I would venture a guess that about 95% of my clients have had a goal of fat loss and they’ve used some seriously insane methods to reach their goals. Ketosis diets, hCG injections, juice cleanses, meal delivery services that taste like cardboard (or worse), you know the drill. Anything for fast results! And I’m right there with them. I’ve done it ALL!
Fat loss can be so complicated…but it doesn’t need to be. Below I’m giving you my five best tips for fat loss and they’re super simple and effective. I’ve used them myself and now I use them with my clients and they produce seriously fantastic results. If fat loss is your goal, here you have it! Enjoy!
1. Protein Up!
If you’re looking to lose fat, a caloric deficit is the only absolute requirement for fat loss, however protein is the key player when it comes to your nutrition and fat loss (double bonus if you add veggies to the mix for more nutrients & fiber which will help you stay fuller longer). A general rule of thumb for the average person is .8g-1.2g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
So say you weight 150lbs. You would figure it out like this:
(150/2.2) x .8 = ~55g of protein per day
So why is protein such a big deal? Keep reading 😉
Protein Maintains Muscle
Most often when we start out on a fat loss journey we want to lose weight asap. We want results and we want them fast! But here’s the thing…if we are too stingy with calories and not eating enough protein, our bodies could start burning muscle tissue instead of fat. This is exactly what we don’t want. We want the fat gone and the muscle to stick around. Eating enough protein really is the key dietary factor in getting your body to preserve muscle and burn fat instead.
So does this mean we should be a high protein diet and leave out the carbs and fruit? Hell no. It just means that we should put more of an emphasis on building each of our meals and snacks around a protein source. This will ensure that you’re getting your fill of the good stuff 😉
Protein Keeps You Full
Of all the macros (carbs, fat, protein) that we get our calories from protein is the most filling. Getting enough protein is a sure fire way to control your hunger, curb your appetite, and keep you full and satisfied. Protein also keeps up feeling fuller for longer because it takes more time to break down and digest than the other macros (see below). You definitely want all of these things working in your favor when you’re trying to lost fat, yes?
Protein Requires More Energy for Digestion
The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy our bodies use to digest what we eat. Protein has a higher TEF than fat and carbs which means our bodies are actually burning more calories to break down protein than to break down the other two.
2. Lift Heavy
There is a lot of confusion around what the best exercise is for fat loss, so let’s settle this once and for all. Heavy lifting is the second most important thing you can do for yourself when it comes to fat loss after nutrition. When you lift heavy and with intensity, your body will keeping burning calories even after you have completed your workout! This means that your body is still working and burning off calories while you’re recovering on the couch…maybe with a glass of wine 😉 This after burn is known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC.
If you were to do some steady state cardio instead of lifting, your body stops burning calories once you’re done exercising. Aka no EPOC. Once you’re done your body is done, too. While there certainly are fat loss benefits to long, easy walks (lower cortisol, less stress, more movement), lifting heavy anywhere from 3-6 times per week is essential.
Lifting weights will also shape your body so you look and feel super strong. Those who want the ‘toned’ look have to do strength training in order to build the muscles to show the tone. And ladies, don’t worry about the bulking myth- our bodies don’t really have what it takes on a biological level to create bulk. I promise 🙂
Lastly, remember that ‘heavy’ is a relative term. If you’re just starting out maybe bodyweight exercises are where you need to be. If you’re more advanced start loading up the bar with some plates. In my experience, we’re always much stronger than we believe we are but just be cautious you’re using good form. You’ll know you’re lifting heavy enough if the last couple reps of your set are a bit of a struggle but still doable.
3. Keep Cardio Short & Intense
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and this is a great way to boost your body’s fat burning ability. With HIIT you get more results in less time. Sounds too good to be true? In this case, it’s really not. HIIT produces an ‘after burn’ effect, similar to what your body experiences after lifting plus you give yourself the gift of saving time. Instead of pounding away on the treadmill for 60 minutes, you could sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds, followed by a 30 second rest, and repeat that for 10-15 minutes and be done with it. This type of training gets your heart rate up fast is a quick way to scorch fat. You’ll know you’re doing HIIT right if you’re feeling pretty spend by the end. HIIT shouldn’t last more than 20-30 minutes at most.
Steady state cardio has its time and place but it shouldn’t make up the bulk of your workouts. Replace a couple steady state sessions with HIIT and see how your body responds. You won’t be disappointed!
4. Drink Water
9 times out of 10 when I ask a fat loss client how much water they drink they tell me either “none” or “not enough.” Water helps us stay hydrated, keeps our hunger at bay, helps our muscles grow and function and helps keep everything moving through our bodies.
If we’re living in a constant state of dehydration we’ll have less energy, interrupted sleep, food cravings and the feeling of hunger even though we might just be thirsty. When these feelings hit, we’re more likely inclined to grab another coffee or maybe a quick boost of sugar, but I want to urge you to try water first. Drink a couple glasses, give it a half hour or so, then check back in with your cravings and energy. As you increase your water intake you’ll pee more (it should be alllllmost clear in color) but that’s good because all the trips to the bathroom will get you up and moving! Win/win! Aim to drink half of your bodyweight in ounces, so if someone weighs 150lbs, they’d aim to drink 75oz of water per day. It might seems like a lot at first but just do the best you can.
5. Get Your Mind Right
You knew this one was coming 😉
It’s just as important to have a positive outlook, rest and get enough sleep as it is to hit the weights and eat the right stuff. If we’re running on overdrive and burning the candle at both ends 24/7 we cause stress, burnout and exhaustion. If we’re stressed, burnt out and exhausted how are we going to have energy to exercise and make the best nutritional choices? So whether this is some kind of meditation, a long walk, reading, writing, whatever, do something to help calm you down every day…even when you don’t feel like you really ‘need’ it. Keep your stress hormones at bay and give yourself a break. Your body and mind will thank you.
I’ve created a #SimpleSaneSuccessful Fat Loss Nutrition Guide to help you get started. This FREE guide takes away all of the complicated formulas, tracking apps and guess work. If you follow this easy guide, you’ll see how simple fat loss can really be. I’m going to teach you how to build your own fat loss plan using foods you actually like all the while learning how to incorporate your favorite treats. The goal of this guide is to allow you to achieve your fat loss goals while keeping your cravings down, energy up and confidence high!