There is a ton of information out there about how to lose fat. Do this workout, eat this magic pill, only workout at this time…. But most of it is not backed by science or human proof. This list of 12 things that you should be doing to lose fat is real. It is backed by multiple studies, by tons of successful clients, and it is realistic. Everyone’s body is a little different so this can be modified but it’s a good start.
Here is the 12 Things you Should be doing for Fat Loss!
- Workout 5 days a week. 2-3 of those days should include strength training. Circuit Training is the most effective form of exercise for fat loss. So ideally you would do circuit training 3 times a week and other types of exercise 2-3 days a week. Circuit training is a workout that combines strength training with cardiovascular activities. Your workouts do not have to be long even 30 minutes can be enough but 5-6 days is essential. See this study for more.
- Pay attention to workout Intensity. Remember that if your workout is 20-30 minutes it should be intense! This means intervals of 30-60 seconds at a 8 or 9 on your intensity scale. If it’s around 45-60 minutes it can be a moderate intensity. This would be more like a 5-7 on your scale.
- Eat lower calorie, but not too low. You need to be in a calorie deficit but if you take your calories too low it can damage your metabolism and work against you. You can use an online calculator but often they are too low. So be sure to ask a professional for a good starting point. Remember that this number may need to be changed and tweaked for a variety of reasons.
- Plan balanced meals that always have 4-8oz of good quality protein, two handfuls of non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, bell pepper ext.), a small cupped handful of starchy carbs if it’s after a workout or first thing in the morning, and a small maybe thumb size serving of fat. Protein is your friend if you are trying to lose fat. It keeps you from losing muscle mass and it takes more energy to digest than any other macronutrient. So plan your meals around protein and vegetables and then add in accordingly.
- No sugar. Really try as hard as you can to skip sugar in coffee, sugary drinks, pastries, cakes, sweets, desserts. There are over 50 kinds of sugar. So make sure you read the ingredients and check this list for all the possible names.
- No refined grains. No pasta, bread, pita, crackers, chips. Replace pasta with zucchini noodles, replace breads with lettuce wraps, replace crackers and chips with veggie slices. Do this 90% of the time and you’ll eliminate a ton of empty calories from your diet and up your vitamin and mineral intake considerably!
- Eat plenty of fatty fish to keep your omega-3 intake up. If you don’t eat fish 3 times a week than I highly recommend a fish oil supplement.
- Drink 8-12 glasses (64-88oz) of water a day. This can be one of the easiest ways to help you lose fat. Water is vital to your health, your workout performance, your skin, and your ability to absorb vitamins. Often hunger is actually thirst. One article states that by not staying hydrated you actually burn 2% fewer calories. So just fill a big water bottle and bring it everywhere you go! You can also try to eat more fruits and veggies that have high water content like watermelon, cucumber, celery, and lettuce.
- Drink coffee, green tea, or Yerba Mate before workouts. Caffeine is proven to mobilize fat to be used as fuel for your workouts. Green Tea and Yerba Mate tea have been proven to have high amounts of antioxidants and caffeine that can aid in appetite control and fat loss.
- No Alcohol. Alcohol is not helpful for fat loss. Yes a glass of wine can be healthy but that is not the same thing as something that aids in fat loss. Skip it or if you must keep it in moderation.
- Eat at home as much as possible. Eating out will sabotage your weight loss efforts even if you are trying very hard. So try to eat out once a week if at all. If you must eat out more than once a week than be sure to follow these tips to help lessen the damage done. Check out this article showing what 2000 calories looks like. When dining out this could be just one meal!
- Sleep. Everyone needs a different number of hours. But in general most people need around 8 hours. This is crucial for your recovery from workouts, your hormone levels, your appetite control, and your ability to stay motivated. It is proven that lack of sleep is one of the biggest reasons why people unnecessarily snack. So get to bed.
There are a ton of factors that effect fat loss. It’s no wonder that it can be a confusing roller coaster for many people. If you aren’t sure about how many calories to eat or what type of exercise is good for you, or how to distribute your macronutrients, or how much strength training verses cardio to do then it can do wonders to seek the help of a personal trainer or a nutrition coach to help save you tons of wasted energy and time.