Let’s face it, no one likes to diet. Just mentioning the word conjures up feelings of anxiety, hunger pangs, and most of all, suffering. But here’s something you probably don’t know: you don’t need to suffer to burn fat fast.
Ketosis is a good example of a dieting idea gone wrong. You see, just a few short years ago many fat loss gurus claimed that entering into ketosis (a metabolic state that forces your body to use ketones, by-products of fatty acid metabolism, for energy) was necessary for fat loss. This is accomplished by severely restricting all carbs, as close to zero as possible.
There are two problems with seeking ketosis. First, you’re depriving your body of many fruits and vegetables that contain healthy, metabolism-boosting nutrients. Second, ketosis makes you feel like crap because your brain functions better when some carbs and their corresponding nutrients are present. Many figured it was necessary for fast fat loss, but it proved to be a lesson in futility. To the contrary, simply reducing your carbohydrate intake is often sufficient to get that fat burning.
With that in mind, here are the five steps you should take to boost fat burning, fast! No suffering or calorie counting required.
1. Big Breakfast: Most people skip breakfast, have a medium-sized lunch, then gorge themselves at night. This is a sure-fire recipe for fat gain. Your first meal of the day should be the largest, highest calorie meal. Research has demonstrated that people who front-load their calories have a higher metabolism and burn more fat than those who back-load their calories.
2. Limit Carbs in the PM: Your body works better when moderate amounts of carbs are available for neurotransmitter production and glycogen replenishment, just to name a few. Start your day by eating one piece of fruit with breakfast (this is a simple way to boost your calories). An organic apple is my favorite, but any will work. For the rest of the morning hours consume any form of berries as your fruit source. For the second half of the day focus on fibrous vegetables with each meal. This step helps control the insulin, the fat-storing hormone.
3. Start with a Salad: One of the simplest ways to control your hunger is to eat a salad before your meals. This is especially effective at night when most people want to pig out. You’ll eat less, and feel satisfied, because it takes time to chew, and it allows for your brain to process feedback information about satiety. Research has demonstrated that those who eat a salad before a meal end up eating fewer calories before they feel full.
4. Stay Hydrated: Water is essential to metabolic processes. Research indicates that those who drink more water burn more calories. Your urine should always be clear. If it’s not, you need to drink more water. A good trick is to drink 2-3 glasses of water as soon as you wake up. This jumpstarts your hydration for the day. Plus, when people drink enough water they often look leaner and feel less bloated.
5. Exercise 5 Hours per Week: I can’t make up a fat loss list without mentioning exercise. Most people already go the gym around three times per week, for an hour at a time. This is a good start. Simply find time on the weekend for another hour, and throw a few 20-30 minute workouts into your week and you’re good to go.
Here’s a simple solution for an extra few workouts: two days each week go to bed 30 minutes earlier and wake up 30 minutes earlier. Spend that extra 30 minutes in the morning doing some sort of exercise that gets you sweating.
As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to break up the five hours into three hours of resistance training and two hours of energy systems training. For the energy systems work, you don’t need to run on a treadmill, and you definitely shouldn’t sit on an exercise bike. Perform fun, challenging activities that require you to constantly move in different directions. Soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, racquetball, etc. are all excellent options.
On a different note, for any of you who are suffering from joint pain, I’ve got an awesome DVD that’s coming out in a few days. I’ll keep you posted.
Here are my two latest articles:
3 Reasons to Lift Explosively for T-nation. Click here to read.
Build a Death Grip in Men’s Fitness, October 2008 issue.