Weight loss is a major goal for more than 40 percent of Americans. Is it something you’re working toward, too?
Maybe you want to shed some weight so you can feel healthier, or perhaps you’re trying to make weight for a meet or want to step on stage as lean as possible. Whatever your ultimate goal is, there are lots of ways that you can speed up your weight loss efforts.
Read on to learn about nine of the best strategies you can use to burn more fat, avoid sacrificing muscle mass, and reach your weight loss goals as soon as possible.
1. Start (or Continue) Strength Training
If you’re trying to lose weight but aren’t lifting any weights, now is the time to start.
Some people, even seasoned gym-goers, make the mistake of assuming that when they’re trying to lose weight, their primary focus should be cardio. There’s nothing wrong with doing some cardio, but you also shouldn’t skip out on strength training.
Strength training is important for weight loss for several reasons, including the following:
- Preserves muscle mass: It’s common for folks who are dieting to lose muscle mass, but strength training helps to minimize these losses and makes it easier for you to maintain the muscle you’ve worked so hard to build
- Increases metabolism: The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism will be; this means you can burn more calories even when you’re not exercising
- Improves aesthetics: Preserving muscle mass helps you have a better-looking physique when you’re done dieting; if you don’t prioritize strength training, you could end up looking “skinny fat” rather than lean, strong, and toned
If any of these benefits appeal to you, make sure you’re strength training at least a few times per week.
2. Eat Enough Protein
You can lose weight on a variety of different diets as long as you’re eating in a calorie deficit (meaning you take in fewer calories than your body burns). Most experts agree, though, that it’s best to focus on a high-protein diet if you want to lose weight without losing muscle mass.
Eating a diet high in protein helps to prevent muscle loss. This helps you keep your metabolism up and ensure you’re burning as many calories as possible.
Protein is also a more satiating macronutrient than carbohydrates or fat. This means that, when you eat adequate amounts of protein, you will likely feel less hungry. As a result, you’ll be less likely to overeat and will have an easier time sticking to your diet.
3. Get Enough Sleep
It’s late, you just finished a double shift at work, and you’re exhausted. Should you go to the gym and squeeze in a workout or head home and get a couple of extra hours of sleep? Research suggests that skipping the gym and getting extra sleep will be more beneficial to your overall health and your fat loss efforts.
If you’re not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis, it’s going to be harder for your body to get rid of extra fat. Poor sleep can throw off your hunger hormones, which can lead to increased cravings (especially for high-sugar and high-calorie processed foods) and cause you to overeat. It can also hinder your post-workout recovery and hold your body back from building and maintaining muscle.
Of course, you still need to get to the gym (if you’re always skipping workouts to sleep more, you’re probably not going to see the results you’re after). Find a way to fit in your workouts and get at least seven hours of sleep per night, though, to look and feel your best.
4. Don’t Fear Fat
Fat gets a bad rap, especially among people who are trying to lose weight (probably because it’s called “fat”). In reality, though, our bodies need fat to survive and thrive.
Without adequate fat intake, you can experience a variety of unpleasant effects, including dry skin, dry hair, poor digestion, and hormonal imbalances (remember, the body needs fat to produce hormones). Fat can also help you to feel more satiated and make it easier for you to resist cravings and stick to your diet.
When calculating your fat loss macronutrients, make sure you’re consuming at least 20 percent of your calories from fat (if you were eating 2,000 calories per day, that would work out to about 44 grams of fat).
5. Eat More Fiber
Fiber can also be a lifesaver when you’re dieting and trying to resist cravings. Fiber is a plant-based nutrient that the body cannot digest.
We can’t digest it, but it still plays an important role in our health. It feeds the bacteria that live in our digestive tracts and aids in digestive processes. It also helps us to feel full, which reduces the likelihood that we will overeat.
It’s recommended that we consume at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day for optimal digestion and gut health.
6. Focus on Whole Foods
If you wanted to only eat Twinkies all day every day, you could, technically, lose weight. You’d probably feel terrible, though, and you’d likely find yourself feeling pretty hungry. You also wouldn’t maintain as much muscle mass as you’d probably like.
You absolutely can add in some processed food and “treats” into your diet while still making fat loss a priority. If the majority of your diet isn’t composed of whole foods, though, you’re making this weight loss phase harder than it has to be.
Whole, unprocessed foods (meat, legumes, fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, etc.) are more satiating than processed, packaged foods. They also contain more of the nutrients that your body needs to look and feel its best.
7. Try HIIT Cardio
It’s clear that strength training should be a priority if you want to lose weight and burn fat. You don’t have to skip cardio altogether, though. Instead of slogging away on the treadmill for hours, though, why not try HIIT cardio?
HIIT is short for high-intensity interval training. It involves performing exercises at a high intensity for a short period of time, followed by a longer rest period to let the heart rate return to normal. HIIT cardio can help you burn more fat in less time, and you can maintain muscle as well. It’s efficient and good for your metabolism.
8. Fit in Some Refeed Days
Eating in a calorie deficit is the most important thing to do when you’re trying to lose weight. You don’t necessarily have to eat the same number of calories every day, though. In fact, some research (including a new study just published this year) suggests that fitting in “refeed days” (days in which you eat more calories, primarily in the form of carbohydrates) can help you avoid losing muscle mass while dieting.
This model of dieting works like this: Instead of cutting your calories by 25 percent seven days per week, what if you cut them by 35 percent for five days and then ate at maintenance for two days? You’d still have the same total calorie deficit for the week, but you’d have two days to take in additional food.
This approach can give both your body and your mind a break and make it easier for you to stick to your diet. You’ll also be less inclined to see some of the negative effects of restricting calories, including muscle loss.
9. Take the Right Supplements
There are lots of supplements that will aid in your fat loss efforts. The following are some of the most effective ones you ought to have in your arsenal:
- Caffeine: Caffeine has been shown in many studies to increase calorie burning and speed up the metabolism; it also increases your energy so you can push yourself farther (and burn more calories) during your workouts
- Yohimbe: Yohimbe is also known for its fat-burning effects; it helps the body burn fat in a more efficient way while also suppressing appetite and increasing energy
- L-Carnitine: L-Carnitine aids in fatty acid transportation into your cells’ mitochondria; this leads to increased energy, improved performance, and better recovery
Start Burning More Fat Today
Weight loss and fat burning aren’t easy, whether you have a lot of weight to lose or are trying to get rid of those last few stubborn pounds before you step on stage. Either way, the good news is that there are still steps you can take to make the process a bit easier. Keep these tips in mind as you work toward your goals so you can stay motivated even on your toughest days.
Don’t forget to check out our weight loss supplements as well. We have lots of products that will give your fat loss efforts a much-needed boost and help you see the results you’re looking for.