In this age of obesity, the desire to burn excess fat motivates the dietary and exercise habits of many people. That’s why it should be a relief to know that fat can be vanquished with simple dietary changes and a few minutes of daily exercise. The road from fat to fit is not always easy to follow, so here’s to tipping the scale in your favor with five simple fat-burning tips.
5. Grab Some Weights
The logic behind strength training is simple. The body builds muscle through resistance efforts, then those muscles burn calories around the clock to preserve themselves, calories that otherwise may have been stored as fat. In addition, the act of strength training itself burns fat and the body burns calories in the recovery period after the workout.
Strength training is not only an effective workout, but it is one of the easiest to fit into your day. Just 10 minutes of pushups, sit ups, planks, squats, and lunges a few times each week will reap significant results. And cost is no excuse for not participating. If you don’t want to be stuck with a costly gym membership, then knock out these quick and easy strength workouts at home.
4. Beware of Stealthy Sugars
It is common knowledge that simple sugars cause weight gain, so many Americans make some effort to limit intake. Those efforts are falling short. According to the American Heart Association, the typical American adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, while teens take in an average of 34 teaspoons.
The reason, according to Men’s Health.com, is that sugar often lurks in unexpected places. Deli meats, ketchup, bread, teas and salad dressings are just a few of the items that can have surprisingly high sugar contents. Just reading food labels and being aware of the ingredients is an easy way to monitor, and reduce, sugar intake. Eliminating these empty calories forces the body to get energy from different sources, mainly stored fat deposits.
3. Go to Sleep
We all sleep, but getting enough of it, seven to nine hours each night, can be the difference between losing or gaining weight. Thedailygreen.com reports that inadequate rest causes the body to burn muscle instead of fat, and a sleep-deprived individual can gain three pounds in just two weeks. Dr. Joseph Mercola, an expert in the field of natural health, says that when the body is short on sleep it produces high amounts of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite.
Sleeping, though, is not always as simple as lying down and drifting off into a peaceful respite. Hectic lifestyles, consumption of caffeine and alcohol, and late-night exercise are all common impediments to the sleep cycle, so it is important to curb activity levels and consumption of foods and beverages a few hours before bedtime. Habits such as watching TV or reading in bed can also hinder sleep.
2. Avoid Endocrine Disruptors
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that negatively affect the body’s endocrine system by causing hormones to malfunction. Unfortunately, these dangerous chemicals, known as obesogens, are bombarding us from all directions. The New American Diet, a nutritional manual written by Men’s Health Editor Stephen Perrine, states that endocrine disrupters are present in many plastics (in the form of BPA), fruits and vegetables (pesticides and fungicides) and even in our tap water (pharmaceuticals and pesticides). The toxins not only disrupt the body’s metabolism, they also cause a plethora of other health maladies, including cancer and heart disease.
The most startling fact about endocrine disrupters is the direct correlation between the increased usage of these chemicals and the obesity epidemic. Plastic production has actually increased at a rate almost identical to that of obesity since 1970.
The best way to avoid toxic chemicals is to purchase organic food and limit exposure to polycarbonate and polyvinyl chloride plastics. It may sound like a chore, but limiting exposure to these poisons is an excellent way to turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
1. Interval Training
Interval training is not only a fantastic method for shedding fat, it’s also a workout that takes just minutes and can easily fit into a hectic schedule. Interval training consists of running, or cycling, at a high intensity for about 30 seconds to a minute before engaging in a recovery period roughly three times as long as the previous effort. The recovery phase can consist of slow jogging or walking. The number of repetitions in an interval workout can vary, but the ideal range is between five and eight. Using these guidelines, it is possible for someone to get a fantastic workout (using 30-second interval bouts) in only 10 minutes.
Interval training is not only a time saver, but its benefits actually supersede those derived from most steady, continuous cardio workouts. McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, found that cyclists who completed 18-minute daily interval sessions increased fitness just as much as those who cycled for two consecutive hours.