Train with weights
Working out with weights when trying to lose body fat has numerous important benefits. First, an intense weight training session burns calories during the actual workout. Second, an extremely important benefit is that intense weight training elevates your metabolism for up to 39 hours after your actual workout. In other words, you are now burning more calories while you are doing nothing.
Carbohydrates power intense weight training sessions. The more intense the session, the more you deplete your carbohydrate stores and the more fat is burned during the recovery phase (i.e., after the workout. In other words, as the intensity of the training increases there is a proportionate increase in fat burning after the workout.
One study showed that 15 exercise sessions per month (50 minute sessions at 50 percent of oxygen uptake) could lead to an extra 2 or more pounds per month of fat loss, strictly from the elevated metabolism and extra calories burned—while doing nothing! That's an extra 26 pounds of fat burned per year.
Another extremely important aspect of fat loss that occurs from training with weights is adding lean muscle to your body. Lean muscle is "metabolically active," meaning that muscle burns calories even while doing nothing. So, the more lean muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolism and the more calories you burn each day while doing nothing.
Studies have estimated that for each pound of muscle that you add to your body, you burn another 35 to 50 calories per day while doing nothing. So, an extra 10 pounds of muscle will burn approximately 350-500 calories a day, or an extra pound of fat every 7 to 10 days, without making any other changes.
This is essential to taking off the fat and keeping it off. You see, when you add muscle to your body, you greatly increase the number of calories your burn each day. So, once you achieve your fat-loss goals you can start eating more food without putting the fat back on, as long as you have built muscle!
On the flip side, if you don't train with weights while dieting and losing weight, two very bad things will occur. First, at least half of the weight you lose will be muscle. And this causes number two, which is that your metabolism gets slower, causing progress to eventually grind to a halt, leading you to gain all the weight back and more.
As you can see, training with weights is an extremely powerful and necessary component of any successful weight loss program.
Drink More Water
I know, I know, we've all heard this one over and over again. But how many of us really drink enough water? I'm talking at least 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day, minimum. You should really try to take in a full gallon of water each day.
Why, you ask? Let me count the ways. First of all, our bodies are over 70 percent water. That should tell you something right there. And you all know that you can go much longer without food than you can without water. The body needs a lot of water in order to maintain its daily functions efficiently. In addition, water helps to flush out harmful toxins, as well as prime the body for fat loss.
If your body isn't getting enough water, it does everything it can to hold on to the water it does have. The problem with this, is the way it holds onto the water. You see, over 70 percent of your muscle is made up of water. It helps to give your muscles that full, pumped look (along with glycogen).
However, if your body is not taking in enough water, that water is used for other things, leaving you bloated. And the way to get rid of that excess water, believe it or not, is to take in enough water. This will rid you of that excess water weight that bloats you, help your body run more efficiently, and prime your body to begin dropping fat.
Once you begin taking in enough water, your body starts dropping weight, possibly 4-5 pounds in the first week. Now, this is mostly water weight. However, doing so optimizes your bodily functions, allowing it to run more efficiently and start burning stored body fat for energy.
Here's another little trick you can use. Instead of just drinking water, begin drinking ice-cold water. You see, there is a metabolic cost to eating. In other words, the digestion of food, as you'll read about in the next tip, takes calories. Well, so does drinking ice-cold water.
The body needs to heat up this water in order to be able to use it properly, and doing so takes energy, (i.e., calories). You can burn another 50-100 calories a day by drinking one half gallon to a gallon of ice cold water per day. It doesn't seem like much. However, in addition to all the other benefits of taking in enough water, by drinking ice cold water, you can drop almost a full pound of fat each month, or 12 pounds per year. Not too bad, if you ask me.
Eat 6 Meals A Day
Meal frequency (the number of meals you eat each day) could be the most important aspect of your nutrition program. If you do this right you will build muscle, burn fat, and with a proper resistance training program, be well on your way to achieving the body of your dreams.
But first, I must burst your bubble. What you are about to read isn't sexy, exotic, secret, or the uncovering of some super Eastern European nutrition system that led to tons of gold medals in weight lifting. I'm also not going to tout some super juice, or a specific vegetable that you need to eat outrageous quantities of in order to achieve your goals.
What it is, is sound advice that works. Do this correctly, and you will be well on your way to fitness nirvana. The thing is, most people know about it, yet few actually follow through with it and put it into action.
I admit to being one of them. I've always been in "good" shape from playing sports, working out with weights, and eating right. However, I was in "good" shape and not "great" shape because I did things right about 75 percent of the time.
I ate 6 meals a day, most of the time. I consumed enough protein in each meal, most of the time. I worked out and worked out intensely enough, most of the time. Why is that, you might wonder. Well, I'm glad you asked. You see, it takes motivation, persistence, planning, and a little bit of sacrifice. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Don't worry, it's not. But as I've stated before, nothing worth achieving comes easy. Don't get me wrong, it is simple, it's just not easy. But it can be pretty painless, if you have the right mindset.
So, what is it, already? Okay, okay, here you go. Eat six meals a day. No excuses, no exceptions, no nothing. Just do it. I told you it was simple. You might be ready to toss me in the trash because you already know such obvious advice. But let me ask you this, how many consecutive days have you eaten six nutritious meals? If you are like most people, probably not many.
So if you know it's an extremely important part of achieving your goals and building the body you want, why aren't you doing it more often? I think one reason is that those of us in the industry have failed in hammering home the absolute importance of eating six meals a day. Sure, we say it, but if so few people are doing it, we must not be stating our case very well.
Reason number two is making sure you are eating six proper, nutritious meals a day takes work. It takes a time commitment, among other sacrifices. And it's not just the time it takes to make the meals, or the time to eat them. It also involves other aspects of your life.
For example, socializing, going shopping, playing sports on the weekends, etc. If you eat six times a day, you need to eat every 2 or 3 hours, tops. What are you going to do, sit home all day every day so you can be near your food? Of course not. But you will need to plan ahead. This could mean shopping and then cooking most of your food once a week, putting each meal in a microwaveable container, and then carrying meals to work with you.
You may need to invest in a high quality thermos (or two or three) and make your favorite protein shakes to take with you when you are going to be out and about for a while, or bringing some protein bars with you instead. You may also need to withstand comments from friends and family. In our culture today, most social functions center around food—thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, even Labor Day and Memorial Day are times to get together with friends for a cookout.
Sure, you may be able to eat some of the food available. Even so, you most likely will be around long enough for at least one other meal, in which you will need to be prepared with something you brought with you. This may require turning down the food offered and whipping out a protein bar, thus dealing with the questions and comments, usually negative, that will most likely arise. And hey, how many of us have the well-meaning mother or grandmother that assures us we are too skinny, we must eat more, offers us everything in site, and just won't take a polite no thank you for an answer?
I know, eating right may not be easy, but it is necessary if you truly want to achieve your best body, and in the shortest amount of time possible. I've given my lecture on the necessity of eating six times a day. Now let's talk about what this can actually do for you in terms of achieving your muscle-building and fat-burning goals.
Our genetics haven't really changed during our existence. Initially, food was very difficult to come by and our ancestors never knew when they were going to be getting their next meal. It was only natural that our bodies became very efficient at storing excess calories just in case they were needed at a later time in order to fend off starvation.
That was great back then. It helped keep many people alive. Now, however, when our next meal is a phone call or fast food restaurant away, it's not so good. Especially since those calories are stored as ugly body fat. Do any of us really want to look like a bear on the verge of hibernation? I think it's safe to say that the answer to that question is no.
This is one of the reasons for eating six meals a day. In general, there are three things that can lead our bodies to store calories as fat. One would be to consume a very large meal. This alerts our body to the fact that this could very well be our last meal for a long time to come, so we better preserve as many calories as we can (as body fat, of course) just in case our next meal doesn't come for a long time.
The next reason is going too long between meals. Again, this kicks in our bodies "starvation" mode and it stores calories as fat because it's not sure when it will be getting its next meal. A third reason would be a sudden and severe restriction in daily calorie consumption. Just like going too long between meals, this kicks the "starvation" mode into action, causing the storage of body fat.
Now, what do most people do when they decide they need to lose weight and go on a diet? Correct: They severely restrict calories as well as going a long time between each meal. This may work at first but eventually causes the exact opposite result that they are looking to accomplish. Their metabolism slows down and they start storing fat, even on so few calories a day.
Add to this mix the fact that most people who diet don't add weight training to their program, and you have a real recipe for disaster. Without adding weight training, at least half of the weight lost will be muscle, not fat, which slows down your metabolism even more.
If you restrict your calories too severely, even if you are weight training, a good percentage of your weight lost will be muscle, as your body doesn't have enough calories to sustain the muscle it has, let alone build new muscle. This also goes for going too long between meals. If your body goes too long between meals, not getting the necessary calories, protein, and other nutrients, it goes into a catabolic state. In other words, it starts eating your muscle for energy. This would slow down your metabolism, leading to the storage of more Body fat. It's a vicious cycle.
In addition, anyone who severely restricts calories and goes a long time between meals will hit upon the first reason - eating an excessively large meal, otherwise known in diet speak as binging. And most of these calories will go straight to being stored as body fat.
A study published in "Metabolism" (Karbowsa, J., et al.  "Increase of lipogenic enzyme mRNA levels in rat white adipose tissue after multiple cycles of starvation/refeeding. 50:734-738) looked at this very same issue using animals. The study showed that cycles of starvation and refeeding (i.e., binging) led to an upgrade of lipogenic enzymes. These enzymes promote body fat synthesis. We possess these same lipogenic enzymes. So, if you want to lose body fat or keep off the fat you've lost, don't starve yourself. If you do that, you are only going to binge, leading you to put the fat back on.
Now, how do you avoid these mistakes? You eat smaller, more frequent meals. If you eat every two or three hours, always having a prepared nutritious meal, shake or bar handy, you are much less likely to binge. By not severely restricting calories and adding weight training, you will lose body fat, not muscle, thereby not only preventing your metabolism from slowing down, but also speeding up your metabolism due to the added muscle from the weight training.
Eat More Protein
Yes, it's important to keep your protein intake high when dieting to make sure that you don't burn off any muscle tissue in your quest to get ripped. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about taking in protein in order to boost your metabolism and burn more fat, in addition to helping preserve and build your lean muscle tissue.
In a study published in the "American Journal of Physiology," one group was fed a high protein diet (just over one gram per pound of body weight per day) while the second group consumed a protein diet near equal to that of the RDA.
The group eating the high-protein diet burned more fat than the group consuming protein near equal to the RDA. One reason for this could be an increased "thermic" effect. The thermic effect of the RDA group was elevated 16 percent after eating. However, in the high protein group the thermic effect increased 42 percent after eating, almost 3 times that of the RDA group.
This thermic effect of digesting your food peaks approximately one hour after eating. Spreading your daily caloric intake over 6 meals a day, eating every 2 to 3 hours, helps to take advantage of the increased metabolic rate that accompanies eating. In other words, the more often you eat, the higher your metabolic rate, and the number of calories your body burns each day.
In addition, by adding more protein to each meal, you also increase your metabolism. Your body requires more energy (calories) to process protein than it does to digest carbohydrates. Do you understand what that means? Think about it. Think about all those people and so-called experts who have continually said that a calorie is a calorie.
This simply is not true! Your body's metabolic rate is affected by the number of meals you eat, the frequency of those meals (how much time passes between each meal consumed) and the macronutrient composition of those meals.
A calorie is not simply a calorie, and they are not equal.
Depending on the number of meals, frequency of meals, and macronutrient composition of meals, the same person's metabolism will be different on two very different meals plans, even if the total number of calories are the same!
Let's review some simple changes you can make right now in your nutrition program to rapidly increase your body's ability to not only build muscle but burn fat also.
Simple Changes To Rapidly Increase Fat Burning
Eat 6 smaller meals per day, as opposed to 2 or 3 larger ones. This will ensure that you supply your body with the nutrients necessary to build muscle and burn fat, as well as increase your resting metabolic rate. It will also prevent your body from kicking into "starvation" mode, which can happen when you go too long between meals. If this happens, your body will start burning muscle for energy and increase your body fat stores, as well as slowing down your metabolism. All of these are things you want to avoid. As a matter of fact, they are the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
Eat a high-protein diet consisting of at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. This helps ensure that your body has the protein available to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, which can lead to an increase in your muscles mass.
It will also increase your metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more body fat than a low-protein diet, without as large a decrease in your daily caloric intake, which will also help avoid the "starvation" mode discussed in the previous paragraph.
Try these simple changes in your nutrition program to help you rapidly increase your muscle mass, burn off unwanted body fat and achieve the ripped muscular body that you've always wanted. Or, for you women, the long, lean, sculpted, sexy body you've always wanted.