Have you been bulking for the last few months and now you’re wondering how to lose body fat to achieve that shredded look? Maybe you’ve been trying to drop pounds for years without success. Or perhaps you’re down to the last 10 pounds and your body is being stubborn as hell. Let’s review three key principles on how to lose body fat and four mistakes you’re (probably) making that are keeping you from finally reaching your fat loss goal.
Fat Burning Basics
There are three important rules to follow in Fat Loss 101:
1. Use more calories than you consume
Sounds easy, right? Just burn more calories than you eat each day. But the reality is, this is anything but easy. Most of us work desk jobs. An hour in the gym isn’t going to make up for eight to nine hours in a chair.
Make a conscious effort to be more active throughout the day, especially at work. Here are ten things you can do to burn more calories:
- Get up from your desk once an hour to move and walk around
- Park in the furthest lane
- Take the stairs
- Perform mini-workouts during commercial breaks
- Start biking to work or running more errands on foot
- Walk during your lunch break
- Use a stability ball at your desk
- Go for a hike
- Stretch before bed
2. Nutrition trumps exercise
Yes, exercise is important, but fat loss begins with nutrition. If you’re exercising four days a week, but eating over 3,000 calories of unhealthy food every day, do you really think you’ll see a difference? Sorry to break it to you, but it’s just not gonna happen. Whether you’re in it for shredding or simple weight management, you must have a solid meal plan – and stick to it.
Start by using a reliable calorie calculator to determine your daily calorie intake in relation to how active you are. Once you have that number, focus on choosing natural whole foods over processed junk. Want to ensure you don’t fall off the bandwagon? Try meal prep. Make your meals in batches once or twice a week and put them in plastic containers ready for reheating when you’re too whacked to cook.
3. Get more shut-eye
Seems counterintuitive, right? How are you going to lose body fat if you’re sleeping all the time? Well, recent studies show there’s an obvious connection between weight gain and a lack of sleep. When you skip on sleep, your body produces more ghrelin, a hormone that’s in charge of your appetite. And the more ghrelin you have, the greater your appetite.
Sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours every night can play an important part in helping you shed fat, so make sure you’re getting enough!
4 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight
Now you know how to lose body fat, it’s important to correct the mistakes you’re making which are stopping it from happening. Here are five of the most common mistakes people run into when trying to lose body fat.
1. Boring cardio
If your Cardio Day consists of walking at a snail’s pace on the treadmill for an hour, you’re doing it wrong. Low-intensity cardio is okay on rest days, but on the day you’re dedicated to getting your heart pumping, you need to crank up the intensity.
High-Intensity Interval Training, better known as HIIT, is a proven way to amplify calorie burning and fat loss in a fraction of the time of traditional cardio workouts. HIIT has also been shown to have a powerful after-burn effect known as excess post oxygen consumption (EPOC). Hours after you stop working out, your body will continue to burn calories at an elevated rate.
HIIT workouts consist of several bodyweight compound exercises that are performed in rapid succession. You only take a break once you’ve completed all of the repetitions. Here’s a sample HIIT workout to get you started:
- Bodyweight squats: 30
- Push-ups: 10
- Jumping lunges: 20
- Pull-ups: 10
- Mountain climbers: 30
- Burpees: 5
2. Drinking too many calories
You know you need to stay hydrated but your drink of choice could be working against you. All too often, we reach for the drink that tastes good or contains alcohol. Take a look at the label under ‘carbohydrates’. What’s the sugar count?
Drinking empty calories is one of the most common causes of unnecessary weight gain. It’s the reason why people cut soda from their diets and see weight loss in the same week. But it’s not just soda that is the problem. Have an early morning coffee shop habit? That delicious frap or PSL is a calorie-bomb that’s going to wreak havoc on your weight loss efforts
Stick to the basics: water, coffee, and tea, but skip on the sugar.
3. Not being zen
Stress has gotten a bad rap lately. Not all stress is bad. Stepping into the weight room, pushing yourself to talk to a member of the opposite sex, and cramming a night of studying; these are all examples of eustress; or good stress.
Losing your mind while in traffic, worrying about losing your job, and creating conflicts in your head; this is bad stress. When you stress out, you’re not doing your waistline any favors. Studies show that prolonged exposure to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol can contribute to muscle wasting and weight gain.
Try mindful meditation, where you sit in a quiet room, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing for a few minutes each day.
4. Using the wrong supplement
Have you been buying those trendy fat burners that have no scientific credibility? You’re not alone. While the focus of your diet must be healthy whole foods, supplements can help to support fat burning and overall weight loss. But it’s not about using one supposedly good fat burner. If you want to shed fat, you need a supplement stack.
A stack is a set of supplements geared towards your fat burning and shredded physique goals. Taken at specific times throughout the day, a supplement stack can amplify your fat burning ability and maximize results.
We recommend our fat-targeted Cutting Stack. It contains four tried-and-tested supplements that have been scientifically proven to promote fat burning. You’ll also get a free guide to cutting and fat loss along with your purchase.
Ready to get shredded?
Which of the mistakes above have you been making? What will you start doing differently to kickstart your weight loss? Let us know in the comments below!