On a weight loss journey and not seeing the results you want? Losing body fat is no easy feat but the benefits to getting lean are undeniable.
Excessive body fat can have a serious impact on your health and even change your life. To put it in layman’s term, the higher your body fat percentage, the lower your life expectancy. In fact, one study on very obese men with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or above estimated they had a reduced life expectancy of eight years.
To really get to grips with body fat, you need to understand the importance of muscle. Muscle burns calories and it doesn’t just do it while you’re in the gym – your body is still torching fat for the next 24 – 48 hours after as it restores stressed muscle tissues. Muscle is a key thing to have to burn fat fast so don’t go losing those gains.
In this article, we’ll look at 15 ways to lose body fat fast, effectively and safely. Read on to find out how you can help make a real difference to your weight-loss goals.
Here are 15 ways to lose body fat fast, effectively and safely.
1. Get better sleep
Squeezing in some extra sleep can have a massive impact on preventing weight gain. This is because sleep impacts on our appetite and hunger.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your levels of ghrelin and leptin can change. Ghrelin and leptin are hormones which play an important role in controlling appetite and satiety – ghrelin activates appetite whereas leptin suppresses it. A study on over 1,000 volunteers showed that people with limited sleep had reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin, possibly explaining the increased BMI observed with short sleep duration.
You should aim for at least 7 hours of shuteye per night to gain the body-weight benefits associated with sleep. If you can avoid the before-bed Instagram scroll too, this will support a healthy sleep cycle.
2. Drink more water
We all know hydration is key for important bodily functions but for weight loss, it’s extremely beneficial. Water is calorie-free and has been shown to suppress appetite and help curb unnecessary snacking.
In one study, 50 overweight women drank 500 ml of water 30 minutes before each meal for eight weeks. Each participant experienced a reduction in body fat, body mass index and body weight and reported a lower appetite.
Try and drink two liters of water per day to reap its fantastic weight-loss benefits.
3. Add in more aerobic exercise (cardio!)
Cardio is the go-to exercise for people who want to burn fat. There are two clear-cut forms of aerobic exercise – high intensity and low intensity. For fat burning, high-intensity aerobic exercise is generally considered the best. It tends to burn more calories as it increases metabolic rate – burning more total fat as a result. Low-intensity aerobic exercise is ideal if you’re obese and generally unfit. It won’t impact on your joints and can be done for longer periods to burn fat directly in contrast to total calories.
One study on overweight or obese adults found that aerobic exercise is the optimal mode of exercise for reducing body fat mass.
Aerobic exercises such as cycling, walking, running or rowing can all help towards burning fat.
4. Increase your strength training
On the surface, most people think that cardio is the best workout option for fat loss. However, if you purposely avoid weights in the gym, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if you want to burn fat.
The more muscle you have, the higher number of calories your body burns at rest. So, resistance training should very much be on your training agenda. It has been suggested that one pound of muscle burns up to 7 calories over a 24-hour period. Maintaining muscle mass and gaining more lean tissue has also been proven to keep people from putting on weight as they age.
Strength training doesn’t only have fat-burning benefits. It can change your body composition, strengthen bone mineral density and may improve coordination and balance to prevent injuries.
Start strength training today to up your muscle mass, beginning with a simple body weight or low weight dumbbell exercise.
5. Opt for a high-protein diet
To keep your muscle mass high, you need to be in a calorie surplus. To get rid of fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. A high-protein diet will help you with this. Protein-rich foods can preserve muscle mass and aid with weight loss by lowering appetite. Protein-rich foods also aid weight loss simply because your body uses more energy to break them down compared with other foods.
Try eating more foods such as lean meat, eggs, beans or cheese to up the protein in your diet.
6. Drink coffee
Coffee contains caffeine which is packed with healthy polyphenols that have antioxidant properties. These properties prevent cell damage and contribute to overall wellbeing.
It is coffee’s caffeine content which links it to aiding weight loss. Caffeine is a stimulant which supports the body’s way of burning fat for fuel – fat oxidation. It does this by stimulating the central nervous system, boosting metabolism and increasing the breakdown of fatty acids.
One study examined the impact of caffeine in relation to successful weight loss. It discovered that higher caffeine consumption was linked to a higher rate of success with weight-loss maintenance among its participants.
Researchers have recently discovered that coffee can stimulate brown fat – a type of good fat which has the ability to improve metabolism and help burn energy. Boosting our brown fat is a good thing because not only does it help burn calories, it can also convert harmful white fat into brown.
7. Include probiotics in your diet
Probiotics are ‘good’ live bacteria which live in the gut and have been shown to promote overall health and wellbeing. Probiotics work by helping to restore balance to the gut. A balanced, healthy gut containing a wide variety of helpful bacteria is important for many aspects of health and can help to protect the body from disease as well as improve your immune system function.
Dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut, is believed to be a marker of certain chronic and autoimmune diseases and has been seen in obese patients where microbial activity is less diverse.
There are trillions of micro-organisms living within your digestive tract. These microbes help you absorb and process nutrients, affecting everything from your metabolism to our mood. So, our guts really could be the key to health and happiness.
Increasing the level of beneficial bacteria with probiotics may help towards fat burning and maintaining weight loss. In one study where woman took a probiotic supplement, they lost more weight compared to those who took a placebo. The probiotic taking group also lost more weight in the weight-maintenance phase.
8. Add good fats to your diet
Fat might seem like the enemy, but the truth is that fat is essential to give your body energy and support cell growth. Fat is a source of essential fatty acids which the body can’t produce itself and it helps you absorb important nutrients.
As long as you cut down on foods high in saturated and trans-fat and replace them with unsaturated fats, you may help prevent weight gain by reducing appetite. You may also help yourself feel fuller for longer.
Following a Mediterranean diet and eating healthy fats such as fish, olive oil and nuts can help with weight loss and keep you healthy for years to come compared to a low-fat diet. Another bonus, the diet has also been proven to help against heart disease and help you manage or prevent diabetes.
Swap unhealthy fats in your diet for healthy fat varieties such as coconut oil, olive oil, whole eggs, avocadoes and nuts. You’ll soon notice a difference and still be able to enjoy the benefits of fat!
9. Drink green tea
Green tea is increasing in popularity as an ideal way to accelerate fat loss. It contains caffeine and catechins – both of which appear to improve metabolism and have a positive impact on weight loss.
Research also suggests that green tea could suppress appetite and decrease fat storage because of its caffeine content. Combined with some regular exercise, green tea could be incredibly effective for burning fat.
10. Say no to alcohol
Having a few too many heavy weekends? That won’t be doing much good for your weight-loss goals.
Calories from alcohol are known as empty calories, meaning they offer no nutritional value. One pint of beer averages at around 187 calories – say you have four or five in one sitting, that equals over 900 calories!
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your belly fat and prevent your body from burning fat. This is because alcohol is the first fuel to burn when taken in. Alcohol not only slows weight loss by its high calorie content, but it also has the added effect of lowing your inhibitions, meaning you’re more likely to make poor food choices or overeat.
If you must drink alcohol, try limiting the amount you drink or opt for healthier alternatives such as spirits with a diet mixer.
11. Reduce stress
Unbeknownst to most, stress may be an underlying contributor to belly fat. This is because it is said to trigger the production of cortisol – a stress hormone which if too high can increase appetite and may slow your metabolism right down.
To reduce stress, find an activity that makes you feel good and boosts those endorphins. This could be listening to your favorite music, doing yoga or pumping some iron.
12. Try intermittent fasting
Considered the latest in a long line of dieting trends, intermittent fasting is the ideal diet tool for cutting fat. While cycling in and out of periods of eating and fasting might seem counterintuitive, there could be huge benefits involved.
When intermittent fasting, you eat all the food your body needs but in a shorter amount of time. It’s that simple! There are many ways to do this, but the most popular including eating in a 5:2 or 16:8 pattern. The 5:2 diet means you eat only 25% of a normal calorie intake on two non-consecutive days every week. The 16:8 involves you fasting for 16 hours per day and only eating within an eight-hour window – usually from midday to 8pm.
Intermittent fasting appears to work for weight loss in several ways:
- It impacts on insulin levels and decreases your fasting insulin levels. Reduced insulin is the prompt your body needs to push it towards burning fat instead of stored glucose.
- It improves your metabolism to help your body burn more calories through the day. Fasting can also impact your levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline – hormones which almost as a key to unlock stored body fat during a fast.
- It spurs ketosis – a fat burning state which uses your body fat reserves (ketones) for energy. Ketosis can reduce inflammation and improve your blood chemistry to help you shed the pounds quick.
13. Cut out some carbs
Cutting your carb intake can be effective for targeting abdominal fat but remember that carbs aren’t all that bad for you. Carbs are great energy for your workouts and can provide the fuel for you to get through the day. The key is to reduce the amount of less healthy sources of carbs in your diet – these are known as refined carbs and have most of the nutrient goodness removed.
Less healthy sources of carbohydrates include cake, white rice and fizzy drinks. Swap these for healthier alternatives such as fruit, quinoa and water. Research has shown replacing refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbohydrates may benefit metabolic health.
14. Eat more soluble fiber
Fiber is an important nutrient for the body and may protect you from gaining weight.
Soluble fiber works by absorbing water and moving through the digestive tract slowly. This helps you feel fuller for longer and may help fight the risk of gaining belly fat. In one study, soluble fiber was linked to nearly 2kg of weight loss over a four-month period.
Soluble fiber foods include flaxseed, oats, beans and avocadoes – add these to your daily diet and see how they can help you boost weight loss. You may also reap the same benefits from glucomannan supplements – a water-soluble fiber believed to provoke fat loss.
15. Up your iron
We’re not talking about pumping iron. This mineral is vital for many bodily functions like transporting oxygen to your cells and muscles. An iron deficiency may impact on your metabolism and increase fatigue and headaches. You might not have the energy exercise which can impact on your ability to lose weight.
Upping your iron can kick your metabolism back into gear and combat fatigue to increase your energy and activity level. Foods such as seafood, leafy green vegetables and beans are all iron-rich.
The Final Word
There’s no magic formula or workout for burning body fat but these 15 ways certainly show how it can be done. If you put the work in, you’ll see the results. So, what are you waiting for? Start and commit to your fat-burning quest today and you’ll have a leaner body in no time.
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