I read lots of articles about this major problem people confronts increasingly more nowadays. Daily I hear at least three people who complain about getting fat, basically females. These people say they are training to the gym but without noticeable results.
I guess they don’t realize that their major problem is not the fact that they are training hard, mabe they have a disastrous daily diet or a poor quality sleep, or they are coping with stress.
Wanna mention that, if I would like to lose my body fat and especially the fat stored in the areas of: the belly, buttocks and hamstrings, first of all, I have to make a convention – to respect the following rule: Training (25%) + Diet (40%) + Sleeping, rest (35%).
You’re not seeing at-loss results you’ve been training for? For sure, it may be because you were tricked by some fat-loss falsehoods!
I heard bodybuilders saying that if they train abs every day in a progressive manner, they will lose belly fat and also, get a six-pack. I say that they are completely overwhelmed by the situation, and let me explain why !!! All the people have a six-pack, called rectus abdominus. It’s not visible on everyone because it’s usually covered with a body fat layer. You could do lots of daily crunches, but that won’t help you burn that layer of fat. To lose fat, you must monitor your caloric intake and eat fewer calories than you expend – your body will use stored fat for fuel. When your body burns fat for fuel, you don’t get to pick which parts of your body the fat will come off.
Another stupid thing I heard in a gym was that you could turn the fat layer into muscle. It’s not possible to turn your body fat into muscle. However, weight training is the easiest way to control the shape of your body. The more muscle you have, the more fat your body will burn!
Or “fat makes you fat”. Wrong, consuming too many calories does. Fat is part of a healthy diet, it helps you to maintain your lean body mass, and assist with metabolic function.
Let’s end with those stupid ideas and focus on some rules:
- Eat enough protein.
- Eat post-workout carbs.
- Eat healthy fats.
- Focus on your diet.
- Replace carbonated juices with water.
- Stop doing million crunches.
- Stop drinking alcohol.
- Try drinking green tea.
- Introduce calcium in your diet.
- Use top cardio methods.
- Try not to stress too much.
- Have a both qualitative and quantitative sleep.
- Wake up early.
- Try to keep yourself motivated.
Eat enough protein:
Protein will help you build lean muscle as well as burn body fat. Out of all the macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) lean protein has the highest thermogenic effect on the body. Protein, it’s the most valuable macronutrient of all, because your body burns a ton of calories breaking it down. Professional athletes eat a diet that is high in lean protein, that’s why they have some of the best physiques. That’s why we all need protein in order to survive and burn body fat!
Eat post-workout carbs:
Most people have been falsely led to believe that carbs are bad and that they’ll make you fat. Of course eating too much of anything will make you gain fat, but natural grain or starchy carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, and oatmeal are actually quite beneficial in your six pack quest, especially when consumed post-workout. When you eat carbs post-workout, they have the smallest chance of turning into body fat. Try to eat moderate amounts of carbs and 1-2 cups of vegetables with each meal. This will ensure that your body gets the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber it needs to function at its peak and remain healthy.
Eat healthy fats:
Make sure you include healthy fats into your diet. Dietary fat from: raw nuts, peanut butters, fish oils and olive oil, will keep your insulin level stable which is very important if your goal is to lose belly fat. Don’t be afraid to include healthy fats in your diet. It is easy to mistakenly believe that eliminating fats from your diet is good, it’s actually a dietary disaster. Combining protein with green vegetables, good carbs and fats will begin to charge your metabolism and turn your body a fat burning machine.
Focus on your diet:
In order to burn fat and reveal your washboard, it is important to eat a balanced diet that is made up of protein, healthy fats, and some carbohydrates. Protein helps building muscle and is probably the most essential macronutrient of them all, mainly because your body burns a ton of calories digesting protein. Calculating the right amount of carbohydrates to eat can be tricky, but a good strategy to use is to eat most of your carbs post-workout. Many people believe that eating fat will make you fat, but in reality, healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as fish oils, nuts, and olive oil will actually help you burn more fat than a low fat diet. My last tip is to include plenty of fiber and raw vegetables with each meal. Vegetables are packed with tons of fiber , antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Replace carbonated juices with water:
Full of calories and high fructose corn syrup, carbonated juices can really do some damage to your bones, teeth, kidneys, weight and overall health. Carbonated juices have become a common placeholder at mealtimes and mid-afternoon snack sessions. Swapping soda for water can be accomplished if you’re patient and persistent. At first, you can add fresh fruit slices to carbonated water, also add foods high in vitamin B and L-glutamine to your daily diet and then change carbonated water with plain water – feel free to keep using your fruity mix-ins. Drinking water improves the skin vitality, regulates the body temperature and helps fuel the muscles, helps flush out the toxins and waste products from your body. Also, without water, your heart will have to work harder to pump oxygenated blood to all cells, and so will the rest of your vital organs, which can cause fatigue.
Stop doing million crunches:
I strongly believe that multi-joint, total body movements will promote more total fat loss and promote a much bigger muscle building response than crunches and sit-ups ever will. It is completely pointless to waste an hour of your time doing hundreds of useless crunches, when that hour could be spent doing exercises that are more productive for fat loss. I recommend to work abs for about 20-25 minutes two or three times per week, there is no reason to work abs any more than this. You can try exercises like: barbell deadlift, seated barbell military press, barbell squat, chest dips, dumbbell lunges, closed-grip barbell bench press, barbell bench press using a medium grip, pull-ups, pushups, etc..
Stop drinking alcohol:
Any alcohol like wine, cocktails, even straight vodka or whiskey, but especially beer is loaded with carbohydrates and will inflate your waistline. Alcohol impairs your body’s ability to burn fat – as your body breaks down the alcohol, it starts making fat from a chemical by-product of the process. What’s really alarming is that the intensity of drinking is dramatically increasing. Alcohol consumed before a meal tends to increase meal-calorie intake, which is likely due to inhibited satiety or intensified enjoyment of food. Obesity in adults is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2. Obesity increases a person’s risk of several maladies including heart disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis. In a national alcohol survey, obese men had a significantly greater rate of alcohol dependence and abuse compared to normal weight men. I encourage you to control the alcohol intake.
Try drinking green tea:
The benefits of green tea just keep adding up – it has been shown to help fight cancer, make your skin glow, etc.. Green tea contains bioactive compounds that improve health, it’s loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants. These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant EGCG which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties. Green tea increases fat burning and improves physical performance and also can kill bacteria, which improves dental health and lower your risk of infection.
Introduce calcium in your diet:
Milk isn’t the only dairy that deserves real estate in your fridge. The calcium may decrease the likelihood that fat will flock to your stomach. Aim for one serving with every meal: a glass of milk with breakfast, a slice of cheese with lunch, and yogurt as an after-dinner treat, for example. Calcium can also help lower your cholesterol. The best part is that LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol – the bad cholesterol that’s implicated in coronary artery disease, dropped by 11 percent at people taking an extra 1,800 milligrams of calcium a day. Calcium has also been shown to modulate the inflammatory response and to increase weight loss. A recent study found that an increase in dietary calcium intake together with a normal protein intake, increased fecal fat and energy excretion by about 350 calories per day. Several studies have shown that calcium plays a key role in body weight regulation and especially on fat metabolism and thus is a useful supplement for those looking to decrease weight and body fat.
Use top cardio methods:
For sure you’ve probably heard that the best way to burn fat is to do long duration cardio at a slow to medium pace. This fat loss method is not good at all, because after a short period, your body adapts to that intensity and the burning percentage decreases – there is a much better way. I suggest doing interval workouts combined with strength exercises. Also you can mix cardio on treadmill or on a stationary bike with abs, planks, or any other strength exercises. Example: run on the treadmill with different intensity variations (20 seconds of walking + 40 seconds of running), for 5-6 minutes, we take a 30 seconds break and start doing 15-20 abs on the mattress, another 30 seconds break and repeat the interval workout on the treadmill and the abs, 4-6 series. Step up your workout and push yourself to your own edge. While all exercise is helpful, it may be especially beneficial to engage in high-intensity interval training at least a twice per week. High-intensity interval training involves periods of intense exercise followed by short periods of rest.
Try not to stress too much:
Stress is a fact of life, unfortunately, research reveals that it’s also a fact of fat. Your body responds to all stress in exactly the same way. Every time you have a stressful day, your brain instructs your cells to release potent hormones – you get a burst of adrenaline, which taps stored energy so you can fight or flee. At the same time, you get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven’t used very many calories. This can make you very hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues. Instead of eating carrots, we crave sweet, salty, and high-fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals that reduce tension. This soothing effect becomes addicting, so every time you’re anxious, you want fattening foods. With your adrenal glands pumping out cortisol, production of the muscle-building hormone testosterone slows down. Cortisol also encourages your body to store fat – especially visceral fat, which is particularly dangerous because it surrounds vital organs and releases fatty acids into your blood, raising cholesterol and insulin levels and paving the way for heart disease and diabetes.
Have a both qualitative and quantitative sleep:
Healthy diet, along with a regular exercise program helps you reach your goal but only if you have enough rest and a qualitative sleep. Lack of sleep favors the growth of stress hormones, when the person becomes aware that he has gained fat, especially women that are experiencing abdominal fat. Recently talked with some of my friends, doctors, who have confirmed that there are numerous research done – they believe there are direct links between lack of sleep, increased stress and fat gain.
Wake up early:
One important thing is to wake up early in the morning. A poor sleep schedule doesn’t just make you grumpy, a lack of sleep spikes your cortisol levels, causing you to store more abdominal fat. According to Canadian researchers, people who average just 5 to 6 hours of sleep per night increase the likelihood of fat flocking to their stomach. If you have problems catching sleep, or lying awake at night while feeling tired, you have to start by waking up at the same time every day, because it will stabilize your circadian rhythm. You have to get light exposure, light stimulates dopamine production which increases energy, motivation and productivity. Reasons to wake up early: eat breakfast, exercise, set goals, etc..
Try to keep yourself motivated:
Finding the motivation to begin exercising and keep exercising can be challenging. Past experiences, competing priorities and unrealistic expectations can get in the way of leading an active lifestyle. Most results of exercise are not instantaneous, so set realistic expectations. Compare how you feel mentally before and after physical activity. When you connect exercise with these positive feelings you start to realize a more immediate benefit. People who exercise report better sleep compared to those that are sedentary or less active. Plan ahead by marking your workout time on your calendar. Watch motivational on youtube. Find opportunities to be active, etc..
At the end, I also added a food list that can help you lose fat: yogurt (sugar-free), coconut oil, nuts, chicken breast, lean beef, salmon, avocado, cayenne pepper, eggs, green vegetables, etc..
For any questions or concerns you have about this article, I’ll be at your disposal and answer with pleasure – I expect your opinion on any of the aspects presented before in the article.
- Bompa, T., Cornacchia, L., (1998), Serious Strength Training, Human Kinetics Book, U.S.A.;
- Burke, L., Cox, G., (2010), Complete guide to food for sports performance, Griffin Press;
- Fear, G., (2015), Lean habits for lifelong weightloss, Page Street Publishing Co.;
- McCarron, D.A., Reusser, M.E., (1999), Finding consensus in the dietary calcium-blood pressure debate, J Am Coll Nutr;
- Murgatroyd, P., Van-de-Ven, M., Goldberg, G., Prentice, A., (1996), Alcohol and the regulation of energy balance: overnight effects on diet-induced thermogenesis and fuel storage, Br J Nutr;
- Raben, A., Agerholm-Larsen, L., Flint, A., Holst, J., Astrup, A., (2003), Meals with similar energy densities but rich in protein, cat, carbohydrate, or alcohol have different effects on energy expenditure and substrate metabolism but no appetite and energy intake, Am J Clin Nutr;
- Shi, H., Dirienzo, D., Zemel, M.B., (2001), Effects of dietary calcium on adipocyte lipid metabolism and body weight regulation in energy-restricted aP2-agouti transgenic mice, FASEB;
- Tumminello, N., (2014), Strength Training for Fat Loss, Human Kinetics, U.S.A.;
- Wansink, B., (2011), Mindless eating. Why we eat more than we think, Hay House.