If you're tired of struggling to lose weight and are impatient to see some results, we have good news: You have options. And here's better news: We're not talking about crash dieting or doing hours of cardio.
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 easier—and faster—could be a game-changer for you!
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 of "boosting" your metabolism. The new-school way is to eat an appropriate number of calories, but only within a limited eating "window," usually between 4 and 8 hours. This approach, known as intermittent fasting, forces your body to use stored body fat for fuel during the fasting window.
Cramming all of your meals into an eating window also allows you to eat slightly larger meals and feel fuller than you would 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 of Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.
Dr. Jim Stoppani's favorite way to break a fast is with a protein shake. Then he hits the weights!
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 carbs—and there's nothing wrong with that! Alternating your carbs daily, or "carb cycling," 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: Use a macronutrient calculator to dial in your carbohydrate intake. Then, two days a week—preferably hard training days—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 carbs 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, "How to Burn Fat Faster in Your Lifting Workouts."
- Commit to a full high-energy interval-based weight-training plan. The video workouts in 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 the best cardio for fast fat 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 increases EPOC 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 minutes of steady-state training. This will allow you to reap all the benefits in one workout. Plus, the steady-state cardio 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, another favorite of Jim Stoppani, Ph.D., 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 you—or require you—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 terms "leaning out" and "fat burner" are synonymous. And sure, the best fat burners can definitely be a great tool in your arsenal—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, 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., gives the low-down on the best fat-burning supplements you've been avoiding in the article, "5 Ways to Up Your Fat-Loss Supplement Game."
Get your training and nutrition dialed in. Then use a fat burner to help you get where you want to be faster!
*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.