6 Best Ways to Reduce Body Fat
1. Focus on overall fat loss: although it’s tempting to hone in on specific body parts (for instance, striving to slim down your waist or lose that back fat/tricep fat), studies consistently show that fat spot reduction is ineffective.
To tackle the fat you see on your body, regardless of where it is, you need a total body fat plan. Although exercise can speed things up (and can help you keep the weight off), we know that changing what you eat NOW will be the most effective strategy in seeing your body fat go down in the next few weeks. Follow your Motivation programme strictly for 80 per cent of the time and you’ll achieve just that. We are focused on body fat reduction, not on the scales.
2. Add in the weights: we’re saying it time and time again, yet some people are still reluctant to give it a try. The reason? Some are intimidated by lifting weights, while others are nervous about going into a gym filled with body beautiful people.
Rest assured that most gyms are very inclusive and they are full of all shapes and sizes. And you can’t keep ignoring the research. The studies consistently show that lifting weights helps you burn body fat. At the same time, it increases muscle mass and, thereby, speeds up your metabolism (which can slow down as you age) so it really is a win-win.
In fact, one study of over a hundred people showed that resistance training alone (or combined with aerobic exercise) was more effective at increasing lean body mass than aerobic exercise alone.
The current lockdown and closure of health and fitness centres does not mean that you can’t lift weights at home. If you don’t have access to a set of weights then you can improvise – one easy and super-quick method is to use an old backpack(s) and weigh some stones to get to your ideal weight.
3. If you’re stuck for time, try HIIT: the ideal exercise regime for shifting fat involves two or three cardio sessions each week (brisk walking/cycling/spinning/swimming) combined with two weights sessions (ideally thirty minutes in length) and some stretching.
If, however, you are stuck for time and you don’t mind high-intensity workouts, then try three or four HIIT sessions per week instead (they’ll only take you 20 or 30 minutes a go).
4. Ensure a steady stream of protein: protein is a fat reducing hero: it helps keeps you full, it curbs your appetite and ‘feeds’ your muscles. Adequate protein is essential if you are to maintain muscle mass during a weight loss programme (without it, your body WILL lose muscle). However, those who stick to the programme (and add in resistance training) usually see a boost in muscle with a corresponding drop in body fat.
Why is muscle important?
Because it’s metabolically active, unlike your fat stores; it actually burns calories just by being there. So, it’s crucial to eat high quality protein (think chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, lean meat, cheese, Greek yoghurt, beans, pulses and nuts) every three to four hours.
And, if you are concerned about that growing midrift, you’ll be happy to hear that studies show that consuming more quality protein at meals is also associated with less belly fat. What better reason to try our high protein/low carb lasagne tonight?
5. Cut out refined carbs: examples of refined carbs include pasta, white bread, breakfast cereals, and other pre-packaged ingredients. I’m on a carb detox myself at the moment (I’m allowing myself one a day) as I need to shift around seven pounds.
The cold weather had me turning to my old friend, the baguette (listen to our podcast on how ditching the bread will almost guarantee weight loss), but my jeans kept telling me it wasn’t worth it (surprise, surprise!). So instead of wraps, I’m going to be using. Lettuce leaves and, although I’ll be enjoying my chickpea curry tonight, this time it will be served with cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. I’m happy to forego it as I know I’ll see the difference in two weeks – it works every time (that and the next point – crucial).
6. Bank some good quality sleep: all of the above are wasted efforts if your sleep is poor. Stress and poor-quality sleep immediately put the brakes on weight loss. Research shows that good sleep helps to regulate our appetite and may actually help us lose weight.
In fact, some studies show that even one poor night of sleep can boost ghrelin levels (the hungry hormone), so every night counts. You may think that you are getting enough sleep right now, but about eight is optimum. It’s also the quality of sleep that matters. You may think that watching a Netflix series in bed on your laptop or on your smartphone helps you relax, but it’s similar to us thinking that a cigarette helped us to relax years ago.
The truth is that blue light from screens stimulates your brain (just at the wrong time) and it can either delay you getting to sleep, or reduce the amount of REM sleep you get. A lack of REM sleep may have adverse implications for physical and emotional health because this is the stage of sleep when we process our emotions, often through dreaming. Blue light from screens is also potent suppressor of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm.
In fact, research shows that smartphone screen time at night was associated with decreased sleep quality, a shorter amount of sleep time and a longer amount of time needed to fall asleep. Worse still, there are some emerging studies linking too much screen time with life-threatening illnesses including cancer and even obesity. Time to download our free Sleep Report.
Get your fat burning drive on TODAY and you’ll reduce body fay, enjoy your summer so much more. Don’t wait until it’s too late – start to reduce body fat now.