Weight loss is a highly individual journey as everyone has different body chemistries, goals, and abilities. The combination of a meal plan consisting of healthy, balanced meals and the right blend of exercises will put you on the path to sustainable fat burn. For tips on how to jump-start your weight loss journey, check out this list of ideas.
1. Do the Right Cardio
You’ve probably heard that cardio is the most effective form of weight loss exercise, which is mostly correct. However, it depends on the type of exercise you do and how you do it. Fasted cardio is a fantastic weight loss tool that kicks your fat burn into high gear. But what does fasted cardio even mean? Basically, you do your cardio exercises before you eat anything at all for the day, so the best time for most people to accomplish this is first thing in the morning. Get up, grab a bottle of water (don’t skip on the hydration), and spend at least 30 minutes doing your favorite exercise. Jogging, rowing, swimming, and kickboxing are great options to get your blood pumping in the morning.
2. Build Muscle
What does muscle have to do with weight loss? A lot! The more muscle tone you have, the more fat your body will burn at rest. That’s not to say you have to become an amateur bodybuilder to see results. Some solid, overall strength training that hits every important muscle group will be enough to keep your fat-burning on track. Every time you do a session, target a specific muscle group; for example, one day do legs and glutes, and the next day focus on your abs and core, then your back, shoulders, arms, etc. This way, all of the major muscle groups in your body receive attention, but because you’re not exercising them all at the same time, they don’t get overworked.
3. Be Consistent
Think of your body as a furnace; it needs to be constantly fueled and in motion to heat up your house, right? While it is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to take rest days, you shouldn’t take more than two days off in a row (unless you’re ill or injured). This way, your metabolism stays in constant fat-burning mode.
4. Get Enough Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that assists your body in building muscle and fueling your metabolism. Plus, meals high in protein will keep you feeling fuller for longer, which will help you combat cravings and cut down on unnecessary snacking.
Lean meats such as chicken breast, ground turkey, or fish are high in protein and low in fat. If you don’t have time to cook a full meal, pack a protein shake to enjoy after your workout. Other snacks, such as low-fat yogurt, cheese, and nuts, are also great on-the-go protein sources.
5. Cut Carbs (But Not Completely)
Cutting carbs is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, but your body needs some carbs to function correctly. Stay away from refined (simple) carbs such as white bread, cakes, cookies, or traditional pasta; these carbs will turn to sugar in your system and end up being stored as fat, which is not conducive to weight loss. Instead, try adding complex carbs such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa to your diet.
6. Don’t Drink Your Calories
Sugary sodas, sweetened teas, juices, and energy drinks are the enemy of fat loss. Much like the process of breaking down refined carbs, your body takes the sugary drink and stores it as fat. Reaching for unsweetened coffee or tea occasionally is okay, but plain water is your best choice. It has no sugar or calories, helps improve digestion, and hydrates your body after a strenuous workout.
If you’re starting a weight loss journey, or you’re stuck and not seeing much progress, remember to eat properly, hydrate well, and exercise regularly, and you will be on your way to seeing the results you’ve always wanted.