Top Ten Tips to Burn Fat
It’s possible to speed up your metabolism, that little engine in your body that burns calories. Here are ten very simple and achievable steps to burn fat and increase your metabolism looking at key areas in the exercise and nutrition pathways.
Interval training – in which you add bursts of high-intensity moves into your workout, is a great metabolism booster. High-intensity interval training burns more fat than regular, consistent aerobic exercise. If you usually jog at a 10-minute-mile pace, for example, add a 30-second sprint every five minutes. Or add a one-minute incline to your treadmill workout every five minutes. Even if you just have 10 minutes for a quick workout, you can walk at a normal pace and then add in a 30-second bout of speed-walking every three minutes. Interval training at a higher intensity can:
- Stimulate the release of fat-burning “growth-hormones”
- Develop fast-twitch muscle fibers
- Preserve (or even increase) lean tissue while metabolizing fat
- Take far less time to consume far more calories
Weight training is the ultimate way to burn calories fast. A pound of muscle burns up to nine times the calories of a pound of fat. Weight training increases your resting metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you burn while sitting down or resting. What’s more, it gives your metabolism an added boost after you exercise. It remains in overdrive for up to two hours after the last bench press, according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Want to keep your favourite meals from going straight to your hips (thighs, belly)? Wash them down with water, not wine. Alcohol slows your metabolism by depressing the central nervous system. A British study found that when alcohol was added to a high-fat, high-calorie meal, less dietary fat was burned off and more was stored as body fat.
A new German study found that when you drink 18 ounces of water (about two glasses) within a certain time frame, your metabolic rate shoots up by about 32 percent. Using these results, they estimate that by increasing your current water intake by 2 litres a day, a person would burn an extra 18,000 calories a year, resulting in about a five-pound weight loss.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Studies show that eating breakfast plays a part in successful weight loss. Almost 80 percent of people who successfully keep weight off chow down on this meal, according to a study published in Obesity Research. Your metabolism slows as you sleep, and the process of digesting food revs it up again. Aim for a 300- to 400-calorie breakfast, such as a high-fibre cereal (another metabolism booster) with skimmed milk and fruit. Have a cup of green tea and a banana:
Green tea isn’t known only for its cancer-fighting benefits: It may help boost your metabolism, too. People who took green-tea extract three times a day saw their metabolic rate increase by about 4 percent, (You could burn an extra 60 calories a day, which equals about six pounds a year!) It may be because green tea contains catechins, which increase levels of the metabolism-speeding brain chemical, norepinephrine.
Bananas are full of potassium, which revs up your metabolism by regulating your body’s water balance. If you’re dehydrated, you’ll burn fewer calories. Make sure you’re getting at least 2,000 mg: a banana has 460 mg, a cup of milk has 380 mg and an orange has 260 mg.
Add Protein to your Diet
Having a little protein at every meal fires up your metabolism. Your digestive system uses more energy to break it down, so you burn more calories. However, keep protein levels to between 20 and 35 percent of your diet; eating too much of it can cause kidney strain and may cause your body to store too much fat.
Skip the Carbs
Refined carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes and rice, create a surge in insulin that in turn drives down your resting metabolic rate. It’s important to keep carbohydrates in your diet, but really focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which have less of an effect on insulin levels. And when buying whole-grain breads and cereals, make sure the first ingredient listed is whole wheat, whole oat or cracked wheat.
Graze Don’t Gorge.
Grazing is a surprisingly good idea because it helps you avoid metabolic slowdown. Your body will be tricked into thinking it’s constantly eating, so it will never slow your metabolism down. Aim for five small meals (200 to 500 calories) a day rather than three large ones. Also try not to go more than four hours without eating. If you eat breakfast at 7am, for example, have a snack at 10am, lunch at noon, another snack at 3pm and dinner at 7pm.
Avoid the Junk
You may think this is a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised at how those few chips, pop and biscuits on a regular basis add up.
Notice that I said to eliminate junk “most of the time.” That’s because allowing it once or twice per week will prevent over-the-top binges. And besides, a loose-eating day, with a higher-calorie jolt, prevents your metabolism from slowing down, so it’s a good thing.
Also, a common mistake is to make a gigantic calorie cut all at once. Many people get so motivated to lose fat that they starve themselves right off the bat. That causes your metabolism to slow to a crawl, and your body thinks it’s starving, it hordes fat and burns your hard-earned muscle. That’s when you get so frustrated that you give up.
The lesson is to reduce calories gradually, and the first action is to eliminate junk food, most of the time.
Are you Getting Enough Sleep?
A study at the University of Chicago Medical Centre found that people who got only four hours of sleep had much more difficulty processing carbs. The culprit? Increased levels of insulin and the stress hormone cortisol. When you’re exhausted, your body lacks the energy to do its normal day-to-day functions, which includes burning calories efficiently. So the best way to make sure your metabolism runs smoothly is to get six to eight hours of shut-eye each night.
Have a Target
One last diet comment that we touched on briefly earlier: Don’t get greedy; lose fat gradually. If you drop more than 3 pounds a week, you can be sure a lot of it was water and muscle.
Continue that and you won’t start looking better or feeling healthy, in fact, you wont feel your best and look worse than you feel. We’re all impatient when it comes to changing out bodies, but the best strategy is gradual and steady.
Have a goal of losing about 10 pounds of fat in a month as you keep lifting hard to build muscle. You’ll be amazed at what shedding some ugly fat and gaining some rock-hard muscle will do for your total look and how you feel, from both health and self-confidence standpoints.
And remember, if you do it right you’ll be adding muscle and losing fat, in a sense, morphing mush to muscle, so the scale isn’t something you should pay attention to very closely.
In other words, if you lose 10 pounds of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will look completely different (so much better), but the scale will read exactly the same. It’s the fat-to-muscle reshuffle.
So there you go folks, try and stick to these top ten tips and be sure to let us know below how you get on.