Losing fat is a common goal fitness goal that we regularly see in the gym at LVFiT.
Not only can fat loss result in a slimmer, fitter figure, but it can also extend your life and keep you healthier for longer.
While losing fat takes hard work and sacrifice, adopting a few key habits can be tremendously helpful to your efforts. With that in mind, here are three easy lifestyle changes that will accelerate your fat loss.
1. Drink Lots of Water Each Morning
Ever wonder why the number on the scale always seem to be lowest first thing in the morning?
It has a lot to do with the water you lose overnight. While your body will certainly lose water if you happen to sweat while you sleep, you’ll also lose water throughout the night simply by breathing.
“Even if you start the night reasonably well-hydrated, you’ll lose some body fluids simply by breathing while you sleep. This is especially true if you breathe through your mouth, snore or have sleep apnea,” writes the National Sleep Foundation.
Starting your day with a glass or two of water can help you replenish these lost fluids and put you on track for a good day of hydration. Water is absolutely essential to good health and high performance. The human body is roughly 60 percent water, and water plays a crucial role in almost every important bodily process. Water transports nutrients and oxygen, supports proper muscle contraction, improves joint function and fights fatigue. Being even slightly dehydrated can cause decreases in reaction time, mood and focus. The negative effects of not drinking enough water are almost too many to count.
Start your day off with water and you’re putting yourself in position to have a successful day.
2. Hold Off On Eating Carbs as Long as You Can
This includes fruit!
Blood sugar management is one of, if not the most important skill, for someone wanting to lose weight. This is of greater importance as your weight and bodyfat increases as this is correlated with insulin resistance or decreased insulin sensitivity.
Insulin sensitivity is essentially the tendency for the carbs you eat to be stored in your muscles vs. your fat cells. Rule of thumb is the lower your body fat (less than 10% for men, less than 20% for women), the more likely you will store carbs in your muscles.
Note: These fat loss percentages above would show visible abs for both men and women. So if you don’t have visible abs, carbs are not your friend right now!
This underlines the importance of reducing carbs in the morning which will keep your insulin levels low and your body spending more time in state ready to burn fat!
#3 – Get up and move.
The more you move, the less importance you have to can put on nutrition. Yes, I am saying it right here! But are you moving enough to decrease the importance of the food in your diet???
We straight up don’t move enough in modern North American living, and this puts incredible strain on how diligent we must be with our nutrition because we just aren’t burning enough calories daily through NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis).
NEAT is the energy expended (or calories burned) for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or exercise. It can be activities such as walking, typing, performing yard work, cleaning, standing at your desk, or fidgeting.
Not moving enough throughout the week or exercising regularly (at least 3x/week) puts a lot of stress on nutrition, as 1 slip up, 1 drive thru, or 1 restaurant meal can equate to thousands of calories you have to make up for.
This doesn’t mean you should go buy a fit bit tomorrow. (Unless you feel it would help), it just means you just have to be aware and start moving more frequently.
The focus shouldn’t be on tracking calories in your workouts. More benefit can be extrapolated by building lean muscle and improving your resting metabolic rate.
In fact, one mistake would be doing more long slow cardio, and that’s why we love boxing so much! It’s quick short bursts of max effort that works multiple energy systems in every workout!
You burn an extra 100-150 calories/hour if you increase your movement though NEAT. If you do this 10 hours per day that’s an extra 1000-1500 calories burned per day.
So how can you start moving more?
- the 2×2 challenge
- stand at your desk for work
- 2 ten minute walks after meals/day
Let’s review these…
The 2×2 Challenge:
Everyday do a 2 min plank and a 2 min downward dog.
I have identified these 2 movements as the 2 greatest bang for your buck movements for the majority of the general population.
Most people have a very weak core from too much sitting. Back pain can debilitate you very quickly. World renowned Strength coach and mobility specialist Dr. Kelly Starrett has stated that everyone should be able to do a 2 minute high plank. He even regularly tests elementary school aged children with this.
- The 2 min plank
Want to make it easier:
Start off with as many planks as you need to accumulate 2 minutes.
Want to make it harder:
Do a high plank with your butt squeezed as tight as possible, shoulders in external rotation while focussing on max inhalation and exhalation. (Use your diaphragm to do this). Check out this post for more info on the perfect plank.
- The 2 min downward dog
Simple. Extremely effective. As someone who suffered from chronic back pain for years, I can tell you this has been one of my tools to becoming pain free.
Why? The downward dog is highly effective in eliminating range of motion deficits in the posterior chain. This is because it stretches the entire posterior fascial line from the fascia under your heels (the plantar fascia) to over your eyebrows.
Image courtesy of Nashville Neuromuscular LLC
Any limitation throughout this line will restrict your entire posterior chain mobility.
- If you have shoulder pain in overhead movements you can benefit from this.
- If you have tight lower back you can benefit from this.
- If you have tight hamstrings you can benefit from this.
- If you have tight calves you can benefit from this.
Stand more at work
Researchers at the University of Chester discovered that standing at work 2 hours per day everyday for a year is equivalent to running 10 marathons. This was attributed to the elevated heart rate which was equivalent to 50 more calories burned per hour, and throughout the year, this would equate to 30,000 more calories burned.
Think about how much you can move the needle forward and get better results over the course of the next year with these small actions daily.
Awareness precedes action which creates change.
Now get after it,
Josh Saunders, BS, CSCS