thrown in the mix. After 1 minute, I usually slow down for about 10-20 seconds, then do another minute. Do that for 10-15 minutes and you have a killer start to your day! You can also incorporate HIIT while lifting weights. A simple way to do that would be to reduce or eliminate your rest periods between sets, You won’t be able to lift as heavy, but you can really ramp up the intensity, and lower your time in the gym, this way.
No, cardio is not king when it comes to fat loss. Building muscle is! The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn just living, which is awesome! So, not only will lifting weights help you build muscle, but it will also help you lose fat. Win-win. This means your actual weight might not change as drastically, but you will look waaaay better, due to your body composition changing. I hear the “but I don’t want to get to bulky” fear all the time, more from women than men (but not always), and I’m here to tell you: that won’t happen. Yes, you can build muscle, but no, a few strength training session won’t turn you into the terminator. Most of the people you see that are so big they have to walk sideways through a door have been doing strength training for YEARS, and have worked hard for every pound of muscle gained. Their physique is the result of years of pushing their lifts to the max, eating entire cows, and praying for a blessing from the gene gods. For you, the “normal” person, putting on some muscle means you will look better (and won’t look “skinny-fat”), be stronger, your clothes will fit better, and you’ll burn more calories every day. That’s a win-win-win-win.
5-Follow your diet at least 90% of the time.
Abs are made in the kitchen! You should know by now that unless you are blessed beyond belief by the gene gods, you can’t outwork a bad diet. Most people end up not seeing results because they break their diet plan more than they realize. Being strict during the week and easy going on the weekend will NOT cut it. Look at the math here. Typically, people eat 25-35 times per week (3-4 meals/snacks a day) so if you “cheat” on the weekends, that would mean you are only following your diet plan 80% of the time at best. Sure, you might be able to make slooooow progress this way, but there are many reasons to avoid this behavior. First, it can be really hard for some people to jump right back in to their plan after a weekend of excess. Or (and this is probably worse) they go the other direction when the week starts back up and they get too strict with their calories and end up severely under-eating, which is not good for their body or their workouts. Second, if you wait until the weekend to do fun things and “cheat”, you’re likely to miss out on fun activities throughout the week and then way over indulge on the weekend because it’s “the only time” you can. I recommend allowing yourself 2-3 cheat meals a week. Not days, MEALS. You have a friend coming in to town to visit on a Tuesday? go out to dinner with them! Birthday party on Saturday? Have a small slice of cake. Drinks with the boss Friday night? Heck yeah! Remember, just because you eat one cookie, does not mean you need to eat the rest of them! If you can adopt this more relaxed approached, it can help you avoid binge-eating and feeling like you are deprived all week. Also, 3 cheat meals a week still means you are following your diet plan 90% of the time. Woot!
There you go: my top 5 go to tips for burning fat and (hopefully) keeping it off. Now, get after it and DFQ!