Losing body fat is a bit like giving up smoking – people do it dozens of times! Imagine, though, if you could do it once and do it permanently. Well, you can. But to achieve that long-term fat reduction, you’ve got to forget all the weight loss hype and start doing it the right way. Here are the 5 things you must do to get rid of belly fat permanently.
1. Achieve a Daily Caloric Deficit
In order to lose stored body fat, you need to end up each day in a caloric deficit. That means that you have taken in fewer calories than your body is burning each day. The extra calorie energy requirement will then be drawn from your stored body fat.
To achieve a daily caloric deficit you first need to know how many calories you need to take in daily to meet your body’s energy needs. Go here to work it out.
Once you have an idea of what your daily maintenance level is, you should set the goal of reducing it by about 500 calories per day. That will allow you to drop by 3,500 calories over a 7-day week. That happens to be the exact number of calories in a pound of fat.
A key to achieving that daily calorie deficit is to reduce alcohol intake. Commit yourself to drink alcohol in moderation.
2. Eat More Protein
You probably know that a high protein diet is the most important macronutrient for muscle building. But did you realize that increasing your protein intake is also the best thing you can do nutritionally to lose fat? One reason for this is that protein is extremely filling. So, when you have a decent portion of protein with your meal, you are less likely to snack before your next meal.
Protein is also the most thermic of the three macronutrients. That means that it takes more energy to absorb and digest than carbohydrates or fats. So, increasing your lean protein intake will help to boost your metabolism.
Protein’s muscle-building ability is another reason that it should form a key part of your fat loss strategy. Muscle is a lot more metabolically active than fat. As a result, every ounce of additional muscle that is added to your body will make your body a better fat burner.
Get your intake of protein from lean meats, fatty fish, peanut butter, and chicken. Whey protein powder is also a good source of protein.
3. Cut Out High Glycemic Carbs
Contrary to what you may have heard, not all carbs are bad. It is the ones that spike your levels of insulin that are the problem. The insulin cycle sets you up on a pattern of eating that may result in insulin resistance. This will overload your body with sugar and calories that will inevitably be stored as unsightly fat around your waist and love handles.
High glycemic carb intake involves eating foods that are high in sugar, which becomes glucose in the bloodstream. You need to cut way back on such sugary foods as cookies, white bread, cake, refined grain, sweets, soft drinks, and pies in order to keep your insulin levels under control and eliminate extra calories.
While cutting way back on high glycemic refined carbs, you should also increase your low glycemic fruits and vegetable carb intake. Good choices are broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, green leafy vegetables, apples, and blueberries.
4. HIIT Workouts
In addition to reducing your caloric intake by about 500 calories per day, you should also aim to burn off calories through aerobic activity. The most effective form of cardio for fat loss is high-intensity interval training. This involves interspersing short periods of intense cardio training with even shorter rest periods.
A popular form of High-Intensity Interval Training is what is known as the Tabata Protocol. It involves doing a 20-second sprint followed by a 10-second rest. This is repeated 8 times. Here’s an example of how you can do HIIT Tabata on a rowing machine …
1. Get on the rowing machine and do a 2-minute warm-up at a moderate pace.
2. As you pass the one minute, thirty arks begin to build your speed. At the two-minute mark, you should be rowing at maximum speed.
3. Keep rowing at your absolute max speed for exactly 20 seconds.
4. Pause for exactly 10 seconds.
5. Go directly into your next max speed 20-second row.
6. Repeat for 8 rounds of sprint/pause training.
7. Finish with a 2-minute warm down.
HIIT workouts will spark your metabolism thanks to a concept known as enhanced post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This means that you will be burning more calories for the 24-36 hours after your workout is finished. You can use any type of exercise that allows you quickly change from top speed to a pause.
I recommend doing HIIT workouts 3-4 times per week.
5. Weight Training
We’ve already spoken about how beneficial building muscle mass is to losing and maintaining weight. The more muscle tissue you have on your body, the faster your metabolism will be.
Weight resistance training is the activity that will build that muscle mass. You should, therefore, follow a proper strength training program in addition to your HIIT cardio workouts. Your resistance training workouts should emphasize exercises that work your entire body through their full range of motion and that are done through a range of both high (30 reps) and low (6 reps) repetition ranges.
You should do 10-14 sets for major body parts (chest, back, glutes, hamstrings) and 6-8 sets for minor body parts (biceps, triceps, deltoids, hamstrings, calves). Train each body part twice per week.
The 5 steps outlined in this article are all that you need to achieve permanent fat loss. The real key, though, is consistency. For real, long-term success, each of the 5 steps needs to be adopted as part of your lifestyle. Do them every day and you will achieve the permanent weight loss that has been eluding you for so long.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is spot reducing?
Spot reducing is the belief that you can do targeted exercises for a specific part of the body, such as the abdominal muscles, to lose fat from that area. However, this is a myth – the only way to lose body fat is to create a caloric deficit so that the body is forced to use up stored body fat. Those calories are drawn from all over the body, rather than one specific part like belly fat.
How important is sleep to fat loss?
Sleep is very important to fat loss. You need plenty of sleep to regulate your hunger and satiation hormones. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.