1. Start keeping a food journal as soon as possible—at least for a week. Research has proven that you will have a better chance of succeeding with your meal plan and fat loss if you keep a food journal. By logging your actual food choices, you are holding yourself accountable throughout the day. You will also be forced to plan your meals better and avoid binge eating and emotional eating.
2. Social support is critical! Get an accountability partner such as a spouse, friend or personal trainer. You can challenge each other to make good food choices.
3. Eat small meals every 3-4 hours (starting with breakfast) to keep up your energy and to keep your metabolism humming along. When you skip meals, your body slows down its metabolism to conserve energy and store fat. And, this makes it easier to eat too much when you do eat.
4. Plan and pack your meals for the day. This way, you are more likely to stay with your meal plan. Otherwise, you may end up eating fast food, overeating or grazing (haphazard eating).
5. Eat protein with every meal. Protein helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time, helps keep blood sugar levels from spiking and repairs your muscles after a tough workout.
The Top 5 Metabolism Boosters
If you want lasting fat loss and weight loss, you have to continually maintain your muscle mass (through strength training) and boost your metabolism….metabolism is basically the rate at which your body burns calories. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories you’d burn if you did nothing all day (or the amount of calories your body needs to maintain itself).
6. Do not skip meals (same as above). Eating regularly keeps your metabolism humming during the day. Starving yourself or severely cutting your calories will only slow your metabolism.
7. Regular exercise (interval cardio 2-3 days a week/strength training 3 days a week). Building muscle mass will speed up your metabolism because your body has to work harder to maintain muscle.
The more intense the exercise, the more calories you will burn during and after your workout. So, high intensity interval cardio and circuit strength training will give you more fat burn and calorie burn. Breaking up your workouts also works well to speed up metabolism (i.e., two 20 minute workouts instead of one 40 minute workout).
8. Eat protein with your meals (same as above). Your body has to work harder to digest protein. This burns more calories and also helps you eat less during the day. Protein is also critical to repair and build muscle after a tough strength workout.
9. Eat good carbs like fresh fruits and veggies. Again, your body has to work harder to digest these foods and you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
Eating fresh fruits can help you cut out the excess sugar in your diet in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Dr. David Ludwig, a Harvard endocrinologist, who is widely cited by obesity researchers, says that sweetened drinks are the only specific food that clinical research has directly linked to weight gain. “Highly concentrated starches and sugars promote overeating, and the granddaddy of them all is sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Ludwig, who runs the Optimal Weight for Life Program at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
10. Get enough sleep and stay away from long-term stress. These two imposters will wreck your metabolism and health!
Do these things on a consistent basis and you will get the fat loss and weight loss you want!
Top 5 Fat Loss Snacks
One sure way to blow up your meal plan is to snack your way to excess pounds….what you eat between main meals can make the difference in you reaching your fat loss and weight loss goals.
11. Smoothies with Greek yogurt, nuts, etc. This gives you plenty of protein and healthy fats.
12. Nuts. Pistachios, walnuts, pecans and almonds are my favs….it doesn’t take much either (a handful will do). They are high-calorie so be careful. Again, skip the excess salt! Nuts have heart-healthy fats, fiber and vitamins. Great snack for people on the run.
13. Apples, bananas, watermelon and grapes. Take your pick of fruits to eat. I’ve never heard of anyone getting fat from eating too much fruit! We all know the health benefits of eating fruit so enough said.
14. Natural peanut butter. A good protein source that will keep you full until the next meal. Peanut butter is high-calorie so two teaspoons will get the job done.
15. Green, leafy salads. I eat green salads on most days with very little dressing. You can’t go wrong with green, leafy veggies any time of the day.
Note: Drink mainly water and unsweetened tea most of the time for fluids.
Top 5 Fat Loss Cardio Exercises
Workouts in 20 minutes as interval cardio….each workout will burn fat like crazy!
16. Run sprint intervals on grass or in sand if you’re at the beach. Sprints are absolutely one of the best ways to blast fat and sculpt your body. You don’t have to be fast, just run as fast as you can! To make it more challenging, see # 17.
17. Run uphill, stadium steps or step mill. You might need to start on the step mill machine and work your way up!
18. Jump training or plyometrics. This is high intensity and high risk. Perfect your jumping and landing techniques before advancing to full speed jumps. You may want to start with exercises like jump rope, jumping jacks and squat jumps.
19. Bodyweight cardio. Try rotating sets of exercises like step ups, squats, pushups and lunges for 20 minutes…..that’s you doing cardio with your body and that would be a tough, fat-burning cardio workout. You will also improve your strength endurance.
20. Cardio blasts. Cardio blasts could work this way: between each weight training exercise set, do 30-45 seconds of a high speed exercise like jump rope, mountain climbers or squat jumps. Try to do the whole 20 minute workout without any rest between exercises.
If you have been needing to “ramp up” your cardio to burn more fat, any one of these workouts would work for you!
Top 5 Fat Loss Strength Exercises
Strength exercises for fat loss should focus on maximizing your time at the gym…build more lean muscle mass to speed up your metabolism and burn more fat.
To recruit more muscle fibers during workouts and improve your success, focus more on MULTI-JOINT OR COMPOUND EXERCISES.
COMPOUND EXERCISES will help you burn more fat because you are working large muscle groups in your body. For example, the largest muscle in the glutes is the gluteus maximus and squats/lunges would target this area (among other areas). You will also burn more calories after your workout.
Examples of SINGLE-JOINT EXERCISES are biceps curl, seated calf raise, leg extension, leg curl and triceps pushdowns. Spend less of your time on these exercises.
21. Squats – Bodyweight, dumbbell or barbell….do your squats!
22. Deadlift – Deadlift is a must for your exercise program. It is also one of the best ways to build muscle thickness in your lower back. Lower back fat is a problem for many people.
23. One-arm rotating dumbbell rows and Pullups – These two are a must for any routine so I’m counting them as one exercise.
24. Clock Lunges – Clock lunges work your body in all planes of motion. Lunge with your right leg at 12 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 5 o’clock and 6 o’clock. That’s 1 repetition for your right leg. Lunge with your left leg at 12 o’clock, 10 o’clock, 9 o’clock, 7 o’clock and 6 o’clock. That’s 1 repetition for left leg. Maintain upright posture throughout to improve core strength.
25. Dumbbell Chest Press on Ball – Doing the chest press on the ball forces you to balance while lifting. Each arm also has to do equal work.
Note: I also include exercises like standing shoulder presses, step ups, pushups on medicine ball and tricep bar dips in my workouts.
Start out the right way and don’t stop! Get off the yo-yo weight loss and regain wagon.