While living a fat loss lifestyle does take some planning and preparation, it needn’t consume your life! Here are some of my top tips for easily integrating more fat loss habits into your life:
1) Keep your workouts quick and effective: You’ll get far greater results if you ante up on the intensity and cut your time in half. Studies consistently show, whether it is high intensity intervals, circuits, or fartleks, you’ll burn more calories during the workout, have a greater afterburn (which means burning more calories after the workout) and get a more lean, toned look if you push yourself to the place where you have to back down and rest, rest, and then push yourself to that place again. How do you know you are at ‘that place’? Your muscles are burning, you are breathless, sweating and it’s HARD. I also tell my clients and cycle participants this is the place where they hate me, or they question their own sanity.
2) Get more protein: Take two groups. Put them on the same amount of calories per day and have one group have a higher protein diet (25-40%) and the other a lower protein diet (15%). The higher protein group will lose significantly more body fat, according to a study by Skidmore College. You will also burn more calories throughout your day, says theÂ European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and not only burn more fat, but reduce your risk for heart disease, according to Nutrition Metabolism. Why? Greater control of insulin levels, for one. Also, protein takes much more effort for the body to break down into usable amino acids, burning more calories in order to do so AND leaving you satisfied longer.
3) Mix your cardio with your weights: If you do cardio spurts in the middle of your weight sets, you’ll burn more fat than if you separate the two. Keep your heart rate up and you’ll get better results – guaranteed!
4) Fixate on fiber! Fiber is a beautiful thing. It keeps you satisfied, clears out your arteries,Â and contributes to fat loss with it’s amazing ability to create bulk in the digestive tract without calories and keep insulin levels stable. Look for a fiber source in every meal! Your best bet: veggies. A close second is fruit, followed by whole grains. Consider adding a fiber supplement to your morning smoothie to get even greater results.
5) Make every day casual day – A University of Wisconsin study shows that wearing jeans led study participants to walk nearly 500 steps more than those dressed in normal work attire. That’s an 8% difference, which over time can yield significant results. It makes sense, right? Pencil skirts and stilettos have never made for comfy marathon gear! If you work in an environment where casual day is only on Friday (or never) switch to flat shoes and less constrictive skirts. Opt for layers so you can go for a walk at lunch without getting too sweaty.
6) Lift heavy, ladies! You don’t have enough testosterone to look like a bodybuilder, I promise. What you will do is get that toned look you are after, burn off a butt-load of fat, AND give yourself stronger bones with which to age gracefully. I encourage you to pick a challenging weight that you can lift – with good form – no more than 8-10 times and work with that for a few weeks. Then try for a little more. The key is to shock your system so it adapts. The adaptation process is what we call results.
7. Green tea – drink it! Drinking 3+ cups of green tea boosts metabolism by about 4% – and it isn’t from the caffeine. 4% is not a lot – it certainly isn’t license to eat another brownie – but over the course of a year it can add to additional fat loss you otherwise would not have seen. Metabolic boost aside, green tea has a host of happy chemicals in it that prevent cancer, heart disease, and aging, so drink up!
8. Groove to tunes (esp fast ones!) When you have your tunes with you, you are more likely to push a little longer, go a little harder, and get a more effective workout. Some studies indicate it will boost your consistency and make those hard workouts feel a little easier, leading to greater fat and weight loss. One caveat, though! If you are exercising outside near traffic, omit the music altogether or keep it low enough that you can hear traffic and cyclists. Safety first!
9. Contract consciously: Contract your abs when you lift those weights (or that box!), squeeze those glutes when you push off with each step..by using those muscles with awareness you activate them more often, leading to better form, addition muscle recruitment, and greater results overall.
10. Get fidgety: Fidgeters burn more calories – keep it moving by toe tapping, taking regular water fountain breaks, stand up when on the phone (or better yet, pace around). When researchers hooked people up to calorie monitors they found that sedentary fidgeters still used an average of 350 more calories a day than other sedentary folk. Not surprisingly, they were leaner as well.
11. Believe you canÂ I underline this because I believe it is the most important one. Without believing in the possibility of your healthy, happy self, you don’t stand a chance. Monitor all the positive things you have done for fat loss; you’ll be more likely to do more of them. And get this – according to a study in Psychological Science, when hotel housekeepers were told that their work was good exercise they lost about 2 pounds and reduced their blood pressure by an average of 10% in only 4 weeks, while those who were not told this had no change.Â Whether or not it’s the placebo effect is irrelevant. Those results are noteworthy.
12.Learn to love fish oil -Â Fish oil is an amazing nutraceutical. It boosts mood, heart health, and fat loss. It’s believed to aid in fat loss in conjunction with a fat loss diet by telling fat cells to reduce or stop replicating and storing additional fat, as well as controlling some of the inflammatory markers that cause insulin resistance and further aggravate fat storage. If fish oil gives you tasty burps, try chasing down your morning dose with a spoonful of nut butter. My recommendation: 4-6 grams of omega-3s a day. If you are taking blood thinners, please make sure your doc is closely monitoring your blood status, as fish oil can have a blood thinning effect.
13. Visualize! See it happen in your mind, watch it happen before your eyes! Your subconscious mind does not recognize the difference between fantasy and reality, and seeks to experience externally what it is expecting internally. Visualize your waistline shrinking, your muscles becoming more defined, and your strength increasing. Do this often, and avoid the things and people which may indicate otherwise (this is one reason why I encourage clients to step off the scale – or opt to weigh in every 1-2 weeks if they can’tÂ kill that relationship completely. Body weight fluctuates wildly due to salt intake, hormones, and other factors and can jack up your mental state and completely derail you).
Think it’s too New Age woo-woo? Check this out: a study in the North American Journal of Psychology reports that those who regularly visualized going through a specific weight workout actually gained almost as much strength as those who actually did it. Even better – when you visualize the workout’s results and THEN do it, your results are even greater than if you just mindlessly go through the motions or don’t do it at all.