1. Stay Off The Scale
That you can gain muscle and lose fat is one of the reasons I stress to people not to follow the scale. Body composition and how you look in the mirror matters more than what the scale says.
You could train hard and eat right and build five pounds of muscle and lose five pounds of fat, and what will the scale say? That you still weigh the same.
Frustrating, even though you’ve made good progress. Use the scale as a guide, but how you look in the mirror, how you feel, and how your clothes fit are much better indicators of your progress.
2. Reduce Your Calories Gradually
If you’re looking to lose fat, don’t make huge calorie cuts. This will kick your body into starvation mode, reducing your metabolism and making it more difficult to burn off the fat.
To prevent this metabolic slowdown and allow your body to burn fat at an optimal rate, make smaller calorie reductions every week or two.
3. Vary Your Caloric Intake
This is another way to outsmart your body and continue to lose body fat without lowering your metabolism.
By varying your caloric intake every few days instead of eating the exact same amount of calories every day, keep the starvation mechanism in check and continue to burn fat.
Says Jim Stoppani, Ph.D:
“Although in today’s society food tends to be accessible and abundant, our bodies are designed to store as much energy as possible to prepare for times of scarcity. One way the body does this is by adjusting its metabolic rate based on calorie intake.
If you stick with the same calories every single day while dieting, your body will adjust by lowering metabolic rate to prevent you from burning off too much body fat. It’s all about hormones.
When leptin levels are high, your metabolic rate stays high; when leptin levels drop, so does your metabolic rate.
When calories are low and steady, leptin levels fall and so does metabolic rate. Eating higher calories on some days and lower calories on others helps to keep leptin levels up.”
4. Train With Weights
Resistance training helps with fat loss in a number of ways. Weight training itself burns calories. Studies also show that, unlike aerobic exercise, weight training increases the calories you burn at rest for up to 39 hours after your workout.
Plus, the more muscle your body has, the more calories you burn each day.
Even if your goal is solely to lose body fat, you need to train with weights. This will help prevent any of the weight you lose from being muscle.
Were that to happen, your metabolism would slow, stalling your fat-loss efforts and turning you into a skinny-fat person.
Yes, even someone with anorexia can have a high body fat percentage.
5. Do High-Intensity Intervals (HIIT)
This means alternating a brief period of high-intensity exercise with brief rest periods.
The result: better results in less time.
One of my favorite interval methods is jumping rope. You may need to practice a bit on this one. After a brief warmup, I’ll jump rope as fast as I can for 10-20 seconds, followed by a half a minute at a slower cadence.
Always warm up before intervals, by the way. If you’re not in the best shape, start with cardio of low or moderate intensity. You might also want to check with your doctor.