Seeing as this is turkey weekend, and most people are likely to eat their faces off on Sunday or Monday, I decided it would be a good time for a fat-loss article. Am I saying skip the gravy and the stuffing? Not necessarily. It may be a good idea to jump head first into some new habits as of Tuesday though.
Let’s face it, it’s always goal number one. Lose the fat. It weighs us down, it looks bad in tight clothes, and worst of all it actually leads us down a path of health concerns. So maybe it’s time you started to do all of the little things right in order to get rid of what’s hanging on, and prevent any new accumulation of adipose tissue. In no particular order, here are 10 things you can do to keep the fat away…
Drink Green Tea
Except for water, green tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. While its health benefits are numerous, here is how it helps with fat loss. Green tea contains both caffeine and Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (ECGC), which are both known to increase your metabolic rate. Before you think about going Decaf, consider that these two ingredients work synergistically for maximum results. So while both caffeine and green tea extract (ECGC) can both be beneficial, it works best when they are together. Drink 2-6 cups of green tea per day.
Eat More Cinnamon
Cinnamon is not only delicious but also plays a huge role in managing blood glucose levels. Most diabetics probably know about cinnamon’s ability to keep blood glucose down, keeping the insulin response in check. Insulin plays a very important role in the formation of new body fat. Using healthy amounts of cinnamon in your food can go a long way in keeping you from becoming insulin resistant.
Take Your Fish Oils
Fish oils are very high in two important omega 3 fatty acids, DHA AND EPA. While ingesting fat seems counter intuitive, it’s important to note that these omega 3 fatty acids are some of the most powerful substances in the supplement industry. In fact, ingesting EPA and DHA with your meals helps improve brain health, vein elasticity, inflammation, and the use of body fat as fuel. Aim for anywhere from 3-10g of fish oils per day.
Cut Refined Sugars
Refined sugars are the number one reason why obesity has skyrocketed in the past few decades. We tend to ingest way more sugar in our diet than we need for energy. After all, our body can actually create glucose through the conversion of amino acids; a process that is very costly metabolically, meaning you will burn more calories while doing so. Every time we ingest refined sugars, our body releases insulin to transport the glucose from our blood to our tissues. The more insulin we are exposed to, the more our body becomes resistant to its effects. In turn, our body has to release more and more insulin. As mentioned earlier, insulin plays a major role in laying down new body fat.
Eat More Protein
This is probably one of the biggest pieces missing in the average diet, adequate protein intake. That is just to keep us healthy and on the right track regardless of goals. Now, consider that you are either trying to build muscle, or drastically improve body composition. Protein intake becomes increasingly more important. First, it takes a lot of effort for your body to breakdown and absorb protein, increasing your metabolism significantly after eating. Second, it insures that your body has the fuel necessary to maintain muscle mass, and build new muscle. Regardless of overall calorie intake, if protein intake is high, muscle mass will be maintained. This is crucial when trying to improve body composition. Too many people go on diets, reduce calories (with low levels of protein intake) and spend hours on cardio machines. This results in losses of both body fat and important muscle mass, essentially making you a small version of the same person. Body fat % does not improve, perhaps even getting higher. Aim for 1g/lb. of body weight of lean sources of protein (fish, chicken, turkey, extra lean beef, and protein powders) per day.
Have a Post-Workout Shake
While many people picture the protein shake for the meathead body builder, anybody doing serious exercise would benefit immensely from consuming a mix of carbohydrates and protein, in liquid form, within 40 minutes of the completion of exercise. Not only does a post-workout shake signal your body to go from muscle wasting to muscle building, but it also signals your body to burn fat as an energy source for recovery. Your body is extremely sensitive to new nutrients within 40 minutes of a bout of exercise. This is the only time of day when it would be appropriate to ingest a serving of fast-absorbing, simple sugars. These sugars behave as an effective transport to bring protein and other nutrients into your body’s cells when they are in need the most. Also, taking in these nutrients in liquid form increases the speed of absorption and delivery. After the 40 minute window has closed, your body’s ability to recover from the exercise bout is reduced greatly. Try Interactive LeanGainer, or mixing a scoop of whey powder with a scoop of Gatorade powder for an effective post workout shake.
Lift More Weights
Don’t think heavy weights only apply to skinny guy trying to bulk up, and athletes trying to improve. Lifting heavy weights activates more muscle fibres, which in turn burns more calories. It also insures that you are at least maintaining your muscle mass, if not building new muscle. Increasing muscle mass improves metabolism, which helps burn off body fat. This is the formula that will give you a fit and lean body, not lifting little pink dumbbells ad nauseum. Try to do some strength training 3 days a week for at least 20-30 minutes.
Usually when somebody is unhappy with the way their body looks, their natural reaction is to immerse themselves in copious amounts of cardio. When this fails miserably, a select few hire a trainer and begin to see results. The rest usually find themselves in a plateau, after minimal initial gains, and eventually gain all the weight back. Why? Your body is extremely good at adapting to current levels of stress, and becomes very capable of jogging for an hour on minimal energy consumption. Add in the fact that slow steady-state cardio activates very few muscle fibres and you have an equation that is not conducive to success in fat loss. Enter interval training. This involves any form of training that alternates bouts of very high intensity with periods of low intensity exercise. This could be a running sprint, rowing, biking, or even some forms of resistance training. These bouts of high intensity exercise put your body in a situation of oxygen debt, where you literally don’t have enough time to recover fully from these bursts. This creates a situation after your workout called EPOC; Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. When EPOC occurs, your body’s metabolism stays elevated for up to 48 hours after exercise. Trying a format like 20 seconds of very high intensity cycling, followed by 40 seconds of slow ‘recovery’ cycling, repeated 8 times can create an extremely difficult and rewarding workout. All in a total of 8 minutes, completely demolishing the benefits of a 40 minute jog. Start pushing yourself to higher speeds and you will be rewarded with faster fat loss and greater fitness gains.
We all know about fibre’s ability to keep us regular, and improve the health of our intestines and digestive tract. However, what most people don’t realize is fibre’s role in improving insulin sensitivity. When fibre is abundant in your meal, it has the effect of slowing down the rate at which your body absorbs the nutrients, thus keeping blood glucose levels low. This in turn prevents a large release in insulin, preventing your from becoming insulin resistant.
Water is the most important nutrient for the human body. Period. Most people do not drink enough water and it hurts their physical performance at work, at the gym, and at home. Also, drinking more water insures your body is less likely to stay bloated, giving you a much leaner look. Water plays a role in so many of the body’s cellular processes that it’s not even worth it for me to explain any more. Just do it. Drink AT LEAST 2 litres of water every day.
Now that I’ve given you 10 ways to look better, feel better, and move better, you can go pig out on thanksgiving dinner.
Be sure to contact us at info@razorsedgeperformance to find out ways we can help you specifically improve your body composition today!