Curated from: Muscle & Fitness Hers
Original Author: Jim Stoppani, PhD, Kathleen Ferguson

1. UP YOUR PROTEIN

A high-protein diet is necessary to fuel muscle growth. Not to mention protein keeps you satiated longer, reducing hunger and staving off cravings. By increasing protein, you boost your metabolism as the body requires more energy to digest protein. Also, your blood sugar stays balanced and your insulin levels stay low. The results are reduced appetite and fat loss, provided you are also exercising consistently.

2. DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAT

We’d like to put this myth to rest. Fat is good. Certain fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, actually promote fat loss. Fats also help you absorb vitamins A, D, and E, and they are vital for your nervous system. Go for good, unsaturated fats like those found in wild caught salmon, avocado, olive oil, peanut butter, walnuts, and sardines. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats like those found in some dairy products and almost all processed foods (like cookies, crackers, margarine, french fries, etc.).

3. TRAIN WITH HEAVIER WEIGHTS

As reported by Muscle & Fitness Hers, “Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) refers to the increased metabolic rate you enjoy after a workout. How long it lasts can depend on a number of factors, and one of the most critical is how heavy you lift. Scientists at the Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education (Oslo) analyzed multiple studies and found that training with heavier weights for fewer reps produces a greater and longer rise in resting metabolic rate compared to training with lighter weights for more reps. For example, using a weight that limits you to six reps per set will boost EPOC higher longer than using a weight that allows you to complete 12 reps per set. Although most gym-goers believe they should train with higher reps to burn more fat, you still want to train heavy (3–7 reps) some of the time to maximize postworkout calorie- and fat-burning.”

4. EAT LOW-GLYCEMIC FOODS

The glycemic index is a tool that measures the speed of entry of a carbohydrate into the bloodstream. Food high on the glycemic index causes more insulin secretion to counter-balance the sugars in the bloodstream. This results in excess fat storage in the belly. Avoid white bread, white rolls, baguettes, bagels, dried dates, instant and baked mashed potatoes, instant rice, soda crackers and a variety of cereals (Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, puffed wheat, shredded wheat).

5. DRINK COLD WATER

Just drinking plain cold water can help you lose fat. German researchers found that drinking about 2 cups of cold water can boost metabolic rate by about 30%. The effect appears to be due to an increase in norepinephrine release.

6. EAT EGGS

We’ve been blogging about eggs a lot lately. Cuz they’re protein powerhouses, super versatile, inexpensive, and delicious! Not only that, but they help to make you feel fuller longer and provide necessary muscle repair after an intense workout.

7. SHORTEN YOUR REST PERIODS

To maximize fat loss, keep your workout moving by resting less than a minute between sets. Shorter rest periods cause your muscles to repair more quickly, igniting your muscle-building potential and sky-rocketing your metabolism.

8. HIIT IT

We’ve been saying it all along: you don’t need to slave away at the gym to get fit. Short, high intensity workouts burn fat and increase muscle mass effectively, because you’re working consistently at your max heart rate. This is preferred to a longer workout with lower intensity. as the fat burning potential is also lower.

9. TRY DAIRY

Dairy is an important alternative source of protein and a vital source of calcium, but choose your dairy wisely. Non-organic milk, yogurt, and butter can be from animals pumped full of hormones, which will mess with your own hormone levels.

10. ADD IN HOT PEPPERS

Hot peppers contain the active ingredient capsaicin. This chemical has been shown to increase calorie burn at rest as well as reduce hunger and food intake. The hotter the pepper, the higher levels of capsaicin, and the higher antioxidant level. Bell peppers have none.

11. SPICE IT UP

Tumeric, the miracle spice. Use it. On everything. More and more, reports are surfacing on the potent healing and weight loss power of tumeric, the spice native of India. A root similar to ginger, tumeric can be ground down and dried into spice you can add to soups, stews, vegetable medleys, meats, and even eggs. The sky is the limit to this miracle spice!

13. USE FREE WEIGHTS

Free-weight exercises, like the combination squat press, have been found to burn more calories than similar exercises on machines like the leg press. This is because the free weight exercises require the use of your stabilizer muscles to keep you grounded whereas machines do that work for you. Check out our Sandbag for an awesome free-weight alternative.

14. EAT AN APPLE

Apples are great slow-digesting carb and contain beneficial antioxidants. Specifically, apples contain polyphenols, which have been linked to increase muscle strength and endurance as well as even fat loss. A typical large apple will provide about 200 mg of apple polyphenols and about 30 grams of slow-digesting carbs. However, apples are also one of the top foods sprayed with harmful pesticides. Always eat organic apples.

15. SNACK ON A WHEY SHAKE

UK researchers found that when subjects consumed a whey protein shake 90 minutes before eating a buffet-style meal, they ate significantly less food. They believe this is due to whey’s ability to boost levels of the hunger-blunting hormones cholecystokinin and glucagonlike peptide-1.

16. CHEW GUM

Chewing (sugar-free) gum between meals leads to significantly less food consumed. Chewing gum provides the feeling of satiation and works to satisfy mindless eating. But please don’t chew 95% of the gum on the shelves. Filled with harmful sugars, artifical sweeteners, and chemicals, these gums do nothing beneficial for you. If you haven’t yet, try xylitol gum, which can be found at all health food stores.

17. BE NUTTY

From stress reduction to heart health to weight loss to improved brain function to fertility in men to longer periods of satiation, raw nuts are nutrient-rich, health powerhouse.

18. GO FISH

The essential omega-3 fats in fish enhance fat loss. If you don’t have access to wild caught salmon or fresh sardines, try a fish oil supplement. However, make sure to purchase a supplement from a certified source as recent reports have found that many supplements contain non-listed fillers that have no health benefit (and in some cases were actually harmful).

19. DRINK GREEN

Green tea has a multitude of benefits, particularly its ability to enhance fat loss. Its main ingredient epigallocatechin gallate inhibits the enzyme that breaks down the neurohormone norepinephrine. Norepinephrine keeps the metabolic rate up, so preventing its breakdown means you burn more calories throughout the day.

20. DO CARDIO AFTER WEIGHTS

Try doing your cardio after weight lifting instead of before. Cardio after a weight workout burns significantly more fat during the first 15 minutes of cardio than when performed before weight-training.

21. MIX IT UP

Add variety to your workout plan. Routines are great for getting into a groove, but as soon as you hit that plateau, your fat loss and muscle-building potential dies. So switch it up. Mix cardio, weight training, hikes, bikes, yoga, and the like. Variety will keep your muscles on their toes, so to speak, and will increase your fat burning potential. Not to mention you won’t get bored either.

22. STAGGER IT

Splitting your cardio into several shorter blocks can help you drop more fat. One study reported that when subjects performed three 10-minute bouts of running separated by 20-minute rest periods, the total workout was easier than when they ran at the same intensity for 30 minutes. You can push yourself harder for shorter periods increasing your fat-burning, muscle-building potential.

23. USE HIGHER REP RANGES

While going heavy for fewer reps does burn more calories postworkout, doing higher reps burns more calories during the workout, as College of New Jersey (Ewing) researchers reported. Get the best of both worlds by doing four sets of most exercises. Try doing the first two sets with heavy weight and low reps, and the last two with light weight and high reps.

24. TAKE A PICTURE

Photograph yourself. Get an image of what you look like now. Don’t beat yourself up, though. Accept yourself now for who you are. But use that photograph as motivation to keep pushing.

25. GET UP

Sitting for prolonged periods severely compromises your body’s ability to burn fat. Even if you have a desk job, get up every hour and stretch, take a short walk, or take a walking lunch. In general, increase your daily movement. Park further from the store. Take after-dinner walks. Jump around with the kids. Shoot hoops. Do whatever you have to do to increase your daily movement.

Additional Resources:
The Skinny on Fat
The Low-Glycemic Breakdown
The Science Behind HIIT
The Science Behind Whey