Continuing the thread of how to help your body burn fat faster, this is a more in-depth article, full of useful tips, incorporating which in your daily routines will not only get you closer to achieving your goals, but will also improve the quality of your lifestyle and your meals.
- Caffeine for breakfast. Caffeine is a known aid in fat loss. Not only it helps to burn fat during exercise, but it also prevents your body from storing it in the first place. Drink a cup (or two) of strong coffee or green tea before your morning cardio. Just note that no sugar or milk/cream must be added to it, as it tends to reverse the effect. If you don’t like coffee or green tea, there is caffeine supplements available (about 200-300 mg caffeine). Take them and be sure: it’ll give you a necessary boost of energy and will also help to burn fat.
- Do your cardio before the breakfast. While you sleep your body uses up the sugar stored in it, so without it the main fuel for training is fat. That is until you get more sugar from your breakfast. So doing cardio first thing in the morning undoubtedly has its benefits.
- Do intervals. If years ago by the word “cardio” was meant a good long run, nowadays it’s not the same anymore. There are as many types of cardio as we can only think of, but the most effective is cardio intervals, where you combine intervals of high and low intensity. For example, you can walk for a minute (in a fast pace, of course), then run fast for another minute, then walk again. Or you can jog for a minute, then sprint, then get back to jogging and back to sprinting, and so on. Alternating between high and low intensity affects greatly your fat loss, mainly because it makes your body produce cortisol, which in its turn boosts your metabolism. Traditional running does not speed up metabolism, it just uses fat for fuel if you run for more than 20-30 minutes, while elevated metabolism actually burns fat long after your workout. And the great news is you don’t have to do your intervals for more than 20 minutes!
- Eat eggs. Good breakfast is a must after the morning cardio, and there’s nothing better than eggs for breakfast. Egg yolks contain healthy fats and lecithin, which help build muscle, improve your brain activity and speed up fat metabolism. Present in yolks cholesterol is used to produce testosterone, and fats are used for energy, so they don’t get stored in your body as most fats and cholesterol do. Researches show that eating eggs for breakfast reduces the further calorie intake by 25%. Dieticians recommend eating 2-3 whole eggs + 2-3 egg whites for breakfast. And don’t be afraid of cholesterol, it is one of the good ones. But beware of bacteria and infections that might be hidden in them, so be careful and hard-boil the eggs.
- Start it slow! Complex carbohydrates are also great for breakfast, they do not spike insulin which is known to store fat ‘just in case’. When insulin levels are lower, carbs metabolism slows down, while fat metabolism speeds up. It saves glycogen during training and helps recovering. Grains also contain fiber that helps burn fat and manage hunger. Two wholemeal toasts or a bowl of oatmeal are ideal for breakfast.
- 1/2 Grapefruit. Eating 1/2 grapefruit for breakfast also has its benefits. Its juices (thanks to Vitamin C) neutralize fat, lowering insulin. Studies show that people who ate 1/2 grapefruit for breakfast burned 1.5 kg more fat in 3 months than those who didn’t.
- Porridge, sir! In a couple of hours after your breakfast, it’s time for a second meal. It is important to eat regularly, every 2.5-3 hours to keep your metabolism going and avoid the starvation mode. When trying to lose weight it’s essential to eat 6-8 times a day, just watch your portions – they should be small. Traditional plain oatmeal that is cooked in water and has no additives or sweeteners is great for the second meal. Although to make it tastier for yourself you may want to top it with a bit of fruit and cinnamon.
- Homemade cheese. Your meal is not proper if it doesn’t have any protein in it, so you may add some cheese to your meal. It contains about 25 g of protein, derived from casein, that speeds up the muscle building and suppresses hunger. Chooses cheeses that are low in fat (no more than 1%).
- Oh my water!Drink 2 glasses of water between meals. Water helps boost metabolism by 25-30% in just one hour, while dehydration prevents fat loss. Pure water is essential not only for fat loss but for your well-being in general.
- Green Tea Extract. Take Green Tea extract before your workout. Green tea contains strong natural thermogenics – caffeine and catechins. To lose fat quicker, take the supplement twice a day before or between the meals. Taking green tea with your meals can disrupt iron absorption.
- Warm up! Everyone knows the importance of a warm before a workout. But if you want to lose weight, stretching alone will do you no good. Turn your warm up routine into a short cardio of 10 or 15 minutes. This way you will prep your body better and will burn additional calories.
- Change your routine. They say that strength training does not burn calories. That’s why you have to stop doing isolated moves and move onto something more engaging. For example, instead of leg presses in a gym do squats. They require up to 50% more energy, thus burning more calories. Train the largest muscle groups by doing basic exercises with barbells and dumbbells. Also try to engage multiple muscle groups in one session. If you don’t have enough time, divide all groups in two day (e.g. 1 day – chest, back, legs; 2 day – arms, abs, hamstrings). Train every second day, doing 1-2 exercises for every muscle, 3-5 sets.
- Lift heavy! Many people will advise you do low weights and many repetitions in every set to burn more calories, but the most calorie expenditure is achieved with heavy weights, 4-6 repetitions per set. It also elevates your metabolism for several hours after the training.
- Rest less between the sets. To burn fat you shouldn’t rest for more than 1 minute, ideally 30 seconds. To help your body recover, alternate between different muscles, for example, if you train chest and back, do 1 set of a chest exercise, rest 30 seconds and move onto 1 set of a back exercise.
- Longer sets. Using this trick will help stimulate fat loss even more. You have two options: Do 6 reps, then lower the weight by 10% and continue to failure, OR rest 15-20 seconds and continue with the same weight to failure.
- Time for simple carbs! Although this type of carbohydrates is considered bad due to spiking insulin, they are good to have after a workout. Exhausted muscles need sugar for recovering energy and building up, which in its turn helps to burn fat.
- Protein. Protein is a must after a workout, but natural protein is processed slowly in the body, so whey protein shakes are ideal here. The shake must contain 20-40 grams of protein. Studies also show that whey protein helps rid of fat.
- Nuts. Between the post-workout meal or lunch and the next meal, eat some nuts. They are high in fat, but it’s a healthy type of fat.
- Salad. Eating much for dinner is bad, and even worse when trying to lose fat. The best option here is salads. Vegetables contain few calories, but have volume, which gives you an illusion of fullness. If you eat salad before your main meal, it will reduce the amount of what you can eat afterwards by 12%. Beans and nuts are great to add to salads. Just make sure you don’t put any mayo or ready-made dressing in it. If you really want to lose weight, the best dressings are vinegar and lemon juice.
- Fish. Contains Omega-3 that is known to boost metabolism and proved necessary for our organisms. Just remember that you can’t pan-fry it. It can be poached, grilled, steamed or baked (best in foil).
- Broccoli. Broccoli is a great vegetable for those who wants to lose weight. It is rich in Calcium, Vitamin C, chromium and fiber. It is good to have for dinner and to go with fish.
- Milk. It might seem surprising, but due to Calcium that milk is rich in, it actually helps to get rid of fat, but only if you choose a low-fat milk. Researchers suppose that calcium helps break down fat. Milk also contains a lot of slowly digested protein, which is good when you sleep. Choose milk with no more than 1% fat.
- Fruit. If you crave something sweet, forget cakes and candy. For dessert you can have only fruit. The best of them is grapefruit, but apples will do as well, because they have a lot of vitamins and micro-elements and are low in calories.
- Walk before sleep. Even if you don’t have a dog, you still better go for a walk before you go to bed. Ideally, you should walk for 30 minutes. It will help with digestion, clear your mind and enrich your blood with oxygen, which is especially good before sleep. If you ate at dinner more than you should have, walk for 45 minutes.
Late at night
- No to carbs! No matter how hungry you are, you can’t eat carbs after dinner – they will turn into fat. The exception is a late workout. In this case you have to eat simple carbs.
- Yes to protein! Drink a protein shake before sleep, but not the whey protein. Casein is good in this case, because it takes long to be digested.
- Sleep. Sleep deprivation slows down the production of all hormones, including testosterone, low levels of which also slow down metabolism and muscle building, therefore it slows down fat burn too. A good night sleep is no less than 7-8 hours, but sleeping for much longer is bad too. More than 10 hours of sleep slow down all the processes in our bodies as well as the sleep deprivation does.