Burning that extra fat off your body is an uphill task, to say the least. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just difficult.
If you look around, you’ll see people doing different things to burn body fat. Which of these strategies work? Should you do interval training or just more anaerobic exercise or simply, what?
For years, this has been a big question in academic circles, and unfortunately there’s no straight answer to this question. And that’s because every individual responds differently to diet and training. There is absolutely no one-size-fits-all approach as what plan works for one will not work for another.
In such a case, what can you do to torch those annoying waistlines? Well, you’ll have to try out different things to know what works for you. It requires a ton of time, effort and patience. But the results are surely worth the wait.
Try an exercise routine along with a diet that is workable for you. Give a shot at it for a few weeks to see if your body is responding to it. Else, make changes to one or both the aspects of training. Continue experimenting until you find that perfect recipe to burn off all your body fat.
That said, we still want to give you some cool workout hacks that have worked well for a good number of people. After all, you might be another lucky one, if this works for you!
First off, intermittent fasting is not diet. Rather, it’s a change in eating patterns. In other ways, you don’t change what you eat in intermittent fasting, rather you change when you eat.
What’s the difference, you may ask? Well to start with, you’re not reducing your calorie intake. This means, you can continue to do exercises at the same intensity, and also you’re not depriving your body of essential nutrients when you do intermittent fasting.
At the same time, you lose fat and gain lean muscle mass – just what you want, right?
What happens with intermittent fasting?
To understand how intermittent fasting works, let’s first understand how your body stores food when it is in full and fasting mode.
When you eat food, the body begins to digest food and absorb the nutrients from it. The fed or full state begins about three to five hours after you eat, depending on what food you ate. Typically, heavy foods like steak take a longer time to digest than light foods like fruits and vegetables. During this time, your body never burns fat because the insulin levels in your body is quite high, and as we all know, sugar stops fat loss.
If you don’t eat anything for the next 8 to 12 hours, your body gets into fasted state. During this time, your body burns fat faster because the insulin levels are low. It also means, you can burn fat that was never accessible in the fed state.
Sounds easy? But here is the real catch. How often do we go without eating for 10 to 12 hours at a stretch? None, except those rare times when we sleep for 10 hours straight.
If you consciously avoid eating for 10 to 12 hours, that’s intermittent fasting. It helps you to burn fat faster during this time.
Advantages of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting offers many advantages, other than of course, fat burning.
- You’ll have to cook lesser meals, which means, less work in the kitchen.
- You tend to live longer because scientific research shows that when you eat less, your body finds natural ways to live healthy and longer.
- Reduces the risk of cancer because cancer cells need way more food that normal cells to thrive. If you don’t put so much food into your system, these cells die a natural death.
- It’s easier than dieting, and more effective.
There are many intermitting eating plans available today. Again, try different plans and see what is comfortable and what works best for you.
High-intensity Interval training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular way to burn fat, as this strategy incorporates intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods.
The obvious advantage of HIIT exercise is that you burn more calories within a short period of time. Though there is no universal rule on the time duration for HIIT sessions, it typically is 30 minutes, depending on your fitness levels. By that time, you should be simply too exhausted to continue.
That sure sounds fun because you get to burn fat without spend long hours at the gym. Now, if you’re wondering what’s the best HIIT routine, the answer again depends on your fitness levels and personal preferences.
But here are some workout choices from experts.
HIIT workout routines
This list is to give you an idea of what exercises should be a part of your HIIT routine. As with anything, customize it to meet your specific needs. These workout plans are courtesy of George Richards, a celebrity fitness trainer and Pete Bommarito, calisthenics expert.
- Circuit workout with one minute resting time. In this circuit training, do pull-ups for 30 seconds, 60 reps of jumping jacks, 20 reps of burpees. One minute rest, and start the next set again.
- 45 reps of mountain climbers, 20 to 30 reps of push-ups, one minute plank, one minute jump rope and one minute rest.
- One minute jump rope, 12 to 15 tricep dips, 30 reps high knees and 20 reps of curls with weights or resistance bands. Take a minute break and start the next set again.
- Sprint for 30 seconds, do squat jumps for 45 seconds, 20 reps of lunges, 50 reps of calf raise and one minute rest.
- 50 reps crunches, one minute bicycle crunches, 15 reps of sit ups, 15 reps of hanging knee raises, 20 reps of oblique crunches on each side, and half burpees for 20 seconds.
- Sprint 89 yards in 10 seconds and rest for 50 seconds. Repeat this cycle 10 to 20 times.
- 30 reps of squats, 10 push-ups, 30 lunges, 30 jumping jacks and 10 burpees.
- 36 reps of star jumps, 15 reps burpees, five jumping jacks, five high knees, 36 reps mountain climber and 40 reps of squat jumps.
When you do a HIIT workout, you not only burn calories (which is obvious), but the exertion forces your body to go into a hyperactive recovery mode. As a result, it burns fat in the next 24 hours after a HIIT workout.
Focus on your diet
Diet is an integral part of burning fat and you’ll have to combine it with exercise. In other words, exercise alone is not effective if you’re going to mow down pizzas and burgers, not to mention guzzling sodas.
Foods that burn fat
Though you don’t have to deprive yourself from your favorite junk foods, it’s important to incorporate these items in your diet largely.
- Spicy foods like cayenne pepper, as the capsaicin food in it is known to speed up abdominal fat.
- Guacamole, as it contains vitamin B6 – a vitamin known to control the hormone cortisol. This hormone is responsible for much of our belly-fat, so cutting back on this helps fat from forming in the first place!
- Tuna and salmon – Proteins build muscle, and more muscles lead to more fat burn. At the same time, opt for lean protein like fishes to avoid extra fat. As a bonus, the omega 3 fatty acids present in fish help with fat burning. So, that’s a triple bonanza.
- Slow carbs like sweet potatoes, as they take a longer time to digest, so it keeps you full and energetic for a longer time.
- Eggs in any form because it contains a substance called choline that is a major fat-burning nutrient.
- Black beans because they are s source of resistant starch, a type of slow fiber that boosts the healthy bacteria in your digestive system. In turn, this bacteria increases the production of a chemical called butyrate, known to burn fat as fuel.
- Quinoa. This super food contains the complete chain of amino acids needed for fat burning and muscle building. So, help yourself to a generous serving of Quinoa for lunch or dinner.
- Almonds. How ever thought almonds would contribute to fat burning? Kind of funny too, considering that almonds contain good fat. But research shows that almonds pack quite a few fat-burning compounds.
- Green tea. This should be a familiar one in any list of fat burning food. Green tea boost metabolism and prevents the creation of new fat cells.
This list is by no means a comprehensive one, but is meant to give you a good starting point. In general, opt for home-cooked meals as this gives you the opportunity to experiment with different foods.
Remember no single food can burn fat and it cannot happen in a day. Make these foods an integral part of your lifestyle and you will eventually see results, in terms of both your health and fat loss.
Hydrate and rest
Water is another absolute necessity to burn fat. If you’re wondering, how in the world water can burn fat, here’s why.
- Water maintains your body temperature, so there is stability in your body. Otherwise, your body might get into starvation mode and could begin storing all carbohydrates as fats.
- Water fuels muscle growth. In fact, water is essential to bulk up and these muscles, in turn, will burn more body fat.
- Water flushes out toxins and waste products, so it could make you feel less bloated. Also, many of the toxins could hamper your body from processing fat-burning chemicals, so water simply sends them out.
- Water prevents dehydration and fatigue, so you can hit the gym and pump out harder.
If you’re not a fan of plain old water, replace it with hydration drinks. Just make sure they do not have added sugars.
Other than water, rest is equally important to avoid injuries and to give your body some time to repair itself. So, don’t go into the overdrive workout mode, as it could end up being detrimental for you.
Many people tend to believe that cardio exercises like running make you lean, but the fact is strength training can burn more fat than your cardio routines.
You might wonder what’s the difference, especially if you’re a long distance runner who has lost weight with your running routines. Well, the difference is cardio workouts reduce both your fat and muscle, so you end up becoming skinny. But, strength training builds muscles while burning fat. And that’s the good part because when you move larger muscles, you burn more fat and energy.
This is why, in the long-run, strength training burns more fat and keeps you leaner when compared to pure cardio routines.
Strength training exercises
Here is a list of strength training exercises that target some of the largest muscles in your body, so you can burn more fat, even after you finish your exercise routine for the day.
- Bench press
- Dumb bell rows
- Dead lifts
- Seated cable rows
- Lat pull downs
- Military press
- Leg curls and extensions
- Standing calf raise
- Concentration bicep curls
- Side squats
- Tricep dips
- Dumbbell kickbacks
Use a combination of these exercises to work out your upper and lower body for a balanced workout. You can even choose to work out the upper body on one day and lower body on the other.
Regardless of what routine you choose, these strength exercises will sure torch that extra fat from your body by building more muscles.
Overall, torching your body fat is possible and within the realms of your capability. But, you need patience and have to try different combinations to identify the winning formula!
So, get going and throw all that extra fat out of your body.