Since you clicked on this article, I assume you're ready to begin losing fat. Unlike simply reading about losing it, real weight loss requires drive and determination. The best fat loss principles involve no specific regimen and no abstract theories, reasons or guilt trips. To annihilate those love handles, just use this checklist of Top 10 tips.
1. Consume Good Sources of Fat
As an athlete, you need to consume a balanced blend of all three macronutrients, including fat. Quality sources of fat include grass-fed beef, low mercury fish (trout, salmon, tilapia, sardines), coconut/fish/MCT/extra virgin olive oil, eggs and raw nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pistachios).
2. Focus on Quality of Sleep
Sleep is necessary for optimal performance and problem-free metabolism as well as fat loss. Although it's not always possible to get the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep, you can optimize your sack time by making the room nice and dark before bedtime. If you are on your computer until the moment you fall asleep, download an auto-dimming program such as Flux. If you are into supplementation, give chamomile tea a spin, or GABA or L-ornithine/L-thiamine (both amino acids).
3. Focus on Quality of Food
The words "calorie reduction" and "fat-loss" almost always go hand in hand. But instead of focusing on these words, focus on the quality of your food. Standards vary among athletes, but here's a consensus recommendation: eat as unprocessed as possible; eat real foods that have one or two ingredients; e.g., eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice.
4. Focus on Quality of Exercise
Few of us have the time to train for two or three hours every day, but what really makes a difference is quality, not quantity—in both exercise selection and proper execution. This applies to your warm-up, training program and cool down.
5. Try Compound Lifts in Either a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Circuit/Complex Style
Perform Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Bodyweight Squats and other exercises that involve multiple joints. All are "self-limiting" exercises that have endless variations. If you are comfortable with compound barbell lifts, incorporate them into your fat loss-training regimen. Interval-wise, go Tabata style (negative rest-to-work ratio), split equally between work and rest, or use a lower work-to-rest ratio (e.g., 10 seconds of all out work, 50 seconds of rest).
6. Bookend Training Sessions With Protein and the Majority of your Daily Carbohydrate Consumption
Keep fat intake to a minimum before and after activity. For other meals, stick with protein, fats, leafy veggies and an occasional piece of fruit. This nutrient timing strategy will help not only with fat loss, but also with training growth and recovery.
7. Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
Breath deeply. Count to 10 and lie down for a few minutes to clear your mind. It may sound silly, but the better you are at alleviating stress, the more likely you will succeed at losing fat.
8. Drink Mainly Tea, Water and Coffee
Whey protein powder in water is fine, also.
9. Get Blood Work Done
Knowing whether you're properly nourished could mean the difference between fat loss and fat gain. Most people have low levels of vitamin D, which equates to both lowered immune function and insulin resistance, two keys to maximizing fat loss.
10. De-emphasize Training as a Cornerstone of Your Fat Loss Strategy
Focus instead on how many action steps you need to take toward better nutrition. If you must quantify your fat loss progress, count the number of fat-loss action steps you take in a day instead of tracking the numbers on the bathroom scale.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock