Don’t starve yourself, eat regularly throughout the day to boost your metabolism
The mistake many people make when trying to lose body fat is to drastically cut down on the food they eat. Whilst restricting your calorie intake is an essential part of a fat loss plan, starving yourself is somewhat counterproductive.
One of the most effective ways of promoting fat loss is to consume several smaller meals throughout the day. Eating regularly has a positive effective on thermogenesis1 and prevents the feeling of hunger which can often lead people to snack in-between meals.
2. Fat loss supplements can be helpful
There are many fat loss supplements out there, but most try to do either or both of these two things; increase your metabolic rate, and reduce hunger. An increase in your metabolic rate results in a greater expenditure of calories over the course of the day.
Green tea is a very good and inexpensive choice. Not only has it been shown to enhance exercise induced abdominal fat loss2, it has been associated with a vast range of health benefits from lower LDL cholesterol levels, decreased cancerous cells, enhanced oral hygiene and a reduction in abnormal blood clots.
3. Include weight training in your training program
It would be a mistake to just think of resistance training as a training method for bodybuilders. There are many benefits to be had from including two or three resistance training sessions in your fat loss program, especially if you want a more defined, athletic look.
There are several reasons as to why weight training is a great choice for inclusion. Firstly, a decent weight training session is energy intensive and can use up a similar number of calories as using a stair step machine for the same length of time. Secondary, your metabolic rate remains elevated after you have stopped exercising as your body goes to work repairing and rebuilding your muscles. Thirdly, resistance training leads to an increase in lean body mass and oxidative capacity, meaning you become more efficient at burning body fat and controlling your weight over the long term!
4. Use HIIT for your cardio training
When it comes to cardio, HIIT is the way to go. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, with the Tabata protocol probably the most recognisable HIIT methods out there. HIIT involves short bursts of maximum intensity exercise followed by a short rest period, repeated several times. The Tabata protocol, for example, involves eight bouts of twenty second maximum effort followed by ten seconds rest, and is not for the faint hearted!
HIIT has been shown to be much more effective than traditional forms of steady state low to medium intensity cardio in reducing body fat levels. HIIT appears to lead to greater levels of body fat reduction4 – and in a similar fashion to resistance training – it also brings about lasting metabolic adaptions for improved fat loss over time4.
5. Monitor your progress with pictures and measurements
Keeping a diary (either online for everyone to see or in a notepad just your own eyes) can serve as a great motivational tool. The truth is, we all sometimes lose perspective and have bad days. Maybe you don’t like what you see in the mirror or what your scales are telling you. Having a diary with pictures taken every month can help you keep a clear track on your progression and how far you have come.
Some tips when creating a dairy:
- Take fortnightly or monthly measurements and photos instead of weekly. This will give you a clearer trend and smooth out natural fluctuations in the amount of weight you have lost
- Take photos in the same lighting and positioning each month for a clear comparison
- Place greater emphasis on what you see in your photographs and in the mirror. Measurements and weighings are good for monitoring progress, but always be aware of their limitations. For example, it is possible to weigh the same but have a better body composition (less body fat and more lean mass).
- Beneficial metabolic effects of regular meal frequency on dietary thermogenesis, insulin sensitivity, and fasting lipid profiles in healthy obese women
- Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults
- Twice-Weekly Progressive Resistance Training Decreases Abdominal Fat and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Older Men With Type 2 Diabetes
- Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism