Generally speaking, we don’t believe in one-size-fits all solutions – but there are some things that will pay off for virtually anyone when it comes to losing extra/unwanted fat:
1. Focus on building muscle instead of burning fat. So many people default to cardio when they want to lose fat, but it’s actually strength training you should be focused on. Why? While you’ll burn some calories and raise your metabolism in the short-term with a cardio workout, strength training does this for you in the long-term. The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate, and the faster you’ll burn calories all the time. ‘Nuff said.
2. Dial back the carbs. Carbs are not bad in and of themselves – but a diet too high in carbohydrates can affect fat loss. Track your eating for a few days using an app like My Fitness Pal that calculates the macro-nutritional profile of the foods you eat (which means the ratio of carbohydrates to proteins to fats).
If you find that 40% or more of your diet is carb-based, you’ll want to make some changes. Aim for a ratio of about 20-30% fat, 20-50% protein, and the rest carbs at every meal and snack, and start by cutting out anything white and/or fluffy.
Doing so will leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied after you eat, reduce/eliminate cravings caused by low blood-sugar, and – bonus – protein helps your body build muscle after a strength workout which, in turn, will also increase your metabolism.
3. Get enough sleep. There are SO many reasons why this is important. First and foremost, from a fat-loss perspective, a tired body will store fat and burn muscle – the exact opposite of what we want.
Your body does all its changing, repairing, and regenerating when you sleep. If you’re not sleeping enough, your body’s ability to flush out stress hormones and create muscle-building, skin-tightening, growth hormones.
If you move the dial on these three things and stick with the changes, I can almost guarantee you’ll feel better and start to see some changes in your body. If you’d like help along the way – or want to take #1 to the next level – we’d be delighted to walk you through a first workout and tell you how we can help. Reach out to book yours here.
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 18 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!