The fight to lose fat can be a long and grueling one. We follow crazy diets, hop on wild exercise trends, and look for anything that will work. And although losing weight, trimming fat, and getting that super lean body of our dreams isn't easy, we do have a habit of making the process even more complicated. In a world where there is so much information available to us, it is hard to know what parts are backed in science and what parts are just wishful thinking.
Here are 11 simple tips that can help you cut through the bull and start to carve your body!
1. Eat fewer calories (maybe)
People seem to be under the impression that as long as you are avoiding carbs, you can eat whatever you want. That is just not the case. If fat loss is your aim, you need to consumer fewer calories. Pure and simple. If we were all eating the right amounts of the healthy foods we are eating, it wouldn't be so hard to lose fat. The vast majority of us are eating more food than we even realize. Cutting back your calories takes some effort. But so does everything in life worth having. Just be careful to not cut your calories too dramatically! Going too far can work against your efforts by bringing your metabolism to a standstill which will make losing fat next to impossible.
2. Stop looking for a quick fix
Think about how long it took you to gain the weight you are trying to lose. It didn't go on overnight, it won't come off that way either. It is tempting to buy into those quick fixes or celebrity solutions but more often than not, they don't work. You might see results at first but before long you have rebounded back to your starting weight. The only way to change your body composition is to change your lifestyle. This is difficult but it doesn't have to be scary. All you have to do is make healthy eating a habit. If you can't seem to get the ball rolling, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan. We provide you with 30 days of healthy meals and snacks. We will also provide you with a weekly grocery list so all you have to do is buy the ingredients and follow along! Check it out!
You eat everyday anyway, just take a little time to put thought into it. Before you know it, it will be second nature. Just remember you need to eat a balanced diet of carbs, fat and protein.
There is no one thing responsible for your weight and there is no one thing that will fix it.
3. Eat less fat
Many people adopt low-carb diets thinking that they will fix everything. Most low-carb diets, like the Atkins Diet, for example, allow foods that are extremely high in fat. You give up bread but can eat bacon with abandon. What these diets fail to take into account is the large amount of calories contained in these fats. Fat contains about 9 calories per gram which is more than most proteins or carbs. Calories still matter! We are, in no way, telling you to adopt a low-fat diet. Going low-fat can be just as damaging as going high-fat. 20-30% of your daily calories should come from healthy fats like salmon, coconut oil, grass fed beef, and egg yolks. Remember, eliminating (or dramatically reducing) one particular type of food will not get you where you want to go -- at least not in a healthy way. You need carbs, and fat, and protein.
4. Drink fewer protein shakes
It is better for your fat loss efforts if you are actually chewing your foods. Chewing and digesting solid food burns more calories than consuming food in liquid form. Try to limit yourself to one shake, post-workout. You don't need to be replacing your meals with them or turning to them as snack option.
5. Stop eating so many nuts
Nuts contain a lot of calories that can add up really quickly. For example, if you are trying to lose fat, you shouldn't eat more than 10 almonds a day. That's pretty hard to do! Nuts also contain a large amount of polyunsaturated fats and, well, we've already discussed fats! When you need a snack or something to just quiet the rumble in your tummy, you are better off eating green veggies. They are nutrient dense and do not pack the same calorie hit.
6. Train with more resistance
When you are losing fat, it is important to maintain your muscle. This maintenance will happen through strength training. Do not be afraid to increase the weight you are using. If you have a weight routine that has already helped you firm up, build off that. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Whatever weight you add to your workout, just remember your form! Do only as many reps as you can with proper form.
7. Don't overdo cardio
Most forms of cardio are useless for fat loss. This isn't to say that cardio is bad, it has a very valuable place in your workout routine. But, excessive cardio can be counterproductive. Excessive cardio can lead to an increase in the production of cortisol which, among other things, leads to an increase in abdominal fat. If you are looking to add more cardio to your life but don't want to go too far, try adding a long walk. Walks are great -- both mentally and physically.
8. Run more sprints
Or intervals. When it comes to losing fat, your diet is most important. But once you've got that cleared up and your strength training is on point, it is time to add some intervals. You only need to add 2, twelve to twenty minute sessions a week. It doesn't seem like much but it will make a large difference in your physique! If you are looking for some ideas, check out the over 80 hours of on demand workouts with SweatFlix℠! From beginner to advanced, SweatFlix℠ has short, effective, workouts that will have you torching fat and building muscle in no time!
9. Manage your stress
Stress produces cortisol. Cortisol increases your body's fat storage. Most of us have hectic work, family, and social lives which means that even if our diet and workouts are perfect, we may hold on to fat. Make time, each and every day, to manage your stress. You may have to try a few things to see what works best for you but it is crucial. Make it as important in your daily routine as brushing your teeth!
- keeping a gratitude journal
- nixing your 'to-do' list
- doing yoga
- getting a massage
- listening to relaxing music
- going out in nature
Obviously that is a short list but you get the idea. Find something that will make you take a moment to just stop. A moment to just let go and breathe.
10. Get enough sleepThis is a big one! When you aren't getting enough sleep, your insulin sensitivity decreases and your cortisol levels go up. This is not an ideal condition for fat loss. When you reach deep sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone and if you aren't getting enough shut eye, you will miss the boost this provides. We cannot say this enough, if you want to lose fat, you need to get sleep. Period. Here are some things you might try if you want to improve your sleep:
- don't have caffeine after 12pm
- try working out in the morning
- turn down the lights in your house after dark
- turn off all your screens (your phone, tablet, computer and/or television) at least 2 hours before bed
- use the bed for sleep and sex only
- make your bedroom as dark as possible
- keep your bedroom temperature on the cool side. 68 degrees seems to work for most people
- remove electronics from your bedroom
11. Stick to your planIt doesn't matter how great your plan is, it won't work if you don't stick with it! It is tempting to jump ship and start something new when you don't think your current plan is working but if you are hitting all the points above, it should work. Stay the course. These things work, it is physiology. Bodybuilders and field athletes are some of the leanest people going, and how did they get there? They are incredibly dedicated but they also tackle specific tasks each week. They:
- eat protein, vegetables, fruit, and starch each day
- never go too low on carbs
- strength train 3-4 times a week
- sprint or do HIIT training 1-3 times a week
- expend more calories than they consume
- manage stress
Try to be as active as possible. Stand when you can, walk when you can. Just move your body.
Fat loss isn't easy but it is far from complicated. It will not be accomplished overnight but you can do it! We believe in you!
Have you achieved your fat loss goals? What helped you get there?