The 6 Most Overlooked Fat Loss Strategies

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There are approximately 7 billion people on earth. A great majority of these people don’t have the time or the desire to look great naked or worry about their health and fitness.

But that still leaves several million people who are borderline obsessed with how they physically look. And if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them.

You’re concerned with your weight. You care about how you look. And you worry about not knowing how to go about it in the most efficient and effective way.

But you’re obviously willing to do something about it. You’ve tried more diets than you’d like to admit. You’ve dabbled with many supplements.

Results at the onset were great, but then things stalled. You couldn’t figure out why or how to make continual progress even though you felt like you were doing everything right.

This article is aimed at someone who has a grasp at the basics of fat loss. I’m assuming you understand that to lose fat you must be in a caloric deficit. And ideally, you’re involved in some type of strength training program. You have a realistic idea of where you are now (for example your body fat level is 6% too high), and you have a goal of where you want to go (for example drop 6% body fat).

But in the following we’re going to take a look at the 6 most underrated and overlooked strategies of fat loss that are probably holding you back from further progress. These tips fill the gaps of your approach. These invisible margins are where a lot of people get held up and run into frustration. Often this leads them down the road to quitting.

That’s not going to be you.

With the foundational knowledge that you already have, paired with these 6 fat loss strategies, you’ll bulletproof your shred and be proud of the fruits of your labor when you look in the mirror.

Phil Heath and Gifted Nutrition present SuperLean, a potent fat burner that works to combat fatigue by stimulating both mind and body. Order now.

How to Lose Fat Fast

1. Keep moving between sets

There aren’t many things that eat away at you soul like trudging along a treadmill for 40 minutes (unless you like watching TV on those tiny screens).

And, if you’re like most people, you don’t do fitness for a living. Meaning, you don’t have the time to hit the gym for 2 or 3 sessions a day. But you still want look good and feel great. So splitting your strength training and cardio into two training sessions per day isn’t an option.

Even though cardio isn’t needed to burn fat, it certainly can help speed things along (and who doesn’t want lose fat faster, right?). Therefore, to keep strength training at the forefront of your fat loss attack, you can use a method that Jim Stoppani, author of Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength, calls cardioacceleration.

With this method, you’ll utilize the rest periods between your sets to perform your cardio.
You don’t have to use a treadmill or elliptical either (unless you want to) to use this method.
Once your set ends, you can jump right into dumbbell cleans, kettlebell swings, leg raises, push ups, air dyne intervals, row intervals or jumping rope.

Perform 30-90 seconds of cardio work before returning back to your next strength set. By the end of your workout, you’ll have completed a full cardio session without adding time to your total stay at the gym. This is a huge time saver that can accelerate the fat loss process.

2. The one thing that everyone agrees upon: Fiber

Phil Heath

5x Mr. Olympia Phil Heath.

Fiber is the one carbohydrate that everyone agrees upon. Everyone supports the consumption of high-fibrous fruits and veggies.

Unfortunately, common sense isn’t common practice when it comes to fiber. Less than three percent of Americans are meeting the recommended intake.

And even though fiber has forged reputation that makes you take frequent trips to the restroom, it’s importance in your diet shouldn’t be taken as a joke. If you fall into the statistic that doesn’t meet daily fiber requirements, it’s important to understand what fiber is, what its benefits include and how much to include into your diet.

There are two forms of fiber, soluble and insoluble; most plant-based foods contain a mixture of the two.

  • Soluble fiber attracts water and turns into gel during digestion. This slows digestion which helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Insoluble fiber, adds bulk to the stool making your waste softer, allowing it to pass through the intestine more easily.

In regards to health, a high-fiber diet can also reduce the risk of stroke, hypertension, and heart disease. On the fitness side of things a high-fiber diet can help you control food cravings, blood sugar levels and has been shown to help reduce body fat.

The institute of medicine recommends that males get ~38 grams of fiber per day, while women should get ~25 grams per day. With that target in mind, here are some high fiber foods include into your daily diet:

  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Artichokes
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Pears
  • Avocados
  • Raspberries
  • Pumpkin
  • Broccoli
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach

Founded by Mr. Olympia Phil “The Gift” Heath, and his A-team of nutrition and fitness industry specialists, Gifted Nutrition was born out of a simple philosophy: Results Matter.  Shop Gifted Nutrition now.

3. Check your sleep

Let’s be real for a second: Everyone knows that sleep is important. But with so much on your plate, how does someone like you who is busy all the time get enough zzz’s on the reg?

Well first, it’s vital to know why sleep is important especially when it comes to fat loss. A disrupted sleep schedule causes a decrease in insulin sensitively (less muscle), an increase in chronic cortisol levels (increased abdominal fat), an increase in levels of the hormone ghrelin (stimulates appetite and makes you hungry), and a decrease in the levels of the hormone leptin (controls your hunger and makes you feel sated).

Basically, when you slack on your sleep whether it’s because you can’t turn Netflix off or you’re drinking Macchiato’s nightly to cram in some studying, you put yourself up against a war you won’t win when it comes to fat loss.

If you had to choose only one thing on this list to adopt as a regular habit, I would encourage you to get your sleep in order. While getting enough sleep is pretty much established for everyone, (5-8 hour range) the quality of sleep is where you can get an advantage. Use these tips to fall asleep faster, AND get better quality sleep:

  • Make your room dark – Really dark. If you don’t want to put black out drapes over your windows, buy a sleeping mask.
  • Keep your room cool – Keep it around 65-70 degrees.
  • Charge your phone in another room or downstairs – Radiation from electronics can increase the amount of time it takes you to reach a deep sleep (the most important kind).

4. Use the deadline method

When bodybuilders or physique athletes set a date to step on stage, it gives them a hard and fast deadline to bring their best package on that day. There’s no room for negotiation.

Moving the date back because they didn’t prepare well enough isn’t an option. You either do the work and show up prepared, or you step on stage with an invisible guilt knowing you could have done more to bring a better physique.

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Now maybe you aren’t wanting to step on stage and that’s fine. But you can use the deadline method to help you stay focused and motivated along your fat loss journey. If you don’t have a deadline or an event that makes you a little nervous, it’s to tempting to simply say, “I have plenty of time, I can start tomorrow,” or “A missed workout doesn’t really matter, I’ll make up for it later.”

Then, when you realize you don’t have that much time at all, you panic. You engage “crash diet mode” and restrict your diet to sugar-free Red Bulls and carrot sticks hoping that in 9 days you can magically go from fat to fabulous.

Or you could protect yourself from this situation by using the deadline method.

Get yourself a wall calendar (a big one that you have to look at everyday). Identify your deadline or event (photoshoot, wedding, vacation) and mark that day with whatever floats your boat. It can be a gold star, a sticker of LeBron James, or a huge happy face.

Then, with each day that passes you’ll mark it off with a big X.

But you can only mark off the day if you did the things you know were supposed to do that would bring you closer to your goal. Hitting your macros, going to the gym, taking your supplements and sleeping enough all examples that would permit you to mark X at days end.

By having this in front of you each day it does two things: It lights a fire under your tail to take action because each day closes the gap of how long you actually have before your deadline arrives. And, it influences you to check in with your behavior each day to make sure you’ve done what needs to be done in order to hit your goal.

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5. Vitamin D and Magnesium

Macros (protein, carbs and fats) get all the attention when it comes to diet. This isn’t particularly wrong, but it’s not the whole picture. Aside from fiber, hitting vitamin and mineral recommended intakes is a huge gap in the fat loss process for most people.

Vitamin D and magnesium are huge players in fat loss and metabolic function. If you’re low or deficient in any of these, progress may be slow or non-existent.

Vitamin D

It’s estimated that 70 percent of people are low in Vitamin D. This fact alone can be the bottleneck of your stalled progress for a few reasons. Being deficient in vitamin D can blunt your power output in the gym leaving you with a sluggish workout. Studies have found that adequate levels of vitamin D have a direct impact on your muscles ability to produce force and contract. Meaning, if you can produce more power, you move more weight which sets you up for more lean muscle mass.

Vitamin D also plays a role in the fat development in muscle tissue. A study demonstrated that subjects with a vitamin D level below 29 ng/ml had a 24 percent higher level of fat in skeletal muscle compared to those who had a vitamin D level above 29 ng/ml.

If you’re not getting outside daily and soaking up 10-15 minutes of sunshine, a general prescription for vitamin D supplementation is 2,000-4,000 IU daily. If you’re willing to get specific and get tested for your levels, 30 ng/ml is a minimal healthy level.

Magnesium

Magnesium, like D, is chronically under consumed by more than 40 percent of Americans. And, how well your body utilizes the vitamin D you take is related to your magnesium levels. While a multi-vitamin is an honest effort, it doesn’t come close the recommended amount you need daily.

When it comes to performance in the gym, magnesium affects muscle function, oxygen uptake, and electrolyte balance. Studies also show that sufficient magnesium is effective in buffering lactic acid during hard training improving your work output. So, if you’re low in magnesium and your friends have nicknamed you the “Workout Demon” because of how hard you train, you leave yourself vulnerable to muscle cramping, sub-bar muscle contraction, and a suppressed immune system.

Not the best situation for fat loss.

Lastly, magnesium calms the nervous system which leads to less anxiety and stress. This is particularly beneficial in managing cortisol levels which hinder fat loss (especially around the waist) when stress levels are chronically high or when your sleep quality suffers because you can’t fall asleep at night.

Adult men should aim for 400mg per day. Adult women should aim for 300mg per day.

*Note: Magnesium glycinate is a form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency.

6. Take responsibility for your results

There once was a monk who would carry a mirror wherever he went. A priest noticed this one day and thought to himself, “This monk must be so preoccupied with the way he looks that he has to carry that mirror all the time. He should not worry about the way he looks on the outside. It’s on the inside that counts.”

So the priest went to up to the Monk and asked, “Why do you always carry that mirror?” assuming he would prove his guilt.

The monk pulled the mirror from his bag and pointed it at the priest. Then he said, “I use it in times of trouble. I look into it and it shows me the source of my problems as well as the solution to my problems.”

Like the monk, it’s important that you take full responsibility of your results, whether they’re good or bad.

When it comes to fat loss, you can have the best trainer, the latest supplements, and a membership to a gym that Will Smith also is also a member of, but if you constantly look outward and blame external factors for the lack of your results, you’ll never achieve the physique you want. Nobody will do the push ups for you.

It’s equally important to know that you are also the solution. You’ve got what it takes. You’re ready, willing and able to do the work required to build the body of your dreams. Own it. And be proud that you have the choice to do so.

Wrapping Up

You’ve got a set of tools to fill in the gaps of your fat loss approach. Stay on course with the basics: Eating well, hitting the gym consistently and drinking enough water. But review this list and see where your game may have some weaknesses. By investigating where you can improve your approach, you’ll bust through the fat loss slump and re-ignite the enthusiasm you once had when you experienced initial progress.

References:

1. “The Role of Vitamin D in Skeletal and Cardiac Muscle Function.” PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2015.
2. “Sleep and Obesity.” PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2015.
3. “Vitamin D Status and Its Relation to Muscle Mass and Muscle Fat in Young Women. – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2015.
4. The Effect of Magnesium Supplementation on Lactate Levels of Sportsmen and Sedanter. – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
5. Filling America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Summary of a Roundtable to Prob… – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.
6. Soluble Vs. Insoluble Fiber: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.
7. 9 Health Benefits of Fiber You May Not Know.” Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

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Name: Brian McFadden

Bio: Brian teaches motivated but overwhelmed active individuals the importance of adopting an integrative approach to their health and fitness, so they can finally make the gains they want in the gym, but also live a healthy life outside of it.