You exercise and you eat well, but you still have a few pesky pounds hanging around. While everyone needs to have some body fat — and where each individual stores body fat is largely predetermined — too much isn't good for you. It's been linked to an increase risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as chronic joint pain and injury. But you know this, already, right? That's why you're reading this article: you want to live a healthier life.
So, the question remains how do you amp up your fat burning engines, aside from the obvious aforementioned (and admittedly, a little bit vague) routes of diet and exercise? Well, read on. We've got a list of tried-and-test life hacks to help you stoke your fat burning fires.
1. Love the Load
While any form of exercise will help you lose fat, resistance training is the best way to lose more fat. Loading up with heavy weights will help you build the lean muscle mass that's part and parcel of a revved up metabolism. The reason is simple: your body requires more energy to sustain muscle than fat, so the more muscle you have the more energy you expend, the more fat you lose.
Training each muscle group two times a week has been shown to yield significant gains.
How much should you lift? That depends. If you’re going for low repetition training, aim for 60-70% of your total max. In other words, 60-70% of the total amount you can lift, once. So, if 30lb is the max weight you can shoulder press once, then you should be lifting around 20lb for your reps.
You can also see great gains combining lighter weights with plyometric movements. You’ll see a ton of these moves in our Five Day Fit: Fat Melt series. Grab the bundle, which comes four weighted vests (6lb to 12lbs), The Pink Thing, plus five days of insanely effective workouts.
We wrote an article a while ago about NAC amino acids. You can read it here. Here's the take away: it can support your fat loss goals by helping to regulate insulin and increase athletic performance. Around 600 grams is a good place to start.
3. Get to Bed 30 Minutes Earlier
We all know that sleep is important to weight loss. Sleep is when our hormones balance, and without this balance, our metabolism doesn’t run as effectively as it might. While most of us could actually stand to get to bed an hour or two earlier, this may be near impossible thanks to jam packed schedules and (let’s face it) just the bad habit of staying up too late. Instead, aim for a smaller goal: get to bed 30 minutes earlier. Give yourself at least a little more time in Snoozeville, and then, after a few weeks, go to bed 30 minutes earlier again. Repeat until you’re finally getting to bed early enough to get the 7-9 hours most experts agree your body needs.
4. Drink Coffee Before a Workout
Studies show that drinking a cup of black coffee (or even green tea) before a workout can increase your performance, which leads to greater calorie expenditure (and ultimately, fat loss).
5. Lay Off the Sauce
When you drink alcohol, your body’s fat burning engines stall out while your system tries to rid itself of what it views as a toxin. (And, really, we can dress it up anyway we want, but it is). The more you drink, the longer it takes for your system to start burning fat again. So, if you do drink, try to imbibe moderately, for the sake of your BMI if not your overall health.
6. Spice it Up
Cayenne pepper has been shown to aid in fat loss. The not-so-secret agent? Capsaicin, a thermogenic chemical that researches think could reduce your appetite while increasing your metabolism for 30 minutes after consumption.
Around 1 gram of dried chili pepper or 28 grams of fresh chili pepper is enough to score these benefits. Add it to soups, smoothies, stir fries, stews, chili or curries.
If you’re stuck for food inspiration, grab our new meal plan and nutrition guide. Packed with smoothies, meals and snacks, you’ll find no shortage of opportunities to spice up your diet and jump start your body’s fat burn.