Here are some of my top tips on how to drop excess body fat.  I have followed these myself to allow me to drop body fat and also to be able to keep it off long term. If you’re one of those people who ‘yo yo’ diet (we’ve all done it) then this may well help you to kick those old habits for good!

First Things First – METABOLISM is Everything

Our metabolism is what decides how much we ‘burn’. It’s our powerhouse and we want a strong one that consistently burns fuel, giving us a good supply of energy. We want a metabolism that doesn’t keep storing fat, because it knows it’s being well fed with the right fuel (proteins, carbs & fat) and consequently generates more and more energy keeping our organs and bodies running smoothly.

1. First thing in the morning, kick your metabolism into action through exercise

Always do some form of exercise in the morning, whether it’s cardio or weight training. If you get it done in the morning you are less likely to find you haven’t had time to fit it in. Have you ever found if you’ve left your workout till the evening, something ‘comes up’ and you’ve chosen doing that over your training? If you are pressed for time there are lots of great TABARTA and HIIT workouts online (I have some cardio training programmes as part of my fitness packages).

Here’s a snapshot below:

It’s simply working at your hardest for 30 secs and then taking 10 secs rest and repeating 8 times to give you a 4 min blast! You can apply Tabarta to anything – for example squats, ropes, running (treadmill or outdoors) weight training, cycling, in fact absolutely anything! It’s the principle of extremely hard time on, and then a short rest period off and  it should be continuous for around 4-8 mins, maybe even 12 mins, for the fitter person, but that’s tops for true Tabarta.

2. Make sure you have a source of lean protein at every meal and eat at least 3-5 smaller meals

Protein is the ‘building blocks’ of our body and it’s essential to create lean tissue i.e. muscle tissue (and ladies don’t panic it won’t suddenly create big bulky muscles!). The more lean tissue we have, the faster our metabolism, and the faster our metabolism the more fat we burn at rest! Yes!… I did say rest… our calories are most definitely not just used up when we are active, we can increase the number we’re using when we’re simply resting.

Some great sources of lean protein are: chicken, fish, tuna, egg whites, protein powder & extra lean turkey. Aim to eat around 0.8 – 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight and anything from 25-30 g per meal. More protein may be needed if you’re strength training.

3. Ditch refined sugars

There is so much out there on refined sugars for you to read. It’s highly addictive for a start! Have you ever noticed the more you eat the more you have a ‘sweet tooth’ and when you cut back you start to realise you haven’t needed it? Refined sugars will not help you lose body fat!

Fruit is a natural source of ‘sugars’ and it’s NOT processed like refined sugars are. That said, it’s utilised and viewed differently by the body. It’s a healthy choice when you’re looking for a sweet fix but go easy on the amount you eat as it is still a sugar and while you’re wanting to lose body fat it’s best to limit it to 1 or 2 pieces a day of the lower GI sources for balance. Make sure you check for hidden sugars on the packet of any processed foods you eat for example: dextrose, maltose, molasses, honey, glucose syrup, fructose – and there are many more.

4. Drink plenty of water

Our body is comprised of 80 % water and water plays a huge part in many processes in our body and is therefore important in body fat reduction. It’s recommended by many health authorities that we drink around 2 litres a day, more for those of us who are training and sweating more. Many things we drink rob our bodies of precious water, for example soft drinks, alcohol, teas and coffees.

Water helps to remove toxins from the body, and in particular the digestive tract, it suppresses appetite naturally and helps the body metabolise stored fats. We can go for weeks without food but only around 3 days without water, I think that says it all… drink, drink, drink, water!

5. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol is extremely calorific. It has 7 kcal per gram which is nearly as high as fat, at 9 kcal per gram. A few common examples: one glass of wine (175ml) is around 120 calories, 1 pint of cider (Bulmers) contains 239 calories and a whopping 20.5 g of sugar (that’s 5 teaspoons!).

Aside from the actual calorific value and sugar content of alcohol, it does a few other things too! Firstly your body metabolises the alcohol as a priority, if you’re eating as well drinking  your food will be left in your gut to be stored as fat (if you’re not using it, which most of us wouldn’t necessarily be doing…on a night out!)

The other aspect is that the choices we make ‘under the influence’ are not always the healthiest. It’s probably the time you decide to eat more and more of the unhealthy foods! I’m sure you’ve heard people say ‘I’ve got the munchies’ either at the time of drinking or even spilling into the next day. This can lead to poor food choices over the next 24 hours and beyond.

6. Sleep around 7-8 hours a night

Sleep is when our bodies repair themselves. We possibly all need more sleep than some of us realise. Yes you may feel you can keep going on 4 hours sleep, but your body won’t have had enough time to repair efficiently in that time.

Extract from bodybuilding.com:

‘Research suggests that it’s during REM (Rapid Eye Movement: explained later) sleep that the body is able to: restore organs, bones, and tissue; replenish immune cells; and circulate human growth hormone. Sleep has a profound effect on muscle growth and physical well being.’

Missing valuable sleep hours will take it’s toll on your body and your appearance.

7. Measure food quantities

However you choose to measure the foods you eat, whether it’s scales, cupfuls, handfuls etc. –  it’s important to choose one option and stick with it.

It’s one of the most important parts of losing fat. Knowing what you’re eating and how much, will tell you the calorie and macro levels being consumed.

You’ll possibly be surprised at the calorie levels in some foods, they certainly add up quickly and you won’t lose body fat if you’re eating more than you’re expending.

8. Avoid eating out – unless you can macro and calorie count

There are lots of places these days that supply you with a breakdown of the food they’re cooking, however you are not the one cooking it. Remember that you still don’t know for definite how much of something they have put in the food.

If you’re trying to drop body fat quickly and it’s important you do so for an imminent goal, then avoid eating out. If it’s a long term project then be cautious and be sure to choose your restaurants carefully and wisely, checking out their food information before you visit. Don’t leave it to chance.