You know that your cardio sessions are crucial when it comes to burning the layer of fat sitting on top of your abdominal muscles. But it's still important to work those abs even as you're trying to shed fat, says New York City-based personal trainer Adam Sanford, founder of Adam Sanford Fitness. His favorite move to do that? Holding plank on a BOSU ball. "It's more challenging than a normal plank where your hands are on the floor, because the BOSU tests your balance," says Sanford. "When your body tries to find control as your balance is challenged, your abs, obliques, and deep transverse abdominal muscles are activated." Strengthening these core muscles also helps increase your metabolism, ultimately helping you to burn more calories and fat.
Want to get leaner, more toned legs in a hurry? Dial up the intensity of your workouts and you’ll lose thigh fat in no time. In fact, research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals that increasing the intensity of study subjects’ workouts improved their blood sugar levels, making it less likely for them to store excess body fat and potentially staving off cravings, too. Luckily, you’ll already be well on your way to shedding that extra weight when you incorporate the fun activities that don’t feel like exercise into your routine!
Just because you may not have access to open water—or a crew team—doesn't mean you can't work this fat-blasting cardio workout into your go-to gym routine. Not only does rowing get your heart rate way up, which helps you blast calories and burn fat, but it also works muscles in your legs, core, arms, shoulders, and back that you may not be used to using, which "surprises" your body and helps you increase muscle, says Penfold. She recommends this belly fat-blasting circuit, which is great for beginners and pros alike: Begin with 20 seconds of rowing followed by 10 seconds of rest, and look at how many meters you traveled in that time. (Don't get off the rowing machine or even let go of the handle when you rest, says Penfold.) Repeat this eight times, trying to beat your distance each time. When you're finished with this 4-minute circuit, row a fast 500 meters and note how long it takes you. "That's the number you'll want to match or beat during your next rowing session," says Penfold.
"Feeling stressed can wreak havoc on our bodies. It can cause our body to produce the steroid hormone cortisol, which can make you crave sugary foods that provide instant energy and pleasure. Short-term bursts of cortisol are necessary to help us cope with immediate danger, but our body will also release this hormone if we’re feeling stressed or anxious. When our cortisol levels are high for a long amount of time, it can increase the amount of fat you hold in your belly."
If you thought losing weight would mean giving up all your indulgences, look no further than dark chocolate. Louisiana State University researchers found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate and boost our body’s production of gut-healthy polyphenolic compounds, including butyrate, a fatty acid that encourages the body to burn fat as fuel and turns off genes linked to inflammation. (Add fruit to the chocolate to boost fermentation and the release of the compounds.) Make sure you go with chocolate that has a cacao content of 70 percent or above—these have the highest concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols.
While all foods are processed to some degree, some foods are more heavily processed than others. What is commonly considered a processed food, is any food that has gone through one or more changes in form from how it is found in nature - by either cooking, genetically altering, or adding multiple ingredients, etc. Another common way to determine how processed a food is, is by checking the ingredients label and looking for a shorter list full of more ingredients you recognize as food, and less added sugar, salts and artificial ingredients and preservatives.
Growing up, I never thought too much about weight, exercise, or nutrition. Thinking back to my body’s past, I was on the heavier side most of my life. I was never extremely overweight, but never skinny. I remember the occasional times of filling my mind with negative thoughts related to body image, but I never considered it to be a serious problem. I remember the times of being frustrated in a fitting room or embarrassed looking at a picture of me with several of my skinny friends. I remember really wanting to look different and form healthy habits, but in the end, I never had enough motivation to make a change.
Over time, most people who sustain a ketogenic lifestyle stop losing weight and find a new stable weight (Hallberg 2018). This is achieved when their natural instincts of hunger and satiety lead to an increase in dietary fat intake to balance out one’s daily expenditure. But as long as dietary protein is kept moderate and carbs low, this dietary fat is used in place of body fat to produce ketones, so clearly nutritional ketosis can be maintained without any further weight loss. We have named this a ‘eucaloric ketogenic diet’ (Phinney 1983).
Because HIIT is harder on your body than steady-state cardio, you will require adequate rest to gain the most benefits, so don't feel bad for taking a day off. A good rule of thumb is to decrease the number of days you exercise as the load gets heavier. For example, HIIT using just your body weight can be done 3-5 days a week for 20-30 minute sessions.
For women specifically, remember that women’s bodies are designed to sustain a pregnancy, survive giving birth, and then nourish another human being through breastfeeding. While pregnancy and breastfeeding require as many as 500 extra calories per day, it’s no wonder that a woman’s body tends to store fat where it is difficult to lose. These biological activities require a huge output of energy from a woman’s body. To prepare for these enormous events, a woman’s body stores excess calories as fat around the thighs and hips.