How to Beat the Flab and Lose Weight Properly

How to Beat the Flab

The world of bodybuilding and nutrition is built on fallacies, false beliefs that get passed around from forum to forum and gym to gym like a game of Chinese Whispers. At worst this information is damaging, leading to injuries and illnesses, at best it can throw a regime off balance and make it near impossible for someone to achieve their goals.

Many of these beliefs are tied into weight loss or more specifically fat loss. I have addressed several of these on Quora in the past and it is a key concern for many people who come to me for advice. So, here are my top tips for getting rid of that belly fat: 

1. Build More Muscle

The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be and the more calories you will burn over the course of the day.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, many people looking to lose weight just want to be slim and toned. This is especially true for women. They hear “build muscle” and they immediately picture hulking bodybuilders, which is a look they often don’t want.

But you don’t have to have bulging biceps in order to enjoy the benefits that increased muscle mass can bring. You don’t need to lift heavy weights or knock-back protein shakes. It’s all about putting your muscles under greater strain than they are used to and making them denser, stronger and more capable of handling higher intensity workouts.

If you have no experience of lifting weights, it might simply mean doing some aerobic exercises— push-ups, crunches, air squats and other basics. Do this for 15 minutes a day and you’ll build enough muscle mass to aid with fat loss, without crossing the threshold into “bulging bodybuilder”.

Your resting rate is still largely dependent on regular exercise and don’t for a minute think that you can add a few pounds of muscle, give-up training and then reap the benefits of a fast metabolism by henceforth subsisting on a diet of chips.

That’s not quite how it works. In fact, a pound of muscle may only burn between 30 and 50 calories a day (1) and some estimates put it much lower.

But there is a certain domino effect here. The workout itself will help to burn calories. The more you workout, the stronger you become and the more you can do in the future, which leads to more calories being burned.

2. Exercise at the Right Times

How to Beat the Flab and Lose Weight Properly

In the morning your body is starved of nutrients. It’s essentially in fasting mode, which is why we call the first meal of the day breakfast. (2)

You probably know that athletes are told to eat a big breakfast in order to supply them with the energy they need to perform later on. This is as true of football players as it is bodybuilders.

But what if you want to lose weight? (Assuming you don’t want to take a clean, quick shortcut with BOOST).

If you workout before you consume that big meal, then the only source of energy that your body has is the excess fat. This “rainy day” energy will help you get through a workout and push towards a thinner, healthier body, with studies showing (3) that it can help to burn 20% more fat than exercising after a big breakfast.

To make sure you optimize this key workout, try the following:

  1. Warm-up for 5 minutes before you do any intense exercise.
  2. Perform between 10 and 15 minutes of HIIT as outlined here. This will increase your body temperature and ensure you are primed for the next stage. In the long-term, HIIT may even reduce your chances of getting Type II Diabetes, which is a concern for many overweight individuals (4).
  3. Follow this with a further 10 to 15 minutes of cardio whereby your goal is to keep your heart-rate above 135 beats per minute. You can use the built-in heart-rate sensors on gym machines, as well as fitness trackers and even your smartphone to keep a check on your heart rate.

For the best HIIT program (lose 7 POUNDS A WEEK!), checkout HIITMAX, which has already helped hundreds of thousands of people lose weight.

3. Create a Calorie Deficit

Your body needs energy to maintain basic functions. You need it to think, to move, to talk, to drive to work and even to sleep. The more muscle you have and the more active you are, the more energy your body will need.

It gets that energy from the food you eat. If you’re putting more in than you are using, then it will begin to store that energy as body fat (5). If you’re using more energy than you are consuming, then it will begin to use that stored fat.

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If you are overweight then it means your body has a plethora of stored energy to use. It’s there, on standby, just waiting to be used up. So, the next tip in losing weight is to make sure you are in a calorie deficit, which is to say that you are burning more calories than you are using.

You can use this BMR Calculator to help you calculate this.

4. Eat Clean

How to Beat the Flab and Lose Weight

Don’t get stuck in the mindset that a calorie is a calorie and that you can eat anything as long as you’re burning it off. This may be true to an extent, but a fire fueled with gas will always burn the brightest. In other words, you’ll look better, feel better and reach your goals quicker if you give your body the best fuel.

The average American diet is loaded with processed food, from heart-clogging fats to insulin-spiking sugars.

They add preservatives for shelf-life and saturated fats for taste; they color with chemicals and protect with carcinogens. None of this stuff should be going in our bodies and if you want to live a long and healthy life, and you want to keep the belly fat to a minimum, you need to cut back.

  1. Avoid excessive drinking on the weekend. Alcohol is empty calories, often much more than we realize. A six-pack of beer (6) is equivalent to a Big Mac and Small Fries (7).
  2. Cheat, but don’t go overboard. Your cheat meals should be small and infrequent, so put the super-size pizza down and have a few slices. Say no to the double half-pound burger and have a single quarter pounder instead.
  3. Keep the dairy to a minimum. It will bloat you and if recent research is to be believed then it could even increase your chances of digestive distress, osteoporosis (8) and more.

Avoid any processed foods and refined carbs, anything loaded with added sugar and anything where the ingredient label reads like a chemical experiment. It’s daunting, but it’s not impossible and it’s certainly not as expensive as many detractors would have you believe.

Healthy food is often labeled as being considerably more expensive and there are many studies that seem to back this up, but only because they miss the point. Such was the case with an often-cited study by a leading UK university, which found that junk food was considerably cheaper (9) but only on a calorie to calorie basis. Let’s be honest, we didn’t need a leading university to tell us that.

According to a study published by the Harvard School of Public Health, healthy food is more expensive, but only by $1.50 a day. These are difficult times for many of us, but $1.50 for the sake of better health and a longer life?

That’s a price we should all be happy to pay.

References

  1. National Council on Strength and Fitness. “A Pound of Muscle Burns 30-50 Kcal/Day Really…”
  2. Heather Arndt Anderson. “Breakfast: A History”. Roman & Littlefield, 2013.
  3. Javier T. Gonzalez, Rachel C. Veasey, Penny L. S. Rumbold, Emma J. Stevenson. “Breakfast and exercise contingently affect postprandial metabolism and energy balance in physically active males”. Vol 110, Issue 4, 2013.
  4. Jelleyman, T. Yates, G. O’Donovan, L. J. Gray, J. A. King, K. Khunti, M. J. Davies. “The effects of high-intensity interval training on glucose regulation and insulin resistance: a meta-analysis”. Obesity Reviews, 2015.
  5. Jane M Vanderkooi, Ph.D. ”Your Inner Engine. An Introductory Course on Human Metabolism.”. Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. MyFitnessPal, “Heineken Beer, 6 Pack”. (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/heineken-beer-6-pack-340355278)
  7. MyFitnessPal, “Big Mac and Fries” (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/169360207)
  8. Lanou AJ, Berkow SE, Barnard ND. “Calcium, dairy products, and bone health in children and young adults: a reevaluation of the evidence.” 2005.
  9. Nicholas R. V. Jones, Annalijn I. Conklin, Marc Suhrcke, Pablo Monsivais. “The Growing Price Gap between More and Less Healthy Foods: Analysis of a Novel Longitudinal UK Dataset”. University of Cambridge, 2014.
  10. Mayuree Rao, Ashkan Afshin, Gitanjali Singh, Dariush Mozaffarian. “Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis”. Harvard School of Public Health. 2013.

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