Sometimes simply getting in the gym or cleaning up your diet a little is simply not enough to boost body-change efforts. And though we typically think of these as our bread and butter, perhaps the way in which we exercise or eat is more even important. There are also some surprising additional ways to help increase fat burning throughout the day. Here are my top tips to burn fat today:
- Get 8 hours of sleep per night, period. Unfortunately, in today’s day we tend to associate sufficient sleep with laziness. Eight hours a night is hardly being lazy, and in fact, it’s associated with fat-burning. There are a few key ways to naturally increase the fat-burning, muscle-building, anti-aging human growth hormone, and sleep is one of them. Limiting food consumption to 2 hours prior to sleep and getting at least 8 hours per night will help burn significantly more fat during sleep than going to bed completely stuffed and only sleeping a few hours.
- Hit the weights. People always ask me, if I only have 30 minutes, what’s the best exercise to do? The answer is always the same: weight-training. I prefer the Metabolic Effect-style weight training, which I think of as “the new cardio” because when done correctly, it elevates the heart rate and breathing comparable to that of traditional cardio exercise. Only, with weight training, you experience that additional burn in the muscles that is necessary to release testosterone and human growth hormone (yes, weight training is the other way to raise it naturally). Don’t believe me? Just go do a set of walking lunges holding 25-lb dumbbells and tell me you’re not burning fat!
- Up your fruit and veggie intake. This may seem obvious, but acquiring a minimum of 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day will not only boost your health, but help you burn more fat by providing more fiber with less sugar than grains and optimizing your metabolism. A diet high in refined sugars, grains and fatty proteins only (like the standard American diet) will create a very acidic environment in the body, stifling the metabolism. The alkalinity provided by fruits and vegetables helps buffer and optimize the metabolism. Try our faves: spinach, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, onions, other leafy greens, all berries, apples, pears and grapefruits.
- Take a fish oil supplement. So easy, yet so effective! Fish oil contains unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) that pack a powerful fat-burning punch. As counterintuitive as it seems, you need to consume fat to burn fat! Good omega-3 fatty acids from fish not only help decrease inflammation in the body, but optimize cell membrane function to accelerate efficient metabolic processes and brain function. Be sure to find a supplement that is PCB-free, without environmental contaminants. The one I recommend to my clients is High-Potency Omega-3.
- Eat adequate protein. Many of us are not getting enough lean, clean protein in our diets. Taking in amino acids from protein has a powerful effect on muscle preservation and helps with muscle building, both of prevents a sluggish metabolism. Also, protein has a high thermic effect when eaten, meaning it uses a lot of calories during the digestion and absorption process. It also slows the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, helping to maintain balanced blood sugar to ward off cravings and changes in energy and mood, so always be sure to eat protein with carbs. In general ladies, aim for 1g of protein per pound of body weight from lean clean protein sources like chicken, fish, turkey, whey protein, grass-fed beef, bison, egg whites and lean cuts of pork.
- Take some “me” time. Something that many of us struggle with, or simply don’t give ourselves permission to do, is to take time for ourselves to do something that we enjoy, away from work, responsibilities, chores, etc. Allow yourself time to engage in an activity that helps you unwind, relax and let go of responsibilities even for 20 minutes a day, and it will act as a natural stress-reducer. Lowering stress through restorative activities like reading, going for a walk, taking a Tai Chi class or simply sitting quietly can dramatically lower cortisol levels. Excess cortisol may lead to fat storage in the mid-section, so finding ways to decrease is helpful.