Losing body fat is one of the most common reasons someone goes to the gym. While it’s not always easy, losing weight and reducing body fat doesn’t have to be complicated.
When we try to lose weight, we want to focus on losing weight while preserving our muscle mass. In general, weight loss comes down to simple math – burning more calories (through exercise) than we eat. This article presents some of the major methods to lose body fat fast, focusing on diet for fat loss and exercise to reduce body fat.
When it comes to losing body fat, diet is the most important part. It’s very easy to sabotage your fat loss by overeating, and it becomes much harder to compensate by working harder at the gym. The most important part of fat loss is creating a negative energy balance – where your energy expenditure is greater than your energy intake. It’s harder to create a calorie deficit when your energy intake is high.
While there are many schools of thought about the best diet for weight loss, they all have one thing in common: calorie reduction.
This can take many different forms. You may want to cut out empty carbs and go on a high-fat keto diet. Or you can reduce your intake of fatty foods and follow a simple low-calorie diet or try intermittent fasting. The key to fat loss is to find a plan you can follow and stick to it for the long haul.
Aside from fad diets and macro considerations, it is essential to choose healthy foods that provide your body with energy.
Always consult your doctor or a registered dietitian for a personalized diet plan. Following certain basic guidelines can help you adopt a healthy diet that will lead to fat loss.
You should also consider all three macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and remember that the calorie content is not the same for each. Carbohydrates and proteins both contain 4 kcal per gram, while fat contains 9 kcal per gram. Therefore, reducing your fat intake can make it easier to reduce your total calorie intake. For example, if you reduce your daily fat intake by 10 g, you double the amount of calories lost than if you cut carbohydrates or protein by 10 g.
1. Eat more protein
For protein, opt for lean options over fatty meats, opt for fish a few meals a week, and focus on plant-based proteins whenever possible. Another important aspect of protein is the effect it has on the feeling of satiety. By consuming more protein, you will feel full for longer and may need fewer snacks. This will help to reduce the total daily calorie intake.
When cooking, use heart-healthy oils like olive oil and limit saturated animal fats like butter or lard. Choose dietary fats from fatty fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds rather than fried foods and animal fat sources.
Try to cut out the added sugars from sweetened drinks and desserts.
During a weight-loss journey, if we specifically want to try to burn fat, it is essential to take in adequate amounts of protein to protect our muscle mass. Research shows that higher protein levels during weight loss make it more likely to keep the weight off and help tackle fat loss.
2. Get enough fiber
Another helpful weight loss consideration is fiber. Getting enough soluble fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help you feel fuller and improve digestion.
If you think you’re not getting enough soluble fiber from your diet, you may want to consider a supplement. Research has shown links between soluble fiber and successful fat loss.
It sounds like a lot to think about, but following a healthy, balanced diet doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re trying to lose weight, you want to make sure you feel full (enough) – being hungry all the time isn’t essential for burning fat. Choosing satisfying, “whole” foods and taking supplements when you need them can be easy and sustainable to help you meet your fat loss goals.
3. Give your meals more volume
Increasing the volume of your meals can also help reduce daily calorie intake. By tactically choosing the composition of your meals, ie lots of fiber-rich vegetables, lean proteins, and whole-grain carbohydrates, you will feel more full and satisfied after each meal while staying within your fat loss macros.
Looking back at the basic equation for fat loss, you need to burn calories — that’s where exercise comes in. We all burn a different number of calories even when we’re not exercising (known as our resting metabolism) based on our body size and composition.
While it’s difficult to accurately measure this number, even in a lab setting, some calculations can help you estimate how many calories you’ll burn at rest.
If you’re interested, check out the Harris-Benedict equation.
1. Do Anaerobic Exercises
People with more lean body mass (muscle) burn more calories at rest than people with more fat mass. Think of muscle as active, calorie-burning tissue, while fat is there for storage purposes without burning as much energy.
This is one of the reasons many people exercise – to optimize the ratio of muscle mass to fat mass, thus burning more calories in the long run. We can give this muscle mass a boost through weight lifting or anaerobic exercises. Dry muscle mass contributes to the resting metabolism and the more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your resting energy consumption. The more muscle mass, the more calories you burn at rest. It is worth noting, however, that a significant increase in lean muscle mass is required to have a meaningful impact on energy expenditure.
One weightlifting strategy is called “ drop sets ”. This means lifting the heaviest weights for a set number of sets and reps and then doing the same exercise with lighter weights until your muscles get tired. It trains your muscles to work harder and see optimal results. Another strategy is to use “supersets,” where you work two opposing muscle groups in quick succession without taking a break to recover.
Talk to a personal trainer if you want to incorporate any of these strategies into your workouts.
2. Improve your cardio (aerobic training)
The other important part of exercise for fat loss is aerobic activity. “Aerobic” doesn’t have to mean the stereotypical ’90s step aerobics class with leg warmers and sweatbands (unless you want to), but it can be any kind of activity, from speed walking to intense interval training (HIIT).
In fact, both types of cardio or aerobic exercise have significant benefits and should be included in your weekly routine.
3. LISS – Low-intensity steady-state
LISS cardio is your standard “jog-in-the-park style” cardio workout when you train at a slow or moderate pace for an extended period of time.
This could be running, cycling, swimming, or using an elliptical machine at the gym. Low-intensity cardio is suitable for almost all fitness levels. It targets your heart rate in the “fat-burning zone” for a longer period of time.
4. HIT – High-intensity interval training
HIIT is a newer approach to cardio that requires shorter, more intense workouts; think of multiple sprints for short distances versus a slower jog for a longer distance.
This type of activity challenges your body and often causes your heart rate to rise rapidly, but for a much shorter period of time than LISS. HIIT training can help you teach your body to recover faster and even lead to better performance during your LISS workouts.
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The Best Ways To Reduce Belly Fat
It is important to note that there is nowhere on your body to specifically reduce fat. However, you can take steps to reduce the overall fat content, reducing fat all over the body. Also, a little belly fat is often very normal and nothing to be afraid of.
1. Reduce your sugar intake
There is some evidence that in overweight people, excessive sugar can increase fat stores specific to the abdominal area. (2) Reducing sugar-sweetened drinks (juices, luxury coffee drinks, sodas, etc.) can therefore help reduce the accumulation of belly fat. Reducing sugary drinks and snacks will also reduce your calorie intake, making you more likely to reduce fat from all over the body, including the abdominal area.
When choosing your post-workout shakes and protein bars, make sure you don’t consume too much sugar.
2. Stick to the basics
In general, the best ways to lose body fat are to stick to the basics – a healthy diet and a consistent exercise routine.
If you’re not seeing results, try changing your workout routine and using some new strategies to challenge your muscles.
The Biggest Mistakes When Losing Body Fat
- Don’t limit your food and calorie intake too much – too few calories when you train hard can break down both muscle and fat.
- Don’t sabotage your workouts by eating the wrong foods, especially sugar.
- Remember that losing fat and keeping it off can take time. Fad diets that promise rapid fat loss are usually not sustainable in the long run and can be harmful to your health.
What is the recommended body fat percentage?
Body fat percentage is a way to measure the amount of fat mass versus lean mass and track your progress. The following percentage recommendations are based on the American Council on Exercise :
|Obesity||> 32%||> 25%|
What are the best ways to measure body fat?
There are several ways to measure body fat. The most accurate may require extensive equipment such as underwater weighing and air displacement measurements. These are often reserved for research institutions and can be extremely accurate.
You have several options for home measurements. You can invest in a tool that helps measure bioelectrical impedance, which is based on how fast an electrical current (that you don’t feel) travels from one side of your body to the other.
Lean muscle mass contains much more water, which means it is transferred faster – fat mass has less water and causes the flow to move more slowly. You can buy handheld BIA tools or a scale that performs a similar measurement.
Two other options for measuring at home are taking simple body measurements. You can use body fat calipers, which you use on three different body parts to squeeze the skin and enter an equation to calculate the body fat percentage. The other at-home option is a simple tape measure — you can track the size of the waist, hips, biceps, and thighs.
Although less accurate, you can easily perform these methods yourself.
Message to take home
There are many strategies when it comes to fat loss, but it’s best to stick to the basics. A healthy diet with adequate protein, soluble fiber, and limited sugars can aid weight loss, along with a weight-lifting workout routine (to increase and maintain muscle mass) and varied cardio (ideally a combination of LISS and HIT). By following these tips, you can not only lose fat but also keep your body and mind healthy.
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