Have you been skipping the gym lately? No judgment: So, you overdid it on pumpkin spice lattes or grabbed too many fast-food meals after shopping trips? No biggie—as long as you stay active in other ways.
Every expert ever will tell you that crash diets don’t work, are unhealthy, and offer at best a temporary fix since you may end up gaining back more than you initially lost once you fall off the wagon. But that doesn’t mean losing weight has to be a slow, torturous process either. Yes, you’ll still have to eat few calories than you burn, but nutrition and exercise researchers have uncovered some scientifically tested ways to make that easier and faster than ever.
We all have been guilty of skipping workouts completely when the holidays get busy and promise to exercise in January with that as the new year’s resolution! But it’s harder to get motivated when you’ve skipped the gym for two-plus weeks. While you don’t have to maintain your exact same exercise routine, keeping your body in motion will help you balance out the indulgences and start the year strong. To help you do that on the quick, we’ve rounded up a few ways to get more out of your workouts.
Follow these 6 fat-burning tips that use exercise and diet and watch the body fat melt like the butter you’re no longer using!
- Reduce Your Calories Gradually
If you’re looking to lose fat, don’t make huge calorie cuts. This will kick your body into starvation mode, reducing your metabolism and making it more difficult to burn off the fat. To prevent metabolic slowdown and allow your body to burn fat at an optimal rate, make smaller calorie reductions every week or two.
- Make HIIT Your Best Friend
Usually work out for 30 minutes? Exercise for a third of that – but go hard! An intense 10 minute jump-starts your metabolic furnace and equals about 20 or 30 minutes at a moderate intensity. If you can’t spare the full 10 minutes, you can sweat for even less time: According to a 2013 study from Colorado State University, exercising for just 2 ½ minutes at a high intensity (think running or biking sprints) can help you burn 200 more calories over the rest of the day.
- Eat More Fat
Consuming enough of the good fats will help you lose fat, build muscle, and recover faster from your workouts. Healthy fats also have myriad health benefits, including being good for your heart. So which fats are “good” fats? The polyunsaturated ones (especially omega-3’s), such as those from fish and nuts, and the monounsaturated kind, such as those from peanut butter, olive oil, egg yolks, and fish oil.
- Snack Away During the Day
Grazing is a surprisingly good idea because it helps you avoid metabolic slowdown. Your body is tricked into thinking it’s constantly eating, so it will never slow your metabolism down. Aim for five small meals (200 to 500 calories) a day rather than three large feasts. Also try not to go more than four hours without eating — if you eat breakfast at 7am, for example, have a snack at 10am, lunch at noon, another snack at 3pm and
dinner at 7pm.
- Eliminate Caloric Beverages & Alcohol
Caloric Beverages such as soda, juice and sports drinks are packed with sugar and must be avoided. Replace these with water, black coffee and tea. Use no calorie sweeteners to sweeten your beverage if needed. Alcohol, on the other hand slows down the metabolism and hence has no place in a speedy fat loss diet. For your love of wine, try to drink it on a cheat day.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Lack of sleep is the enemy of fat loss as it compromises insulin sensitivity and increases the drive for foods that are highly pleasurable such as high-fat, refined carbs. To sleep in more easily, avoid lit screens, food and, yes, booze for a full two hours before bed, and fill your plate with foods that help you fall asleep earlier in the night (think cherries, jasmine rice, and bananas).