No matter your trouble zone or body shape, almost every weight loss or fitness goal stems back to body fat loss. Even if your goal is to run a faster half marathon and you’re not concerned with the scale or the size of your jeans, a leaner body is a more efficient body and will get you closer to your goal. Here are a few simple tips on how you can lose weight and burn fat to improve appearance and performance.
How to Lose Back Fat Fast and Safely
Although everyone wants a ‘get skinny quick’ plan that’s easy to follow and produces results but an effective plan that allows you to maintain those results should also be safe. In general, weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week is safe for the majority of the population but it’s always smart to run any new fitness routine or diet by your doctor before diving into a new lifestyle. Also very general is the classic concept of calories in, calories out and the ‘3500 calorie rule’ which states that to lose one pound, you must lower your calorie intake by 3500 calories or burn it off with exercise or a combination of both. That number was actually reached through a variety of studies and that was the average calorie deficit needed to burn a pound. The actual amount of calories that translate to one pound varies from person to person and where that person is in their weight loss journey. If you have a lot of weight to lose and you’re just starting out, you might notice the first few pounds drop off pretty easy and the last few are much harder to shake.
Losing Weight in 1-3 Weeks
Here’s how you can you use this information to lose weight and burn body fat fast. If you want to know more about your personal calorie needs, visit a nutritionist or utilize several online calculators but, even if you need a deficit of higher or lower than 3500 calories per pound, everyone still needs to create a deficit through a decrease in calorie intake or an increase in calories burned.
Step 1: Increase your cardiovascular activity and include HIIT. Everyone can benefit from daily exercise and, no matter your weight, we all need cardiovascular exercise to keep our hearts healthy. Not to mention, cardio will improve endurance and help burn fat better and faster than anything else. While you cannot ‘spot reduce’ any specific area of the body, the good news is that cardio will help burn fat and reveal muscle in all areas of the body so you’ll achieve a more fit appearance all over!
For quick results, Owner of San Diego Premier Training, Mike Deibler M.S., C.S.C.S, SGX, recommends including HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) because he says, “High Intensity Interval Training has been shown to target more belly fat versus other forms of exercise and increasing blood flow will help the delivery of fat from your stores to the working muscle. So in theory performing bouts of cardio after working an area may help increase blood flow to that area and burn more fat.”
Step 2: Decrease your calorie intake…but not too much. Use an online calculator to determine your basal metabolic rate. This is the amount of calories you would burn if all you did was stay in bed all day. Do not let your calorie intake drop below this number. While it seems that would allow you to quickly drop weight, it’s not that simple. If your body thinks it’s starving, it will start to store fat, in anticipation of famine. This is a blessing since you need enough fuel to keep your brain and the rest of your body functioning properly so thank biology that short-term starvation is a road block on your weight loss journey and a stall in your ability to burn fat and get fit. In addition, too little calorie intake will impact your ability to workout safely and effectively so make sure you’re getting a healthy and appropriate amount of calories per day.
Shed Body Fat in 4 Weeks to 2 Months
If you have a little more time to reach your goal, you can focus on additional simple lifestyle changes to improve your health for the long-term.
Step 3: Lift weights. You don’t need to become a body-builder but the only way to build muscle is through strength training of some kind and, unlike with cardio, you actually can ‘spot train’ specific areas of your body so get ready for a strong, lean, toned back. For an overall reduction in body fat, focus on full body exercises and multitask
Step 4: Fine tune your diet. Counting calories may be a quick and somewhat easy way to lose weight fast but to get and stay fit, move beyond simple calorie-counting. For most people, it isn’t practical to calorie-count long-term and nutrition is so much more than just calories. Again, you can visit a nutritionist for the most accurate and personalized diet recommendations but here are a few simple ways you can improve your diet on your own. Start to pay attention to how you feel after you eat and make sure you’re getting adequate protein and fiber in your diet to assist with satiety and digestion. Also, to avoid bloating (and the appearance of additional weight and fat), limit processed foods, added sugar, sodium and artificial sweeteners.
Step 5: Manage stress and sleep. After you makeover your diet and exercise plan, take a look at the rest of your lifestyle to lose weight fast and maintain your results. Stress and lack of sleep both contribute to hormone imbalances that can lead to excess fat storage. Think back to that concept of temporary starvation actually leading to less weight loss. That same ‘fight or flight’ mechanism peaks when stress levels are high.
“Cortisol, has been shown to lead to increased belly fat,” says Deibler, “Cortisol is a necessary stress hormone but when it is elevated too much for too long it can increase belly fat storage so meditation or other stress reducing techniques could help and other hormones lead to increase fat storage in other areas as well.” He adds, “Estrogen can increase hip and thigh fat storage, high insulin can lead to storage on the sides of the stomach and upper back and high testosterone can increase chest fat and arm fat,” so if stress management doesn’t do the trick and you suspect a hormonal imbalance, visit your doctor.
Deibler also mentions that stress can be from many sources, including exercise, so if you’re working out too strenuously, that might be an area to relax. Assess all areas of your life to discover sources of stress and ways that you can reduce stress and increase your quality of sleep.
Take these steps and enjoy a leaner, healthier body in no time!