Are you ready to crank things up a notch? You can lose fat any pace you choose, really, but everyone should strive to be as efficient as possible. So we assembled the best package of tips we could find to turn you into a fat-burning pyromaniac.
Clear the Kitchen
It all starts with cleaning out your kitchen. Make no mistake: If food you shouldn’t be eating lurks in your fridge, cupboards, or freezers, you will give in at some point or another.
You may think you have willpower of steel, but wait until your leptin levels start dropping and hunger clouds your every waking thought, and a few of your dreams. Few people will leave their house to satisfy their taste buds; they’re much more likely to hit the fridge.
Combine Cardio Variations
The debate rages: steady-state cardio training vs. interval training for fat loss.
Steady state allows for a longer fat-burning session. Interval training ramps up your metabolic rate and increases fat oxidation rates for hours after the workout is done.
Which to choose? Try both.
You might do five or so intervals first and then move into steady-state training. This will allow you to reap all the benefits in one workout. Plus, the steady state will burn even more fat than usual because the intervals will have led to glycogen depletion.
Your cardio, like your weight training, should always be progressively more challenging. “This is the single most important factor in any training program: You will not be successful if today’s training does not exceed yesterday’s in some manner,” says MuscleTech’s Matt “Kroc” Kroczaleski, a world-champion and world-record-holding powerlifter and national-caliber bodybuilder.
Interval training ramps up your metabolic rate and increases fat oxidation rates for hours after the workout is done.
Do at least one full body workout per week
Just like the jury is out on the single best form of cardio training to do, you’ll get mixed opinions on whether fat loss is best achieved through full-body or body-part split training.
Full-body workouts increase your metabolism more per workout due to the large amount of muscle mass you hit. They also allow for more total downtime to rest during the week.
Split systems have you working out more frequently and still hitting each muscle group with a higher volume for muscle glycogen depletion.
Here again, consider combining the two. Each week, do one full-body workout, one upper-body workout and one lower-body workout.
If you prefer a full-body, push, pull, lower-body setup for a four-day cycle, that’s fine too. This allows you to still do a bit more volume per muscle group in each week yet have that maximum metabolic enhancing full-body session in place.
Whatever you do, you must lift weights to burn major fat. “Lifting weights is most effective for body-fat reduction when it is done correctly,” says MuscleTech’s Marc Megna, an ex NFL athlete, performance coach, and motivational speaker on fitness.
Drink green tea daily
Green tea should be your top beverage of choice while on a fat-cutting plan. This health elixir will help to rev your metabolism, allowing you burn more calories daily. Green tea is also loaded with healthy plant chemicals and of free-radical-fighting antioxidants.
All these health goodies will help to reduce the tissue damage that can take place while dieting and still doing intense workout programs, helping you feel better as the fat-burning process hums along.
Furthermore, the slight intake of caffeine you’ll get will also boost energy and promote more fat burning, providing even greater benefits. The hot liquid may also help soothe the hunger pangs roiling your stomach.
Simply put, green tea is an all-around winner for people looking to get leaner.
Have two high carb days per week
One tool most people do not make use of enough is the power of higher carb days. Low-carb dieting definitely speeds up progress for many people, but if their carb intake falls too low for too long, it will have the opposite effect.
Here’s what happens: Leptin levels plummet harder and faster for low-carb dieters than people who take in more carbs. This ends up increasing hunger, slowing down the metabolism, and basically making your life miserable in the process.
The solution? Carbohydrate staggering.
Have your low days as you prefer, but add two high days into the mix as well. This tricks the body into thinking carbs are around all the time, avoiding the plateau-causing metabolic drop that otherwise occurs.
I’d recommend limiting your cheat meals to those high-carb days. Phil Heath, three-time Mr. Olympia titleholder, has a cheat meal every three days or so, usually before a hard workout. So you know those extra carbs are being put right to work.
Plus, you’ll feel happier! Remember, carbohydrates induce the brain to release serotonin, a feel-good hormone that keeps you sane. Your family and coworkers will thank you.
Commit to sleep
Sleep is another underrated part of a proper fat-loss program. If you aren’t sleeping enough, your insulin sensitivity will decrease, which means that hormone will be less effective at shuttling glucose from your blood into cells, where it belongs. So what does your body do? It pumps out more insulin, still hoping to finish the job. The problem is that insulin is also a fat-storage hormone.
Since your cells will be starved for glucose also means you’ll encounter carbohydrate cravings and lousy workouts.
Few healthy food choices are made after midnight. Going to bed an extra hour early is also a perfect way to combat night-time eating, which can be disastrous to your progress.
Increase your protein intake 10-20%
A higher protein intake is the next step to seeing enhanced fat loss. Not only will protein-rich foods calm hunger pangs, but they also have a higher thermogenic effect as well. Thermo-what? Well, for every 100 calories you eat, your body will burn about 20-30 percent of those calories off simply breaking down the food.
This means you net fewer calories overall, therefore increasing your total daily calorie deficit. The bigger the deficit is, the greater the fat loss will be. And protein also helps reduce the chance of muscle mass loss, which is imperative to maintaining a lightening fast metabolism long-term.
Combating stress is another must-do for success, and there’s no better way to do so than by taking yoga classes once per week. Not only will you crush stress, but you put yourself more in touch with your body and healthy living, which can help you make wiser choices when it comes to your diet plan.
Furthermore, yoga will help to ease muscle soreness by lengthening the muscles and reducing pent up tension you may be holding.
Drink a glass of water before each meal
A sneaky technique to try if you struggle to cut back on your food intake is to simply drink one glass of water before each meal.
Switch to single ingredient foods
The last tip to remember that will dramatically help you improve the quality of your diet is to only eat single-ingredient foods.
If you use this guiding rule, you’ll immediately cut out all the processed, unhealthy foods that can quickly put a stop to weight loss and have you feeling unwell.
Single ingredient foods are in their most natural state and will contain the most nutrition to help keep your body healthy throughout the weight-loss process; they leave you energized as well!