In this post, I would like to discuss how to burn fat in the healthiest way and while keeping the muscles. Anyone who has ever tried to get rid of subcutaneous fat knows that during this process muscles can be reduced in volume. This is not surprising, because this is how our physiology works.
When you want to burn fat fast you create a caloric deficit (shortage) in order to make a situation of catabolism or destruction for your adipose tissue. You can achieve that either by consuming fewer calories or by burning more calories. The most important thing is that the body cannot be half in catabolism. Therefore, if we create a catabolic state for the destruction of subcutaneous fat, it is necessary to be prepared for the loss of part of the muscles.
In short, to burn fat you have to change your diet (and be focus on certain nutrients), to build muscle mass (in order to burn more calories), to vary your physical activities (to speed up metabolism) and sometimes to eat more! The last statement is surprising, isn’t it?
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Alright, let’s dive right in the tips that help you to burn fat effectively:
1. You need to eat more protein to burn fat
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Our body itself consists of a large number of amino acids (protein). And the excess fat consists of fatty molecules. In order to lose weight, you need to reduce the number of fats and carbohydrates. A good solution is to compensate for calories from protein foods.
Protein food does not contribute to the gain of excess fat as carbohydrate or fatty foods. That’s why it is recommended to raise the
Most official nutrition organizations recommend pretty modest protein intake. DRI (dietary reference intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound.
- 56 grams per day for average men who just want to preserve their muscles.
- 46 grams per day for the average woman who wants to preserve their muscles.
You need to get enough protein to prevent deficiency. The right amount of protein for any individual depends on many factors, including their level of activity, age, muscle mass, body goals, and current health status.
But if you want to burn fat fast you have to raise the amount of protein to 2-2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. That is, if your weight is 100 kg, then you need to eat 200 -250 grams of protein per day while reducing the
You can get protein from beans, lentils, tempeh, seitan, hemp seeds, eggs, cheese, cottage
There is a great plant-based protein sources Table made by NoMeatAthlete:
I also love using protein powders as they are very convenient and contain lots of protein. Sometimes you don’t feel hungry or don’t have excess to protein food. But you still need to meet your daily macros so protein powders can help a lot. But be sure to choose a healthy brand that doesn’t contain artificial ingredients or excess calories.
I personally find these two are quite good:
2. Eat right food before training
It’s better to eat most of carbohydrates 1-2 hours before a workout, so that you have the strength to train. This is the important point that is quite underestimated.
To burn fat choose complex carbs like whole grains, sweet potatoes, bananas,
In general, carbohydrate intake ranges from 3 to 5 g per 1/kg body weight a day for muscle preservation and fat burning.
3. Choose healthy fats
It may seem controversial but eating fat can help you to burn fat. Sounds crazy, right? But that’s totally true. Healthy fats decrease appetite, reduce sugar cravings and stabilize glucose levels. They also help to recover faster from intensive workouts.
The thing is you have to eat rights fats to achieve your goals. Healthy fats are primarily polyunsaturated ones. The best sources are olive oil, peanut butter, egg yolks, avocado, coconuts, seeds,
There are also other tips to follow when eating fats:
- Avoid trans-fat and saturated fat (manufactured and highly processed fats that may be present in cakes, frostings, creams, cookies, and fried foods)
- Read product labels. Skip foods containing palm oil or hydrogenated oils.
- Choose fats from natural products (this means it’s better to get fat from raw coconut instead of using oil. Oil is too concentrated)
- Consume flaxseed oil which contains a lot of Omega-3 fats.
- Store oil in a dark place in sealed containers.
- Fats in the daily diet should not be exceeded a third part of the total calories.
- To get rid of excess fat when cooking use a grill or an oven.
- Most foods labeled “low fat” or “fatless” have a fairly high amount of carbohydrates.
Daily need for fats:
• for men – 70-154 g;
• for women – 60-102 g;
4. Cut down sugar and starches
The hormone insulin has the biggest impact on fat storage. Too many carbohydrates and sugars lead to a spike in the hormone and then to a weight gain. That’s why it’s better to avoid sugary and starchy food if you want to burn fat fast.
Starchy veggies to limit while losing weight are potatoes, corn, peas, beans, carrots, pumpkins, yams, beets. They are healthy but I recommend to eat less of them to achieve your fitness goals.
When you try to lose weight you may want to reduce your carb intake in general. Don’t be concern about energy levels. Your body has the ability to get energy from fat as well, so if you increase your fat and protein intake, you don’t need so many carbs in your diet. But again, don’t eliminate carbs completely. Just eat a little bit less than usual and avoid starchy and simple cabs. As I’ve mentioned earlier eat complex carbs before your training to increase your energy during the session. During the day your best options will be dark leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables,
If you struggle to cut down sugar try to eat protein with healthy fats at breakfast. It’s proved that healthy savory meals in the morning help you to balance your insulin levels and reduce sugar cravings. Never choose carbs alone in the morning. It’s crucial to have the
Some protein-packed breakfast ideas that you may like:
- Protein bread with hummus, avocado and tomatoes
- Protein bread with fried mushrooms and feta
- Unsweetened greek yogurt with fresh berries, nuts and seeds
- Fried eggs with avocado toast
- Sandwich with “tuna-like” mashed beans/chickpeas
- Chickpea omelette with spinach and veggies
5. Try calorie cycling or refeed days
This method is especially effective when you hit a weight loss plateau. Let’s say you maintain a caloric deficit for a month and you lose weight. But at some point, the process slows down and
A refeed day is a day when you consume more calories than usual. It helps to improve your metabolism, makes you feel better and more energized. It also helps you to stick to your diet as you don’t feel so deprived. And it won’t ruin your results but even improve them by allowing your body to continue burning fat.
It’s better to have planned refeed days when you will eat more calories. But don’t go crazy. A refeed day is not a cheat day. If you want to burn fat fast you can’t indulge junk food and sweets. You just allow yourself to eat more in order to speed up metabolism.
When you try to burn fat you maintain about an about 20% caloric deficit. On refeed day you can increase your calorie intake by 30%. This means, if you eat 1400 calories a day to create a caloric deficit and to lose weight, then on your refeed day you will eat 1820 calories.
It’s also recommended to continue eating a lot of protein on this day but at the same time reducing fat as much as possible. What’s great is that on a refeed day you more than welcome to eat carbs. So make sure you enjoy a stack of healthy protein pancakes or a whole-grain pasta.
How often to go refeed days? As a general rule, it’s ok to plan a one refeed day per week to burn fat. But if you have a lot of extra weight you need to lose then a refeed day is recommended to set once every 2 weeks or even more rarely.
6. Build muscles to burn fat
It’s known that people who weight more burn more calories while performing any activities. Especially if they weight more due to having lots of muscle mass.
The more muscles you have the more calories you burn even at rest. That’s why if you want to burn fat fast you need to start building muscles. Besides, weight lifting can transform you body. It’s amazing how different the body looks when it’s toned, shaped and strong. Even if you still have excess fat, your body will look way more beautiful and fit when you do strength exercises regularly.
Strength training is also one of the strongest ways to increase the production of testosterone and growth hormone, which both lead to burning fat. BUT! If you have PCOS you should avoid the situations when your testosterone level increases as it may worsen your symptoms and lead to weight gain. So in
If you want to burn fat fast you should prefer complex exercises that involve many muscle groups. It allows
You can use weights, resistance bands or your body weight to perform strength training.
Usually, working out with weights gives the best results in terms of burning fat. So if you can lift heavy, go for it. This way you not only build muscles but burn more calories at the same time. Just be sure your health conditions allow you to perform weight lifting.
7. Increase the amount of training
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to burn fat on
That’s why to burn fat fast you have to increase your physical activity. If you have been already training for some time but stop seeing progress it means you have to change your workout routine. The thing is that your body adjusts to training. If at the beginning the exercises were challenging and your body burned fat, with times it gets more difficult to maintain the same results.
If you want to start burning fat again then you need to increase the total load on the workout. You can do that either by increasing the number of repetitions or the number of sets (exercises). If in a regular training session there are 2-3 sets, then for burning fat you need to do 4-5 sets, and if there are 8-12 repetitions in each set, then to burn fat you need to perform 15-20 repetitions.
The fact is that during the burning body fat you will feel weaker than usual due to a lack of calories. In such
That is why when bodybuilders prepare for the competitions they go to a greater number of repetitions (15-20 repetitions) and sets (4-5 approaches).
Another important moment is to vary your workouts. When you try to burn fat you want to focus on different types of activity as it will help you to speed up the whole process.
If you prefer weight lifting you may need to incorporate cardio to continue burning fat. Or to add HIIT training 2-3 days per week.
So in general, it’s crucial to combine resistance training, aerobics and interval training together to achieve your fat loss goals.
I would like to recommend you some HIIT training I like. They are very intense but I know how effective is HIIT so give it a try:
8. Have more sleep
Sleep plays an important role in burning fat and preserving muscles during the weight loss process.
Many people forget about sleep. They just don’t think that sleep is very important on the fat burning diet. This is a big mistake, because sleep is crucial for the production of certain hormones and the improvement of general well-being.
You can’t compensate the lack of sleep with any other type of rest or with a proper nutrition. On the fat burning diet, the lack of sleep will immediately become noticeable due to muscle loss and poor health. There will be a significant decrease in muscle mass, because the lack of sleep enhances the overall catabolic state of our body.
You should try to sleep minimum 7-8 hours a day. You can sleep even more as it helps to reduce the stress and therefore burn fat more effectively.
If you have busy and productive days it’s very beneficial to allocate 1-2 hours to sleep during the day. It will restore your energy levels and improve health.
9. Reduce your stress levels
It seems that I talk about stress in every post on this blog 😀 But you can’t neglect the impact of stress hormone cortisol on your life and health. It leads to weight gain in the first place even if you eat
That’s why it’s very important to reduce stress if you want to burn fat. I won’t go much in depth about this topic here because I have the best recommendations in my other post “Why you feel tired all the time” where I have a chapter devoted to stress management and natural remedies. So be sure to check it out.
That’s all for this post on how to burn fat fast. I can assure you that if you follow these tips for some time you will definitely see the results. Losing stubborn fat is a very challenging process. I can totally understand you. My fat comes from hormonal issues and sedentary work so burning it is extremely difficult. But it’s possible!
And remember if you are woman (and not an athlete) you don’t need to have you body fat percentage too low. It’s not healthy. And doesn’t make any sense. Maintaining healthy, toned and fit body is more important. If you eat quality food, train your muscles and take care of your body regularly you will look beautiful and attractive anyway. Even if you have a little bit of fat on some parts. That’s ok. So don’t push yourself too hard. Balance is the key.
Feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments below. And please share this post if you find it helpful. It will allow other people to see it and get some value from it as well.