For many people, having a lean, fit body is a dream that seems far away. What many don't know is that you don't always have to sacrifice all the time and energy in the world to lose weight and build muscle. In fact, there are ways to lose excess fat mass in a relatively short period of time. You just need discipline and some practical knowledge of the fat burning process. Start doing more physical activities, reduce your consumption of certain foods and make other small adjustments to your lifestyle to optimize the process and get the tight body you've always wanted.
Part 1 of 3: Exercising to Burn Fat
Step 1. Train your muscles
Lift weights or do other intense resistance training three to four times a week. If you have access to a gym, start with a regular token (training 2-3 muscle groups each session) to go through all the major groups in one week. If you're training at home, do exercises like push ups, sit-ups, barbells, and free squats. It may seem counterproductive, but these moves burn more calories than spending hours on the treadmill.
- Go through all the major muscle groups (legs, back, core, chest, shoulders, arms, etc.) without obsessing over the more obvious muscles like the abdomen and biceps. Do exercises like squats, squats, rows, and lunges, which require a lot of coordination and are excellent for developing many parts of the body.
- The body expends calories all the time to preserve muscle tissue, even during rest hours. The greater your mass, the more calories you will burn each hour.
Step 2. Engage in strength exercises
Do four to five sets of each exercise, with 5-10 repetitions. Just don't overdo it: you'll already burn more calories with the dietary change; thus, if you overdo the volume at the gym, you can end up breaking muscle fibers without getting enough nutrients to repair them. Think more about strength than endurance to develop quality training.
- Do relatively brief strength training sessions (maximum one hour) and focus more on compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, and bench presses).
- Set aside two or three days a week to rest and let your body recover.
Step 3. Pay attention to the core muscles of the body
Set aside part of each training session to strengthen and develop these muscles. You can, for example, dedicate the last ten minutes of training to them or add an extra session or two a week. Do weighted sit-ups, leg lifts, planks and the like. For many people, the ultimate representation of a cracked body is to have well-defined obliques and a six pack. The more you train the muscles in the middle and lower abdomen, the more obvious they will become.
- You'll also get some residual benefits from the compound exercises you practice to build strength and muscle mass (especially the squat and deadlift).
- Practice localized exercises to make the abdomen more evident, but be sure to train your whole body, do some aerobic exercise sessions and take care of your diet to optimize the benefits. Taking good care of food already account for 80% of the process.
Step 4. Do aerobic exercise regularly
In addition to strength training, you should devote a few hours to the cardiovascular part. Run, swim, bike, row a boat, kickbox or even walk. While resistance training creates a long-lasting calorie-burning effect when the body is resting, aerobic training keeps your pace consistent. Combine the two to get results in no time.
- Train until your heart races, but don't torture yourself. The most important thing is to find a suitable pace and intensity for the exercises.
- Finish training sessions with an hour of aerobic exercise. You will already use up all the glycogen in your muscles during exercise; thus, the organism will get energy directly from the fat stores.
- Try aerobic exercise on an empty stomach (without eating anything). For example: go for a run before breakfast. Exercise of moderate intensity and duration, and remember that without muscle glycogen, your body burns more fat to stay active.
Step 5. Increase intensity with exercises that cover more of your metabolism
Set aside two days a week to do a Tabata or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. These sessions are shorter, but quite tiring - and can greatly impact your body's fat stores. Methods like these involve high metabolic costs (ie, they speed up the mechanisms that burn fat for energy and, as a result, burn off those extra pounds). They are often offered in the form of special group classes at gyms.
- Some Tabata workouts are structured like this: 20 seconds of exercises and 10 seconds of rest with eight repetitions. The entire workout only lasts about four minutes, but the benefits are enormous.
- Download some app that helps you train and not stall.
- HIIT workouts involve exercises of varying intensity and speed, which have pre-determined "intervals".
Part 2 of 3: Adjusting Your Diet to Lose Weight
Step 1. Reduce your caloric intake
Take care of your diet not to ingest more calories than you burn. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to write down the approximate amount of calories you consume at each meal. When you want to lose fat, it's best to reduce your daily caloric intake as much as possible, but without sacrificing necessary nutrients and preserving lean mass. As long as the burning is greater than the consumption, you will continue to lose weight.
- The ideal amount of calories varies from person to person and is highly dependent on weight and body composition (people who have more muscle mass need more calories to maintain weight), activity level and the like.
- Consult a physician or nutritionist before adopting low-calorie diets. Experts will know exactly how many calories you need to eat to take care of your body based on your size, age, and level of physical activity. They can also give you interesting food and supplement tips.
- Use a food and nutrition app or write it down in a regular diary to see how many calories you consume per day, week, and month. That way, it will be easier to know if everything is right.
Step 2. Eat foods that are high in protein and low in fat
Reconfigure your personal food pyramid to prioritize foods that are high in protein. At the same time, reduce or cut your consumption of fatty products. It's no use consuming high-calorie foods if they can also be fatty. On the other hand, some processed products contain fewer calories, which will help you build muscle and stay full longer.
- Eat lean meats, eggs, beans, tofu, nuts, etc. to ingest protein. Avoid fried products, chips and other snacks.
- Try to consume at least 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. If you weigh 70 kg, for example, try consuming 70 grams.
- Supplement your diet with vitamins or protein bars to meet your needs without having to eat all the time.
Step 3. Opt for natural and whole foods
No more fast food and other processed products. Options such as whole grains, greens and vegetables, raw nuts and fresh fruits are ideal for any healthy diet. They contain many of the macronutrients the body uses to build muscle. In addition, they are free of chemical preservatives and other ingredients that can make digestion and obtaining energy difficult.
- Organic food may be a little more expensive, but its benefits are worth the investment. You will be satisfied after every meal.
- Buy ingredients and prepare meals in advance. That way, you'll know exactly what you're consuming - and therefore count how many calories and other nutrients you're eating, and have everything on hand when hunger strikes (without having to resort to junk food).
Step 4. Limit your consumption of sweets
This is the time to cut out the sweets, donuts and other confections. Nothing slows down fat burning progress more than these products. As much as sugar generates a short-term energy boost, most of its contents end up stored in the form of fatty tissue, not being used immediately. To optimize the process, reduce your sugar intake to a maximum of 50 g per day. If you can't handle cutting everything, choose to eat a ripe banana, some berries or a Greek yogurt with a little honey.
- Limit your consumption of juice from a box and even fresh juice. As much as sugar obtained from natural sources is healthier, it can still accumulate in a short time.
- Read product labels and nutritional charts before purchasing. Even non-sweet or dessert foods can be saturated with sugar.
Part 3 of 3: Helping the body to function effectively
Step 1. Get plenty of rest
Try to sleep between seven and eight hours a night. It is during rest that the body recovers and forms new tissue and more muscle mass. A good night's sleep helps the body to recover from fatigue, injuries and pain, in addition to creating a feeling of relief and preparation for the next training session.
- Turn off your television, stereo, cell phone, tablet and other electronic equipment when you go to sleep for a deep, quality rest.
- If you can't sleep through the night without waking up, try taking a 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon or whenever you have time.
Step 2. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when exercising intensely, to recover what you've lost through sweating. Every cell in the body contains water; therefore, it is vital for muscle growth and function. You'll be more energized when you're hydrated, and water can even limit your cravings for unhealthy things.
- Switch from soft drinks, sports drinks, alcohol and other carbohydrate-containing drinks from sugar to water.
- In general, drink water when you get thirsty. Drink at least 2 liters a day. The best indication of this is the color of the urine, which should be clear or transparent.
Step 3. Drink black coffee and green tea
Prepare a pot of coffee when you wake up or relax in the evening with a mug of green tea. These products are known for their antioxidant properties, which reduce inflammation in the body and fight age-related diseases and obesity. Caffeine and the other components in tea and coffee also have a mild thermogenic effect - which helps to destroy fat cells.
Do not add cream or sugar to coffee or tea. They only increase the caloric content
Step 4. Do intermittent fasts
Many people believe they have to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to lose weight. In fact, this only increases calorie accumulation beyond what is acceptable. You can try fasting for 8-10 hours on one or two days a week. Thus, your appetite will decrease and your hormone levels will return to normal. Plus, since you're not going to eat, you're going to burn calories all the time-and you won't be left with any harmful deficits.
- To start doing these fasts, just eat breakfast and wait 8-10 hours before eating again. If you prefer, start fasting as soon as you wake up and eat only in the afternoon or early evening.
- Fasting is a safe practice as long as it is not overdone. Eat at least one fortified meal (with a good protein content and moderate levels of fat and carbohydrates) on the days you fast.
- Consult a doctor or nutritionist before experiencing this type of fasting. Discuss possible meal plans or optimal frequency of practice. It is not beneficial for everyone, especially for those who have hormonal or metabolic problems.
- Be patient. Although it is possible to lose a lot of weight in a short time, this period depends on the body composition, effort and discipline of each one. Have realistic expectations. Losing something like 1-1, 5 kg a week is fine.
- Reduce your caloric intake gradually to facilitate dietary change and not have too much of an impact on the body.
- Set aside one day a week to work specific muscle groups. For example: do squats on Monday, bench presses on Wednesday, deadlifts on Friday, etc. That way, your body will have time to recover before you go back to using the same muscles. If training at home, take one-day breaks between each session.
- Structure your workout into more intense sets (doing an exercise that works one muscle group while resting another) for moderate metabolic benefits without spending as much time.
- Eat a little protein right before or after exercise to reward yourself for the effort.
- Swap your meals for protein vitamins if you want to count how many calories you consume or just before a temporary fast for energy.
- Everyone can get cracked, but the process is easier for some people than others. If you tend to have more weight or are naturally "stronger", it will take longer. Also, it could be that your energy levels drop when you fall below your normal body composition.
- Do not use supplements that burn fat or claim to help you lose weight. These products are not properly tested and can have harmful effects on health as they force the metabolism to undergo chemical changes. Pay close attention to what you use and your reactions.
- Rest is essential for you to reap the benefits of exercise. Never train more than six days in a row.
- Fasting intermittently and doing aerobic exercise before eating are good tools to help you lose weight, but they can also be dangerous when taken to extremes. Never go more than 12 hours without eating and don't force yourself to overtrain on an empty stomach. The body needs food to function well.
- Only practice more intense exercise modalities, such as HIIT, if you are in good physical condition.