Everyone wants to find ways in which they can speed up their rate of fat loss, but there are good, healthy ways to do this, and then there are ways that do more harm than good.
So skip the dieting, severe calorie restriction and pharamceuticals, and rather master the fat-loss basics to enjoy the benefits.
Your diet is the single most important fundamental when it comes to fat loss. It’s simple: you have to eat a clean diet to lose fat.
There are various options that will suit different genetic profiles, but the fundamentals are:
- Remove junk food from your house.
- Shop to a list.
- Eat single-ingredient, whole foods as much as possible.
- Prepare meals in advance so you’re not caught out.
- Eat smaller portions more regularly.
- Don’t be lulled into the “snacking” mindset where little snacks add up during the course of the day and send the calorie count too high.
- If you can afford it, get a trainer or nutritionist to draw up a personalised diet.
- Remember to keep it exciting – especially if you don’t live alone.
With regard to the role exercise plays in fat loss, the crux of the matter is that muscle is metabolically active.
Therefore, the more you have, the easier it is to burn fat. To derive the greatest benefit:
- Learn how to perform compound movements such as squats, presses and stiff-legged deadlifts.
- Include weight training up to three times a week.
- Include high intensity cardiovascular interval training regularly.
- If you can afford it, book a few sessions with a trainer to learn how to do the moves correctly and safely.
- Get an assessment before starting a new programme: either from a qualified personal trainer or, for more depth, from a biokineticist.
Rest and recovery basics
Your body recovers and responds to your training at night. Many of the hormonal and internal physiological processes that impact your fat loss also happen when your body is at rest. You should therefore:
- Establish a bed time routine.
- Stop watching TV an hour before bed.
- Have a hot relaxing bath 30 minutes before bed.
- Sleep with all electronic equipment off.
- Try darken the room as much as possible.
- If needed, invest in some comfortable ear plugs or ear muffs.
- Try wake up at the same time every day.
Stress management basics
Stress can derail your fat loss efforts. Despite making you less productive in the gym or kitchen, it has a direct effect on your hormonal profile. Cortisol is the main stress hormone and promotes fat storage.
Do whatever you can to reduce your stress levels, for example:
- Exercise daily, even if it’s just a walk.
- Schedule some “me time” – massages, pedicures, whatever you really enjoy.
- Schedule time to meet and catch up with friends.
- Manage your time as efficiently as possible.
- Consider your career choice, but don’t do anything to jeopardise your family or your own wellbeing – that will create more stress.
- Speak to a psychologist – it may be a cliché but “getting it off your shoulders” and hearing an outside opinion may just be what the doctor ordered.
Supplements are there to provide that last 5% of impetus for your fat loss efforts. They should not be the focus of your efforts.
The most effective supplements for fat loss include:
- CLA and green tea.
- Protein supplements like whey, casein and plant-based options.
- A thermogenic fat burner (used cyclically).
- Chromium and L-carnitine.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.
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