Don’t eat to the limit. Reducing calories by 15-20% per day will burn fat almost exclusively, while greater calorie reductions will burn a combination of muscle and fat. Muscle stimulates metabolism – calorie burning. If you’re currently eating 3000 calories, cut to 2400-2550, but follow smart guidelines like the ones outlined in The Living Health Weight Loss Audio.
Graze all day. Professional athletes and models eat throughout the day, but keep their total calories in check. The grazing method, 5-6 small meals, increases the metabolism. Every time you eat, the metabolism increases, and over a 6-10 week period, that increase can result in an additional 2-3 pounds of fat loss.
Increase protein. Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats – are equal in efficiency to be stored as body fat, but proteins have a greater metabolic stimulant effect than carbohydrates or dietary fat. When calories drop, protein spares muscle, helping maintain metabolism. Aim for 1.2 grams per pound of body weight daily.
Play with carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help maintain metabolic-stimulating muscle, but they can boost fat storage Following a modified low-carbohydrate diet – spreading your carbohydrate intake is one of the most effective ways to jump-start your metabolism and to burn stubborn fat quickly (as described in Maximize Your Metabolism and the Living Health Audio Program.)
Stand back. One of the reasons why fat loss stops; the body lowers its metabolism to meet its diminishing calorie intake. The fix: Dramatically increase your calorie intake once every 2-3 weeks. Spending one day ‘restores’ metabolism by restoring thyroid levels, the calorie-burning hormone that decreases with diet.
Skip the Late Night Carbs. Carbohydrates eaten before bed are more likely to be stored as body fat, so focus on lean proteins and fiber-based vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and salad. The one exception: If you train late at night and your goal is to build muscle mass, you need the carbohydrates to replenish glycogen and support growth.
Go fishing. When the calories are under control, the absorption of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, trout and sardines can promote faster fat loss. One study found that dieters who ate fish daily lost more weight than those who ate fish only once a week (Am Journ Clin Nutr 70: 817-825, 1999)
Go spicy. Red peppers, the spicy ingredient in Mexican and Indian dishes, contain capsaicin that can increase metabolism by affecting the sympathetic branch of the nervous system. It may be a small benefit to spice up your chicken dishes with red, or you can swallow 5 to 10 grams of capsaicin encapsulated from your local health food store. (Journal of Nutrition 116: 1272-1278, 1986.)
Don’t be cardio crazy! Radically reducing calories slows down the metabolism causing fat loss. The same is true of radical calorie expenditure. You know: 2 cardio sessions per day. Excessive cardio slows down metabolism, promotes muscle loss and can even lower testosterone levels. For real results, stick to 4-6 sessions per week, clip 30-45 minutes, and maintain a high level of intensity.
Separate cardio from strength training. What happens if you do cardio first and then do strength training? You don’t build up that much muscle density. What about post-workout cardio? You risk overtraining and the negative hormonal environment that can stifle metabolism. The best scenario; do cardio in the morning – on an empty stomach – have a few meals, then head back to the gym later in the day to build muscle density.