Looking to shed a few of the extra pounds you’ve gained over the last few weeks, months, or even years? If pays to do some research before you begin. Learning what’s been backed by science will help ensure that you are going about things the right way, helping ensure that you do see the results that you’re looking for. Too many people dive onto the first quick-fix diet approach they find, only to be seriously disappointed with the progress they see.
If you want to realize good results, you need to stay the path of what’s been proven time and time again.
Let’s show you four simple steps, backed by science that will help you get to your end goal.
Step 1: Use A Moderate Calorie Deficit
The very first step to get in place if you want to see optimal fat loss is a moderate calorie deficit. Without being in a calorie deficit, you simply will not lose weight as you aren’t giving your body a reason to turn to fat as fuel.
That said, don’t get into the mindset that if a low calorie intake is good, a lower calorie intake is better. You can take your intake too low, which will only cause the metabolic rate to slow down, preventing further fat loss from occurring. A moderate calorie intake is best with a deficit of between 250-500 calories.
Step 2: Eat More Protein
The next step to successful fat burning is to increase your protein intake.
Eating more protein will help spare lean muscle mass, while also helping provide metabolic benefits that assist weight loss, as was found in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
When researchers placed two groups on one of two diets – a higher protein diet or a higher carb diet, they found that the high protein group saw greater fat loss and had a greater decrease in triacylglycerol concentrations than the high carbohydrate group did, despite both groups taking in the same calorie level.
Protein rich foods will stabilize blood glucose better than carbohydrate rich foods will as well, which can then reduce your hunger, making it easier to maintain a reduced calorie diet.
Furthermore, lean protein rich foods take more energy to break down and digest than foods high in carbohydrates or dietary fats, and as such, will not be as readily stored in the body as body fat.
The results are clear: if you want to lose fat successfully, a higher protein, calorie reduced diet is the way to go. While you should never eat only protein, aim to get at least 30-40% of your total calorie intake from this nutrient.
When choosing your protein options, opt for lean, high quality foods such as chicken breast, turkey breast, lean grass-fed beef, eggs and egg whites, wild caught fish, along with low fat dairy products.
Low fat dairy in particular may help speed fat loss from the abdominal region, as was found in a study published in the Obesity Research journal. So serve up some low fat, low sugar Greek yogurt as your next snack.
Step 3: Add High Intensity Strength And Interval Training
The next step to losing body fat successfully is to add some high intensity exercise to your regime.
When researchers compare those who participate in steady state, moderate intensity training to those who are doing high intensity interval type training, whether it’s weight lifting or cardio, the high intensity training groups always yield superior fat loss results.
In one study published in the International Journal of Obesity, while both groups saw increases in their fitness level, it was only the high intensity interval training group that saw a significant reduction in total body mass, fat mass, as well as trunk fat.
This type of exercise is so powerful because it will have you burning a high number of calories while you do the exercise itself, while also increasing your total calorie burn for hours after the workout is completed as well.
Meaning, you virtually will burn fat while you sleep. This type of exercise helps increase your overall full body fat oxidation rates throughout the entire week, while steady state training at moderate intensities will have your metabolic rate return to baseline quickly after the exercise is completed.
If you have to make a choice between cardio exercise and strength training, choose strength training. Strength training will help you build more lean muscle mass, which is then highly metabolically active and will increase your overall resting metabolic rate.
The faster your resting metabolic rate is, the faster fat loss will progress along. Just remember, when you are strength training, you may not see the scale actually decrease.
For instance, in one study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers had subjects perform a strength training program for 16 weeks.
At the end of the program, they saw strength gains in both the upper and lower body, while also noted a 2kg gain in lean body mass and a loss in total fat mass by the same amount.
So while the body weight of these subjects stayed the same, they build muscle and lost fat. This in turn will have them looking smaller (as muscle takes up less room on the body than fat does) and giving off a far fitter and healthier appearance.
Step 4: Focus On Sleep
Finally, the last step that you’ll want to get into place if you want to lose weight is making sure that you are sleeping optimally.
As odd as it may sound, your sleep quality will have a direct influence on the speed and quality of fat loss you see.
Those who aren’t sleeping enough at night tend to experience greater insulin resistance, which means their body isn’t as prepared to manage carbohydrate intake as it should and will be more prone to storing body fat.
Additionally, those who aren’t sleeping enough also often note that they experience greater hunger throughout the day, especially for carbohydrate-rich foods, which can set them up on a path of unhealthy eating.
One study published in the PLOS medical journal noted that participants who experienced short sleep noted decreased levels of leptin (a hormone that causes metabolic rate to slow), along with increased levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone that causes hunger to increase.
So by not sleeping enough, you’ll be burning calories at a slower pace while having the desire to consume more calories. This is precisely opposite of what you want to have happen for successful fat loss.
The researchers noted that the shifts in these hormones are likely to increase appetite, which possibly explains the increased BMI that is observed with those suffering from short sleep duration. So if you want to see optimal success, get to bed at a reasonable hour.
Your fat loss results could depend on it. By sleeping enough, you’ll also be in a more positive mood overall, which can also increase your capability to withstand the stress that comes with dieting itself. So there you have the four steps that you’ll want to be taking if you hope to maximize your fat burning and see the best possible results.
Fat loss is very much a science and when you are able to put into place what has been proven time and time again, you will notice significant improvements in the quality of results you see.
Don’t rush onto the first diet or workout that comes your way. Do your research and find one that is guaranteed to work for you.