Whether you are looking to lose those last ten pounds before hitting the beach this summer or you’re finally ready to make a lifelong change, the following tips can get you on the track to real weight loss. Always remember to listen to your body and check with a doctor before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine (particularly if you are being treated for a medical condition).
Lift Some Weights
If you’ve ever spent countless hours doing cardio and been disappointed by its results, you should give weightlifting a try. When we build more muscle mass by lifting heavy, we increase our metabolic rate, which means we burn more calories all the time, even in our sleep. Lifting heavy is a relative term; what is heavy for you when starting a strength training program may be light as you get stronger, but women especially tend to underestimate their strength. If you need help getting started, seek advice from a trainer, read some books on the subject, or use resources available online.
Ditch Processed Foods
When you eat highly processed foods, you consume excessive amounts of sodium (which causes your body to retain extra body weight in the form of water), sugar (which causes uncontrollable cravings), and all sorts of chemicals like artificial sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives. Opt instead for whole foods like meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and healthy fats.
Get Some Rest
It’s widely accepted in the fitness world that sleep is just as, if not even more, important as regular exercise. Your body needs adequate sleep in order to recover from exercise and a lack of sleep is a huge contributor to unhealthy cravings. Plus, without enough sleep, you’re less likely to have the energy you need to exercise! If you have trouble falling asleep at night, start turning off your electronic devices at least 30 minutes (or more!) before bed, engage in relaxing activities such as reading a book or sipping herbal tea, and make sure your bedroom is a relaxing place to sleep by keeping it dark, cool, and quiet.
Manage Your Stress
Chronic stress not only disrupts our sleep, but is also related to elevated blood pressure, decreased physical performance, and an increase of abdominal fat. Take time out of your day, every day, to do something that brings you joy. It could simply be going for a walk with your dog or lighting some candles and taking a bath. Make sure you aren’t over-committing yourself in your work or personal life and consider starting a gratitude journal to remind yourself of all you have to be thankful for.
High-Intensity Interval Training has received a lot of attention recently and for good reason; if you’re looking for an effective fat burning workout, HIIT is the way to go. Not only can you effectively burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, but by utilizing both your body’s aerobic and anaerobic systems, you can create a greater after burn effect. 1-2 sessions per week of HIIT is typically all you need to see great results.
While HIIT is certainly effective, it shouldn’t replace regular, steady-state cardio. Moderate intensity means you are working hard enough that holding a conversation would be difficult, but not impossible. Some examples could include swimming, walking on an incline, or riding a bike.