Let’s be honest, not many people like doing cardio. Sure, you can mix up your workouts, change your routines and include some overly flamboyant exercises but, unless you’re somebody that actually enjoys waking up and going for a 6 am run in sub-zero temperatures (credit where credit’s due), you’re probably not the biggest advocate of cardio. I, like many others, needed to shed a few pounds with a cardio animosity.
Similarly, cardio probably isn’t burning as many calories as you think. So, I’m going to show you how to shred the fat, without the mindless treadmill runs.
#1 – Leave the car at home
Are you currently driving to work or jumping on the bus for every 10-minute ride? Stop it, seriously. If it takes you 30 minutes to walk to work, that’s between 1 ½ to 2 miles a day – doubled if you walk back! Just imagine how tedious and potentially unenjoyable running 4 miles is on a treadmill, especially if you’re putting the mileage in currently.
Try and be more physically active throughout the day, you’ll burn more calories without even realising you’re doing so which will support you on a fat loss journey and you’ll feel much better about yourself.
#2 – Track your calories and your macros
This could be a tricky one to get your head around, the nutritional triangle shows you the importance of, not just eating the right amount of food, but timing it correctly and having the correct number of macro-nutrients.
Firstly, the number of calories you eat in a day is fundamental. If you’re burning off more calories than you’re eating, you will start to lose weight. However, it’s not that simple: It means eating the right foods and not just living off one or two fast-food meals a week – sorry if that’s disappointed anybody.
Your macro-nutrients, or macros, are critical for fat loss (the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates you consume within the day). Ultimately, I’d suggest having a clean diet that is high in protein (50%) and has a sensible amount of carbohydrates (35%). Carbs, as we’ll explore later, is an imperative food source, your body uses these for energy.
#3 – Stop focusing on ‘eating healthy’
You need to make sure that you create a healthy balance and don’t deprive yourself of enjoyable foods (that’s not an open invitation). Eating healthy 100% of the time will, in time, lead to excessive overeating and an inconsistent ‘yo-yo’ diet. I’m going to suggest, and it is a suggestion, eating between 75% and 80% ‘healthy foods’ – in other words, foods that are micronutrient-dense, such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrain carbs and white meats. By doing this, you can have between 20% and 25% foods that are less-dense in micronutrients, such as pizza or choccies (you’re welcome), you’ll not feel guilty about and, more importantly, it will lead to less nutritional stress, long-term success and you’ll enjoy your eating more!
#4 – Avoid the ‘low carb’ or fad diets
Ever been told by somebody to avoid carbs? Well, don’t do that! Carbohydrates are the main source of energy so, without carbs, your body will be using proteins and fats as energy. You should, however, choose smart when selecting the carbs, choose complex carbs such as sweet potatoes and wholegrain foods.
Simple carbs, found in foods such as white bread, cakes, pastries and pasta tend to include simple sugars which include glucose and give you a ‘spike’ of energy. Be careful though, as these carbohydrates digest quickly so should only be used after a workout to avoid any fat or sugar retention.
Simple carbs contain more sugar and less fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Your diet should be focused on eating healthy foods with a high-protein source. The main purpose of protein is to build and repair body tissues – being an essential part of the human body.
#5 – Shift some weight
Yes, you read that right. Lifting weights helps you build and retain muscle, I know you’re after losing weight so hear me out.
Muscle mass burns the fat tissue and this is done by increasing your metabolism, thus burning fat cells.
You can’t “turn fat into muscle” as some people may misguide you into thinking – they’re two separate tissues on your body. By burning fat and building muscle simultaneously, you’re putting yourself into the “optimum weight loss zone”, you’ll find it easier to lose weight plus you’ll be looking and feeling better about yourself!