Workout Tips

35 Ways to Blast Your Fat Away for Good

Losing your gut doesn’t happen overnight, but these tips can really speed things up.

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Destroying the fat around your midsection takes work. Sure, your training and nutrition both play major roles, but when it comes to getting—and staying—lean, you’ve got to reassess virtually every aspect of your lifestyle: your mood, your attitude, even the way you approach your job and your relationships with friends and family. The good news is that it’s doable. The fat-loss tips that follow, culled from some of the world’s top experts and studies, are designed to help you jump-start your progress so you can get that svelte, athletic body back—and keep it.

1) Eliminate processed foods

If it didn’t exist in 1903, then don’t eat it. Besides having a much lower nutritional value than whole foods, processed foods have been stripped of most of their fiber, as well as compounds like phytochemicals and amino acids—and digesting those nutrients takes energy. A 2010 study showed that eating a sandwich made with multigrain bread and cheddar cheese causes the body to burn twice as many calories postmeal as you’d use after eating a similar sandwich made with white bread and processed cheese.

2) Put down the soft drinks

Opt for water as your go-to beverage and skip soda whenever possible. A 2012 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that people who switched from sugary sodas to water were twice as likely to lose 5% of their bodyweight after six months of dieting compared with people who followed a diet with a similar number of calories—but were still drinking soda.

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3) HIIT it

To really jack up your metabolism and melt the fat off your belly, try implementing high-intensity interval training into your workouts. These hardcore routines involve a high-intensity work period like running at 90% of your maximal heart rate, followed by a low-intensity exercise like walking at a slow pace. A 2008 study from the University of New South Wales in Australia showed that men and women who performed HIIT three times a week for 15 weeks lost 11% more body fat than a control group who performed regular cardio. Performing exercises like kettlebell snatches or thrusters for intervals is a convenient and effective way to get in your HIIT when you’re pressed for time.

4) Lift heavy, light, and often

Study after study shows that adding muscle will help your body burn more calories. Increased muscle mass also increases insulin sensitivity, resulting in less fat storage. Your best bet when planning a workout, according to Jesse Burdick, a Dublin, CA, trainer and nutritionist, is to opt for a good mix of heavy and light lifting days. A recent meta-study found that lifting heavier weights for fewer reps can give you a bigger and longer-lasting increase in your resting metabolic rate than pushing light weight for high reps. The old standard of lifting light still has a place in your workout, though, because it can help you burn calories while you lift. Maximize your fat-burning abilities by mixing up your training. Try doing four sets of your exercise, but break it up into two sets with heavy weight and low reps and then two sets with lighter weight and high reps, Burdick says.

5) Control carbs

Zero-carb diet plans and carb cycling, in which you manipulate carb intake to be higher some days and very low on others, appear to be the best strategies for torching fat. In addition to helping you control appetite and cravings, studies show they also help keep insulin levels stable.

6) Chug green tea

It’ll speed up your metabolism by activating thermogenic (fat-burning) mechanisms. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that drinking green tea extract resulted in a 4% increase in the body’s energy expenditure over 24 hours.

7) Limit alcohol

Your body can’t store alcohol, so when you drink it your body makes metabolizing the alcohol its first priority, which stops your body from oxidizing, or burning, fat. And all those empty calories will only widen your waist.

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