When it comes to weight loss, there is a wrong and right way to go about it. Going about it the wrong way can lead to muscle loss, fatigue, mood swings, food cravings, and even metabolic damage. That's why it's important to go in with a good weight loss plan that will help you lose weight, build muscle, and feel overall healthier.
We'll be detailing the best ways to lose weight and tone up while giving you some information on why you should implement those strategies opposed to other, more popular ones.
Avoid fad diets
One of the first mistakes most people make when trying to lose weight is jumping on a diet bandwagon or excessively cutting back their calories. Fad diets tend to be overly restrictive, some involve cutting out an entire food group! Overly restrictive diets like this only work in the short-term, and most of the time they leave you feeling hungry, craving more food, and promote muscle loss.
Instead of following a restrictive diet or low-calorie diet, implement an aggressive but not reckless calorie deficit of 20-25%. Research shows that eating 20 to 25% fewer calories than you burn will help you lose fat without the risk of losing muscle and being excessively hungry. Also, focus on eating a high-protein diet, and limit refined carbs and sugar.
The best way to go about this without needing to follow a restrictive diet is by calculating and tracking your macros. There are three macronutrients – protein, carbs, and fats. All three are important for many important processes in your body so it's crucial to be eating enough of them. Calculating your macros based on your personal information (weight, body fat percentage, gender, activity level) and your fitness goals will help you determine how many of each macronutrient you should be eating to effectively reach your goals. So, if your main goal is weight loss, a macro calculator will help calculate the appropriate calorie deficit for your goals with the added benefit of knowing how much of each macronutrient you need to eat without risking muscle loss, metabolic damage, and any unpleasant effects of low-calorie diets.
The best part about tracking your macros is there are no restrictions! This doesn't necessarily mean you can fill up on a bunch of junk, you still have to focus on hitting your macronutrient goals. However, it allows you to adjust your macros for the day to fit in an occasional treat or outing. This is a better, more sustainable way to diet.
Focus on heavy weight lifting
Oftentimes people think cardio should be the main type of workout they should be doing, and although cardio is great for fat loss, weight lifting is even better!
Strength training not only helps you build muscle but also helps with fat loss. That's because building muscle increases your metabolic rate. Muscle mass is more metabolically efficient than fat mass which allows you to burn more calories at rest. Research shows that after strength training, your metabolic rate is increased for up to 72 hours, meaning you're burning calories way after your workout! So, despite popular belief, you won't be extremely bulking if you partake in heavy weight lifting. Instead, you'll look leaner because muscle is more dense than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body.
To maximize the fat-burning effects of weight lifting, do this...
- Train at least 3 to 5 times a week. Implement an appropriate training split so that you're not overworking your muscles (but working them out enough), and rest days!
- Practice progressive overload. Beginners may not be able to lift as heavy as an advanced lifter, and that's okay. Go at your own pace, but always strive to add weight or reps to every exercise in every workout.
- Focus on compound exercises. Compound exercises, like deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. These exercises are multi-joint exercises, meaning they work multiple muscle groups at once. This allows you to target more muscles at once, lift heavier, and burn more calories. Throw in a few isolation exercises towards the end of your workouts, like bicep curls and triceps kickbacks.
Be strategic about cardio
For those who hate cardio, the good news is that you don't have to do copious amounts of it to reach your weight loss goals! As mentioned earlier, your main priority should be weight training, and just sprinkle in a little bit of cardio to help you stay fit and burn more calories.
Lifting weights is already an intense workout, so you want to keep your cardio sessions low to moderate intensity per week of 20-40 minutes each. This can be jumping on the treadmill for some inclined walking after weight lifting, or even going on a 15-minute jog. Most believe that HIIT is the best type of cardio for fat loss... but it isn't necessarily true. Moderate-intensity, steady-state cardio is just as good at burning fat, plus it's easier to recover from and pairs better with a strength training routine. But if you truly enjoy it, HIIT workouts do them. However, HIIT is high-intensity, so keep it to a minimum and do it on a day that you're not weight training!
Supplements aren't necessary, but using them in addition to a healthy balanced diet and a regular workout routine can help you perform and recover better. They can also help increase your protein intake which is ideal for weight loss and muscle building! For example, protein powder is one of the best supplements to have on hand. It'll help give your protein intake a boost, help curb sugar cravings (most are flavored and delicious), and they have essential nutrients needed post-workout for optimal muscle recovery. Pre-workout supplements are another great supplement to have, especially when your energy is low! Pre-workouts contain performance-enhancing ingredients that help boost your energy, focus, and training performance. This will help you to train at your highest level for effective results!
As for supplements you shouldn't get, avoid fat burners! These types of supplements claim that they burn fat when in reality they're just loaded with stimulants that can interfere with your insulin levels and hunger signals. They won't help you burn fat or lose weight, they'll just cause serious negative side effects if taken frequently.
Start losing weight the right way
There's no need to go on crash diets or do endless amounts of cardio to reach your goals, in fact, they'll leave you feeling drained and aren't sustainable. To reach your weight loss goals for the long-term, focus on eating whole foods, high-protein, prioritize strength training, be strategic about your cardio, and use supplements wisely! Those are the best ways to lose weight, and keep it off!
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We're 373 Lab Supplements – nice to meet you! Founded by Iulia Danilova (Fit With Iulia), and with a team filled with fitness enthusiasts, we've worked hard to bring a trustworthy supplement to the market! Supplements that are designed to help you achieve your fitness goals by giving you only the nutrients you need – no unnecessary fillers or additives!
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