Getting rid of excess fat to show off a leaner body is easier said than done.
While regular and consistent exercise is key, it may sometimes feel like you’re not making that much progress despite your best efforts.
Instead of carrying on with your routine as usual, it may be helpful to step back and review where you need to improve. Below are four tips that can guide you through this process.
Understand how fat operates
Before anything else, you have to understand how fat behaves and how your body uses it. Fat is kept in storage as an energy reserve for stressful situations when food and sustenance is severely lacking.
Engaging in high-intensity workouts allows the body to initiate the process of burning fat. This is called lipolysis. During this process, cells release stored fat and use them for energy consumption in the muscles.
However, there are areas where stubborn fat persists and it can be frustrating to get rid of. In most cases, the fat cells in these areas are just not responsive to hormonal signals which start the process of lipolysis.
In such cases, it’s normal for some people to exert more effort during workouts. It can be helpful to consult a fitness expert or coach to avoid injuring yourself. Additionally, there’s no shame in doing treatments like fat freezing and body sculpting. There are many non-invasive treatments to choose from which can augment your workout routine.
Workout while your body is in a fasted state
When you go into your workouts without having eaten anything, your body increases its production of human growth hormone (HGH), which helps purge body fat. HGH releases fat stored in cells and uses it for energy.
Your body normally prefers using energy derived from carbohydrates. But you can alter this automatic preference by essentially signalling to your body to use your energy reserves.
Moreover, this is a great opportunity to incorporate fasting into your workouts. It’s up to you to decide what type of fasting method works for you, whether it’s a 13-hour fast based on circadian rhythm or a much more advanced 20-hour fast.
However, be mindful of your limits. Don’t overdo the routine to the point that you pass out midway due to hunger. It’s always a good idea to consult a doctor or physician before trying out extended fasts.
Don’t overdo cardio
Many fitness buffs extol the benefits of running and other cardio-based workouts, but it’s not a silver bullet.
When you’re so used to a highly taxing cardio routine, your body will optimize energy expenditure for better performance. In other words, the body will burn the fewest amount of calories so you can run for hours on end without feeling exhausted. This is perfectly fine if you’re an ultra-runner or long-distance running athlete who puts in over 100km on a weekly basis.
But if your goal is to get a lean body with enough muscle definition, then such a routine may be counter-productive.
Cut back on your cardio if it’s gobbling up most of your workout time. You can still incorporate it into your routines, but make sure it is well-balanced by strength and resistance training.
Consume more fiber
Foods like Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, or any other green leafy vegetable are rich in fiber. While it is a type of carbohydrate, fiber is unique because the body is unable to turn it into glucose for immediate energy use. It has several other benefits.
For instance, fiber helps in repairing muscle tissue and cells after an intense workout. It can also lower blood cholesterol, helping you ensure optimal circulation throughout the body.
But perhaps the best part is its ability to slow down the digestive process and leave you feeling full for longer periods. When fiber slows down digestion, it also delays the release of carbohydrates from other food sources.