If you have a lot of excess fat around your waistline, you have to take some steps to get rid of it, as this is the most dangerous type of fat – it lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs and increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
When talking about mistakes fitness beginners tend to make, one of the most serious charges is confusing weight loss with fat loss. So let’s be clear from the beginning here – weight loss and fat loss do not always go hand in hand, and weight loss by itself is not the best indicator of your success for getting your body in good, tight shape. If anything, the ratio between body fat and lean mass is a lot more important metric to consider when looking to sculpt your physique. As long as you’re not taking the starvation route to fat loss and you’re working out regularly, you should expect to build muscle and lose fat almost simultaneously, which means that you won’t see the desired numbers on the weight scale, even though you’ll look great and feel much better than before.
That being said, let’s go through a quick overview of the 5 most useful tips for anyone trying to shed the extra pounds!
1. Instead of “Dieting”, Opt for Quality Calories
It’s not only the abs that are made in the kitchen, you know, as this rule also applies to every other part of your body! Nutrition is one of the three cornerstones of physical transformation, the other two being training and supplementation. Cutting down your overall calorie intake is definitely going to help you lose weight, but not so much if it’s not accompanied by significant changes in food choices.
In other words, you have to learn to choose quality over quantity. And you know the rest of the drill – completely eliminate refined carbs and over-processed foods from your diet, bring in tons of high quality protein from lean meat, dairy, fish, eggs and nuts, swap all of your favorite fried junk foods containing trans fats with food sources that are abundant with healthy fats, and finally – don’t forget to eat your fiber-loaded veggies, whole grains and fruits.
2. Get Friendlier With Dietary Fat
Despite the myth-based, populist “war on fat” that’s been going on for decades now, dietary fat must have its place in a well-rounded, healthy diet, even in the case of fat loss. Foods like avocados, coconut oil, oily fish and nuts, and seeds are amazing sources of healthy, heart-protecting, cognition-enhancing fats that you should get more of, as they are concentrated source of calories and also have a vital function in the organism.
Fat is a crucial nutrient, composed of essential fatty acids, that regulates hormone production and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins by the digestive tract, maintains bone health and heart health and much more. Unsaturated fats can actually lower your risk for heart disease and reduce blood cholesterol when eaten in place of saturated fats.
There are two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats, which can be found in olive oil, olives, canola oil, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and avocados, just to name a few, and polyunsaturated fats, which are present in corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean and cottonseed. The healthiest types of polyunsaturated fats, the ones which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can be found in fatty fish, flaxseed, hemp, chia, and walnuts.
3. Cook Your Own Food as Often as Possible
According to newest studies, the less you cook, the more weight you gain! One study repot from Johns Hopkins University found that people who cook their own dinner tend to eat a lot less sugar, fat and overall calories than people who rarely or never cook their own food. More precisely, the folks who cook regularly ingest about 150 fewer calories per day on average, which quickly adds up to a few pounds over the course of a year.
In addition, restaurants are not always open about how their food is prepared and what ingredients are used, and restaurant meals tend to be calorie-heavy, especially heavy on fats, salt and sugar, and less nutritious in general. When choosing where to eat your lunch at work, look for places that disclose how they cook their food and closely inspect the menu for dishes that best suit a healthy diet.
4. Try High Intensity Cardio
Cardio is super-effective for fat loss, but only when you increase the intensity! If you’re expecting to slim down with the help of long-duration, steady-state cardio on a stationary bike, give it up right now. You can burn tons of stubborn fat by using short, intense bouts of exercise, for example 10-15 minutes of 30-second sprinting with 30 seconds of rest in between. This way you will both burn fat more efficiently, and spend less time in the gym!
The high-intensity intervals push your body toward its metabolic limits while the low-intensity intervals allow it to properly recover before going hard again. In addition, high-intensity cardio will increase your resting metabolic rate for upward of 24 hours after exercise, increase growth hormone levels, improve insulin sensitivity in the muscles and spike levels of fat oxidation in muscle cells.
5. Build Muscle!
The more muscle owned, the more fat burned. As simple as that. The human body naturally burns more calories each day to maintain a pound of muscle than it does to maintain a pound of fat. Therefore, just by building muscle, you can transform your body into a mean calorie-burning machine and give your sluggish metabolism a kick in the butt.
So if you still haven’t considered weight training, now is a perfect time – hammering your muscles with some heavy loads will accelerate your fat loss efforts, increase your metabolism and improve your body composition, just to name a few.
For best results, you want to center your weight training sessions around big, compound exercises such as squats, lunges, bench press, deadlifts, etc. The more muscle you build, the more calories your body will burn each day at rest. Not to mention that you’ll earn a strong, muscular body worth showing off at the beach!