Best ways to lose body fat
Everyone has their own standards for their health and wellness, and those standards vary among people. It’s understandable that not everyone is focused on losing body fat and that’s ok for some. But since some people do want to change their body composition, whether that’s for health reasons, aesthetic purposes, athletic performance or other reasons, it’s really important to know how to do it safely and effectively.
At this point, it is necessary to define the difference between “losing weight” and “losing fat”. Most people don’t understand that when you lose weight, except for losing fat, you also lose muscle and water. On the contrary, when you want to lose fat, you want to keep the muscle. Muscle needs more calories to maintain it and, hence, a better supported metabolism.
Losing body fat can be difficult and will require you to modify your diet and lifestyle and start to exercise or change your exercise routine if you’re not seeing satisfactory results. In addition, you’ll need to make sure your diet and exercise plan suits you and helps you to maintain lean muscle mass while you try to reduce body fat. Also, the preferable way (if possible) is to lose your body fat slowly and steadily over a longer period of time in order not to push yourself into extreme programs and to make it easier for your body to preserve the final result.
But just how much body fat should be lost? It really depends on the person and his/her goals. An extreme program is usually needed for athletic purposes, while a small reduction of body fat is often enough to get a nice “beach body.” A certain amount of body fat is required for survival purposes (around 3-4% for males and a little bit higher for females) while higher percentages (around 15% for males and 25% for females) of body fat are considered within the healthy, acceptable range.
To lose the last 10 or so pounds of body fat is generally a hard thing to do, and to lose even more is, as would be expected, even harder. The reasons for this are many and varied and, again, you have to be patient.
So, which are the best ways to lose body fat? The best ways to lose body fat often differ from person to person and depend upon the level a person is at, so it is best to make a plan accordingly. However, there are some basic habits (such as a healthy low fat diet, daily exercise etc.) that can help everyone to reduce body fat.
In this article, we will analyze some of the best ways to lose body fat.
Best ways to lose body fat
Reduce your daily calorie intake
The first step revolves around simple mathematics: You should consume fewer calories than your body is currently used to consume in order to reduce your body fat. When a calorie deficit is created, the human body reacts by using body fat stores to fill the difference. This is the first thing on the “things to do” list every time, regardless of the dietary approach you choose.
What to do: Most people who are active enough and exercise regularly burn about 36 calories per kg of body weight or more per day. According to this, someone who weighs 90-100 kg would consume about 3.600 calories a day. To start decreasing your body fat, reduce your calorie intake between 25 and 30 per kg of body weight per day during training days, or at 2.800-3.200 calories per day. On rest days, reduce it to about 24 calories per kg of body weight per day (which means about 2.400 calories for someone weighing 90-100 kg).
The easiest way to reduce calories? Eliminate excess fat from your diet. That means that you should not consume butter, oils and salad dressings (low fat or fat-free sauces are ok). Also, avoid full fat dairy products, eat only the egg whites and replace fatty red meat with lean meat. You can keep some healthy fats in your diet though, such as salmon, nuts, peanut butter and avocados.
Cut back carbohydrates and on all bat fats and eat higher amounts of protein
Although the control of the calorie intake is essential, hormonal balance is important too. Along with the calorie intake, hormones regulate fat burning. They suppress fat storage hormones and as a result, a significant amount of body fat is eliminated. The ideal way to control these hormones is to keep your carbohydrate intake under control as carbohydrates increase insulin, a hormone that inhibits fat breakdown and leads to its storage. Consume fewer carbohydrates and your insulin levels will become moderate, leading to fat loss.
Of course, not all carbohydrates are the same. In short, fast-digesting carbohydrates tend to create a huge insulin burst, leading to more dynamic fat gains. These carbohydrates include white bread, most cereals, sweets, rice wafers, white rice and potatoes. On the other hand, slow-digesting carbohydrates (found in whole grain bread, oats, sweet potatoes and legumes) do not cause any significant increase in insulin levels, so they should be the majority of your carbohydrate intake.
What to do: The common approach is to consume half the amount of carbohydrates that you used to consume. For example, if you tend to eat a big breakfast roll in the morning, eat only half of it and save the rest for the next day, or just take a smaller one. If you usually eat 2 cups of pasta for lunch, eat only one. Over time, you will see the desirable results.
As for the carbohydrate type, the above-mentioned breakfast roll should be 100% whole grain, not white. At any time during the day, choose whole grain foods instead of processed ones. The only exception is after a workout, when fast-digesting carbohydrates dominate for insulin boosting and muscle glycogen restoring. Keep the carbohydrate intake at less than 4 gr per kg of body weight per day and of course do not consume any carbohydrates before sleep because they inhibit the secretion of growth hormone (GH), which is necessary for fat burning, increasing body mass and strengthening the immune system.
In addition to limiting the carbohydrates in your diet, studies show that eating higher amounts of protein can also assist in weight loss. Protein helps support lean muscle mass and metabolism function during weight loss. Furthermore, it keeps you satisfied enough throughout the day.
What to do: Including at least 1 to 2 servings of lean protein at each meal can help you eat adequate amounts every day. You can consume about 2 gr of protein per kg of body weight each day. Your main sources of protein should be lean meat (chicken, hake, turkey breast, tuna), egg whites (yolks contain fat, so discard most when trying to lose fat) and low-fat cottage cheese. You can also use protein powder as a diet supplement, especially if you work out.
As for the fat, it is considered that the fat intake of the wrong kind will result in increased fat gains. This makes sense, as the body typically burns carbohydrates for fuel and uses protein for building muscles. Therefore, it is useful to cut back on all bad fats while increasing the good fats. Good fats like the omega-3 (Ω-3) and omega-6 (Ω-6) fatty acids will actually have a fat-burning effect, as they enhance the metabolic function, so their consumption should be encouraged. The fat intake should make up to 20-30% of your daily calories.
Have more meals per day
Definitely, calories and hormones can determine if your body uses the food you consume to build muscles or store body fat, but the frequency of meals affects your metabolic function. Every time you eat, your metabolic rate slightly increases, especially when the meals contain proteins. So, if you have six meals per day, you will notice six metabolic spikes during the day, instead of just three which most people have according to the number of their meals (usually three) during the day. And, of course, eating seven or eight times a day would be even better than six. This is an effective way to burn fat without having to drastically reduce calories. Frequent meals tend to increase the possibility of the calorie intake to be used for building muscle tissue instead of storing body fat.
What to do: Have 6-8 small meals per day (meaning every 2-3 hours). Do not stay longer than three hours without food – your body will get into a hunger state that can lead to fat storage and make it more likely that you would overeat at your next meal. Talking about overeating, just because you consume more meals does not mean that you should take more calories. Define your ideal daily calorie intake for fat burning and divide it between your 6-8 meals. Be careful not to skip meals because you will be at risk for running low on nutrients throughout the day and your weight loss may actually be coming from the loss of lean muscle mass, not excess body fat.
Drink at least 3 liters of water per day
In most of the fat loss success stories, one common conclusion arises: a higher than normal water intake is important for fat loss. The water you consume is crucial for fat metabolism because it helps the liver perform the function of fat conversion for energy purposes.
When you don’t drink enough water, the liver also has to work on behalf of the kidneys (because the kidneys are water-deprived). As a result, total liver productivity is decreased, and that has deleterious consequences for the fat-conversion process. Therefore, drinking enough water plays a key role in fat reduction. Drink at least 3 liters of water per day, or even more if it’s possible. Also, you need to drink even more water if you are obese and/or live in a hot climate.
You should cut alcohol while you’re trying to lose body fat. This will help you meet your goals faster. Studies have showed that alcohol can lead to increased body fat especially in the midsection.
Drinking alcohol will not only add empty calories but will reduce your appetite too. It will also decrease the number of fat calories burned for energy. After its consumption, alcohol is converted into acetate, which is used for energy production instead of fat and, hence, helps the body to preserve its fat storage.
Once you have met your goals and you are on a maintenance diet, you can add in a small amount of alcohol consumption. Women should stick to one glass of alcoholic drink (preferably wine) or less and men should consume two glasses or less daily.
Use a fat-burning supplement
Fat-burning supplements can be an effective fat-loss aid when used properly. They’re designed with ingredients that can really give you an extra boost to help burn fat. They have a thermogenic effect on the body, which causes fat to be burned at a faster rate. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that these are supplements and can’t replace a solid diet and exercise. They can only help if they are used in conjunction with the proper diet and training regimen. Also you can try natural nutrition like apple cider vinegar, curcuminoids and turmeric that are known for their health benefits and body fat lose(You can read about Curcuminoids and turmeric health benefits , Apple cider vinegar benefits for your health)
Get adequate sleep
Insufficient sleeping can make body fat loss way more difficult. Studies have shown that people who don’t sleep well or enough hours per day tend to gain more body fat and lose more lean muscle mass. In addition, the levels of ghrelin (which is a hunger hormone) increase which leads to the stimulation of your appetite.
Tips for a good night sleep:
- Aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Try going to bed earlier or later in order to meet your nightly goal.
- Try to turn off cell phones, laptops and TVs prior to going to sleep. This will help you get a more sound sleep.
Interval training and high intensity interval training (HIIT)
One of the best ways to lose body fat fast and also lose some pounds in the process is HIIT. According to Kurt Hester (TD1 National Performance Director), high intensity interval training is more effective in fat burning than a conventional cardiovascular workout over a longer period of time. Not only your body will burn more calories during a HIIT, but it will also continue to burn more calories and fat 24 hours after the workout. This does not mean that you have to restrict yourself to interval training on a treadmill. On the contrary, you can go out and run on hills, drag car tires and push or pull a “sled”.
Run (or run more)
Many experts on the field agree that running can be extremely beneficial for fat loss. Most fat is burned during low-intensity physical activities. The better your shape, the higher the percentage of fat oxidized in the metabolic process. Also, the longer the activity, the higher the amount of fat burned. You burn fat ideally while you run at a slow pace where you would be able to maintain for hours. This way, you can benefit even after you stop running as your body keeps burning fat for 2-3 hours after finishing a run. If you want to lose a few pounds too, make sure you only consume liquids and maybe a little protein powder during that time frame.
What to do: If you feel fit enough for a slow, pre-breakfast run to improve your fat metabolism, do it. Run slowly for 40 minutes max in the morning (on an empty stomach) and just watch the fat disappear in no time. In order to track your running progress, you can use wearable technology, like fitness watches or heart rate monitors.
Exercise with aerobics and lightweights
If you think weightlifting is the only thing you have to do to lose pounds fast, you are wrong. You’re gonna need a balanced program which will contain weightlifting, cardio and diet.
For sure, you need cardiovascular exercise to burn excess fat. The human body burns primarily carbohydrates during the first 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. At around the 20th minute the body begins to use stored body fat as the primary source of energy. However, if you only do cardio, you will just train one type of muscle tissue and support only a part of your metabolism, so you need a combination of both weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise. You can also get a rowing machine that can help you burn the extra body fat(Learn more about rowing machines for weight loss)
It is probably best to start your fat-burning program with low-intensity aerobics and weightlifting, to ensure your body is not placed under undue stress at this early stage. As fat is lost, you can gradually increase the intensity of your workout. Moderate aerobics are likely to burn a greater amount of body fat if the intensity is kept at around 70% of the maximum heart rate and if ideally last more than an hour. As for weight training, all body parts should be targeted with high repetitions of basic exercises that work larger muscles. After the workout, it’s wise to consume some protein powder, so that the protein can be delivered to your muscles, to begin healing the “micro tears” (very small tears in the muscle tissue, caused by intense contraction of the muscle during workout) in the muscle.
Choose a sport
When referring to the best ways to lose body fat, choosing a sport as a workout is definitely one of them. Playing a sport is a great way to burn extra calories and fat and have a lot of fun in the process. Since it is fun, it’s an effective way not to get bored while doing your necessary daily workout.
Playing a sport includes both cardiovascular exercise and non-linear movement (jumps, setbacks, side steps), so it may be more useful for losing fat than simple running. You don’t have to be the next Michael Jordan to go to your neighborhood’s park or to a basketball court and play a round. Just do it! Most people are happy to have another player. If you’re not into group sports, just choose an individual sport. There is a huge list of sports to choose from depending on what suits you most.
CrossFit has earned the interest of many men and women across the globe and that’s for a good reason. There is no doubt about the benefits of this whole body training which will test your physical abilities in almost every way. The combination and timing of the exercises, the positive competitive experience and the team spirit are just some of the things that make it so great as a workout. If you are looking for a good way to burn huge amounts of calories, reduce fat and change your daily boring training style, then CrossFit is a good investment of your time. The only thing that may not please you is your wallet.
Reduce body stress with yoga
Is yoga among the best ways to lose body fat? Well, traditional yoga can’t help you to lose weight and body fat fast, but it can help you with stress management. It is well known that stress contributes to belly fat and other health problems. On the other hand, there are some forms of yoga that do help fat burning. Power yoga, Bikram yoga and Vinyasa yoga offer not only strength, flexibility, endurance and balance, but a higher calorie burn too. In a one-hour class, a person burns about 350 calories, 480 calories and 600 calories doing Power yoga, Bikram yoga and Vinyasa yoga respectively. Bikram yoga, a series of 26 never-changing poses, is always performed in a hot room at 105 degrees, and sometimes the other styles are as well. Both Power yoga and Vinyasa yoga are characterized by constant motion, flowing from one pose to the next with little rest. You can choose any of these according to your goals and preferences. You can even try them at home by purchasing any dvd you like on amazon, if you don’t have enough money to spend on classes.
Don’t try to lose fat only in specific places
Everyone seems to know that trying to reduce the fat only in specific places of the body is not feasible, but almost everyone seems to have tried this at least once in his/her life. Don’t waste your precious time at the gym to lose fat locally, because it is not beneficial. Instead, use this time to do high intensity interval training (HIIT), aerobics and weightlifting, which are beneficial for your health and will help you to lose weight systemically.
Train with friends or in groups
“One of the things that make me stand out from other players in the championship is the people who surround me. I have great people around me. We always help each other when we have bad days.” said Greg Jones, who is a former American football fullback, when he was asked for his opinion on group training.
And that’s exactly what team work or even one partner can offer (besides your ability to lose fat faster of course). Partners give you motivation. You pull each other up and help each other to remain into a good physical condition. When you think you cannot run any longer or do the last repetition, you have a partner (or partners) to make sure you do it.
Use a personal trainer
If you’re not into group training, you can always hire a personal trainer. A personal trainer can motivate you and inspire you to lose excess body fat. Having someone on hand to offer support and expertise can really make the difference for those who are struggling with their fat-loss efforts. The ideal personal trainer is the one who has the right amount of knowledge and knows how to create a training program according to the specific needs of each client.
Weight yourself at least every week
Studies have shown that regular weighing helps you stick to your goal longer term. Knowing that you have a regular weighing can motivate you to stay on track with your diet plan and training program. Try to weigh yourself at least once (or maybe twice) per week. This will give you the most accurate view of your weight loss trend. Remember, although you want to lose body fat, you will see the decrease of body fat reflected in your overall weight loss.