I get asked a number of questions on a daily basis regarding health, weight loss, nutrition, and so forth, but there is one common theme that correlates to everyone’s problem with fat loss and achieving a lean, in-shape physique. And that problem is: they are not looking deeply enough into the details. Most people know how to eat healthy. Most people know how to workout. Most people can do cardio 3-5 times per week. But then why is it that one of the most common questions I get asked is, “Why am I not losing more fat?!” Below, I share with you three things that you can change RIGHT NOW that will enhance your fat loss goals and get your metabolism more efficient at burning through those calories toward obtaining a leaner, tighter physique.
- Drink more water.
Water is the second most popular beverage in America. Want to know the first? SODA. Since this is what the facts tell us, simply switching your cans of pop for bottles of water will drastically increase the rate at which you’re able to lose fat! But, I want to go a little more into this. Our bodies are nearly 70% water, so yes, h2o is a big deal. If you’re reading this article on Ironman Magazine’s website, I’m certain that working out and daily exercise is a top priority for you; even more of a reason you need more water. People who engage in vigorous activity need to drink more water than those who are sedentary. Water helps to maintain the body’s fluid balance, transports nutrients to working muscles and throughout the body, regulates body temperature, and helps to digest food. It also helps to flush out toxins from the body, which translates into more efficient fat burning. Numerous studies have found a correlation between water consumption and weight loss, and that is because water helps you feel full, leading to less overall calories consumed. If you’re serious about your health and fitness goals, you’ll be sure to get in, at the very least, 1 gallon of water per day. And like I said, if you exercise and work out daily, you need more. If you are just 2% dehydrated, your performance will decrease. I shoot for 2 gallons of water per day. I put a piece of tape on my shaker bottle as soon as I wake up in the morning. The shaker holds about 24 oz. of fluid, so as soon as I finish the 24 oz. of water, I put a check on the piece of tape. I write that check every single time I finish the water in my shaker. Since I know there are 256 ounces in 2 gallons, I make sure I finish 10 shaker’s full of water, which would equal 240 ounces, pretty close to my 2 gallon target; and that’s not including the water I use for my coffee, tea, whey protein shakes, etc. So I’m certain I get over 2 gallons per day. Try out this method and start keeping track of how much water you’re drinking everyday.
- Get more sleep.
Doing everything right? Eating frequent meals that consist of healthy fats, complex carbs, and complete protein? Working out with weights 3-5 times per week? Including cardiovascular training in your exercise routine? But STILL not achieving your fat loss and physique goals? Time to take a look at your sleep pattern. More than 35 percent of Americans are sleep deprived. Not getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night can drastically reduce your ability to see the rewards for all of your hard work in the gym and at the dinner table. When you don’t get enough sleep, it leads to more cravings (especially for sweets and salty items), poorer food choices – this is due to the frontal lobe of your brain being impaired, laziness, fatigue, cloudy mind, increased hunger – since lack of sleep increases cortisol (the stress hormone) and ghrelin (the hunger hormone) while simultaneously decreasing leptin (important fat-burning hormone) – so you’re left feeling hungry all the time, decrease in growth hormone – which is your natural source of anti-aging and a huge fat-burning facilitator, and a host of other problems. After conducting a study at the University of Chicago, researchers found that just 4 days of poor sleep patterns led to a 30 percent drop in insulin sensitivity. This is bad because once you become more insulin resistant, the extra lipids in your blood will pump out more insulin, and then that excess insulin will be stored in the liver and around your midsection. After all that, you see it’s pretty easy to gain weight by not getting enough sleep, right? If you have to wake up early, go to bed early the previous night. If you can’t do that, fit in naps during the day.
- Start sprinting.
Now I’m not saying there’s no place for low intensity aerobic cardio; it will certainly depend on your goal. But for the sake of this article, assuming your priority is to get leaner and lose body fat, anaerobic cardio takes the cake. Over time, the body responds to low intensity aerobic cardio by losing muscle mass because it causes elevation in cortisol, and by losing precious muscle tissue, your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) will decrease, causing you to burn less calories every day, making it easier for you to gain fat and tougher for you to get lean. Anaerobic cardio, such as HIIT and sprints, lead to gains in lean muscle, translating to more calories burned everyday, due to the increase in powerful hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone. Another benefit of sprints and anaerobic cardio is the EPOC principal, or exercise post-exercise oxygen consumption. Also called “the afterburn”, EPOC is a measureable increase in the rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity. This means the body is utilizing more and more calories once the activity you performed has ended. With low intensity aerobic cardio, you don’t get an EPOC. You just burn a certain amount of calories during the LISS (low intensity steady state) session and that’s it. With HIIT and sprinting, you’re burning calories for an additional 8, and up to, 24 hours after you’ve completed the session. Start sprinting.
Along with these three reasons, there are many others why you may not be losing fat and achieving your physique goals. You can go right to our website, HovHustleFitness.com, and sign up for our newsletter, and then receive my ebook “8 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight” directly to your inbox. It’s free. : )
Train hard and train smart.