Finding the best solution for your fat loss goal can be very overwhelming. Some suggest certain diets, while others offer “fat burning exercises” or even special supplements to “stimulate fat loss”. Lots of information, many options and still very confusing (and NOT very trustworthy or safe in most cases). Well, I hope that after reading this article you will no longer be confused about this topic!
To start things off, let’s get one thing clear: there is NO magic pill or special exercise that will forever help you lose the extra weight you’ve been carrying around. But there ARE 4 factors that play a vital role in your ability to lose body fat.
#1 - Proper Nutrition.
Improper nutrition is hands down the most common reason why people gain fat. So how do we fix it?
SOLUTION: get on a plant based diet. We can all agree that eating organic whole foods (like fresh vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts) and other nutrient-rich foods will benefit your health tremendously. So why not make it the cornerstone of your everyday diet? Plant based foods (unprocessed) are rich in fiber that helps you not overeat. This way plant based diet will dramatically decrease excessive sugar intake. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard anyone complaining about eating too many fresh apples the night before and feeling guilty about it. Completely different story with milk chocolate, candies and other processed food, right? Another important benefit of a plant based diet is nutrient density. As you may know, your body requires macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) for proper function - all of the good stuff you find in fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, etc. After eating a reasonable amount of such food, your body will most likely get most of the nutrients it needed and won’t ask you for more food for a at least a few hours. The exact opposite happens when you eat junk food. Junk food will almost always be high in sugars and fats for taste purposes so you’ll get more than enough calories, but not the minerals or vitamins that your body desperately needs. This is why you feel hungry again an hour after eating a 1,000 calorie meal at McDonald’s. Because it doesn't matter how much food you eat if it’s low quality/processed food - your body will still be missing vital micronutrients and will ask for more food again, hoping to get those vitamins and minerals in your next meal.
#2 - Proper Fitness Program.
Our modern day lifestyle will make you sit, stay or lay most of the day. So it’s not surprising that such a lifestyle often leads to gaining fat. How do we tackle this problem?
SOLUTION: proper fitness program. Fitness programs for long term fat loss should mostly consist of full body strength training that will require your body to burn a significant amount of calories during and after your training session. This way you elevate your metabolism for the next 24 to 48 hours depending on the program’s intensity. It is also the most productive way of training - taking less time during the actual workout and reaping the benefits for over a day afterwards. Another important aspect of your training program is general conditioning, such as interval training and moderate to light activities that require elevated heart rate. Strength training, however, will always be #1 priority on the list.
#3 - Quality Sleep.
Not getting enough sleep is one of the biggest barriers for people who are trying to lose fat. It is critical that your body gets an adequate amount of rest every night because not enough sleep can lead to:
Low energy level. This will lead to poor performance at your gym or your desire to skip your workout that day all together. This happens far too often!
Inability to control your appetite. When you are tired, all you care is about either getting more sleep or getting more energy to keep doing what you need to. Most people will lean towards energy drinks and high calorie snacks that will provide missing energy (see Factor #1).
Poor immune system function. When you are tired, your immune system is tired. So when you don’t get enough rest, your immune system is more likely to let it’s guard down - which in most cases leads to a cold or the flu.
SOLUTION: 8+ hours of sleep per night. If your plan for tomorrow is to get a great workout in, be productive at work and simply have enough energy for important activities, then you must let your body “recharge” the night before. And in most cases the more you charge it, the better! You will be more likely to beat your personal record at the gym, stay sharp and productive at work and make right decisions when it comes down to your food choices. I always recommend that my clients go to bed 9 hours before they need to get up, keep their room cool, sleep in complete darkness and use earplugs if needed. Oh yeah, and put your phone away!
#4 - Hydration.
The adult human body consists of ~65% of water and as long as you keep it around this number you’ll be enjoying benefits like: reduced fatigue, high energy, reduced high blood pressure and many many more. All of these benefits will certainly help you lose fat. So how do we stay hydrated?
SOLUTION: drink .65 oz of water per pound of your total bodyweight. So for example, if you weight 175lb than you should drink around 114 oz of water daily. Simple math! I recommend buying a reusable glass water bottle (16-20 oz) and aiming to drink a whole bottle when you wake up, with breakfast, lunch, dinner, during your workout and anytime in between. DON’T just take little sips every now and then. Instead, drink the whole bottle in one sitting and then do it again in a few hours.
Now you have the knowledge to transform your body and health! By eating an organic plant-based diet, starting a training program, sleeping longer and drinking more water, you will help your body melt fat week after week!
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