My principle to getting rid of fat is that you do what you already know is good for you. And you know what’s good for you. This approach is broad, and nothing is groundbreaking. But it’s the truth.
Choose Your Parents Wisely
Oops. Too late. All I’m saying is that genetics plays a role in losing fat. So do hormones, age, gender, etc. This doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for you. There are plenty of things within your power to burn fat.
Despite having to wake up early to make your lunches and to get to the gym before work, make sleep a priority.
Manage Your Stress
Although short periods of stress are healthy, excessive stress will increase your cortisol levels. This means lower metabolism, a bigger belly, and multiple chins. Long periods of distress can cause depression, anxiety, and emotional eating. This makes it harder to get to the gym. It also makes it more likely for you to go through a drive-thru when you know you’re not supposed to. All this being said, find a healthy form of stress management. Stress is not an excuse to go on a bender or to stream “liposuction videos” incessantly.
Do that Cardio
Low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio helps you literally burn fat. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) helps you burn carbs. One of the benefits of HIIT is that you increase your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). However, both types of cardio train different parts of the heart. Doing both can keep you from heart diseases, and from getting bored.
Back to the adage of “just do what is good for you,” to lose fat, do both. I would suggest LISS 1-2 times per week, and HIIT 1-3 times per week. You must also take into account your lifestyle and physical limitations. If your knee hurts when you walk, you probably shouldn’t be starting with plyometrics.
Get Swole, Bro
I’m sure at this point, you’ve heard that “one pound of muscle can burn 50 calories.” Sounds swell. But how long does it take to build muscle? As stated above, there are some factors you can’t control. However, a complete noob can see changes in strength on a daily basis. When it comes to how much muscle one can gain with proper nutrition, we are looking at 1-2 pounds per month. Some bulking bodybuilders can get to 2-3 pounds per month. So, this isn’t really about those lovely extra 50 calories you can burn per pound of muscle. This isn’t even about the EPOC.
Lifting weights is about preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis amongst other things. This means that you can be active with more intensity, and for longer. You can go on hikes well into your 80s and look good doing it. Fat burned. Forever.
Eat your Veggies
Diet can be the least fun when it comes to this topic, and also the most confusing. Do I do high protein? Vegan? Raw Vegan? Eat six times a day? Intermittently fast? High-fat, low-carb? Low-fat? Paleo? Keto? Gluten-free? Whole grains? IIFYM? Thanks, search engine who-shall-not-be-named.
I’m not here to debate. Nor am I in the “do what works for you” tent. I’m in the “do what you can do with consistency” tent. Experiment. See your doctor often. Be results-driven.
All well-researched diets have these in common though:
- Eat a lot of dark green and leafy vegetables
- Eat less processed food
- Eat less sugar
- Eat cleanly, according to your budget
- Make food at home more often
- Drink a lot of water
Calories matter in both what you eat and its quantity. Even the diets that say “calories don’t matter” say this in hopes that this particular diet will eventually regulate your caloric intake without you thinking about it.
That’s it. No special pills or even special exercises. The best way to get rid of body fat is to do what is good for your body.