3 Simple Steps to Losing Fat

Follow these three simple steps to lose fat this off-season, and you'll return to your sport much leaner next season.

Cardio

Losing fat is as simple as eating less and moving more. The trick, however, is learning what to eat, how much to consume, and when to space out your meals.

If you want to drop unwanted body fat quickly and simply, follow this guide. You'll discover what you need to do to decrease calorie intake and increase calories burned.

Reduce Carbohydrate Intake

As an athlete, carbohydrates are your body's primary fuel source. Carbs are stored as glycogen within the muscles for easy access when you're active. In order to drop body fat, your body must be forced to tap into stored energy reserves—a.k.a. fat cells. Pulling back on your normal intake of carbs by as little as 25 percent will force your body to burn stored body fat for fuel.

Manage Insulin

Insulin is known as the storage hormone. When insulin is present in the bloodstream, it signals the body to store the nutrients circulating with it. This is great when you want to drive nutrients into your muscles post-workout.

Outside the training window, however, you need to minimize the presence of insulin so you can burn body fat for fuel. Although the anabolic properties of insulin help build muscle, it is inherently anti-catabolic, meaning it prevents the breakdown of tissue for use as fuel. You want to break down adipose tissue (stored body fat), which can't happen when insulin is present.

Consuming carbohydrates increases your insulin level, so it's important to reduce your overall carbohydrate intake. Always include protein, a small amount of healthy fats, and vegetables to help slow down the absorption of your meals. This produces a steady trickle of carbohydrates into your bloodstream, which minimizes the chances of an insulin spike.

Crank Out the Cardio

Both low- and high-intensity cardio work extremely well for burning fat. For fat loss purposes, perform low-intensity cardio, such as walking or jogging on a treadmill, or climbing on a Stair Master, or even walking outdoors for 30 to 60 minutes in the morning.

Try to walk on a slight incline at a pace of three to four miles per hour. Make sure to drink water to stay hydrated. You can take a green tea supplement or even use caffeine if you wish to enhance fat burning. Black coffee is a great choice, but don't use milk or sugar as they elevate insulin levels.

High-intensity cardio work can be performed at any time of day. The key here is to go all out. These sessions will be much shorter. Aim for increments of 10 to 20 minutes. If you can continue longer than 25 or 30 minutes, you're not going hard enough.

Start with a 3:1 rest-to-work ratio, and as your conditioning improves, drop the rest periods down to a 2:1 and eventually 1:1. For example, sprint on a track for 15 seconds, walk for 45 seconds and repeat on the minute, every minute for 10 minutes. This will give you 10 sprints in 10 minutes using a 3:1 rest-to-work ratio.

Follow these tips. They may kick your butt, but they will also melt your fat!


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BURN FAT | CARDIO | MEALS | SPRINT | TISSUE | CARBOHYDRATES | INTENSITY | NUTRIENTS | INSULIN | BODY FAT