5 of the most effective ways to burn fat

7 October 2015 by
First published: 27 April 2015

‘Restricting food intake only serves to slow down the metabolism and place the body in starvation mode’

Shedding the pounds will no longer feel like Mission Impossible with WHL’s run-down of 5 of the most effective ways to burn fat.

If you ask people what their body goals are, no doubt the majority will respond with ‘to burn fat’ or ‘lose weight’. However, all too often we look for a quick fix and overnight results. The truth is, to lose fat you have to be sensible. If a regime promises results that sound too good to be true, they probably are. Losing fat takes dedication, but if done sensibly and over a longer period of time, your chances of regaining the fat will be slimmer.

1. Do high-intensity interval training

Personal trainer Dennis Nilsson favours high-intensity interval training, or HIIT: ‘Alternating between very intense and easy bouts of exercise, you can increase your heart rate and tax the muscles,’ he says. ‘The best part is that you increase your metabolism and burn off even more calories in the 24 hours after exercise than you would after a steady-state run.’ Why? When your body is unable to bring in enough oxygen, an oxygen ‘debt’ is accumulated. This debt, referred to as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) needs to be repaid in order for the body to return to normal – and this results in an increased metabolic rate for hours following your workout. When you consistently incorporate HIIT into your training, your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns in 24 hours at rest), which also leads to more higher daily calorie-burn.

2. Hit the weights room

While weight training will increase your heart rate and burn calories at the time, the main advantage is its ability to help you burn fat in the future. When your body contains more lean muscle, it has to expend more energy to maintain muscle tissue. This means that the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn at rest.

3. Eat the right foods

Burning fat is not a case of starvation; it’s simply about eating good quality, nutritious food. Nutrient-dense vegetables leave you feeling fuller on fewer calories. Common mistakes include consuming too many starchy foods, such as rice, potatoes and pasta – if you consume more than is required for your glycogen stores (where your body gets its energy), the remainder will be stored as fat. Restricting food intake only serves to slow down the metabolism and place the body in starvation mode, causing it to hold on to existing energy stores.

4. Stay hydrated

Water is the medium in which most cellular activity takes place, including the transporting and burning of fat. Research has shown that when you’re dehydrated you can burn up to 2% fewer calories. It is recommended that you aim to drink two litres of water per day. Drinking cold water requires extra effort for the body to heat it to body temperature. This extra effort can raise resting metabolism by approximately 50 calories daily. In addition, drinking water will make you feel full, reducing your cravings.

5. Don’t skip breakfast

Eating breakfast kickstarts your metabolism. Research has shown that that those who miss the most important meal of the day are four and a half times more likely to be obese, and failing to give your body the nutrients it needs can negatively impact your workout. Guidelines suggest eating sufficient protein, a complex carbohydrate, such as oatmeal, and a piece of fruit to give your body the best possible start to the day.