There is a difference between weight loss and fat loss. To focus strictly on losing body fat, you have to turn up the heat and increase your metabolism.
Metabolism is what determines how quickly or slowly your body burns calories. If you have a sluggish metabolism, you will have a harder time losing weight no matter how hard you push yourself at the gym or how clean your diet is.
Though your age and heredity play a factor in your metabolism, there are some things you can do to boost it and burn more fat. Here are some tips on how to keep the fire burning:
- Switch up your workout routine. Changing your workout plan often is necessary for fat loss. Have you been using the treadmill for a while? Try using the elliptical or bike for cardio. Do you walk at a steady, even pace? Throw in some intervals by increasing the incline, increasing the speed or breaking into a run a few times per session. If you are just starting out, start slowly and gradually build up the amount of time and intensity you invest in your workout. Change your routine every 6-8 weeks for best results.
- Add resistance training to your workout. Weight training builds muscle, which in turn, burns more fat. In fact, weight training burns fat long after the movements are done. This after-burn effect can helps burn hundreds of extra calories, making fat loss easier.
- Increase your water intake. Water helps flush out toxins and replenishes muscles by hydrating them and helping them perform better. Drinking ice cold water burns more calories as it takes your body more energy to get the water up to temperature.
- Eat small meals, spaced out evenly throughout the day. Avoid skipping meals or overdoing it. Instead, eat a small meal every 3-4 hours to keep from getting overly hungry and fuel your metabolism. Avoid eating too much where you feel uncomfortably full.
- Eat fat burning foods. Superfoods and foods high in antioxidants also help flush your system and improve your metabolism. Some examples include berries, almonds, avocado, broccoli and turkey breast.
- Include protein at each meal. The basic rule of thumb is to have 3-4 ounces of lean protein with each meal. Protein keeps you feeling full longer, helps you power through tough workouts and helps maintain muscle mass.
- Include healthy fats in your diet. Omega 3 fatty acid is good for your heart and helps burn fat. Eat 2-3 servings of baked, broiled, grilled or steamed fish per week or take an omega 3 supplement.
- Drink coffee and green tea. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that drinking caffeine has a positive effect on raising metabolism. Caffeinated drinks can raise your metabolism as much as 4%.
- Consume good fat. There are good and bad fats. Good fats, like omega 3 fish oil and olive oil can boost your metabolism and actually help you lose weight.
- Take your vitamins. Vitamins and minerals need to be a part of your daily routine. A mutlivitamin, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B and magnesium are a good starting point.
Using these tips can rev up your metabolism and help you burn more fat, but remember to also watch your daily total calories. Too much of even the healthiest foods can create weight gain or prevent weight loss. Eating more protein than your body needs, for example, can lead to weight gain because the excess protein is stored as body fat.