Decrease your calorie intakeRostislav_Sedlacek/Shutterstock
While you can file this under things you already know to be true, personal trainer Chrissy Lundgren says too many people discount the impact of making simple adjustments. As a general recipe to lose weight, you need to eat less than you burn each day, she says. Meaning the fewer calories you consume, the more weight you’ll lose. “You don’t need snacks in between meals. Your body will fend for itself and burn off excess fat and stored energy in between those clean meals. Cut calorie intake,” she says.
Take a HIIT
You probably know high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the basis of most exercise classes. This type of workout challenges you to give full energy for short periods of time interspersed with active rest to allow you to recover. On a walk, every three minutes you could run for a minute, then walk for another three minutes to catch your breath. Then run for a minute again. Not only is this effective for burning fat and calories, but it keeps your metabolism revving for hours after you finish. “To fully reap the benefits of this style training, this cycle should go on repeatedly for 20 to 50 minutes. The body will burn calories during the workout, but will also burn fat post workout due to post-exercise oxygen consumption,” explains fitness expert and professional Cody Patrick.
Stop eating sugar
You’re in a bind on the way to pick up your kiddo from school and you’re on the edge of that dangerous combination of hunger and anger—you’re hangry. What do you turn to? For many overworked folks, processed foods are the fastest and easiest solution. But, if you’re trying to improve your health ASAP, physical therapist Lauren Lobert, DPT, OMPT, CSCS, says cutting back on sugar is step number one: “Our fast-paced, on-the-run lifestyles typically lead to consuming an abundance of processed foods that are easy to make and quick to eat. Unfortunately, these food choices are often packed with empty calories most commonly in the form of sugar or one of its derivatives.”
Work out at least 30 minutes a day
It’s tough to look slimmer if you’re not working up a sweat to earn those lean muscles. Lundgren says while you don’t have to go overboard to see results, you do have to prioritize daily fitness. She suggests 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training. Don’t think weights matter? Think again: she says workouts with added KGs burn more calories than basic cardio.
Drink 64 ounces of water
In between meetings, while at your desk, when you hear your alarm clock go off—whenever you think of it, drink up. Lundgren describes water as our internal flushing system since it helps to rid our bodies of unnecessary waste and build-up. For a two-week turnaround, she suggests drinking 64 ounces a day. “Drink eight ounces of warm water and lemon as soon as you wake up and right before you go to bed. This allows the food to break down easier and you’ll use the bathroom to flush out the toxins,” she shares.
Get enough sleep
The urge to see one more episode of your favorite television show and still fit in a gym trip before work can end up doing you more harm than good. Lundgren stresses the necessity of sleep, explaining that when you log enough hours in bed, your body will return the favor twofold in your physique. “You need to allow your body to renew itself. Allow your muscles to build and restore, which will allow you to burn more calories in your workout,” she shares.
Choose whole foods
The biggest impact on weight loss comes from shifting your eating habits, says Lobert. She recommends shaping your diet to feature whole foods only: fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, poultry. “Whole foods have not been stripped of their nutrients the way processed foods have been, and this gives your body and metabolism the tools it needs to run optimally,” she explains.
Eat healthy fat
Lobert explains if you want to burn fat, you have to become fat-adapted, meaning your body needs to switch the primary energy source it uses to fuel your activities. “By eating healthy fats with every meal and fewer carbohydrates, fat becomes the more readily accessible fuel over sugar. You will also feel less hungry when you eat slightly more fat each meal,” she adds.
Consider intermittent fasting
This technique is a great way for the digestive system to catch up and burn calories, says Patrick. He believes it can help teach the body to use its stored fat for energy. “I myself practice intermittent fasting by finishing my last meal of the day no later than 8 p.m. and then fasting until noon the following day. This gives my body a full 16 hours to totally process everything in my digestive tract and rely on my stored fat for energy,” he shares. “Disclaimer: Everyone’s body is different. You should assess your own response to this with regards to energy levels. It gets easier with practice.” Be sure to check with your doctor before trying any type of fasting.
Don’t dismiss cardio
Interval training is good, but don’t forget regular-paced cardio—it helps build endurance and can give your body a break, whether you’re walking on an incline on a treadmill for an hour or cycling your way through an episode of Friends. “This form of exercise keeps your heart rate moderate and will burn off a few extra calories without adding stress to the body,” Patrick shares. “This allows you to still go hard the next day at the gym and it also won’t rev you up so much that you’ll have trouble sleeping at night. Anything that keeps the heart rate elevated will work but just don’t go too high.” But that’s not the only way to drop pounds.
Source: Reader's Digest