The secret to losing fat is actually no secret at all. What it comes down to is this: Clean, balanced eating, consistent workouts and regular, restorative sleep. It sounds simple—and it is—but with today’s bustling lifestyle it gets harder and harder to shed unwanted pounds. Here are ways you can burn out that excess fat
High-Intensity Interval Training:
High intensity interval training is high on every trainer’s list, and for good reason. “My number one pick for fat loss would be high intensity interval training, just because you’re burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time. You’re getting more bang for your buck. I know a lot of guys that don’t have all day to work out in a gym, so when it comes to belly fat you have to focus on calorie burn and intense workouts,” says Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach. Think bootcamps, tabata, and series of burpees, box jumps and sprints—those all do the trick. The best thing about HIIT is that it keeps your body working long after you leave the gym, burning calories and fat on your off hours via a phenomenon called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (aka EPOC).
You don’t need to dole out big bucks for specialized workout classes or equipment when your two greatest fat burners are with you at all times—yes, your legs. “Running is one of those workouts that you can do anywhere. All you need to do is go outside—you don’t need equipment. At an average pace you can burn up to 600 calories per hour. Of course the more intense and the faster you run the more calories you’ll burn. Depending on pace you can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour. You can incorporate intervals of walking, jogging, and running [to not only ease into your run, but also to bump up the calorie burn]. You can also choose to go up hills or do sprints. Going out in the heat you also burn more calories. "I would definitely incorporate running as a great workout to burn belly fat,” says White.
The options for spin today are growing to be more intense and more entertaining at that, with options like SoulCycle, Flywheel, CYC fitness, and your local gym’s trusty spin class. Locking into a bike will not only skyrocket your fat burn, but the pack mentality may cause you to work harder in an effort to keep up with and surpass your fellow riders. “I definitely would put spinning up there as one of the best fat burning workouts. First of all, you have that great social scene and music coming together [to boost drive and motivation]. Weight training can sometimes be boring alone, but adding spinning makes things more interesting,” says White. Researchers at the University of Southern California’s Department of Preventive Medicine found that when you work out with others, you’re more likely to enjoy your sweat session. When you enjoy something, you’re more likely to stick to it long term. It’s a simple concept, but when it comes to losing belly fat it’s particularly important because fat loss is a marathon, not a sprint.
Portable and gut-friendly, keeping greek yogurt on hand is going to help rid you of those unwanted love handles. From a quick snack—pair it with fresh fruit or nuts—to a smoothie enhancer or sour cream substitute, greek yogurt is very versatile when it comes to daily usage, making it an easy addition to your diet if it’s not a staple already. “It’s high in protein, and a good source of vitamin D and calcium to help rebuild the bones. Especially if you get the plain variety it’s very low in sugar—it’s a great snack for fat loss,” says White. The key here is to avoid pre-flavored varieties. Fruit on the bottom versions pack in an unsightly amount of sugar that may actually inhibit weight loss and potentially contribute to your fat deposits. A seven ounce serving contains a whopping 18 grams of protein on average and also provides healthy gut bacteria to keep your belly feeling good and digestion regular.
Your diet should contain an absurd number of veggies if you’re looking to melt away fat—broccoli being one of them. “When it comes to vegetables, which are very important, I would definitely throw broccoli as number one,” says White. Broccoli is low in calories and high in fiber, which means it’s going to fill you up, keep you full and stop any unnecessary, craving-driven eating later. One cup of the green stuff contains close to 3 grams of fiber for a measly 30 calories. It’s also an excellent source of iron, calcium and vitamin C, which will encourage greater blood flow to the muscles, support healthy bones, and increase immunity.