Name: Alex Carneiro
Occupation: IFBB Olympia Pro; Optimum-sponsored athlete; Kinesiologist; Nutritionist; Coach; Pro Fitness Cover Model
"They say, 'If it's not broken, don't fix it.' Well, if it could be better, it's as good as broken," said the late fitness personality Greg Plitt. Although Plitt's wise words could be applied to any facet of life, they are especially relevant to the fitness game.
Many of us have goals of losing fat and looking better, especially as summer rolls around. You may have a system that's worked for you before, but are you sure it couldn't be better? Here are five ways you could see enhanced results with better fat-loss tactics.
Let's get ready for summer together!
Better Fat Loss Tip 1 Don't just drop calories—make better food choices
Most everybody's first action item for losing fat is to drop calories. Yes, it's true that eating fewer calories will help you lose body fat, but you can actually make better progress by having a macronutrient profile that suits your needs.
Many people consume less protein and more carbs and fats than they probably need to. So, before you just drop your calories, analyze what you are currently eating. Are you getting at least 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of weight each day? Are you getting your calories from whole, healthful sources, or are you filling up on sodas and snacks? Are you getting an adequate amount of healthy fats in your diet? Are you eating more carbohydrates than you need?
A very simple way to make your nutrition match your aesthetic goals is to switch your daily macro totals. I suggest portioning your macros so that 25 percent of your calories come from fats, 40 percent from carbs, and 35 percent from protein.
If you're training hard, this macro profile should provide enough energy for your workouts, as well as the right balance of nutrients for fat loss. You'll be able to keep most of your calories, but create a better and healthier body composition. That's a win-win.
Better Fat Loss Tip 2 Don't just increase your cardio—add sets and reps
Another way a lot of people try to burn fat is by doing lots and lots of cardio. Cardio will definitely help you lean down, but your body is also really good at adapting to stress. So, if you do too much of the same type of cardio, and at the same intensity, your body will eventually become more efficient and burn fewer calories.
The typical way to handle this response is by increasing the length and intensity of cardio workouts. Unfortunately, sooner or later those treadmill workouts will get too long or too difficult, leaving you burned out.
Instead of making drastic changes to your cardio sessions, add some intensity to your lifting sessions. Start incorporating dropsets and supersets, decrease your rest periods, increase your workload, or lift heavier. Not only will these changes benefit your muscle-building goals, they'll also elevate your heart rate, providing some fat-burning cardiovascular benefits.
Better Fat Loss Tip 3 Don't just jump to a fat-burner—solidify your basic supps first
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what fat-burner they should use to lose weight, I'd be a very rich man. If your lifestyle isn't supporting your goals, then that fat-burner isn't going to fix all of your problems. I think having the basics in your stack is more crucial than having a thermogenic.
In my opinion, the best basic supps to assist with fat loss are a multivitamin, whey protein powder, and fish oil. A good multi will support all of your body's basic functions—including metabolism—and help to supplement your diet with any minerals and vitamins you may not be getting from your food. Whey protein is very important when you're on a fat-loss plan because it provides the protein you need without the added calories from fat and carbohydrates.
It's sometimes easier to have a scoop of protein when you need it rather than eating another meal of chicken. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help promote healthy metabolic functions as well. Additionally, these fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidants.
These three supplements are going to help you way more in the long run than a fat burner that's just going to get you jacked up on stimulants.
Better Fat Loss Tip 4 Don't just exercise to burn fat—lift heavy
Contrary to what you may have heard, training with lighter weights and more reps is not going to help you burn more fat. Don't listen to the cardio bunnies who tell you "lifting heavy makes you bulky." Instead, start incorporating different styles of training into your regimen.
More than that, though, it's important to consistently challenge yourself. Give your body a reason to change. Challenge yourself with higher reps and heavier weights in all your lifts. Start incorporating major movements like the squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press to hit more muscle groups and use more calories in the gym. Big lifts can also increase post-exercise oxygen consumption, allowing your body to burn calories even after you're done training.
Trust me, by doing workouts that use all the muscles in your body, you'll be kicking yourself for even thinking about those pink or orange dumbbells in the aerobics room.
Better Fat Loss Tip 5 Don't just stand there—stay active
Completing your gym workout doesn't mean that you're done moving. If you want to burn fat, move more. At work, take a break and go for a short walk. Stand up and stretch at your desk. Do whatever you can to be more active throughout your day.
Take your dog for a longer walk, walk to the grocery store or to work, take the stairs at the airport or mall. Start creating a lifestyle of physical fitness that will keep your body and mind active at all possible times!