Fat loss is a goal for many, many people.
As a nation that’s gotten more and more obese over the past few decades, it’s only become more important that people understand the proper way to lose fat and keep it off for good.
I’ve said time and time again that fat loss is a matter of “calories in vs. calories out”. Burn more calories than you consume, and your body will use fat to make up for the difference.
The “calories out” part has to do with what you burn off – not necessarily in the gym, but all day.
It’s based on your metabolism, the sum of all anabolic (“building up”) and catabolic (“Breaking down”) processes in the body.
If your metabolism is low, you will not burn as many calories as you would when it’s high.
While there are a large number of complex factors that affect metabolic rate, there are a few natural things that you can do to keep your metabolism from dropping, and possibly raise it even higher (allowing your to burn more fat!)
#1 – Don’t Completely Slash Your Calories
The easiest way to lose a few pounds in a short amount of time is to drop your calories super low. Your body immediately burns fat in a desperate effort to keep your metabolic processes running like normal.
The downside to doing this, is that your body eventually adapts to this “famine” and your metabolism will slow down as a survival mechanism.
People who try to sustain a very-low-calorie diet for extended periods of time experience a number of issues, such as sluggishness, lower body temperatures, lost muscle mass, and slower healing, on top of other things.
This is the exact reason why crash diets do not work. You “crash”, and then stuff your face to make up for the fact you starved for days/weeks.
If you only lower your calories just enough to start losing fat, you can easily sustain your fat loss efforts for many months.
#2 – Eat A Balanced Diet to Avoid Deficiencies
It’s become popular in recent years to cut out certain food groups when embarking on a fat-loss diet. Paleo (no grains, legumes, dairy, processed junk food, or excessive fruit), Atkins (nothing containing carbohydrates), and vegetarian/vegan come to mind.
Each of these diets has its reasons as to why you’d want to cut out certain food groups, but the fact remains that when you cut out a food group, you potentially miss out on certain micronutrients.
This opens you up to nutritional deficiencies, and each type of nutritional deficiency has its own set of related health issues.
When this happens, it’s because your body is missing the necessary bits and pieces to operate – to keep its metabolic processes running smoothly.
Ensure your diet is balanced enough to include all the necessary nutrients needed to keep your body going.
Smartphone apps, such as MyFitnessPal and Cronometer, are available to help you figure out where you may or may not need to fill in the gaps in your diet.
#3 – Train for Strength
Your muscles are a great source of calorie-burning.
If fat loss and a fast metabolism is your goal, you should do everything in your power to maintain (and possibly build) muscle.
And what is the number one way to maintain, or build, muscle mass?
Challenging the muscles with heavy loads is the only way for your body to realize that you NEED muscle mass, and that it shouldn’t burn it off along with the fat.
Whether you use your own bodyweight or external weights, you should incorporate progressively heavier/more-difficult exercises in your workout program as a way to keep your metabolism high.
#4 – Take Advantage of Sprints and Intervals
If you had the choice between burning 500 calories in one hour of exercise vs. 500 in 15 minutes, you’d choose the latter option, right?
Right. Most people would, because we like being efficient and getting the most bang for our buck.
Instead of idly jogging or biking for an hour, you can perform a bodyweight exercise circuit, prowler sprints, or battle ropes at a high intensity for a minute-on/minute-off, and you would have burned off the same calories in a fraction of the time.
There are two reasons why:
- The high intensities associated with intervals and “sprint-style” training burn more calories at a faster rate.
- This type of training causes “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption”, basically causing you to burn more calories during rest, up to 24 hours after your workout.
Additionally, this type of training is less likely to encourage muscle-loss like traditional cardio would.
#5 – Sleep Well
You know how it feels to go to work after getting only 3 or 4 hours of sleep.
You’re only half-awake, you can barely focus, and you don’t function as well as you would after a good night’s sleep.
Sleeping is your body’s way of recovering after a full day of being awake, preparing you for the next day.
Without sleep, your body would literally fall apart. People die due to severe sleep deprivation.
The sluggishness and half-awake state that people experience after a poor night’s sleep is their body’s way of “slowing down”, because it isn’t fully-recovered or prepared for the day.
When you sleep less, your metabolism slows down. Simple as that.
Your metabolism half of the “fat loss equation” – when your metabolism is at its highest potential, you can easily burn more fat.
If fat loss is your goal, don’t make 5 these mistakes that can tank your metabolism.
At GameChanger, we apply these principles in our programs to ensure our clients are most capable of losing fat.
Interested in a program that’ll give you the tools to rev your metabolism and shed bodyfat?
Click on the links below for more info.