When it comes to working out, we can all get behind a fast plan to meet our goals. If you’re looking to lose belly fat, we have the best exercises that will help you achieve that goal of yours real quick. We spoke with Anna Victoria, certified trainer (NASM) and creator of the Fit Body App who gave us the scoop on the top strength training exercises to shrink belly fat fast.
Victoria does note, “The idea that you can lose belly fat by doing specific exercises is called ‘spot reduction,’ which is, unfortunately, a myth. So, while no exercise will help burn belly fat in a specific area, you can reduce overall body fat by being in a caloric deficit which can be achieved through a mix of diet and exercise.” She shares her favorite way to do this with calorie-burning and strengthening moves. Read on to see what they are, and next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
This compound move will target various muscle groups, including your hamstrings, glutes, quads, and your core. Victoria adds, “Your glutes are the biggest muscle group in your body, meaning they can lift the heaviest weight, and therefore, you burn the most calories when doing moves involving your glutes, so don’t go easy on yourself! Your glutes can lift a lot more weight than you realize.” 6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
This is another compound move that’s so awesome in working multiple groups in your back and biceps. According to Victoria, “Your back is one of the biggest muscle groups in your body, meaning you burn the most calories when doing exercises that target your back. Just like with squats, go as heavy as you think you can, then add a little more! Your back can support a lot more weight than you realize.”
Victoria describes this exercise to us. She says, “This move doesn’t target any specific muscle group, but is instead focused on improving your cardiovascular endurance. You will recruit the use of muscle groups throughout your upper and lower body, but since there is no weight involved, you want to instead focus on improving your pace and overall being explosive with each part of the burpee.”
Weight loss stalled? We’ve assembled the best tips we know to turn you into a fat-burning machine!
If you’re tired of struggling to lose weight and are impatient to see some results, we have good news:В You have options. And here’s better news:В We’re not talking about crash dieting, doing hours of cardio, or drastically cutting back on a crucial macronutrient like carbs or fats.
Instead, try weaving one or more of these fat-blasting techniques into your comprehensive weight-loss approach. Not all of them will work for everyone, but finding one that feels right and makes this tough process a little easierвЂ”and fasterвЂ”could be a game-changer for you!
Get your training and nutrition dialed in. Then use a fatВ burner to help you get where you want to be faster!В В
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1. Eat the Same Calories, but on a Different Clock
If you’re serious about losing fat, you’re going to have to eat for fast fat loss. That means consuming fewer calories than you burn each day. There’s no way around it! But there are multiple ways to get those calories.
The old-school way of leaning out was to eat numerous small meals per day as a way ofВ “boosting”В your metabolism. The new-school wayВ is toВ eat an appropriateВ numberВ of calories, but only within a limited eatingВ “window,”В usually between 4 and 8 hours. This approach, known as intermittent fasting,В forces your body to use stored body fat for fuel during the fasting window.
Cramming all of your meals into anВ eatingВ window alsoВ allows you to eat slightly larger meals and feel fuller thanВ you wouldВ spreading your calories out over, say, 15 hours. This is great if you’re someone who feels disappointed with each and every puny meal. This is one reason why it’s a favorite ofВ JimВ Stoppani,В Ph.D.
Dr. JimВ Stoppani’sВ favorite way to break a fast is with a protein shake. Then he hits the weights!
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2. Cycle Your Carbs
Low-carb approaches like the keto diet are more popular than ever, but many athletes find that cutting carbs makes their workouts into total suffer-fests. Plus, plenty of us just like being able to eat carbsвЂ”and there’s nothing wrong with that! Alternating your carbs daily, orВ “carb cycling,”В allows you to eat enough carbs to power great workouts, while still keeping overall calories and carbs relatively low.
Here’s how to do it:В Use a macronutrient calculator to dial in your carbohydrate intake. Then, two days a weekвЂ”preferably hard training daysвЂ”keep your carb intake at normal levels. To go to the next level, eat most of your carbs either before or after your workout. The other days of the week, drop your carbsВ by approximately 50 percent. This strategy helps blunt fat storage on low-carb days, and restores muscle glycogen.
3. Increase Your Workout Density
You can lose fat at a gradual, sustainable pace while doing pretty simple lifting workouts like 5×5 and a few cardio sessions a week. But if you want to lose fat faster, you might benefit from speeding things up and increasing the calorie burn you experience while weight training.
Here are two ways to do it:
- Put your rest periods to good use! Spend them doing mobility work, light plyometrics, or bodyweight strength movements. Strength coach Todd Bumgardner explains how in the article,В “How to Burn Fat Faster in Your Lifting Workouts.”
- Commit to a full high-energy interval-based weight-training plan. The video workoutsВ inВ FYR: Hannah Eden’s 30-Day Fitness Plan and FYR 2.0: Hannah Eden’s 8-Week Muscle-Building Fat-Loss Plan are among our most popular ones for a reason.
4. Combine Cardio Variations
The debate rages: steady-state cardio training vs. interval training. Which is best cardio for fast weight loss? While steady state allows for a longer fat-burning session and is easier to do more frequently, interval training ramps up your metabolic rate and increasesВ EPOCВ for hours after the workout is done. Which to choose? Why not do both!
Start out with 5-6 intervals, then move into an additional 20-30 minutesВ of steady-state training. This will allow you to reap all the benefits in one workout. Plus, theВ steady-stateВ cardioВ will burn even more fat than usual because the intervals will have depleted your glycogen stores.
5. Do At Least One Full-Body Workout Per Week
Full-body workouts, anotherВ favorite ofВ JimВ Stoppani,В Ph.D.,В tend to increase your metabolism more per workout by hitting large amounts of muscle mass in a single session. On the other hand, body-part splits allow youвЂ”or require youвЂ”to work out more frequently and hit each muscle group with a higher volume.
Which is better? Here again, there’s no reason you can’t do both! Do one full-body workout each week, then one upper-body workout and one lower-body workout. If you prefer four workouts per week, do a full-body/push/pull/lower-body cycle. Add in a couple of cardio sessions per week, and you’re set!
6. Think Beyond the Fat-Burner
For many people, the termsВ “leaning out”В andВ “fatВ burner”В are synonymous. And sure, the best fatВ burners can definitely be a great tool in your arsenalвЂ”particularly if you’re trying to speed up the rate of your weight loss. But there are other non-stimulant options that deserve your attention,В as well.
One is definitely protein. Did you know that your protein needs actually go up when you’re limiting calories? It’s true. Another is fish oil, which has been shown to help increase fat loss while boosting muscle retention.*
Krissy Kendall, Ph.D.,В gives the low-down on the best fat-burning supplements you’ve been avoiding in the article,В “5 Ways to Up Your Fat-Loss Supplement Game.”
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
About the Author
Shannon Clark is a freelance health and fitness writer located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The reasons to rid your belly of that inch (or more) you can pinch aren’t just about looks. Having overweight or obesity comes with serious health risks, including chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer, per the American Heart Association.
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If you think you may have overweight or obesity, you can find out by determining your body fat percentage.
And if you want to drop down to a healthy weight, keep this in mind: Gimmicky shortcuts to reduce body fat percentage fast at best won’t really work, and at worst aren’t safe. Instead, follow these steps for real, long-lasting fat loss and better health.
1. Drink More Water
Skip high-calorie beverages with little to no nutritional value and grab a glass (or two) of water instead. This means forgoing flavored lattes, dessert-like coffees, juices, sweet tea, sugary cocktails and soda.
Water not only helps keep your body hydrated and functioning optimally, but it also continually flushes your system and can help boost your metabolism, per the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Plus, drinking a full glass of water about 30 minutes before a meal can help prevent overeating, according to a study published August 2015 in вЂ‹ObesityвЂ‹.
And remember to continue drinking water throughout the day. Many times, hunger and thirst signals can feel similar. So when you feel like snacking, drink a glass of water and see if the urge dissipates before noshing.
2. Increase High-Quality Protein
Adding more lean, protein-rich foods to your diet might just help you burn belly fat, according to a January 2012 study in вЂ‹Nutrition & MetabolismвЂ‹. What’s more, a high-protein diet helps you hang on to lean muscle and keeps your metabolism chugging along at a good pace, per a May 2013 study in вЂ‹The Journal of NutritionвЂ‹.
Examples of low-calorie, high-protein foods for weight loss include:
- Black beans
- Chicken breast
- Greek yogurt
According to a December 2019 review and meta-analysis in вЂ‹Advances in NutritionвЂ‹, you should increase your daily protein intake when cutting calories to lose weight. The study suggests aiming for 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Keep in mind that a kilogram is about 2.2 pounds. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, for example, you should aim to eat about 118 grams of protein per day while losing weight.
3. Follow a Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is a much-lauded way of eating that prioritizes fruits, veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and olive oil.
A March 2019 вЂ‹NutrientsвЂ‹ review linked the Med diet to weight loss as well as a lower body mass index and waist circumference (in other words, it may help you lose belly fat).
Another study, published August 2019 in the вЂ‹Journal of HepatologyвЂ‹, found that a lower-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet was more effective at reducing belly fat than a diet lower in fat.
Ready to Adopt a Mediterranean Diet?
4. Fill Up on Fiber-Rich Foods
Foods naturally high in fiber (like fruits and veggies) can help with weight management because they tend to be low in calories and packed with nutrients, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
In fact, one February 2015 вЂ‹Annals of Internal MedicineвЂ‹ study found that people who simply aimed to eat 30 grams of fiber every day lost weight as effectively as those who followed a more complicated diet.
Another study, from the February 2012 issue of вЂ‹ObesityвЂ‹, found that when people increased their soluble fiber intake by 10 grams a day, they lost 3.7 percent of their belly fat over a five-year period (and that’s without other changes to their diet or exercise).
Healthy fiber-rich foods to add to your diet include:
- Fruits like raspberries and blackberries
- Legumes like chickpeas and black beans
- Seeds, including chia and flaxseeds
5. Cut Down on Processed Foods
Processed foods may be convenient and tasty, but they’re not doing our waistlines any favors.
Indeed, a December 2019 review in вЂ‹Current Treatment Options in GastroenterologyвЂ‹ found a strong link between the growing popularity of ultra-processed foods (think: packaged desserts and snack foods with long lists of ingredients) and America’s obesity epidemic.
Processed foods are associated with decreased satiety (that feeling of fullness after eating) and more weight gain, according to the authors.
In a smaller study, published May 2019 in вЂ‹Cell MetabolismвЂ‹, researchers set up a two-week trial with two groups of people, one that ate ultra-processed foods and one that ate unprocessed foods. Meals were matched for calories and macronutrients, but the people who ate the processed foods ate about 500 more calories per day and gained a pound of body fat.
6. Try Intermittent Fasting
The research behind how many meals to eat each day and вЂ‹whenвЂ‹ to eat them is contradictory at times. Some studies suggest that grazing on small meals spaced two to three hours apart can help prevent you from pigging out come dinner time. Others point to intermittent fasting (which basically means eating all your daily meals in a shorter timeframe) as being a good way to jumpstart fat loss and prevent overeating.
There’s research to back this up: A December 2019 review in вЂ‹The New England Journal of MedicineвЂ‹ found that, for adults who have overweight or obesity, intermittent fasting is just as effective as overall calorie restriction for reducing body fat.
Another study, in the February 2018 issue of the вЂ‹International Journal of ObesityвЂ‹, found that intermittent fasting could help people push past a weight-loss plateau and achieve greater fat loss. It’s important to note, though, that this study only looked at men who had obesity.
There are many versions of intermittent fasting, but the 16:8 diet is among the most popular. It calls for eating during an eight-hour window and fasting for the other 16 hours (including the hours you’re asleep). So, for example, you might start eating at 9 a.m. and stop at 5 p.m. each day.
Of course, it’s still crucial to choose healthy foods during the “eating window.” If nothing else, intermittent fasting eliminates late-night snacking, which is almost always a boon for fat loss and weight control.
#3 should be easy.
When it comes to reaching our weight-loss goals, we’ve got about as much patience as we do sitting in traffic when we’re already late for work.
But in order to get to your goal as quickly as possible, you’ve got to forget about crash dieting. That’s because making strategic tweaks to your diet and exercise plan, rather than skimping on calories and exercise bingeing, is the fastest way to torch fat and keep it off, says Torey Armul, R.D. spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“Some diets that promote rapid weight loss are too restrictive and unrealistic over time, which leads to weight regain,” says Armul. So even if you lose five pounds a week on a quick-fix diet, that weight will be back faster than you can say, “I don’t eat carbs.”
Unlike a fad diet, these six expert-backed tips will help you lose weight fast because you’re making smart adjustments, not hard ones.
Here’s how to reach your goal weight faster without losing your mind.
According to a small study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, people who slept for 8.5 hours a night for two weeks lost nearly twice as much weight on average than participants who slept 5.5 hours per night, despite the fact that they followed the same diet and workout plan. That’s because when you get a good night’s sleep, your hunger hormones, like ghrelin and leptin, stay in check. That means you’re not going to wake up with a sudden hankering for a bacon, egg, and cheese. (Start working towards your goals with Women’s Health’s Body Clock Diet.)
Plus, a 2013 study from the University of California, Berkeley suggests that skipping sleep makes your brain’s reward zone react to fatty and sugary treats way more enthusiastically. What’s more, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who didn’t get enough sleep ate an average of 385 extra calories that day. In short, more sleep = less calories in your mouth and less fat on your body.
RELATED: 9 Quick Ways to Lose Your Thigh Fat
Too many tough days at the office or ongoing arguments with family members can sabotage your weight-loss efforts, says Jeremy Shore, C.S.C.S., a group education director for Matrix Fitness. When your body is stressed, your cortisol levels rise, telling your body to store fat for protection, says Shore. While that might be helpful in the Amazon, it’s not going to save you from your boss’s emails. Shore recommends deep nasal breathing to relax. “This directs air into the lower lobes of the lungs where there are a greater number of parasympathetic nervous system receptors—stimulating repair and recovery while calming the mind,” he says. Inhale and exhale deeply from the nose, spending five to eight seconds on each inhale and five to eight seconds on each exhale.
Eating meals frequently helps combat fat gain by giving your body long-lasting energy and preventing intense hunger that leads to irrational food choices and over eating, says Armul. At each meal, fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies, one quarter with whole grains, and one quarter with lean protein, like beans, nuts, eggs, fish, and poultry, she says. These nutrient-rich foods increase satiety by slowing the digestion and absorption of food in the stomach, which ultimately leads to less calories consumed and more weight loss.
RELATED: 9 Women Share Exactly How Long it Took Them to Lose 20 Pounds or More
Burn fat fast with these total-body moves you can do at home.
This formula will help you lose weight faster, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D., manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. A 2016 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that increasing your protein intake while decreasing the amount of calories you consume ensures that you lose fat instead of muscle. This 35-35-30 breakdown doesn’t mean you can eat any old carb or fat though, she says. Aim to get most of your healthy fat from nuts and fish, your carbs from beans and whole grains, and protein from lean sources like eggs, chicken, and fish, she says.
Since muscle mass actually increases your metabolic rate, building muscle through weight training increases your caloric burn, says Alberty Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., and co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab. To increase your muscle mass, he suggests doing three to four sets of exercises like bicep curls, triceps pull downs, squats, lunges, bench presses, and upright rows. Perform eight to 12 reps per set, taking a 45 to 90 second breaks between sets. Tackle this sequence three times per week and increase the weight and sets to keep making progress as you get stronger, he says.
This kind of strength training recruits fast-twitch muscle fibers, which increases fat burning, says Shore. Although you could see a small increase in the scale as you build muscle, keep in mind that muscle is more dense than fat. That means it’s very likely that you’re losing fat while gaining muscle, so don’t stress, says Shore. To keep up your progress, aim to increase the amount of resistance you use when your current weight becomes too easy to lift, says Shore.
RELATED: The Changes One Trainer Made to Lose Weight After Years of Diet and Exercise
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), consisting of short bursts of exercise with quick periods of rest or recovery exercises in between, is a very effective way to promote fat loss, says Matheny. “Varying the intensity of training leads to a spike in heart rate, which is metabolically challenging and burns more calories,” he says.
Matheny recommends a Tabata-style workout to rev up your fat-burning power. For this, you’ll spend 20 seconds doing an intense exercise, like burpees, followed by 10 seconds rest. You’ll repeat the sequence eight times, giving you a four-minute workout. For a quick and dirty full-body workout, repeat the sequence five times with five different exercises for a total of 20 minutes.
Maintaining a trim midsection does more than make you look great—it can help you live longer. Larger waistlines are linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Losing weight, especially belly fat, also improves blood vessel functioning and also improves sleep quality.
It’s impossible to target belly fat specifically when you diet. But losing weight overall will help shrink your waistline; more importantly, it will help reduce the dangerous layer of visceral fat, a type of fat within the abdominal cavity that you can’t see but that heightens health risks, says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D. , director of Clinical and Research Physiology at Johns Hopkins.
Here’s how to whittle down where it matters most.
Try curbing carbs instead of fats.
When Johns Hopkins researchers compared the effects on the heart of losing weight through a low-carbohydrate diet versus a low-fat diet for six months—each containing the same amount of calories—those on a low-carb diet lost an average of 10 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet—28.9 pounds versus 18.7 pounds. An extra benefit of the low-carb diet is that it produced a higher quality of weight loss, Stewart says. With weight loss, fat is reduced, but there is also often a loss of lean tissue (muscle), which is not desirable. On both diets, there was a loss of about 2 to 3 pounds of good lean tissue along with the fat, which means that the fat loss percentage was much higher on the low-carb diet.
Think eating plan, not diet.
Ultimately, you need to pick a healthy eating plan you can stick to, Stewart says. The benefit of a low-carb approach is that it simply involves learning better food choices—no calorie-counting is necessary. In general, a low-carb way of eating shifts your intake away from problem foods—those high in carbs and sugar and without much fiber, like bread, bagels and sodas—and toward high-fiber or high-protein choices, like vegetables, beans and healthy meats.
Physical activity helps burn abdominal fat. “One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that you get a lot of bang for your buck on body composition,” Stewart says. Exercise seems to work off belly fat in particular because it reduces circulating levels of insulin —which would otherwise signal the body to hang on to fat—and causes the liver to use up fatty acids, especially those nearby visceral fat deposits, he says.
The amount of exercise you need for weight loss depends on your goals. For most people, this can mean 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise nearly every day.
Adding even moderate strength training to aerobic exercise helps build lean muscle mass, which causes you to burn more calories throughout the entire day, both at rest and during exercise.
Become a label reader.
Compare and contrast brands. Some yogurts, for example, boast that they’re low in fat, but they’re higher in carbs and added sugars than others, Stewart says. Foods like gravy, mayonnaise, sauces and salad dressings often contain high amounts of fat and lots of calories.
Move away from processed foods.
The ingredients in packaged goods and snack foods are often heavy on trans fats, added sugar and added salt or sodium—three things that make it difficult to lose weight.
Focus on the way your clothes fit more than reading a scale.
As you add muscle mass and lose fat, the reading on your bathroom scale may not change much, but your pants will be looser. That’s a better mark of progress. Measured around, your waistline should be less than 35 inches if you’re a woman or less than 40 inches if you’re a man to reduce heart and diabetes risks.
Hang out with health-focused friends.
Research shows that you’re more apt to eat better and exercise more if your friends and family are doing the same.
Research Shows Losing Weight Leads to Heart Health
A diet that’s low in fat and carbohydrates can improve artery function, according to a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins researchers. After six months, those on the low-carb diet had lost more weight, and at a faster pace. But in both groups, when weight was lost—and especially when belly fat shrank—the arteries were able to expand better, allowing blood to travel more freely. The study shows that you don’t have to cut out all dietary fat to shrink belly fat. For heart health, simply losing weight and exercising seems to be key.
How to lose belly fat fast to maintain a healthier life? Everyone has belly fat, but too much of it can be very harmful to your health. Belly fat is among growing and frustrating to many of us. You try all clothes, but they are tight and unfitting. You need to burn the abdominal fat. Unfortunately, too much abdominal fat is linked with a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
How to lose belly fat?
To burn more calories and lose belly you need to have a diet in place and a training regimen. Learning how to lose belly fat fast requires patience and sacrifice. to burn fat in this specific area helps improve your sleep quality, and blood vessel function, boost your self-esteem, and many more. If you have been struggling with excess waistline weight, below are the top ways you burn it fast.
- Make sugary foods your enemy.
When fighting belly fat, always ensure you are on a healthy diet. In this case, reduce your calories by filling up your meals with vegetables, whole grains, and protein and replacing the bad snacks with healthier options. Aim for foods with zero sugar but rich in proteins that help your satiety feeling and reduce sugar cravings.
- Vitamin C
Stress can have a major impact on weight loss. when someone is under too much stress, it tends to increase the cortisol hormone. Therefore, vitamin C aids in balancing these cortisol spikes. Vitamin C is essential when it comes to making carnitine, an element utilized by our bodies to eventually turn fat to fuel. Vitamin C can be obtained from eating kale, Broccoli, bell pepper, or kiwi fruits. They are rich in vitamin C.
- Eat more protein
Eating protein when trying to burn belly fat is essential. It can lower your cravings by around 50 percent. Proteins can boost someone’s metabolism by 100 and 80 calories each day. That helps someone to consume fewer calories daily. Increase your protein intake by consuming high protein foods like fish, whole eggs, meat, nuts, legumes, dairy products, and fish. For some of us who might be struggling to get adequate protein from such a diet, you can try drinking protein to supplement the lack of protein intake.
- Reduces carbs consumption
Consuming a few carbs is one way of losing abdominal fat. When you cut a lot of carbs, your appetite goes down, and you start losing weight. A low-carb diet is linked to faster reductions in water weight, which tends to give people quicker results. A study comparing low fat and low carb diets indicate that low carb reduces fat in the belly and around the liver. In this case, avoid refined carbs such as candy and white bread, most probably when you are in high protein intake.
- Avoid excessive alcohol
If you consume too much alcohol, it may have an impact on the reason why you are not losing fat around your abdomen. Studies suggest that excessive alcohol is linked to making someone gain fat on his or her belly. Ensure you cut back on the alcohol consumption or even abstain completely for quicker results.
The body produces more ghrelin hormone when someone is tired. The ghrelin hormone triggers cravings for unhealthy processed foods and sugary drinks. Losing sleep can have an effect on someone’s overall hormone production. An increase in cortisol rates can cause insulin sensitivity. It is best to get around 7-8 hours of sleep, or even more. Especially, when trying to shape your body goals.
- Move more
Physical activities will aid someone to lose weight, which can also lead to a decrease in belly fat. Exercises tend to work more on the abdominal fat simply because it reduces the circulating rates of insulin. It signals your body to hang on to stored fat leading to the liver starting to use fatty acids.
The specific amount of workouts you require a day may depend on someone’s goals. Expert has suggested for people exercise for at least 30-45 minutes a day. It helps to have moderate to vigorous workouts almost every day. Below is an example of a circuit exercise to help elevate your heart rate and to burn fat.
Medicine ball burpees
- Try apple cider vinegar in your meals.
Apple cider vinegar is linked to burning excess fat because it contains acetic acids that can reduce abdominal fat. So, taking one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day made led to significant abdominal fat loss.
- Drink green tea
This tea may work magic on your belly fat-burning journey. It is rich in caffeine and strong antioxidants that appear to significantly boost someone’s metabolism. The EGCG in green tea may aid lose the excess belly fat.
- Eat probiotic foods
You can consume probiotic foods or even take probiotic supplements because they all have health benefits. These foods aid enhance your immune function and improve gut health. Experts state different bacterias tend to play a role in weight regulation, including losing fat in your belly.
- Perform resistance training
This type of training includes strength training or weight lifting, and they are essential when it comes to gaining and preserving muscle mass. Overall, these exercises can help reduce belly fat and even the entire weight when combined with aerobic exercise.
- Avoid trans fats foods.
Trans fat is created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats like soybean oil. This fat is found in many portions of margarine and is often added to packaged foods. Currently, not many food producers are utilizing them because of this rise in overweight.
Unfortunately, these facts are linked to heart diseases, inflammation, abdominal fat gain, and insulin resistance. Therefore avoid trans-fat and read all your ingredient labels.
Achieving your goal of burning that excess fat around in your abdominal area can be a pleasing thing. However, no magic solution than practicing the above tips. Also, it requires some commitment, effort, and perseverance to finally have a flat tummy waistline.
- Healthy Diet for a Teenage Boy
- Diet & Exercise Plan for 17-Year-Olds
- What Is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage for Teenagers?
- Fitness Plans for Teenage Boys
- How to Jump-Start Your Metabolism While in Menopause
- Fat, Gender and Puberty
- Dietary Choices to Promote Fat Loss
- Teens Can Move More to Burn Fat
- Adjust Your Lifestyle to Burn Fat
When you want to reach a healthy weight, trimmimg body fat is preferable to losing valuable muscle mass. An overweight teenager burns fat just like an adult, by making smart dietary choices and moving more. Skipping meals and exercising too much can lead to the loss of muscle as well as nutrient deficiencies that can have dire consequences for a growing body.
If your doctor wants you to lose weight, a sound eating plan of whole, unprocessed foods coupled with increased exercise can help you slim down. Don’t fall for a fad diet or gimmicky supplement that promises fast fat loss because you’ll lose mostly water weight, not fat. It takes time for your body to burn body fat. Your level of body fat varies throughout your teenage years, however, depending on your gender, age and developmental stage — so be patient with your body, and always value your health over some ideal image.
Fat, Gender and Puberty
Changes in fat distribution during your teenage years can be blamed partly on your gender and puberty. Up until adolescence, both boys and girls carry about 18 percent body fat. After age 13, however, boys drop around 2 to 3 percent of their body fat and girls gain 8 to 10 percent more fat. This happens due to sex hormones, as girls store more body fat to support another for a future pregnancy. Puberty happens at different ages — boys usually begin the process anywhere from age 9 to 15 and girls start between ages 8 and 13. The process of puberty takes several years to complete, too, and you may experience vast changes in your body size and fat levels during this time.
If you’re a girl, you may get curvier as you grow into adolescence — but that’s part of the process of becoming a woman. A boy who hasn’t quite reached puberty can’t expect the same lower fat levels and muscle development of peers who have. Your level of fat may be completely normal for you, which is why you should check with your doctor to see if your weight and body fat are normal before embarking on a program for fat loss.
- Changes in fat distribution during your teenage years can be blamed partly on your gender and puberty.
- The process of puberty takes several years to complete, too, and you may experience vast changes in your body size and fat levels during this time.
Dietary Choices to Promote Fat Loss
Healthy Diet for a Teenage Boy
Stick to lower-fat proteins — such as grilled chicken or lean steak, broiled fish and ground turkey — along with whole grains, such as brown rice or whole-wheat bread, and plenty of fresh vegetables. Snack on fruits, low-fat yogurt or cheese, whole-grain crackers, nuts and cut-up veggies instead of processed junk foods such as:
- cereal bars
- snack mixes
Take one of these healthy snacks in your backpack to eat before band practice or play rehearsal so you’re not tempted to grab a candy bar and soda from a convenience store.
Teens Can Move More to Burn Fat
Help your body reach a healthier fat level by getting at least an hour of physical activity daily. Most of this exercise can be cardiovascular work, which moves your body’s biggest muscle groups to raise your heart rate for an extended period of time. A combination of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity efforts, such as running, gives you the most benefits.
Sports or dance practice helps you achieve this minimum amount of movement, but it’s not only your focused exercise that burns fat. Other physical activity counts, too 3. So, take a walk instead of watching television or playing video games, volunteer to mow the lawn or wash the car or take your dog for an extra walk.
Resistance training also helps a teen shed fat and build stronger muscles and bones. More muscle improves your body tone, boosts your metabolism and betters the ratio of lean mass to fat. Participate in body-weight exercises such as pushups and pullups or more specific weight-training exercises that use free weights, such as barbells and dumbbells. Seek guidance from a fitness professional or coach to design a program and hone your form.
When it comes to reducing body fat, there’s a lot of information out there to digest. As a result, it can be difficult to discern which strategies are best for individuals looking to lose weight and/or lower their body fat percentage—especially since the answer is often not just diet and exercise (though they are part of it). In fact, research shows successfully achieving an ideal body fat percentage varies from person to person, so what works for one body may not work for the next.
So how can you reduce body fat and keep it at bay?
Read on for expert advice on lowering your body fat percentage in a healthy and sustainable way.
Why Is Body Fat Important?
A healthy amount of body fat is necessary for the proper functioning of the human body. While carrying too much body fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer, having too little body fat can be just as dangerous.
“Fat exists in virtually every cell in the body—in fact, the brain is 60% fat,” says David Friedman, a naturopathic doctor, clinical nutritionist and board-certified alternative medical practitioner based in North Carolina. “Plus, fat supplies energy for the body just like protein and carbohydrates.” Fat also plays a role in regulating hormones, body temperature, immune function, reproduction, insulin signaling and nutrient absorption. What’s more, essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K rely on body fat for optimal absorption.
Healthy Body Fat Percentage for Men and Women
“Despite many decades of research and some general guiding principles, the exact body fat percentages for men and women in terms of optimum health remain unknown (though we have general guidelines),” says Michael S. Fenster, M.D., a cardiologist and adjunct professor of culinary medicine at the Kansas Health Science Center.
With that said, general body fat guidelines for men state that 2% to 5% body fat is essential, 2% to 24% body fat is considered healthy and more than 25% body fat classifies as obese. For women, 10% to 13% body fat is essential, 10% to 31% body fat is considered healthy and more than 32% body fat classifies as obese. In other words, there is quite a range of acceptability based on an individual’s gender and body type.
Who Shouldn’t Try to Lose Body Fat
People who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as individuals who are malnourished, immunocompromised or navigating a cancer diagnosis should refrain from trying to lose body fat unless specifically directed otherwise by their physician. “It’s generally recommended in these cases that in the undertaking—or the deferring—of a weight loss program, a qualified medical professional should be involved in the initial phases,” says Dr. Fenster.
Caution should also be taken by seniors. “There’s a specialized form of obesity in the elderly termed sarcopenic obesity, where you have the simultaneous existence of decreased lean muscle mass with increased fat mass,” says Isaac Alexis, M.D., founder of Slim Samurai Weight Loss Therapeutics. “You have to be extraordinarily cautious in the weight loss management of elders, as rapid weight loss can lead to increased morbidity and mortality because they need every degree of muscle mass to remain functionally independent.” This risk is why with intentional weight loss, you need to incorporate weight-bearing exercise to maintain muscle weight.
When It’s Safe to Try to Reduce Body Fat
If you don’t fall into the contraindicated categories listed above and your body fat percentage exceeds the healthy range, embarking on a program to reduce body fat could be a positive step toward better health—especially if you concurrently have elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
“Also, remember that gradual weight loss promotes greater reduction in fat mass and body fat percentage as opposed to rapid weight loss regimens,” says Dr. Alexis. “Generally speaking, it’s safe to lose 0.5% total body fat per week, or 2% body fat per month.” An easier way to measure it at home is approximately 1 to 2 pounds a week, depending on your starting weight.
Also, fat loss is different from overall weight loss. The number you see on the scale is a combination of body fat, lean muscle mass, organ weight, blood volume and skeletal mass. You can actually lose fat and increase lean mass but not lose a pound. “If you see your waistline shrinking but your overall body weight is unchanging, fear not—you are on the right path,” says Dr. Fenster.
12 Science-Backed Ways to Reduce Body Fat Safely and Sustainably
Safe and effective fat loss is a long-term endeavor. “People who lose weight quickly by going on the latest fad diet, starving themselves or overdoing it in the gym usually gain back all—or more—of the pounds they lost,” says Friedman. “Unless you focus on the bigger picture—no pun intended—weight loss results will be temporary.”
A Plan That’s Yours—And Only Yours
No two weight-loss plans are alike, because no two people are alike! Answer a few questions from WW to get a custom plan designed for you.
Updated November 22, 2021 by Rich
This has been an exciting day.
I am on day 3 of a 30 day plan of test driving Hashi Mashi for fat loss and body transformation.
I have gone into this program with an open mind ready to make a change.
I know that if I keep living the lifestyle I have done up until now, I will stay with the same body shape and weight that I am at right now, if not more, and I want to make a change.
I am done with the tight fitting pants and shirts and I want to look good for my wife and family.
So on Thursday April 17, I started with the program.
You can see both of those days, the April 17th first day of how to lose body fat fast in 30 days here, and the April 18th how to lose body fat fast in 30 days – day 2 over here.
Today is Day 3 and I am already down 6 pounds! Today I am down to 192.3 pounds from 197.9 on thursday. I cannot believe that I am down 5 pounds in not even 3 days.
How to Lose Body Fat Fast – A Pound of Fat, Imagine the size of 5 pounds of fat!
What is even more shocking is that last night, I had dinner with my wife and family as on most friday evenings.
The only thing that I changed up was that as per Hashi Mashi, I did not have bread, pasta, rice or potatoes, not even crackers, basically no grains.
What did I have?
A piping hot bowl of chicken soup with vegetables.
A plate full of broccoli, diced up salad and cooked eggplant with roasted chicken breast.
And I was able to resist the Apple Pie which was at the table for dessert.
In the morning and afternoon, I had a hard boiled egg, an avocado, some brazil nuts, a whole pint of blueberries, half a pint of strawberries and a handful of pistachios. I was pretty hungry by dinner, but did feel better than usual.
I almost had it, but my wife said to me that she already can see a difference in my face and body in only these 2 days and that I should keep going and not give in to the temptation.
Even though Hashi Mashi has said that it is okay to have a treat one or two meals max a week, I just started and I do not want to get side tracked.
Instead of the apple pie, I had a medjool date with some walnuts. That satisfied my sweet tooth.
I also got to the gym as suggested for a brief workout, just doing air squats, meaning squats without using weights as well as pushups. I am not able to do many, I did 4 with good form and I did 5 squats, that was enough for me!
Today on day 3, I wake up 5.6 pounds down from thursday. That is motivating to me.
I also went to sleep last night at 10:30pm which is much earlier than my usual time of midnight to 1 am.
Hashi Mashi advised me that the longer high quality sleep I get will help me to build muscle and lose fat, so I did my best to get to bed at that hour and woke up feeling refreshed.
What is my plan for today?
Breakfast a vegetable omelette.
Lunch vegetable soup with chicken breast.
Dinner some other vegetable with fish or turkey or just the vegetables.
I am going for Plant Power!
If I am craving any sweets, I am going to have either strawberries, blueberries, and/or a date and walnuts.
I will keep you Posted!
In the meantime, here is my updated how to lose body fat fast in 30 days table:
EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman discusses the right and wrong ways for runners, cyclists, and other endurance athletes to lose body fat.
What’s The Fastest Way To Lose Body Fat?
Good morning endurance friends and welcome to Busting the Bullcrap, the game show that dispels nutrition supplement and training myths. I’m your host and endurance guru Matt Mosman. And today we’re gonna answer the question, what is the fastest way to lose weight and body fat? Is the answer, A. Through fat burning supplements, B. Through working out on an empty stomach, C. What would C be? Let’s see, through adhering to the latest fad diet, or D. none of the above? If you answered anything but D, you lose. But as a consolation prize you get a swift kick in the ass. Oh, God help us all.
Wrong Way To Lose Body
Fat Burning Supplements
All right. So I received a question from my friend up in Canada the other day, Claudia. And she asked me, you know, my clients always ask me, what’s the fastest way to lose weight and or body fat? So let’s go back and explore some of those answers I just mentioned and then we’re going to tell you the right way to lose body weight and fat. So the first one, fat burning supplements. For the most part they do not work at all. So usually what fat burning supplements will do, they’ll be packed full of stimulants and supposed appetite suppressants like garcinia cambogia, and what they do, is they might raise resting metabolic rate a little bit but probably only enough to burn that tic-tac you just ate about five minutes ago. And then not to mention a lot of those ingredients in fat burning pills like garcinia cambogia, have very weak research behind them. So that is why fat burning supplements don’t work. Now, I know people, like, want a quick fix for a lot of their problems and, you know, fat burners look really appealing but avoid them.
Exercising On An Empty Stomach
All right. So that’s the first answer to kind of dispel then throw it out the window. The second one is. and why this doesn’t really work is working out on an empty stomach or fasted cardio to lose weight and/or body fat faster. But if you’ve watched previous videos, we know that fasted cardio it does not work for weight or fat loss compared to eating before cardio. This was demonstrated in a research study by Schoenfeld. So that’s number, answer number two out of the way.
Following A Fad Diet
Answer number three and why it’s wrong is adhering to the latest fad diet. And I’m going to tell you why this doesn’t work and this is kind of funny here actually. There’s a great infographic that came out, I don’t know, maybe it was about three months ago, when they have a list of all the diets, how they work and basically what are the accomplishes and it said like, you know, ketogenic diet works by reducing carbs and increasing fat. You lose weight by creating calorie restriction then it has some like paleo. And it says, how does it work? By eliminating dairy and sugar. How do you lose weight on it? By creating a calorie deficit? And it goes on and on down the list. But the whole thing is like, each every single diet works by creating a calorie deficit. There is absolutely nothing magical about any certain diet.
The Best Way To Burn Body Fat
So now that we got those three out of the way, what’s the best way to fastly lose weight and/or body fat? But before we do that, you’ve got to get rid of the word fast in front of that. I mean, you can do it by not eating or doing a whole bunch of other things. But more than likely you’re not gonna be able to stick to it and you’re gonna pack on the pounds you lost plus much, much, more.
So the best way just to regularly lose body weight and fat and I’m gonna say this one time, is one, you create a calorie deficit through diet and exercise. So what does this mean? This basically means that you’re burning off more calories than you’re taking in on a daily basis. Now, if you want to create a calorie deficit I would start by reducing calories by about 500 calories a day, again through diet and exercise. Do that for a couple weeks and see what kind of results you get and then adjust as necessary. But you know if you could do like a whole crash diet and cut calories by, you know, significantly more. But at that point when you cut that many calories, you know, you might lose the fat but you might lose some lean muscle tissue along with that as well, which we really, really want to avoid.
The second thing is, you know, get on a good exercise regimen. I mean, I wouldn’t look at, like, the numbers, like, how many pounds of you know fat I’m losing a week or how many pounds in general I’m losing the week. I would focus more on, you know, these are the workouts I need to accomplish on this week and then just follow that. And then more than likely, the weight is gonna come off if you’re doing that along with the same thing with your diet, you find a diet that you can stick to, and you can create that calorie deficit, and find an exercise program that you can stick to, and create that calorie deficit, hey, you’re gonna lose the weight.
I’m going to get straight to the point about how you can lose body fat fast.
How fast!? Pretty fast if you do the three ways I’m about to list out consistently.
When I preach consistency you’ll need to take it slow at first but once your habits become better and done smoothly you’ll start noticing change FAST.
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Ya’ see what I did there 😉
Nutrient Dense Food
What Are You Eating!?
What are you putting into your body? Your body will only digest and assimilate what you put into it. I don’t care about slick marketing ploys to get you to eat more junk food. You are a grown ass person. If you are blaming others rather than yourself then you have already failed. Don’t read any further cause that mindset is not going to get you results fast.
If you want to start losing fat now and change your body composition start understanding what you’re eating on a daily basis. A ton of sweets? Alcohol cause you had a long day (7 days in a row)? Lots of fried stuff ‘cause butter?
Whatever it is you need to dial it in and see how much you’re truly eating. Until you get that honed in you won’t be able to make any progress.
Don’t Like Counting Calories? No Problem. Eat Smart.
Now that we’ve identified what your daily intake looks like let’s call out a few things.
If your daily intake doesn’t include a ton of fiber, nutritionally dense food such as veggies and fresh protein like lean meats and plant based protein or healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil or any other polyunsaturated fats then we need to make adjustments.
Start subbing out all the sugary and fatty shit with healthy shit. Instead of store bought chips and fries try air fried fries and homemade chips. See what I did there? I didn’t say to stop eating delicious food, just try to make them differently. You’ll still get the same great test with half the amount of calories.
If the current amount of food is causing you to still gain weight then let’s reduce the portion size. Reduce the size of lunch if you enjoy dinner more. Same goes for any of the main meals you eat.
Do you like to snack? Try snacking 2x a day instead of 3x.
At the end of the day the way our most successful clients achieved abs was constantly adjusting their daily intake to the point where they were consistently losing fat and still enjoying the foods they love.
Doing this helps you stay consistent and when you’re consistent you start seeing results faster than expected.
Are you sleeping well?
Sleep is super underrated. Everyone is all about the hustle until they realize the ‘hustle’ breaks them and exposes how much of a weakling they truly are.
Sleep is where the magic happens. Hormones are regulated, your mind rests, and fat is burned!
When your body rests for an adequate amount of time (7 to 9 hours) it has the opportunity to start making changes where it needs to based on your habits. If you’ve been moving more and eating less consistently it will find no need to store fat and will actually start reducing fat cell size due to the unnecessary need of storing so much excess calories.
If it’s hard to get a long bout of sleep in don’t shy away from 30 minute naps. That’s still an opportunity for your body to make changes.
At the end of the day; Consistency over Intensity.
Tristan took a year and half to get to where he wanted to be by being consistent AF
If you acknowledge that everything that you can control (eating, activity, rest) are the only things you can actually control then it’ll be easier for you to make fast adjustments and start seeing results sooner rather than later.
Your answer does not lie in special supplements, magic fat loss teas or detoxes.
You can start seeing body composition results fast just by doing everything I laid out consistently.
Losing 20% body fat will require significant changes and will not happen immediately. Losing body fat takes time, dedication and consistency to a healthy lifestyle.
According to recent data approximately 30% of the global population is considered overweight or obese. In the US alone approximately 2 out of 3 adults are considered overweight or obese.
With the high prevalence of obesity, the health concerns associated with such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers are a growing global concern. The need for lowering risk of obesity and extra fat mass is urgent.
The ways to lose weight are numerous. However, weight loss methods don’t always translate to losing fat mass.
Weight loss, especially if it is fast and from unsustainable methods, can often result in weight loss that includes lean mass.
The healthiest way to improve health is focus on losing body fat which may not be the same as general weight loss.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) (1), some weight loss methods can mean losing 25% of lean muscle mass for every pound you lose.
How can you help promote fat loss without losing muscle mass? Focus on eating a healthy diet and doing both cardio and resistance exercise while staying away from the fad diets and supplements.
Best Way to Lose Body Fat
Losing 20% body fat will require significant changes and will not happen immediately. Losing body fat takes time, dedication and consistency to a healthy lifestyle.
Even if you don’t see the change you were hoping for in your measurements, making healthy lifestyle changes can have a significant improvement on your health.
Cutting out sugar for weight loss
One of the first steps for any weight loss program is to cut out excess sugar.
Sweetened foods like soda pop, sweet tea, other sweetened beverages, candy, sweet cereal, cookies, cakes, etc. are all considered empty calorie foods.
They provide little if any nutritional benefit and will raise blood sugar levels soon after consuming. Cutting out sugar sources in your diet can be a first step for losing fat mass.
Cutting out sugar sweetened beverages is a top priority for your overall health and for weight loss.
Several studies (2) that consuming sugar sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain.
Adding in some high intensity exercise
Exercise should be a component of any weight loss program. Relying solely on exercise itself may provide disappointing weight loss results (3).
Following a diet only approach for weight loss can lower metabolic rate and may increase rate of lean muscle loss.
Therefore, implementing both healthy eating and exercise behaviors is needed for losing body fat.
Any exercise has health benefits and how much exercise you should start doing for losing weight should be discussed with your healthcare team first because there are individual health factors that may guide your exercise amount and method.
Moderate and high intensity exercise has both been shown to offer benefit for fat loss. However, some research has shown high intensity intervals as exercise may have an advantage for fat loss.
A 2014 study (4) found running sprint intervals three times a week for 6 weeks led to significant decrease in body fat percentage and waist circumference.
These sprints were 4-6 all out sprints for 30 seconds followed by 4 minutes of rest. High intensity intervals are done at a high intensity, but it is short in duration followed by a rest period.
A 2008 study (5) also found high intensity exercise training in obese study participants led to significant reductions in total body fat compared to the group that did steady state moderate exercise.
Both groups exercised for the same time amount and three times per week.
Incorporating resistance training while trying to lose body fat is also recommended, as this can help you keep lean muscle mass during weight loss.
General recommended guidelines for resistance training are 2-3 days per week for each major muscle group.
How much cardio exercise you should get to lose 20% body fat can vary. In general, you will probably need to do more than the 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise for significant weight loss.
Get your calcium
Eating a well balanced diet that includes nutrient rich foods like lean proteins, heart healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains is recommended for supporting weight loss efforts and overall health.
In addition to following a healthy diet, making sure you get enough calcium in your diet could help with losing body fat.
A 2004 study (6) suggests calcium has been shown in other studies to have anti-obesity effects.
In this study, researchers put obese study participants on a controlled calorie diet that was either providing 400-500 mg per day of calcium or 1100 mg per day of calcium.
At the end of 15 weeks, researchers found fat loss was significantly increased in the higher calcium group.
Do you need to lose 20% body fat?
Knowing your body fat percent estimate can be helpful as a measure of your health. Many people assume if they are considered in a “healthy” BMI category they have nothing to worry about for their health.
However, just because your BMI is within a healthy range doesn’t mean your body fat is. Vice versa, just because your BMI number may put you in an overweight category doesn’t mean your body fat is necessarily high.
Do you need to lose 20% body fat? It depends where your body fat percent is. According to ACE (7), body fat for women can range between 14-31% for healthy range.
If your body fat percent is estimated to be around for example 35%, you don’t need to focus on dropping down to 15% body fat.
Dropping your body fat closer to 25-30% is within a healthy range. Between 14-21% body fat for women is usually seen in athletes.
For men, between 6-24% body fat can be considered healthy. Over 25% can be considered obese.
Just because a man’s body fat percent is 30% doesn’t mean he has to lose 20% body fat.
If you have questions about where you should be for body fat percent, work with a health professional for measuring and setting a goal for body fat percent.
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People strive to lose weight for myriad reasons, and many fall into the fad diet trap promising real results fast. While there are certainly ways to accelerate your weight loss efforts, it’s important to understand that shedding pounds too quickly can actually backfire.
Like so many parts of life, safe, successful and sustainable weight loss is more about the journey and less about a scale-based destination and rapidly approaching deadline. Read on for expert advice on the best ways to lose weight—and keep it off.
Interested In Trying The Nutrisystem Diet?
Choose your weight loss plan. New menu 2022 available. Breakfast burritos, sesame ramen, hash brown casserole and more!
Why Losing Weight Fast Isn’t the Best Goal
Though the allure of the “lose 5 pounds in a week” diet myth is strong, there are many reasons why speedy shedding may actually work against your best weight loss efforts.
First, when people lose weight rapidly, especially via fad or crash diets, they are typically unable to maintain it because the weight they lose is often more muscle mass and water and less fat mass compared to people who lose weight gradually.
“Maintaining lean muscle is important in weight loss because it plays a key role in metabolism,” says certified health coach and author of Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock Connie Bennett. “Muscle helps you burn more calories. But when you lose weight too quickly, you lose muscle and your body slows down calorie burning. Fast weight loss can even cause permanent slowing of metabolism.”
Rapid weight loss often leads to the dreaded yo-yo weight cycling many chronic dieters experience. In fact, a study of former contestants on NBC’s weight loss television show “The Biggest Loser” found the more pounds dropped quickly, the more the participant’s metabolism slowed. The study also found that the contestants regained a substantial amount of their lost weight in the six years following the competition.  Fothergill E, Guo J, Howard L, Kerns J, Knuth N, Brychta R, Chen K, Skarulis M, Walter M, Walter P, Hall K. Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity. 2016;24(8):1612-1619.
Another Australian study of 200 participants in The Lancet found that while dieters in the study lost the same amount of weight, the group that lost weight slowly lost 10% more body fat and 50% less lean muscle than the rapid weight loss group  Purcell K, Sumithran P, Prendergast L, Bouniu C, Delbridge E, Proietto J. The effect of rate weight loss on long-term weight management: a randomised control trial. The Lancet. 2014;2(12):954-962. .
Further compounding the issue, when people lose weight rapidly, appetite often increases as metabolism decreases, making it almost impossible to keep the pounds off. A study in Obesity reports our bodies prompt us to eat 100 calories more per day for every pound lost  Polidori D, Sanghvi A, Seeley R, Hall K. How Strongly Does Appetite Counter Weight Loss? Quantification of the Feedback Control of Human Energy Intake. . Obesity. 2016;24(11):2289-2295. .
Popular fad diets also very often result in nutrient deficiencies. “And rapid weight loss—especially when you cut carbs—is often largely water,” says registered dietitian Ellen Albertson, Ph.D., author of Rock Your Midlife. “What’s more, if daily calories are low, the body may also use muscle mass as fuel, further reducing metabolism, as muscle mass is metabolically active.”
The bottom line: Shedding weight sensibly is the way to go. Experts usually say a safe rate is losing around half a pound to 2 pounds a week. With that goal in mind, here are some tried-and-true ways to drop pounds and keep them off for good.
15 Expert-Backed Tips for Safe and Sustainable Weight Loss
1. Implement Long-Term Lifestyle and Behavior Changes
When trying to lose weight, ban the word “diet,” suggests Albertson. Dieting can be unpleasant and make you hungry, so you constantly think about food, which is exactly what you don’t want when trying to lose weight. Instead, she recommends thinking of weight loss as a part of getting healthier and concentrating on taking care of your body first.
“Weight loss is complicated and you don’t have total control over the number on the scale, but you do have control over what you eat, how much you move and other factors that impact weight, such as stress and sleep,” says Albertson. She suggests setting SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive—goals and rewarding yourself when you hit them.
2. Focus on the First 5% to 10%
Instead of saying, “I need to lose 25 pounds,” and overwhelming yourself with what seems like an impossible goal, look toward the health benefits that can come from even modest weight loss.
“Set smaller, achievable targets,” suggests Bennett. “Losing only 5% to 10% of your total body weight (TBW) can greatly improve your health and lower your risk for illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.”
3. Reduce Your Intake of Ultra-Processed Carbs and Sweets
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals what you eat is most important for weight loss  Ludwig D, Ebbeling C.. The Carbohydrate-Insulin Model of Obesity: Beyond “Calories In, Calories Out.” . JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(8):1098-1103. . The pounds will come off more quickly if you improve the quality of the foods you ingest.
“One of the healthiest ways to shed weight is to reduce your intake of sugar and rapidly metabolized carbohydrates,” says Bennett. “In particular, you want to cut out or drastically curtail your intake of high-glycemic-load foods, such as sugary snacks, processed carbs and soft drinks. When you avoid or cut back on French fries, chips, crackers and the like, you’ll speed up your weight loss.”
4. Eat More Plants
Research shows a plant-based diet not only promotes weight loss, but is also easier to stick to than a low-calorie diet  Turner-McGrievy G, Mandes T, Crimarco A. A plant-based diet for overweight and obesity prevention and treatment. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. 2017;14(5):369-374. . Plus, it’s nutrient dense and has numerous health benefits.
“Produce supports weight loss because it’s rich in fiber and water, which are both calorie-free yet take up space in your stomach so you feel full,” says Albertson. In fact, a Brazilian study found a direct correlation between increased fruit and vegetable consumption and enhanced weight loss  Sartorelli D, Franco L, Cardoso M. High intake of fruits and vegetables predicts weight loss in Brazilian overweight adults. Nutrition Research. 2008;28(4):233-8. .
Albertson suggests aiming to consume five daily servings of produce to start and working up to seven to nine servings a day. “Start your day with a green smoothie, have a salad or cut up vegetables with your lunch and eat fruit for snacks and desserts,” she says. “For supper, have more stir frys, incorporate veggies into your pasta dishes and stir them into soups.”
5. Pump Up Your Protein
Increasing your protein consumption can help reduce appetite and help prevent the loss of muscle mass.
You May Also Be Interested In Protein Powders Available On Amazon
BiPro Bold Whey + Milk Protein Powder Isolate
Losing weight is one of the most mentally and physically challenging things you will ever face. If you’re like the majority of people out there, you’ll probably also want to lose the weight fast. Firstly, let me remind you that fast weight loss is not always good for our health. Between the media and society, there appears to be this misunderstanding that slow weight loss is ineffective and implies you’re doing something wrong. Medically speaking, safe weight loss is approximately 10-15% of your body mass over a 12 month period. For a a 200 pound person that’s a mere 20 – 30 pounds of weight or 1.7 to 2.5 pounds of weight loss per month. This sort of figures would put most extreme dieters into tears, but in reality they are actually on target. Having pre-warned you of the normal rate to lose weight, there is some more enlightening information within this article. There are certainly ways, most importantly safe ways, that you can speed up your weight loss. Here are my secret tips on how you can lose body fat fast.
Fill up on low calorie meals
Did you know your stomach regulates how full it feels by three factors – the size of the meal, the temperature of the meal and the type of food you eat. Using this information, there are simple ways you can reduce your calorie intake but still feel full at each meal. Fill up on large volume, low calorie foods. This includes soups, stews and casseroles. Use low calorie ingredients such as celery, cabbage, peas, carrots and chicken stock. Eat more hot meals, as the heat stimulates sensors in your stomach that promote the sensation of feeling full. Choose foods that are more filling, such as high protein and fiber foods. These will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Exercise on an empty stomach
Not everyone can tolerate exercising on an empty stomach, but if you can, this will really speed up your weight loss. When you rise in the morning, your body has completed a 7-9 hour fast. During this time your body has slowly switched to burning more fat stores while you sleep as it doesn’t have a readily available supply of carbohydrates. But we all know we that sleeping is not physically demanding so the overall calorie expenditure during your sleep is quite low. However, exercising first thing in the morning and on an empty stomach can help to carry on your fast and accelerate the amount of calories you burn from your fat stores.
Reduce sedentary time
Technology has made us more lazy then we have ever been. On average we spend 15-20 hours each day sitting or laying down. This sedentary time has a significant impact on our health and our body weight. Even people who exercise regularly but have too much sedentary time can find weight loss difficult. Reducing your sedentary time, in combination with your diet and exercise efforts, can significantly enhance your results. Reduce the amount of time you spend sitting, by standing or moving. These little and frequent bouts of energy expenditure all accumulate over time and will contribute to your weight loss.
How do I Calculate My BMI and Body Fat?
BMI Vs. Body Fat Percentage
Body Mass Index (BMI) and Body Fat percentage are two totally different measurements that are often mistakenly considered interchangeable. Body Mass Index and Body Fat Percentage are definitely different.
What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?
Body Mass Index is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. Physicians widely consider BMI measurements as a simple way to determine if a person is healthy or unhealthy, underweight or overweight. It is important to note, that your BMI score is not a recommendation of what you should weigh…it’s more a general guideline.
How to Calculate your BMI
BMI = Your weight (in pounds) x 703
Your height in inches squared
Let’s look at an example of a person that is 5’7 weighing 150 pounds
BMI = 150 x 703 BMI = 105,450 BMI= 23.49
67 x 67 4,490
You can use the IIFYM BMI calculator to get your BMI.
Your BMI Range
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), there are five different ranges or body fat categories.
Keep in mind these categories are based on body fat norms and may not be a good indicator of your specific fitness level. ACE contends that, “a person’s overall health and lifestyle choices should be taken into account before making a decision about whether their percent body fat is acceptable or unacceptable.”
18.5 or below is considered underweight
18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal
25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight
30 or above is considered obese
What about Body Fat Percentage?
Body Mass Index uses your weight in the formula but unfortunately it doesn’t take into account if that weight comes from fat or lean muscle tissue. Athletes who carry an abundance of lean muscle tissue may seem rather heavy for their frame or size but that’s because muscle weighs more than fat. These particular individuals may have a rather high BMI, but not have a great deal of fat. This is where Body Fat percentage takes over. Body fat percentage is the percentage of your body that consists of fat.
Women’s Body Fat Percentage
For females: a body fat percentage of:
10-12% is considered essential fat
14-20% is considered athletic
21-24% is considered fit
25-31% is considered acceptable
32% or more is considered obese
Men’s Body Fat Percentage
For males: a body fat percentage of:
2-4% is considered essential fat
6-13% is considered athletic
14-17% is considered fit
18-25% is considered acceptable
25% or higher is considered obese
Follow these guidelines for calculating the most accurate body fat percentage.
When to Take Measurements
To get the most accurate result, take measurements first thing in the morning. Your weight can fluctuate throughout the day so it’s wise to get your numbers before you’ve had anything to eat or drink.
What to Use
Once you’ve weighed yourself, you’ll need to take body measurements. Use a soft, flexible (cloth or fiberglass) tape measure. Don’t use an elastic tape measure.
How to Take Your Measurements
When you measure the circumference of each body part, the tape should feel firm enough against your skin so that it stays in place but not so tight that it causes an indentation.
You can use English or metric units. The measurements required for men and women are slightly different. Women require a bit more data.
Current weight. Use a digital scale if possible.
Waist circumference. Take the measurement at the largest part of your belly, usually right at the level of your belly button. Make sure that the tape measure stays level to the floor. Don’t hold your breath or suck in to get the measurement.
Current weight. Use a digital scale if possible.
Waist circumference. Take the measurement at the largest part of your belly, usually right at the level of your belly button. Make sure that the tape measure stays level to the floor. Don’t hold your breath or suck in to get the measurement.
Wrist circumference. Measure around the smallest part of your wrist. You may need a partner to help with this measurement as it’s hard to measure one-handed.
Hip circumference. Measure around the largest part of your hips, usually at the posterior extension of the gluteals (the place where your butt extends back).
Forearm circumference. Measure around at the widest part of your arm below your elbow. It’s easiest to have a partner get this measurement. Keep your arm relaxed during the measurement and let it hang alongside your body (don’t bend or flex the arm while measuring).
Once you’ve gathered your numbers, input the data to calculate your body fat percentage.
Body Fat Calculator
Why Measure Body Fat Percentage?
Whether you liked your result or not, you may wonder why body fat percentage matters. if your goal is weight loss, you might be tempted to use a scale for feedback on your progress. But body fat percentage tells you much more than the scale does.
When you’re trying to slim down, boost your health, or increase your level of fitness, fat loss should be your goal, rather than simple weight loss. You want to keep the lean mass, or fat-free mass, that your body needs. This includes bone, blood, connective tissue, organs, and muscle.
Muscle loss sometimes occurs when you are losing weight, but it’s not the kind of weight loss you’re looking for. You want to maintain muscle mass because it helps your body function and perform more efficiently, boosts your metabolism, and gives your frame a lean, tight appearance.
By measuring changes in body fat percentage, you can tell how well your fitness or weight loss program is helping you to lose fat while maintaining fat-free mass.
The concept behind losing fat is simple. I mean ridiculously simple.
In fact, when it comes to scientific concepts, losing fat is as simple as they come, right after where babies come from (and everyone knows the stork brings babies to their parents).
To lose fat fast, you simply have to eat less than your maintenance calories, and the fat will come right off.
However, it seems that the fitness industry wants fat loss to be incredibly difficult. Every year, hundreds of new diets, weight loss supplements, and just all-around bogus information are released. A lot of this information is contradicting, lacks scientific proof, and is simply created to make a quick buck.
There are sooooo many contradicting statements made in the fitness industry that it scares me sometimes. For diets, there’s low carb, low fat, vegan, paleo, Jenny Craig, Atkins, South Beach, the list goes on and on.
And then there are the guys who argue about the foods you must or must not eat otherwise you’ll fuck up your body. These are the guys that argue about whether or not caffeine is good for you, whether or not egg yolks will raise your cholesterol, or whether or not eating little baby pandas will prevent wrinkles.
Fat loss seriously doesn’t have to be hard, so here’s a guide on how to eat lose fat fast without all the confusing crap. Follow the next steps closely, and I promise that you will lose fat without pulling your hair out.
Fat loss doesn’t have to be “hair pulling” difficult
1) Calculate you maintenance level calories
Your maintenance level calories are the calories needed to simply maintain your current weight.
Maintenance calories = Your bodyweight in pounds * 14 or 15. (Note: this is just an estimate)
Eat at your maintenance level for 3 days. If your weight remains the same, then you are good to go. If you gain weight, then lower your maintenance calories by 100 per day, until your weight stabilizes. If you lose weight, increase your calories by 100 per day.
2) Create a caloric deficit by eating 500 less than your maintenance level calories
One pound of fat is about 3500 calories.
Eating at a 500 calorie deficit will equate to about 1 pound of fat loss per week.
Start with a 500 calories. You can go lower than that to accelerate fat loss, but don’t do it right away. This typically never works and you’ll just end up binging and gaining back the weight.
Technically, you can go ultra low calorie to lose more weight, but you need to be strategic about it.
3) Choose a meal frequency and stick with it
The next step is to choose a meal frequency, which is the number of times you eat per day. Try to keep the number of meals per day the same so that you stay on a consistent schedule and don’t have any unexpected hunger attacks. So don’t eat 2 big meals on Monday, then eat 6 mini meals on Tuesday.
It doesn’t matter if its 1, 2, 3, or 6 meals per day. The whole 6 meals per day theory is complete crap, so just ignore it and choose a meal frequency that fits your schedule and and lifestyle.
4) Emphasize protein and get at least 0.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight every day
Protein is the most satiating macro nutrient, meaning you’ll feel fuller from eating protein than eating carbohydrates or fat. So if you enjoy feeling full after each meal, aim for more protein.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight like all fitness professionals say. 0.6 grams is plenty enough to maintain and even build muscle. However, more protein will not harm you.
The cool thing is that even if you don’t hit your protein requirements for one day, you can just make up for it the next day. Your body has the ability to recycle proteins from previous days so don’t sweat it if you miss a few grams of protein. Just try to hit a weekly average of 0.6 grams a day.
– For more info on the truth about protein. Check out Brad Pilon’s How Much Protein. In my opinion, this is the best book on protein in the industry.
Who said dieting is boring. If you want you can eat doughnuts every day and still lose fat.
5) Take a multivitamin, fish oil, and eat a lots of fruits and veggies
– I also want you to take a multivitamin every day to cover your vitamin and mineral bases.
– For fish oil, aim for 6-10 grams per day.
– Multivitamins and fish oil are the only supplements that I recommend people take. This is because they’re only ones that actually benefit people and are backed with enough science.
– A multivitamin will help insure that you aren’t in any and mineral or vitamin deficiency, and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help balance out the omega-6 fatty acids we eat. I currently get my supplements from Prograde Nutrition.
– Also, eat plenty of fruits and veggies. This isn’t because fruits and vegetables have any magical fat burning properties, but they’ll help you feel a bit fuller so you don’t stuff your face with gummy worms and beer. Plus fruits and veggies provide your body with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
6) That’s it. Have fun, eat whatever you want, and lose fat
Seriously, that’s it. Were you expecting it to be harder?
I know that this is a very brief outline, but this is seriously all you need to know on what to eat to start losing fat. You can eat burgers and ice cream every day for all I care, as long as you’re following all the steps above and eating in a deficit.
You’re going to have to experiment with what foods work best for you. Some foods make people feel fuller than others, so experiment, and who knows, you might discover some new favorite foods during your diet.
So there it is, your quick guide on how to eat to lose fat fast. Get to it and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Here are two little-known but potent ways to kill fat cells and to lose fat fast.
Think about the last piece of fat loss advice you received. Let me guess? It went something like this:
“Read this diet book.”
And sure: fat loss and the attainment of a sexy, lean body begins with getting off your butt, moving more, working out, and slowly lowering the doughnut from your gaping maw.
But when it comes to losing fat fast, staying shredded, rippedm and toned year round, and getting to the body weight you want—without two-a-day workouts and being hungry all the time—there are potent strategies that fly under the radar: strategies that go beyond fat loss.
For example, let’s take the flawed concept that, no matter what, you’ll always be stuck with the number of fat cells you’ve built earlier in your life. This commonly accepted dogma in the fitness and diet industry dictates that if you’ve ever had excess weight or bits of undesirable adipose tissue on your waist, hips, and butt, then the fat cells in those areas will never actually disappear, but will instead simply shrink. Those fat cells will then hide, waiting in the wings for the next time you mess up and eat a few too many bites of steak or an extra scoop of ice cream—at which point those food calories are doomed to wind up getting shoved directly into the eagerly waiting fat cells—resulting in a constant uphill battle against the bulge.
But this simply isn’t true. I realized this when I interviewed Dr. Cate Shanahan on my podcast. Dr. Shanahan explained that if you banish just one particularly notorious biological variable that is present in most people eating a standard Western diet, then you can actually induce fat cells to not only die, but to get transformed into other physiologically useful tissues, such as muscle cells, stem cells and neural cells. So what is this variable?
It’s not excess calories. It’s not chocolate. It’s not, to the chagrin of diet book authors worldwide, gluten. It’s not a low-carb, high-fat or a high-carb, low-fat diet.
That’s right: inflammation—particularly from exposure to a toxin-laden environment, consumption of heated and rancid vegetable oils, and a stressful lifestyle combined with not enough sleep – can make fat cells resistant to dying and resistant to getting converted into other tissues, particularly because excess inflammation creates excess insulin, and insulin is the hormone responsible for shoveling calories into fat tissue. So to achieve lasting fat loss, the solution is simple: shut down inflammation.
My fellow Quick And Dirty Tips podcast “The Nutrition Diva” has in the past delved into some of the most potent dietary strategies to decrease inflammation, so be sure to check out her many episodes on the topic. Other practical methods and useful resources for lowering inflammation, lowering insulin, and killing fat cells or converting fat cells, include:
-Avoidance of any oils exposed to high amounts of heat, pressure or other forms of oxidation, including rancid forms of canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and most packaged foods that produce a crunchy sensation, including so-called “healthy” trail mixes coated in oil and “healthy” nut butters and off-the-shelf snacks (hint: doughnuts, potato chips and french fries are the three most notorious food-based culprits that maintain the body in a constant state of inflammation)
-Paying attention to the results from a 2010 research study at the University of Sao Paolo, which reported on something called the “Inflammation Factor Rating”, which accurately predicts food inflammatory responses in human subjects. Charts that list both the inflammatory and the anti-inflammatory potential of just about any food can be found at “InflammationFactor.com”. For example, suggestions from that website include limiting coffee, alcohol, high fructose corn syrup and wheat, and instead eat choosing foods such as kale, raw seeds and nuts, coconut and avocado.
-The fact that during your deep sleep stages, particularly between 2 am and 6 am, your body’s core temperature drops, nervous system repair and recovery takes place, and cellular inflammation is “cleaned up”, so if you struggle through the day with appetite cravings and resistance to weight loss, inflammation related to poor sleep is usually to blame.
-Identify and decrease exposure to over-processed and refined foods, chemical additives, antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated water, artificial sweeteners or anything else that might be considered “unnatural” enough to churn up high amounts of inflammation. For more on how to do that, ready my article on “How To Detox Your Home”. So what are some other potent ways to kill fat cells?
The calorie-burning benefits of even the shortest strength-training bout keep coming long after you’ve left the gym
Want to get in seriously great shape? All it takes is a DVD player and 15 minutes a day. And we can prove it to you, with The Women’s Health 15-Minute Belly, Butt & Thighs Workout DVD. It’s one of the hottest fitness DVDs of the year.
Why? Because it uses cutting-edge science to help you burn more calories per minute than typical workouts. In fact, you’ll pack more exercise into 15 minutes than most people do in sessions that last twice that long. So don’t think of these workouts as short: Think of them as efficient. Super-efficient. Find out what these 15-minute workouts can do for you on the following slides.
Premiere strength-training researcher Wayne Westcott, PhD, CSCS, instructor in the exercise science department at Quincy College in Massachusetts, confirms that when you choose your exercises wisely, a handful of moves—just four in some cases—is all you need to change your body composition. “Navy research shows you can get tremendous overall improvement—losing 4 pounds of fat and adding 2 pounds of muscle in 8 weeks—by doing just four exercises that work every major muscle,” he says.
The calorie-burning benefits of even the shortest strength-training bout keep coming long after you’ve left the gym. In a study from Southern Illinois University, researchers found that when volunteers did just one set of nine exercises, or about 11 minutes of strength training, 3 days a week, they increased their resting metabolic rate (the calories burned when just hanging out) and fat burning enough to keep unwanted weight at bay.
Unless you do something to stop it, your body loses about half a pound of muscle a year after age 20, says Tina Schmidt-McNulty, exercise specialist at Purdue University Calumet. That may sound nearly insignificant, but when you consider that muscle is your body’s biggest calorie burner—burning five times as many calories per pound as fat—it’s like “taking your foot off the gas pedal of your metabolism right as you enter adulthood,” explains McNulty.
If you want to blast 40% more fat, burn twice as many calories and rev your metabolism as much as 72 hours longer! Try the Women’s Health 15-Minute Belly, Butt & Thighs Workout DVD today!
Losing fat is a collaborative process between calorie intake, types of calories, metabolism, calorie burning and timing. Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Everyone on the planet can lose body fat with one goal—calories in being less than calories out.
Burn more calories than you take in, and fat comes off. The challenging part is that there are a million different combination or ways to do this. The key is to find what works for you. What fits into your mindset, what can you adapt into your schedule and what will you be able to do consistently?
Below are five easy—and often overlooked—ways to lose fat. Anyone with the faintest desire to lose body fat can easily incorporate these into their weekly routine. Putting them all together is certain to result in some noticeable fat loss within a few weeks.
Split Up Your Meals
This is simple, straightforward and effective. You can continue eating exactly what you eat now; however, instead of eating a full lunch at noon, eat half at noon and save the other half for 2:30.
Your body will respond by maintaining an elevated metabolism. This means you can eat the same amount and organically burn more of it off.
Vary Your Cardio
If you do the same type, duration and intensity of cardio consistently, your body will quickly adapt to this and you will substantially diminish your returns over time. Instead, one day do 45 minutes low intensity on the treadmill and the next day do 20 minutes on the stair-stepper at high intensity.
Changing variables like time, time of day, intensity and type of exercise will keep your body off-balance enough to dig into its fat reserves much easier.
Drink Lots of Cold Water
First, drinking water keeps your system clean and active, thus keeping your metabolism moving. Drink lots of it. Whatever you drink now, double it. Water has no calories; however it takes calories to digest. Furthermore, your body temperature is around 98.6 degrees. It will do whatever it has to in order to stay there.
By drinking cold water, your body will have to expend energy (calories) to bring this water up to 98.6 degrees. So opt for ice-cold water if given the option.
Pick Snacks That Work for You and Not Against You
Negative calorie food is a food that is purported to require more calories to digest by the human body than it provides to the body by eating it. While there is no concrete evidence to support this, there are multiple fruits and vegetables that are borderline negative calorie that make for excellent snacks.
These are broccoli, celery, lemons, limes, asparagus, mandarin oranges, cabbage, watermelon, peppers, carrots and apples. While these may not be negative calorie foods (depending on your metabolism and density of the specific piece of food), they will take up space in your stomach and quench your hunger with virtually no penalty of ingesting unwanted calories.
Lift Some Weights
Perhaps the best way to increase your metabolism and burn fat is to build muscle. Muscle is catabolic, meaning it burns calories even when it’s not doing anything.
If you don’t already, add some challenging weight training into your routine. You may put on a little muscle weight, but you will now burn more fat and calories and look phenomenal. Stick to free weights when you can as these build more and in less time than guided machines.
Surprise: Everyone has some belly fat, even people who have flat abs.
That’s normal. But too much belly fat can affect your health in a way that other fat doesn’t.
Some of your fat is right under your skin. Other fat is deeper inside, around your heart, lungs, liver, and other organs.
It’s that deeper fat — called “visceral” fat — that may be the bigger problem, even for thin people.
Even thin people can have too much belly fat. It’s more about how active you are than your pants size.
Deep Belly Fat
You need some visceral fat. It provides cushioning around your organs.
But if you have too much of it, you may be more likely to get high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer.
The fat doesn’t just sit there. It’s an active part of your body, making “lots of nasty substances,” says Kristen Hairston, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
If you gain too much weight, your body starts to store your fat in unusual places.
With increasing obesity, you have people whose regular areas to store fat are so full that the fat is deposited into the organs and around the heart, says Carol Shively, PhD, professor of pathology-comparative medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
How Much Belly Fat Do You Have?
The most precise way to determine how much visceral fat you have is to get a CT scan or MRI. But there’s a much simpler, low-cost way to check.
Get a measuring tape, wrap it around your waist at your belly button, and check your girth. Do it while you’re standing up, and make sure the tape measure is level.
For your health’s sake, you want your waist size to be less than 35 inches if you’re a woman and less than 40 inches if you’re a man.
Having a “pear shape” — bigger hips and thighs — is considered safer than an “apple shape,” which describes a wider waistline.
вЂњWhat weвЂ™re really pointing to with the apple versus pear,вЂќ Hairston says, “is that, if you have more abdominal fat, itвЂ™s probably an indicator that you have more visceral fat.”
Thin People Have It, Too
Even if you’re thin, you can still have too much visceral fat.
How much you have is partly about your genes, and partly about your lifestyle, especially how active you are.
Visceral fat likes inactivity. In one study, thin people who watched their diets but didn’t exercise were more likely to have too much visceral fat.
The key is to be active, no matter what size you are.
4 Steps for Beating Belly Fat
There are four keys to controlling belly fat: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management.
1. Exercise: Vigorous exercise trims all your fat, including visceral fat.
Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week. Walking counts, as long as it’s brisk enough that you work up a sweat and breathe harder, with your heart rate faster than usual.
To get the same results in half the time, step up your pace and get vigorous exercise — like jogging or walking. You’d need to do that for 20 minutes a day, 4 days a week.
Jog, if you’re already fit, or walk briskly at an incline on a treadmill if you’re not ready for jogging. Vigorous workouts on stationary bikes and elliptical or rowing machines are also effective, says Duke researcher Cris Slentz, PhD.
Moderate activity — raising your heart rate for 30 minutes at least three times per week — also helps. It slows down how much visceral fat you gain. But to torch visceral fat, your workouts may need to be stepped up.
вЂњRake leaves, walk, garden, go to Zumba, play soccer with your kids. It doesnвЂ™t have to be in the gym,вЂќ Hairston says.
If you are not active now, it’s a good idea to check with your health care provider before starting a new fitness program.
2. Diet: There is no magic diet for belly fat. But when you lose weight on any diet, belly fat usually goes first.
Getting enough fiber can help. HairstonвЂ™s research shows that people who eat 10 grams of soluble fiber per day — without any other diet changes — build up less visceral fat over time than others. ThatвЂ™s as simple as eating two small apples, a cup of green peas, or a half-cup of pinto beans.
вЂњEven if you kept everything else the same but switched to a higher-fiber bread, you might be able to better maintain your weight over time,вЂќ Hairston says.
3. Sleep: Getting the right amount of shut-eye helps. In one study, people who got 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night gained less visceral fat over 5 years compared to those who slept 5 or fewer hours per night or 8 or more hours per night. Sleep may not have been the only thing that mattered — but it was part of the picture.
4. Stress: Everyone has stress. How you handle it matters. The best things you can do include relaxing with friends and family, meditating, exercising to blow off steam, and getting counseling. That leaves you healthier and better prepared to make good choices for yourself.
вЂњIf you could only afford the time to do one of these things,” Shively says, “exercise probably has the most immediate benefits, because it gets at both obesity and stress.вЂќ
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: вЂњAssessing your weight and health risk.вЂќ
Mayo Clinic WomenвЂ™s Health Source, June 2011.
Dedert, E. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 2004.
Hairston, K. Obesity, published online June 16, 2011.
Hairston, K. Sleep, March 2010.
Heinrichs, M. Biological Psychiatry, Dec. 15, 2003.
KilpelГ¤inen, T. Nature Genetics, published online June 26, 2011.
Lewis, T. American Journal of Epidemiology, June 1, 2011.
Noble, R. Western Journal of Medicine, April 2001.
Slentz, C. American Journal of Physiology вЂ“ Endocrinology and Metabolism, published online Aug. 16, 2011.
Carol Shively, PhD, professor of pathology-comparative medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.
Kristen Hairston, MD, MPH, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.
Tuomas KilpelГ¤inen, PhD, assistant professor, The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Copenhagen University; former epidemiologist, Institute of Metabolic Science, Medical Research Council, Cambridge, U.K.
Cris Slentz, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC.
There’s a better way to lose weight. These dieting tips can help you avoid diet pitfalls and achieve lasting weight-loss success.
What’s the best diet for healthy weight loss?
Pick up any diet book and it will claim to hold all the answers to successfully losing all the weight you want—and keeping it off. Some claim the key is to eat less and exercise more, others that low fat is the only way to go, while others prescribe cutting out carbs. So, what should you believe?
The truth is there is no “one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy weight loss. What works for one person may not work for you, since our bodies respond differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors. To find the method of weight loss that’s right for you will likely take time and require patience, commitment, and some experimentation with different foods and diets.
While some people respond well to counting calories or similar restrictive methods, others respond better to having more freedom in planning their weight-loss programs. Being free to simply avoid fried foods or cut back on refined carbs can set them up for success. So, don’t get too discouraged if a diet that worked for somebody else doesn’t work for you. And don’t beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. Ultimately, a diet is only right for you if it’s one you can stick with over time.
Remember: while there’s no easy fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier relationship with food, curb emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
Four popular weight loss strategies
1. Cut calories
Some experts believe that successfully managing your weight comes down to a simple equation: If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. Sounds easy, right? Then why is losing weight so hard?
- Weight loss isn’t a linear event over time. When you cut calories, you may drop weight for the first few weeks, for example, and then something changes. You eat the same number of calories but you lose less weight or no weight at all. That’s because when you lose weight you’re losing water and lean tissue as well as fat, your metabolism slows, and your body changes in other ways. So, in order to continue dropping weight each week, you need to continue cutting calories.
- A calorie isn’t always a calorie. Eating 100 calories of high fructose corn syrup, for example, can have a different effect on your body than eating 100 calories of broccoli. The trick for sustained weight loss is to ditch the foods that are packed with calories but don’t make you feel full (like candy) and replace them with foods that fill you up without being loaded with calories (like vegetables).
- Many of us don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. We also turn to food for comfort or to relieve stress—which can quickly derail any weight loss plan.
2. Cut carbs
A different way of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as not one of consuming too many calories, but rather the way the body accumulates fat after consuming carbohydrates—in particular the role of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the food enter your bloodstream as glucose. In order to keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body always burns off this glucose before it burns off fat from a meal.
If you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal (lots of pasta, rice, bread, or French fries, for example), your body releases insulin to help with the influx of all this glucose into your blood. As well as regulating blood sugar levels, insulin does two things: It prevents your fat cells from releasing fat for the body to burn as fuel (because its priority is to burn off the glucose) and it creates more fat cells for storing everything that your body can’t burn off. The result is that you gain weight and your body now requires more fuel to burn, so you eat more. Since insulin only burns carbohydrates, you crave carbs and so begins a vicious cycle of consuming carbs and gaining weight. To lose weight, the reasoning goes, you need to break this cycle by reducing carbs.
Most low-carb diets advocate replacing carbs with protein and fat, which could have some negative long-term effects on your health. If you do try a low-carb diet, you can reduce your risks and limit your intake of saturated and trans fats by choosing lean meats, fish and vegetarian sources of protein, low-fat dairy products, and eating plenty of leafy green and non-starchy vegetables.
3. Cut fat
It’s a mainstay of many diets: if you don’t want to get fat, don’t eat fat. Walk down any grocery store aisle and you’ll be bombarded with reduced-fat snacks, dairy, and packaged meals. But while our low-fat options have exploded, so have obesity rates. So, why haven’t low-fat diets worked for more of us?
- Not all fat is bad. Healthy or “good” fats can actually help to control your weight, as well as manage your moods and fight fatigue. Unsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, soy milk, tofu, and fatty fish can help fill you up, while adding a little tasty olive oil to a plate of vegetables, for example, can make it easier to eat healthy food and improve the overall quality of your diet.
- We often make the wrong trade-offs. Many of us make the mistake of swapping fat for the empty calories of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Instead of eating whole-fat yoghurt, for example, we eat low- or no-fat versions that are packed with sugar to make up for the loss of taste. Or we swap our fatty breakfast bacon for a muffin or donut that causes rapid spikes in blood sugar.
4. Follow the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating good fats and good carbs along with large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish, and olive oil—and only modest amounts of meat and cheese. The Mediterranean diet is more than just about food, though. Regular physical activity and sharing meals with others are also major components.
Whatever weight loss strategy you try, it’s important to stay motivated and avoid common dieting pitfalls, such as emotional eating.
Control emotional eating
We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. All too often, we turn to food when we’re stressed or anxious, which can wreck any diet and pack on the pounds. Do you eat when you’re worried, bored, or lonely? Do you snack in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make all the difference in your weight-loss efforts. If you eat when you’re:
Stressed – find healthier ways to calm yourself. Try yoga, meditation, or soaking in a hot bath.
Low on energy – find other mid-afternoon pick-me-ups. Try walking around the block, listening to energizing music, or taking a short nap.
Lonely or bored – reach out to others instead of reaching for the refrigerator. Call a friend who makes you laugh, take your dog for a walk, or go to the library, mall, or park—anywhere there’s people.
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