Whether you are a professional athlete trying to become leaner for your sport, or someone who has been trying to lose weight for health reasons, teaching your body how to tap into your stored body fat as fuel is the key to achieving your weight loss goal. In the list below I have compiled my top 10 ways to maximize your metabolism to pull from stored fat instead of ingested carbs.
1. Intermittent Fasting– This is key to long-term sustainability in your body becoming a fat burning machine. The idea is to eat all of your calories in a short window of 6 to 8 hours. Not only will this help your body burn stored body fat, but it will also make your day much easier when planning meals!
2. Fasted Exercise– This concept goes along with number 1 on my list, but you obviously HAVE to exercise to achieve this. The concept is to do your daily exercise in a fasted state so your body uses your fat reserves as energy instead of carbs from food you’ve just ingested. You will want to ease into this method if you are accustomed to eating before your workouts, as well as if you are an afternoon or evening exerciser.
3. More Healthy Fat in your Diet– Some of you might think this idea is ludicrous, but if you are regularly consuming a diet as high as 60% carbohydrates, it is a wise choice to bring that percent down to 40 and increase the percent of fat you eat. You will want to choose healthy fats like avocados, nuts, fish, black olives, and flax seed to name a few. Be cautious in the AMOUNT of fats you eat, due to the fact that fat contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates so you will want to make sure you don’t overdo it.
4. High Intensity Cardiovascular Exercise– This way of exercising has a very specific purpose which not only helps burn calories , but there is also a a surge of growth hormone that happens on the cellular level after doing high intensity exercise. Growth hormone has been proven to increase muscle mass, which equates to burning more body fat. You don’t have to do every workout like this, but a few times a week will suffice. High intensity exercise has also shown to increase levels of the satiety hormone peptide y y, which is something we all can use a little more of! 🙂
5. Lift Heavy Weights– This concept can sometimes be intertwined with number 4 on my list, but will require you moving heavy objects. You will want to keep your reps in the 5-12 range and do each set to failure. You don’t have to spend more than 20-30 minutes on this and make sure you focus on your FORM and not HOW MUCH weight you are lifting, as well as spacing out your weekly training sessions. Intense weight training has shown to increase testosterone levels which can add lean muscle tissue which equates to burning body fat.
6. Coffee Pre-Exercise– There has been a lot of research on coffee consumption and fat burning in the last 10 years. I have seen several athletes use this as a way to maintain a lean body due to coffee’s ability to utilize fatty acids for energy. You should aim for drinking 1-2 cups of black coffee pre-workout. You will want to use caution with how much you consume and if you are new to coffee consumption. Drinking coffee alone is not a recipe for fat burning, but along with a regular exercise routine it can enhance your fat burning to a greater level.
7. Mix Up your Routine– This method is one a lot of us are guilty of not doing! The idea here is to mix up your routine by doing different exercises or maybe even the order you do them in. If you normally run, maybe its time to get on a bike, or if you take group fitness classes then maybe its time to get in the pool and swim some laps. There are endless ways to exercise and the key is to find different ways to go about this to keep your body “confused”…always challenging your body and keeping it from becoming efficient at one certain type of exercise. Not only is this great to help you become a fat burning beast, but it can add a much desired mental break also.
8. Sleep– So many of us in todays busy world are sleep deprived. There is an abundance of literature on this concept and how much we need, but I prefer to let your body tell you how much you need instead of comparing to others. Getting enough sleep lowers cortisol levels, which has been proven to decrease body fat levels. Unfortunately high cortisol levels also tend to correlate with sleep issues, so getting your stress under control is vital in this equation. Sleep is also how your body recovers from workouts, so getting sufficient sleep will help your next days exercise session be that much stronger. Last, sleep is the ONLY way our brains can detox, therefore, sleep is extremely important for mental clarity.
9. Drink More Water– Most of us are chronically dehydrated or don’t consume enough clear liquids. In our world today we constantly bombarded with different liquids like soft drinks, energy drinks, and sugar laden juice beverages. Drinking enough water can help your liver and kidneys do their job on the inside so you should do your job on the outside and aim for six to eight 8 oz glasses a day. A great trick I use to help me consume enough water during the day, is when I wake up, before I drink my first cup of coffee, I consume atlas 12-16 ounces of water first!
10. Self Control– This is my all-time favorite method to lose body fat. Having control over HOW MUCH and WHAT you consume takes no time to exercise and for the most part requires no extra energy. If you are like me and can’t have it in your house then you need to eliminate it from your fridge or pantry. If you can show restraint a good method is to eat healthy all week and bad on the weekend. That will keep you eating a higher percentage of healthy foods vs. unhealthy foods. It is perfectly fine to indulge from time to time, but there is always an excuse to eat bad so show control and take ownership of your health!