5 Ways to Lose Body Fat Without Sacrificing your Lifestyle
Many of us want a lean, healthy appearance but don't want to pay the price of sacrificing our lifestyle for it.
We envy our "skinny friends" that can eat cheetos while maintaining a healthy-looking figure. Seriously, how is that possible?
Well I've got good news! Some simple tweaks can make big changes in your overall health and appearance. PLUS, you'll be healthier and more energized than your cheeto-eating friend ;)
No need to go "bodybuilder status," cut massive calories, or workout 3x a day. That's not really sustainable. Not for me. Not for you. Not for anyone.
While the extreme stuff DOES work in the short-term, the problem with most diets or extreme fitness plans is that they cannot be maintained long-term. Since your adherence (aka consistency) is the MAIN factor of success in weight loss, body fat loss, or any other health goal, you want to make sure it sticks!
In this post, we'll discuss what causes body fat storage and how we can train our body to use fat as fuel.
Here we go!
What causes your body to store fat?
Do you ever notice how you might store fat in the same place as your parents? Yep, thank your genes. It's the same reason your super skinny friend can eat cheetos and not gain weight, while you have to work hard for it.
Don't worry, you're not doomed forever. We do have some control over how our genes express themselves! This study shows that eating a healthy diet and exercising can change the way our genes express themselves.
Cortisol is that lovely hormone that gets released when you're stressed the heck out. Why does that matter? Cortisol causes storage of fat. Studies show that it can lead to fat storage around the mid-section, which is the dangerous kind since it's close to your organs.
Unfortunately, you can't expect to eat a bunch of junk and not store it in your body. Even if you exercise, it's nearly impossible to out-exercise a poor diet. Think of calories as energy or fuel for your body. If you don't expend or use them all up (either through exercise, resting metabolism, or digestion) they have to get stored somewhere!
5 steps to burn more body fat
It just takes a few tweaks in your fitness program, and a few tweaks in your eating habits to make a big difference.
I recommend only implementing 1 strategy at a time, so your body can adapt and you can really be mindful of how these changes make you feel!
Without further ado, here are my 5 body fat loss strategies you can put into action now, without extremely altering your current lifestyle.
1. HIIT Training
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is one of the BEST ways to burn body fat through exercise. This consists of short bursts of high-intensity, followed by a short rest period. You only need about 20-30 minutes 2-3x/week to make this effective.
Why is HIIT so special? When you work at a HIGH intensity, your body needs to consume larger amounts of oxygen. This oxygen consumption (known as EPOC), continues after exercise to restore the body back to it's normal resting level (which can take 24-48 hours). Ultimately, your body burns more calories and fat than steady state running or low intensity exercise.
2. Strength Training
Ah, yes. My favorite. To all my ladies out there, pick up some weights if you want to burn body fat and see those pretty muscles of yours!
Strength training causes you to build lean muscle (not to be mistaken for bulky muscle), which increases your resting metabolic rate. This means you burn more calories at rest (woohoo!).
Fun fact: Each pound of muscle actually burns 4-6 more calories per day than a pound of fat. This adds up!
Using compound/multi-joint exercises (squats, push-ups, deadlifts, etc.) at a higher intensity (8-12 rep range) is most effective for building lean muscle and burning fat. Aiming to do this 2-4 times each week is ideal.
Related post: The only 5 Exercises you Need in your Strength Routine
3. Cut out processed foods
Your food sources can make a huge impact on fat storage. As a general rule of thumb for my clients, I advise them to eat by the 80/20 rule. Aim for 80% whole, unprocessed foods. These will be located primarily on the perimeter of the grocery store. If they are boxed, check that ingredient label to make sure you recognize what's in it!
I'm not vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or anything else-free so I can't tell you exactly what this will look like for you. Personally, I include include lean protein sources, plenty of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats.
Fats, what? Yes, you actually have to eat fat to get rid of fat! Think avocados, almonds, olive oil, chia seeds, fish, nuts and seeds.
4. Drink a ton of water
Water makes up over 60% of your body weight and assists with several things including: digestion, performance during your workout, removal of waste from the body, and can satisfy our appetite when we actually aren't hungry (among many other jobs). Since these are all associated with losing body fat, you absolutely NEED to be getting an adequate amount of water each day.
The old traditional 8-10, 8oz cups per day is an easy rule of thumb for anyone, but is just a start. Most men will need a higher water intake than women, as will people who exercise more, or live in a hot climate.
As for an easy tip, grab that water bottle! Mine goes everywhere with me. It holds 28oz and I usually drink 3-4 of them each day (more or less depending on activity level). Getting a pretty water bottle can help too ;)
Yes, slowwww down go-getter. As you read above, stress hormones can cause your body to STORE fat. Just like any other stress, exercise too is a form of stress on the body. If you're not allowing yourself enough recovery between sessions, or enough sleep at night you could really be slowing your results.
How can you practice this?
- Aim to allow 48+ hours between HIIT sessions and 48+ hours before strength training the same muscle group.
- Also, sleep. Those precious 7-9 hours of zzz's is exactly what your mind and muscles need to heal.
Related Post: How to exercise when you're stressed
As you can see, these 5 ways of losing body fat don't require a lifestyle overhaul (woo!). Try to practice 1 strategy at a time to really get good before adding another!
Which of these strategies can you take and implement in your life right now? Which of these are you already doing? See you in the chat!
Keep Moving XX,
P.S. For more tips on living your strongest life, check out my free resources for guides on working out and meal planning!