For many people, myself included, losing weight is a difficult task.
Since it can be difficult, many of us look for ways to speed things up ... to improve our metabolism ... to help make the process easier and more efficient.
And because of that, many fad diets ... "crazy" workouts ... and off the wall ways to lose weight are everywhere.
It's sad really ... because when you are struggling to lose weight ... when you're unhappy with how you look and feel ... when you're lacking confidence and direction ... you'll try just about anything.
I know I did.
I was constantly trying the latest and greatest fat loss secret, jumping from plan to plan, all in an effort to try and finally make things better.
Unfortunately, though, I made them worse. And even more unfortunate is that I'm not the only one.
But see, losing weight doesn't take some crazy ... super restrictive ... complex plan.
At a very baseline level it takes a good nutrition plan, moving your body, drinking water, and doing so consistently.
But if you're like me ... you want more than that. You want to know some more specific things you can do to help improve your metabolism and your results...
Or maybe you want to know what it means when people say "drink water" ... and how much?
Or when we say "move your body" ... but how, and for how long?
I get it!
And while it will be a little different for everyone, here is a list of 6 great ways to improve fat loss!
1. Drink plenty of water
Water is extremely important regarding your overall metabolism.
Your body’s cells have metabolic processes that need water and nutrients in order to function normally - water is what helps these nutrients arrive at the cells.
After these processes have finished, there are toxins and waste left over.
Water is also what removes toxins and waste from the cells.
If you are not hydrated, your body cannot do this efficiently.
Water also helps you gauge how hungry you actually are. Drinking a glass of water before a meal will help you feel full sooner.
It has been shown that people who drink water immediately before eating a meal will eat less than those who don't.
Now, I don't mean chug a whole bunch of water right before you eat ... but making sure you are hydrated going into the meal helps with proper hunger cues.
A great general recommendation would be to consume 100-120 ounces of water per day.
2. Try a High-intensity Workout
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be an effective way to get in a great workout in a short amount of time. HIIT training refers to any workout that contains short intervals of intense exercise alternated with lower intensity recovery periods.
Which ... not having time is a big reason, aka excuse, on why many people don't get in shape. I know for me, I used this excuse. If I couldn't do an hour workout, what was the point?
Well ... let me tell you, or ask anyone who has done a HIIT workout, you can get a great workout in a short amount of time ... plus, finding ways to move your body and work out consistently can help improve fat loss.
In addition to that, as your body adjusts to higher stress levels and the workload you are putting on it, your body can end up burning more calories during your body’s repair and recovery process.
Activities such as EMOMs (every minute on the minute), cross-training, sprints, burpees, and high-intensity aerobics classes are great ways to do this.
3. Build muscle
Weightlifting and resistance training can help increase the number of calories you burn in a day, because it helps stimulate and create lean body mass or muscle tissue.
Muscle tissue is very metabolically active, while fatty tissue is not. 1 pound of muscle will burn roughly 8-10 calories per day while at rest, which is about 3x as much as fatty tissue.
That can really add up! Weightlifting has other health benefits such as increased bone density and can improve insulin sensitivity ... helping to improve your body's overall ability to use carbs more efficiently.
4. Eat plenty of protein
To help rebuild and repair the damage done from high-intensity workouts and resistance training, you want to eat protein. Protein is also essential for so many other functions, including the building/growth of all tissue inside the body (hair, skin, nails, etc.)
It helps provide the nutrients needed for the body to have energy and rebuild itself.
As a bonus, your body breaks down foods that are rich in protein, such as chicken, beef, protein powders, fish, etc. ... more slowly so you will feel full longer.
It also has a high thermic effect, meaning it takes more energy to break down proteins, so you will burn more calories while digesting proteins compared to other foods.
We have a wide variety of protein supplements that will help make this process easy and delicious as well!
I know, I know...
If you are like me, you read that and automatically discount the positive effects walking can have.
But, as someone who overlooked it for years, getting in a daily walk/movement on top of my workout routine has been great for my health AND results.
From a fat loss standpoint, walking is very beneficial. Fat is the main fuel source being burned while walking, because it isn't quite intense enough for our body to start using significant amounts of our carbohydrate stores, or burn any muscle protein for energy!
Not only does walking help you burn more calories, and more body fat in general, but it can also help with natural energy levels. When your energy is up, you will feel more like working out, it's easier to say no to temptations, and you're more likely to stick to your plan.
Plus, it is a sustainable habit that we can build into our healthy lifestyle long-term!
Sleep is very important in regulating your metabolism, hormones, and appetite.
When sleep-deprived, it can have a negative effect on your body's ability to burn calories, and increase hunger/cravings.
Your tired brain will release chemicals and your body will send signals to your brain asking for energy.
Many people will crave foods high in fat and sugar to make up for the lack of rest, because of their high caloric value.
You are also more likely to consume more calories, often with little to no nutritional content, when you were able to get little to no sleep the night before.
Plus, people are more likely to skip workouts due to lack of sleep, as they feel "too tired" to head to the gym.
On top of all of that, sleep is the main time when your body regulates cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that, when elevated for periods of time, can play a role in gaining excess body fat, especially around the midsection, and elevated cortisol also tends to mediate muscle breakdown for energy.
This can contribute to muscle loss over time, which causes less calories to be burned every single day, and that certainly won't help with our fat loss efforts in the future either!
Losing weight can be difficult ... challenging ... and flat out hard.
But that does not mean it has to be complicated or crazy.
Applying some, or all, of the steps above ... can help you improve your fat loss, so you can lose weight ... and keep it off!
And if you need any help at all ... or have any questions ... we are here for you!
Even if you don't shop with us, or never do ... if you need help with your workouts, nutrition, or any aspect of your plan, let us know!