IN THE KITCHEN:
1. Keep the Calories Up. Whether you prefer to eat three meals or six meals per day is up to you. What really matters is eating enough calories throughout the day to keep your metabolism fired up and provide you enough energy for the day. Believe it or not, eating more works!
2. Drop the Bubbly. Don’t be fooled by diet sodas; they, too, can wreak havoc on your waistline. Keep diet sodas to a minimum, while ditching the real stuff altogether. The carbonation in soda can cause water retention and bloat— something us women could do without!
3. Get More Protein. Studies show that diets high in protein result in more fat loss and lean bodyweight retention than diets low in protein. Protein builds muscle, burns fat and keeps us feeling fuller longer.
4. Swap Butter for Olive Oil. Cooking with olive oil instead of butter will lower your intake of unhealthy fats and increase your intake of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids that are known to boost metabolism and fat loss. Added bonus— shiny, silky hair to die for!
5. Become a Fat-loving Freak. The rumor is true— eat fat to burn fat. Add a sliver of avocado to your sandwich or a small handful of nuts to your oatmeal and you’ll increase your fat-burning potential.
6. Get Your Green Tea. Catechins in green tea have been found in research to increase metabolic rate and decrease appetite as well as reduce belly fat. Drink a cup of hot green tea after each meal to promote digestion and boost metabolism. P.S.— Black coffee works too!
7. Go Nuts. Hungry? Munch on nuts to prevent hunger and lose more fat. Just don’t eat too many. Stick to a 1-ounce serving a few times per day.
8. Meals by Numbers. Instead of sticking to breakfast, lunch and dinner, try eating five or six small meals per day. At this point, they now become Meal #1, Meal #2, and so forth. It’s not the time at which you eat that is important; it’s eating every two to three hours to keep your metabolism on fire that you want to pay attention to.
9. Grapefruits: Natures’ Sweetest Sour Fruit. The low-glycemic properties of grapefruits make them an excellent carbohydrate source any time of the day. They are also believed to help in the metabolism of fatty acids in the bloodstream. For a delicious fat-blasting addition, try eating a quarter of a grapefruit with your breakfast or lunch.
10. Don’t Over-scoop. It’s important to measure portions accurately. If you’re sticking to a meal plan that requires 1 level scoop of protein powder, don’t scoop a heaping scoop of protein powder. Doing this over time adds up to excess calories that your body doesn’t need. And if you want to reach your goals, going over your numbers is not going to help you get there.
11. Treat, Don’t Cheat. Allowing yourself one or two treat meals each week will keep your mind sane and your body burning fat. You won’t cause harm as long as you stick to your diet for all other meals of the week.
12. Fresh is Better than Dried. Dried fruits are delicious, but the fresh version is more filling and less sugar-dense. Instead of three dried strawberries, have three fresh ones and enjoy far fewer calories in a larger bite.
13. Eat Smart. Carbs are essential nutrients in your diet. It’s not a good idea to skip them altogether. Choose the right carbs to fuel your body— carbs low on the glycemic scale will provide sustained energy and won’t be stored as fat. Try sticking with whole grains, oats, sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, grapefruits, quinoa and other brown options.
14. Don’t Miss a Meal. It’s not OK to skip a meal. Your body is expecting fuel every few hours and that’s what it needs to keep your metabolism revving. If you forget your lunch tote or lose track of time, your metabolism will slow down to make up for the fuel it’s lacking.
15. Eat Before Bed. Your last meal of the day should be within an hour of going to bed; that way you’re providing nutrients for your hard-earned muscle throughout the night. Put together meals consisting of healthy fats, lean proteins and green veggies. A great option is a veggie omelet or cottage cheese with some almonds or natural peanut butter.
AT THE GYM:
16. Ramp Up the Intensity. If you think you’re working hard enough, you probably aren’t. Make a conscious effort to work out harder, run faster, lift heavier, rest less, and incorporate more activities you’re not used to doing. Keep your body guessing and burn more calories, too!
17. Lift Weights. Studies show that incorporating at least three days of resistance training per week into your program will increase lean body mass, ultimately fueling your metabolic fire. More muscle = more fat burned, especially when at rest.
18. & 19. Run for Fat Loss. A study on endurance runners found that runners lost an average of 5.4 percent of their body volume during the course of a single race. They lost most of the fat in the first half of the race. If you just begin running, you’ll lose more weight than someone who has been running throughout his or her entire life. Incorporate three to four sessions of running into your week for best results; you’ll continue burning fat even after your session is over. Running burns 374 calories in 30 minutes.
Boost: Alternate fast and slow intervals, or take to the hills.
20. Work Out on Empty. Working out on an empty stomach (first thing in the morning or hours after eating) uses more fat as fuel without affecting performance, says a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Science and Sports Exercise.
21. Train Between 60 and 80 percent. Daniel Carey from the University of St. Thomas concluded that cardio training between 60 and 80 percent of your max heart rate is ideal for maximizing fat burning and building aerobic capacity. Get yourself a heart rate monitor, do the math, and keep track of your fat-burning potential!
22. & 23. Skate Like the Stars. Inline skating burns about 425 calories in 30 minutes. What’s better than having fun while working out? This exercise works your butt, hips, thighs and tummy, all while burning fat!
Boost: Alternate one minute of hard skating with one minute of medium-paced strokes.
24. & 25. Plyos are a Plus. If you’ve ever tried a plyometrics workout you’d agree— these workouts are beyond tough! What’s awesome about plyos is that these workouts burn a ton of calories while continually challenging your mind and your body.
For beginners, choose exercises that you can do well. For more advanced trainees, choose more challenging exercises; be sure to vary the exercises per workout. Pick six or seven plyo exercises; perform them back-to-back for 10-20 reps each. Rest one minute in between each revolution. Do a total of 4 or 5 revolutions to get your fat-burning abilities in gear!
26. Lift First, Cardio Second. If you must do cardio and lift weights in the same trip to the gym, be sure to do your weightlifting workout before your cardio session. Doing so allows you to work out harder where it counts (in the gym) and burn more fat afterwards. The idea is that you use stored carb sources while lifting weights and by the time you get to your cardio workout, you’re strictly using fat as fuel.
27. & 28. Superset Yourself Up for Success! Kill two birds with one stone. Supersets (performing two exercises back-to-back) build muscle and burn fat by increasing time under tension. Rest less and work harder for best results.
Boost: Try a Tri-set: put three exercises together, instead of two!
29. Become a Track Star. Take your cardio workout to the field with sprints. Challenge yourself (and a friend) to a grueling session of sprints. Perform 20-40 yard sprints with 20 pop squats at the end. Rest 40 seconds between sprints.
30. HIIT is Real. High Intensity Interval Training is the ultimate fat-burning cardio. You can manipulate any of your favorite cardio exercises to follow HIIT standards. There also is no rule to HIIT— you’re free to make it up as you go. A basic HIIT workout consists of changing the intensity every one to two minutes or as you see fit. HIIT burns more calories in less time than your average long-duration, boring cardio session.
31. No Talking Allowed. If you can hold a conversation or read a book while doing cardio, you’re not working hard enough. To burn fat, you better be working your butt off— literally.
32. Get in the Ring. Boxers and other combat athletes train based around a three-minute round. They train for endurance and strength as well as stamina, speed and flexibility. Build a workout consisting of three exercises which you perform for one minute each, back-to-back. Once your three-minute round is up, rest one minute and complete the round again.
Try exercises like shadow boxing, jumping rope, crunches, jumping jacks, hitting a bag, or any of your other favorite plyo exercises. Do 5 revolutions for a killer 15-minute workout.
33. Put on Weight. Wearing a weighted vest (10 percent of your bodyweight) while climbing the stairs or walking the track can boost your calorie burn by 8 percent.
34. Don’t Discriminate. Use both types of cardio in your weekly workout schedule for best results. Studies show that performing both high-intensity interval training and long-duration low-intensity cardio most days of the week burns fat without overtraining. Try alternating your HIIT days with your long-duration cardio days.
35. Play Sports. Finding a new hobby that you enjoy can be good for your social life and your waistline. For instance, tennis burns 272 calories in 30 minutes. Enjoy a few games with your girlfriends.
36. Cup-O-Joe. Your favorite morning brew may be the perfect pre-workout energy boost. The caffeine found in your black coffee is just enough to boost performance and speed fat loss.
37. Get your Multis. It’s important as athletes to provide our bodies with adequate vitamins and minerals. Sometimes we don’t get everything we need from the foods we eat. Supplement with a good multivitamin and mineral geared toward female athletes. Doing so will make you the ultimate fat-burning machine.
38. & 39. Vitamin C can help you Burn More Fat, and D may help you Lose Fat, research notes. Aim for 400 to 500 mg of C and 800 mg of D a day.
40. Use Flax Oil. As stated previously, healthy fats help you burn fat. Flaxseed oil (not the seeds, but the oil) is a superb blend of omegas, perfect for optimizing your fat-burning potential.
41. Thermogenics are the Real Deal. Thermogenic supplements such as caffeine, capsaicin, and green tea, increase metabolic rate and promote fat use. Look for products containing these ingredients and use them consistently, along with your exercise and nutrition program to reap results.
42. & 43. Go All The Whey. Whey protein shakes are not only convenient, but studies show that when consumed before a meal and post-workout will help you lose weight and maintain muscle mass.
Get Creative with Your Shakes: Toss in some berries or peanut butter for an added nutrient boost.
44. Get your Glutamine. Supplementing with 5 grams of glutamine twice per day will help spare lean muscle mass, ultimately boosting fat loss. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn at rest.
IN YOUR LIFE:
45 & 46. Win Each Day. Instead of focusing on your long-term goal as a whole, break it down into small daily goals. Work on completing each task for the day and over time, all of your daily ‘wins’ will lead you to your ultimate goal.
Cool Idea: Get yourself a calendar and every time you complete a day where you’ve ‘won,’ color that day in or mark it off. At the end of the week or month, you can look back at your calendar and see where you succeeded and where you went wrong. When your calendar is fully colored in, you know you can be proud of your accomplishments.
47. Make it Mental. Visualizing yourself at your goal weight or goal body is the only way to go. If you believe you will be there— you will be. It’s those people who think positive thoughts that succeed on a daily basis. Make it part of your day to see yourself as the fit, healthy person you want to be.
48. & 49. Be Regular. Make it a point to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Keeping your body on a set schedule allows optimal rest and recovery, as well as provides for the perfect chemistry for weight loss. This includes your meal schedule.
50. Snooze to Lose. A study from Wake Forest University found that sleeping less than five hours promotes increased abdominal fat in adults less than 40 years of age. And if you sleep too long (8+ hours), your chances of holding onto tummy fat is just as likely.
51. & 52. Weigh In. Using a food scale to measure your meals is a great way to ensure you’re eating the right amount of nutrients. Map out a Meal Plan for Yourself. Include the exact portions of protein, carbs and fats you’re to have at each meal— then follow it.
53. Get Dolled Up. Wearing figure-flattering clothes to the gym can boost your morale and make you work out harder. If you’re happy with how you look in your new favorite fitness top, you’re more likely to get in the gym to show it off.
54. & 55. Jam Out. Listening to your favorite upbeat tunes while you work out will add a bounce to your step. You’ll work harder and burn more calories while jamming out to something electric and high-paced than you would while listening to the blues.