It’s the same for so many of us, the last area we lose fat from is the one we want to lose it from the most. That’s right, whatever you call it, gut, beer belly, paunch, it’s the fat on the front of your mid-section that is hardest to shift.
The secret to losing that fat is not mystery, in fact it’s quite simple. It comes down to healthy living, including these three important factors:
- A healthy balanced diet
- Regular work outs
- Consistent quality, restorative sleep
By simple we are not talking about easy to achieve, just simple to comprehend. But with today’s busy lifestyle they are getting harder and harder to achieve.
Ok, it’s not really possible to lose weight and decide exactly where you are going to drop the fat from, but targeting body fat as a whole will get that six pack showing.
Best work outs to get that fat burning
High intensity interval training (HIIT)
In terms of “bang for your buck”, HIIT is as good as it gets for burning calories in a set amount of time. This puts it towards the top of every personal trainers list, burning lots of calories in a short amount of time.
For those who are time limited because of their busy schedule, squeezing every last minute into work outs that burn calories at a high rate is the way to go.
These high intensity work outs include exercises like push ups, burpees, jumping jacks and squats. All carried out at intense pace with very little recovery time between sets. Your heart will be racing, your lungs gasping for air, and a heavy sweat soaking into your gym clothes.
Check out the two videos below for guides on routines you could carry out in the gym, or even in the comfort of your home.
Every gym has a spinning class nowadays. And if you don’t want to go to the gym, a home exercise or spinning bike is a great investment that wont cost the earth. If given the choice though, the spin class has it’s benefits.
Spin classes are another form of high intensity work out, and burn a high number of calories. Plus exercising with others gives you a motivational boost, leading to you pushing harder to compete with your peers. The social side can also encourage you to keep coming back. In the long run you will attend something more when you enjoy it. More work outs mean more calories burned.
Here is a great fat burning spin session that you can follow and work out at home.
These are a number of fat burning spin classes on YouTube if you want to keep your work outs varied.
A great thing about running is that you can work out pretty much anywhere. All you need is a proper pare of running shoes (better for your heath) and you are away. You can run your local streets, go for a jog round the park, or even jump on a treadmill.
The amount of calories you burn depends on your pace, but an average person could burn 600 calories running for 60 minutes at a medium pace. If you really ramp it up you could burn up to 1000 calories an hour.
A good way to mix things up to keep them interesting and generate some intensity is to build in intervals of walking, jogging and running. You could also run up hills or carry out some sprints along the way to really bump up calories burned.
Best foods for weight loss
Your diet is even more important than working out when it comes to burning fat. Below are some of the best foods to help achieve your goals.
Fish is a great source of protein and healthy fats such as omega-3. It’s easier to digest than red meats like beef or lamb and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Although salmon is higher in fat than many other protein options, it is the healthy fats that our bodies need. An average serving of between 4 and 6 ounces will have in the region or 30 to 45 grams of protein. Healthy fats when coupled with exercise can lead to increased fat burning and weight loss.
Wild salmon is preferable to farmed salmon, it has a higher amount of healthy omega fatty acids.
All diets should include a healthy amount of vegetables, but they are especially important when trying to burn fat. And broccoli is top of the pile when it comes to healthy properties.
Broccoli is high in fibre and low in calories. It will fill you up, meaning you do not have those cravings for more food between meals. A cupful of broccoli contains just 30 calories too.
There is a goldmine of goodness in those green stalks too. It is high in iron, calcium and vitamin C. This encourages more blood flow to the muscles, supporting healthy bones and immunity.
Carbohydrates get a bad name when it comes to fat burning, but quinoa contains a high amount of protein for a grain and many other nutritional benefits. We need carbohydrate in our body to give us energy to work out. Quinoa contains complex carbs that are low glycemic and release energy slowly. It doesn’t cause a blood insulin spike as many other grains do.
Quinoa also contains a number of amino acids that aid in muscle development and fat loss. Therefore switching from refined carbohydrate sources like white bread or pasta to quinoa will help increase your fat burning potential.
Swapping green tea for for other hot beverages that you consume throughout the day is doubly virtuous.
Firstly replacing calorie rich drinks, like that cappuccino you pick up on the way to the office, saves a huge number of calories. Did you know a large cappuccino from a high st chain contains in the region of 160 calories? And that’s before you add a sugary shot of hazelnut syrup!
Secondly green tea contains a number of antioxidants. One of these, catechins, has been shown to increase metabolic rate and encourage burning of fat cells. Especially those pesky belly fat cells. Research has shown that in conjunction with regular exercise green tea will burn fat faster than just drinking it alone.
Some good daily habits to get into
Prepare meals at the weekend
Finding time at the weekend to prepare meals for the coming week is a great way to help to weight loss. It will save you not only a number of calories, but also benefit your bank balance.
When we make meal decisions strapped for time, or tired, we often base choices on convenience and emotion. This leads to more unhealthy choices like buying take-away food or ready meals. Both of which are high in calories and low in nutritional goodness. When you can grab a healthy, well balanced meal out of the fridge or freezer, you are less likely to give in to temptation.
Get into the habit of carving our a few hours some point over the weekend to prepare meals for the week ahead, it can really aid long term fat loss goals. You are in control of portion size and ingredients, making sure each meal is healthy and balanced. It will even free up time in the evening during the week to squeeze in additional time to exercise.
Planning for the inevitable times that you will feel hungry between meals is important. If you don’t satisfy your hunger at the time it can lead to poor choices at meal times, Picking unhealthier foods or larger portion sizes. Or if you go for convenience you end up eating a chocolate bar out of the vending machine rather than something healthy and in line with your weight loss goals.
Keep some healthy snacks in your bag, car, or your desk at work. This will stop you from making poor choices, all of which add up over time. Having nutritious snacks to hand, like protein bars, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or dried beef. (e.g. biltong) is a great idea.
Don’t miss out on your sleep
Without good sleeping habits you will not get the benefits you are looking for from all of your hard work exercising and eating right. Sleep is your bodies way of recovering from daily activity. It also regulates hormones which impact on your hunger throughout the day.
The two hormones in question are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin stabilises your energy and keeps appetite balanced. Ghrelin actually makes you feel more hungry. When you have an inadequate amount of sleep your levels of leptin fall and levels of ghrelin rise. Making you feel hungrier and encouraging you to eat more.
The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7 – 8 hours per night. Achieving this level will reduce the cravings you have during the day, cutting down on poor food choices. This in turn makes your weight loss and fat burning goals that much easier.
The wrap up
Fat burning and weight loss is all about the balance of calories you consume vs the amount you burn. Following the tips in this article will help you achieve a negative balance so you burn more than you take in. With this leading to you achieving your goals – and showing off that six pack!
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