Kick the year off right with these fat-loss tips that will help you transform and stay lean year round! If you’re looking to make 2015 your leanest year yet, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you want to push full steam ahead and build on the progress you made in 2014, or you’re new to fitness and are looking to jump on the bandwagon for the first time in years, we’ve got a selection of tried-and-true tips and tricks to help you smash your goals.
Sure, there will always be a new diet or workout plan, but sometimes simple is best. Instead of following everything that’s #trending, start with a strong foundation of rock-solid principles and turn your fat loss up a notch with these nine transformation tips from the experts.
GET YOUR GAME PLAN IN PLACE
First thing’s first: Come up with a plan. “Nothing is worse than aiming to lose weight by randomly trying to do so with no rhyme or reason,” says IFBB physique competitor Craig Capurso. If you want to succeed, you need to follow a defined path.
Choose a workout and diet that’s been proven, and stick to it. Don’t try to combine four or five different plans into one. You’ll just get overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated when you aren’t seeing results.
If you’re in need of a solid plan, check out Capurso’s own 30 Days Out program. It’s a pretty intense plan and not for the faint of heart, but it includes a full 30-day training layout, a diet customized to your personal specifications, an airtight supplement plan, and daily videos with Craig to help you stay motivated as you move through the program.
SEEK OUT SUBSTITUTES
If you’re just getting back on the weight-loss bandwagon, don’t remove everything you love from your diet on day one. Instead of banishing your favorite foods and embarking on a hardcore restriction diet, seek out healthy substitutes!
“Substitute sugary condiments with reduced-calorie options,” recommends Capurso. “For example, opt for hot sauce over ketchup.”
By making small changes first, it won’t feel like you’re completely revamping your diet. You’ll be in familiar territory, but you’ll still start seeing results. Once you get comfortable with those swaps and have gained more confidence in yourself, start making bigger changes.
INCREASE “SMART CARDIO” SESSIONS
For USAPL powerlifter Karina Baymiller, cardio comes before any cuts to her diet. “Before I drop calories or clean up my diet, I add in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to my strength-training routine,” she explains. “Two sessions a week is all I need to start seeing great changes.”
For those short on time, HIIT can be an extremely time-efficient way to shed excess body fat and improve fat oxidation. A study in the “International Journal of Obesity” found that HIIT performed 3 times a week for 20 minutes was just as effective at reducing total body fat, as well as leg and trunk mass, compared to 40 minutes of steady-state performed for the same number of days per week.4
Von Moger also finds cardio to be beneficial. However, proving that there are many ways to spur weight loss, Von Moger recommends an hour of early morning cardio after eating a light snack such as an apple. “Do this six times a week rather than three and it’ll make a big difference in your fat-loss goals.”
Whether you want to HIIT it or walk it out, cardio can definitely push you to more effective fat loss.
Another important part of the weight-loss process is learning how to reduce your stress levels. “I find that the more relaxed I am mentally and physically, the easier the weight comes off,” says Baymiller.
Stress can actually increase the level of cortisol you have in your body, which makes you more prone to storing fat in your abdominal region.5 When you’re less stressed, you’ll exercise harder, be more mentally focused on your nutrition, and simply feel better overall.