I'm going to share with you 5 practical tips on how to turn your body into a fat-burning machine – information that you can implement on your daily basis, both in and out of the gym or any workout environment. A lot of times they say that 'you are what you eat' so it's actually very important that you know how to work on what you eat first rather than just jumping into the workout schedule and hope everything goes as planned. Instead of quantity specific amounts, I'm going to give you simple ideas that you can almost immediately put it to plan in your everyday life. So let's get started.
A high-fiber diet decreases fat and cholesterol absorption in your intestine (preventing fat storage), slows glucose absorption in the bloodstream (meaning more sugar gets burnt as energy, less gets stored as fat), stabilizes insulin levels and delays stomach emptying (both of which decrease your appetite), and makes you full faster (so you eat less). Research has shown that a low-fat, high-fiber diet results in nearly three times more weight loss than a low-fat, low-fiber diet.
So how do you get your fiber? Here’s how I get mine:
- 1 fully loaded salad
- 1 bowl of oatmeal
- 2-3 raw fruits every day (fruit bonus: vitamin C in citrus fruit can also help burn fat)
Research shows that three or four daily servings of low-fat dairy products can help reduce body fat. Higher levels of calcium stored in the fat cells may help enhance fat breakdown, as well as induce an increase in thermogenesis (the body’s core temperature). The best calcium should come from dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt and cottage cheese (and not from a calcium supplement). Other good sources, especially for those who are lactose intolerant, include dark leafy vegetables, salmon, almonds, and oats (notice the extra fiber bonus).
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that people who include a large and healthy breakfast in their diet lose significantly greater amounts of fat than those who avoid breakfast. Skipping breakfast will not help you shed extra pounds, but may instead result in muscle loss and metabolism decreases, both of which hinder your fat-burning ability. A great breakfast example is a large glass of water with a bowl of oatmeal, fresh fruit and nuts. Just remember: breakfast can also work against you if it’s not healthy: fried meats, sweet muffins and croissants, sugar loaded cereals, or processed packages do not count as a healthy breakfast!
You’ve heard it a million times before: 5-6 small meals a day is better than 3 large meals. I'd like to step that up a bit: as high as 10 times a day or more may be necessary, depending on your energy consumption and needs. Here's an example (from my personal nutrition log):
- Banana 7AM
- Oatmeal w/ raisins 9AM
- Handful almonds 10:30AM
- Three turkey slices 12PM
- One yogurt 1PM
- Apple 2PM
- Large salad 4:30PM
- One protein bar 7:00PM
- Handful raisins 8:15PM
- 1 scramble egg with spinach 9PM (bed at 11PM)
Your body constantly uses water to create energy, build muscle, and burn fat, and without adequate water, studies have shown that the muscles are less active, the metabolism drops, and your body burns fat less efficiently. This slight decrease in metabolism can add up to over 10 pounds of fat a year! Water also assists in suppressing the appetite and giving you a “full feeling”. So drink several glasses of water each day, drink a glass of water at least 30 minutes before your workout, sip water regularly at the gym, and drink a glass of water after your workout (speeds up recovery too!). Many naturally occurring foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are also high in water content (as well as fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc.), so this is another great way to get your H2O.