A common misconception amongst many female fitness enthusiasts is that steady-state cardio in the "fat burning zone" is ideal for weight loss. Spending two hours on the treadmill may seem like it'll get you bikini-worthy bod—more minutes, more calories, right? However, while steady-state cardio has many benefits, it isn't the most effective way to reduce body fat.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean you need to dedicate even more time exercising. In fact, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts can slash the time commitment while boosting results. HIIT workouts last about 20 minutes and combine bursts of super-intense exercise with slower recovery phases. This type of workout has been found to help people lose more fat once the workout is over, even though they burn less calories during the workout (since workouts are shorter) and also build muscle, rather than break it down the way conventional cardio does. (3)
Furthermore, when we studied 9 lean healthy young men and fed them first a ‘balanced diet’ for a week locked in a metabolic ward and then the exact same calories as a ketogenic diet for 4 weeks, they did not lose any body fat (only about 2 pounds of water) despite being consistently and strongly in nutritional ketosis. (Phinney 1983) And finally, the 10 low carb runners from our FASTER Study had been following a low carb or ketogenic lifestyle for at least 6 months (average blood ketones of 0.6 mmol/L); but while thin, none of them were continuing to lose significant weight (Volek 2016).
When boredom strikes, your pantry may be one of the first places you turn. But if your pantry is filled with high-calorie, high-fat foods, over time, the scale will tip in the wrong direction. Counter these temptations by tossing the junk food and replacing it with wholesome, nutritional snack options. It’s time to give your pantry a healthy makeover by tossing the following five foods for good!
It’s pretty common for men to pack some extra poundage around their midsection. In fact, the average man is about 24lbs heavier today than men in 1960, according to stats from The State of Obesity—and the figures are rising. We’ve seen slimmer days, but don’t think this is a grim sentence, dooming you to eternal chubbiness. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways for you to burn belly fat—fast.
Since we can’t spot reduce fat, the only way to ever get those flat abs is to burn body fat overall. For this reason, HIIT workouts, exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously (like push ups, squat thrusters etc.), and weight lifting are going to be the most effective fitness strategies for bringing out your six pack because they are the most metabolic. Hours of cardio and tons of crunches are not the way forward here.
We don’t recommend thinking about macros in terms of percentages, especially if you’re focused on weight loss. We recommend keeping your carb intake under 30 grams/day, eating the protein requirement we outline in our protein post, and eating fat to satiety. There’s more info on our rationale around macros in this post by Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek: https://blog.virtahealth.com/how-much-protein-on-keto/
In fact, a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that even after 8 weeks of weight loss that resulted in significant reductions in CCK, just one week of ketosis returned CCK to baseline (pre-weight loss) levels. In other words, even if you use famine-level calorie restriction to lose weight, you’d better pound the butter and cut carbs at the end unless you want to crave food all the time.
Hannah Howlett is a YouTuber and healthy lifestyle blogger for High Carb Hannah, formerly known as Raw Till Whenever. Her philosophy for achieving lasting weight loss without all the dieting gimmicks, restrictions, and rules is to eat a whole food, plant-based diet in whatever way works best for you. By changing her mindset about eating, no longer revolving her life around what she ate, and never forcing herself to eat, she lost 55 pounds and continues to inspire and encourage others to do the same. Her blog is a compilation of healthy recipes, cookbooks, and meal guides to help you achieve a life and body that you love.
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Nicole Morrissey is Registered Dietitian (RD) and author of Prevention RD. By day, Nicole is a coordinator and manager of an outpatient diabetes education department. By night, she is a home cook, blogger, cookbook author, wife, and mommy to two little girls. After being overweight nearly her entire life, she decided to make a change and lost 75 pounds in a year’s time. 15 years later, Nicole’s weight loss journey continues as she strives for a more balanced life, that includes good-for her foods, and her favorite things like craft beer and all things carbs! Her weight loss blog is an inspirational guide to a practical, straightforward, and maintainable approach to a healthy lifestyle.
About: Two years ago, January hit rock bottom. She came to the realization that she was a food addict. A few days (and a whole lot of cookie dough) later, January joined Overeaters Anonymous and turned to God to overcome her gluttony and addiction, blogging about it to hold herself accountable. Today, January’s a champion for God and using faith to shed unwanted pounds.
I can completely relate to your struggles with weight. At times, I almost felt like I was reading my own story. Take out the college dorm stuff and throw in 2 jobs, one of them at a gym, and add a baby and I’d say our stories are pretty similar. My husband is deployed now, and I started running (did my first 5K 10 days ago). I’m down a solid 15 lbs in 2 months… and I haven’t even been strict with my “diet”. Keep running, girl! You can do it! 🙂
I am going to be 60 on Feb. 5th. I didn’t have a weight problem when I was young. I am 5’9″ and weigh 196 right now. I am build med. to large boned. I have lost some weight in the past, 15 to 20 lbs. But I go back to my normal eating always and feel so angry at myself. I eat when I am board or angry or stressed. I also have a fit husband and he is my food police, (not my idea). I have depression and really have a hard time in the winter. I have no energy to do anything. I have started to lose weight and do some excercise but always stop. I feel like a failure most of the time.
Simply take a good hard look at your diet, make a few modifications you can stick with and get your body moving. Not sure where you stand on diet? Write down everything you eat this week, then compare it to the list above and see where you could have made better choices. Don’t beat yourself up though, learning how to lose stomach fat fast is a process. Simply find areas to improve and work on them next week.
Thank you so much for this article on carb cycling & weight loss for women! I found it tremendously helpful for personal reasons but also because I work with so many women (as a personal trainer) who encounter significant frustration when it comes to weight loss, health & hormonal status (the interplay among them). Your article seems to speak to mostly women of reproductive age or to women who are still menstruating. I also work with many women age 50+ and wondered what recommendations, if any, might you have to offer regarding carbs/carb cycling for peri-/menopausal/post-menopausal women? Thank you so much, Stefani – the info & wisdom you share on your blog & via your podcast (which I love!) are invaluable to me. I also totally dig your book and recommend it to other women all the time! I so appreciate the work you’re doing!
Carbohydrates are considered to be the body's main source of energy and are quickly utilized by the brain and muscles. Carbs come in two forms: simple & complex. Processed and refined sugars are simple carbs, which are digested and absorbed quickly. Complex carbs pack in more nutrients and are digested more slowly, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Not only does strength training tone your body and help to prevent injuries, but it also increases your metabolism for days after the fact, meaning you'll burn more calories even after the workout is finished. To supplement her cardio training, Goetke started lifting weights. "It totally transformed my body," she says. The extra calorie burn will help the pounds melt right off of you.
So what can we do with all this knowledge? Tempting as it is to get discouraged, we can actually find it encouraging. Biology is not destiny, after all. “Lifestyle choices are immensely powerful,” Peeke says. And on the heels of any tidal wave of new research is sure to come a trickle of weight-loss advice that can be more customized and more effective to help men and women with their weight-loss obstacles, no matter what they are.
hi there! i found your site at a link from ben greenfield and love it! im confused because i read a post on his site about exercise and menstrual cycle and it said that the follicular phase is best for anaerobic work and luteal for aerobic which is the opposite of what you recommend. i guess i thought that hi intensity workouts rely more heavily on glycogen and wouldnt be done in a lower carb time. not challenging you, just truly curious what you think? thanks!
‘Lastly, if your nutrition is on point but you still have excess tummy fat, then you need to look at your training. There’s a real craze for high-intensity workouts and really pushing yourself at the moment, but training is a stress on the body, and if you’re not giving it the tools to manage that stress and recover from it, then it can lead things like excess belly fat.
Unfortunately this reduces the debate to a very simplistic level. Why? Because we know that hunger, appetite, energy expenditure (i.e., metabolic rate), and even our propensity to be active are highly regulated by an increasing list of hormones and signaling molecules, not to mention our genetic inheritance (Bouchard 1994). Moreover these various factors interact with each other – for example: exercise stimulates hunger, calorie restriction increases hunger and decreases spontaneous activity (Keys 1950), calorie restriction reduces metabolic rate, and exercise plus calorie restriction markedly reduces metabolic rate (Phinney 1988).
Beth has struggled with her weight for nearly her entire life. Overweight since puberty and then obese throughout high school and college, Beth tipped the scales at 250 pounds. In early 2009, she resolved to take better care of herself, which included quitting smoking and running for exercise. Initially, Beth didn't drop weight as quickly as she would’ve liked, so she took a look at her eating habits. She joined Weight Watchers where she learned how food should be measured and weighed, and how much she should eat in a day.
However, if you feel The Lose Weight Diet is indeed right for you... let's get started. I have broken it all down into 3 phases. In order to fully understand and fully follow this weight loss plan effectively, you MUST read through each phase in order. Do not skip anything or jump ahead. Just sit back and relax. You're only 3 steps away from losing weight... for free. Start here:
About: Alicia is no stranger to blogging. She’s had a few in the last decade, including “Girls Just Wanna Be Healthy,” where she shared her struggles and triumphs as she sought to drop from 190 to 159. But she just recently launched her new blog, where Alicia has morphed from someone who spent her entire life being embarrassed and ashamed of her body into a confident young woman ready to share herself — and maybe help a few others along the way.
21. Keep it simple. "I take a minimalist approach to nutrition: My diet consists of lean protein (chicken breast, egg whites, ground turkey), complex carbs (quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal), healthy fats (coconut oil, almonds, avocados), and leafy green veggies. I eat as clean as I can—locally-grown vegetables, organic when possible, and minimally-processed everything."
Well done Jennifer. Inspirational. I also know from personal experience how hard it is to lose weight. It takes discipline to push through no matter what you’re feeling. For me it was getting up at 5:00 a.m. every morning (Mon – Fri) to exercise but when I saw some photos of me while my wife and I were on holiday, that was all the motivation , that I need.. very fantastic
When you eat foods that are low- or no-fat, other ingredients are added in so that the food tastes like its full-fat counterpart. Those extra ingredients don’t add in the nutrients that have been stripped away, however, so you end up craving more because, despite the fact that you just ate, your body is still lacking in the vital nutrients it needs. You end up eating more calories than you would have if you’d just eaten the full-fat product.
27. Use tech and other tools to your advantage. "I started out just by cutting little things like soda out one by one so I wouldn't burn myself out mentally and give up. I then discovered counting calories on MyFitnessPal, which was [a huge help] for me in my weight loss. A few years in, I lost my way a little bit and found Renaissance Periodization diet templates, which helped me rebuild a healthy relationship with food."
About: Shannon’s a fit girl, but her mission in life is to get even fitter — and motivate others to join her along the way. She’s also a full-time marketing executive, but her true passion is bringing together and inspiring them to reach their goals. You’ll find her posts are full of positivity, motivation, practical tips for exercising (without killing yourself) and even fun fashion bits. If the sun was shining through a blog, it would be shining through Shannon’s.
Like I said, all of this revamped progress started in August and the weight loss was slow. Slow like an average of 1 pound a week. Some weeks I would lose 1 or 2 pounds and other weeks I would lose nothing. For a while, I didn't notice any physical changes and if it wasn't for the fact that I was standing on a scale looking at a different number, I wouldn't have any guessed my body was changing. The biggest change for me during this time was not what my body looked like, but what it felt like. I noticed the food I ate (in combination with my work outs) left me with more energy. I felt less sluggish and more ready to take on the day. Completed workouts and nutritious choices filled me with confidence and empowerment.
Consider a low-calorie diet. If you burn more calories than you take in, you'll lose weight. The low-cal diet means reducing your intake to between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day for women. It is recommended if you want to lose no more than 2 pounds per week. It is not safe to attempt to lose more than 2 pounds per week unless under strict doctor supervision.
Jennifer, I am a little different than you. I have always been a big girl and right now, I am near 200 pounds. I am about 5’3 and I’ve always had trouble losing weight. I’m actually very athletic. I love to play sports and I’m good at them, but I hate running. I also splurge a lot. it’s a bad habit of mine to snack when I’m bored. I’m a recent college student and eating healthy is difficult, not to mention exercise. since I live on the fourth floor, I try to take the stairs only. I’m pretty good about that. I have a slow metabolism and I have no sense of calorie counting. I’m desperate for help, but I need to concentrate on my studies. what advice can you give me?
By “muscular,” you may be thinking about increasing muscle size or bulking up your legs. Perhaps you want your legs to be stronger for certain activities like heavy weight lifting or track and field sports. Increasing thigh muscle size is much different than leg toning. Also, just because you want to increase leg muscle size, it does not necessarily mean automatic thigh fat loss.