Shifting stubborn body fat can be tricky, yet it makes all the difference to your shape. Aimed at revving up your metabolism, HELLO! beauty editor Nadine Baggott found these expert tips that will help you burn fat and get results from your exercise regime.
Many of us have our hearts set on a leaner 2016 and would like to lose some body fat to reach this goal. But if you are finding it hard to get your body fat percentage down, then you may need to look at ways to boost your metabolic rate to help you burn fat faster. Here are the latest expert tricks and tips…
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Changing the order of exercises you do can make a huge difference
Eat before exercise
Research carried out by the BBC and the University of Surrey found that women who had eaten an hour before exercise and avoided eating for three hours afterwards burnt more fat during exercise. In a four-week study, 13 men and 17 women who do not normally work out took part in three exercise classes a week. Each drank either a carbohydrate-rich beverage or a calorie-free placebo before the class and another after. The women who had consumed carbs before exercising were found to have burnt more fat than those who had the drink afterwards, while for men the opposite was true. So female readers could try making this simple change to their exercise routines: eat carbohydrates an hour before working out and then do not have any calories for the three-hour period after stopping.
Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning that by having a cup of tea or coffee, you can rev up your metabolic rate by around five per cent for a short period after consumption. However, both green and black teas have the added benefit of being rich in antioxidants called catechins, which are also thought to raise your metabolism. But skip the sugar or you will cancel out any benefits.
Eat little and often
The faster you get your digestion going in the morning, the higher your metabolic rate. So do not forget breakfast and eat three times a day with two small snacks in between. The act of eating, digesting and metabolising food can keep your metabolic rate ticking over. Aim for a mix of lean protein with a small amount of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats and avoid sugar.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that eating protein at every meal – including nuts, lean meats, fish, low-fat sugar-free yoghurt and some pulses – can boost your calorie burning by as much as 35 per cent. That is because your body needs to work hard to process the calories supplied by proteins – meaning you use up more energy.
Working with weights builds lean muscle which burns more fat
Research at the University of Missouri found that after four hours of inactivity the enzyme that controls fat metabolism lowers dramatically. So to keep this enzyme working at optimal levels you need to move every four hours. This could mean going for a walk, running up and down the stairs, doing some housework, gardening or actively playing with your children. These relatively easy activities are all it takes to shift your body back into fat-burning mode.
Drink iced water
Switch lukewarm water for cold and drink six cups a day and you could lose 5lb of body fat a year. That is because your body needs to expend calories to raise the temperature of the water from around zero to body temperature in order to process it.
Fill up on fibre
Digesting high-fibre meals, particularly those containing plenty of vegetable fibre, can burn as much as 30 per cent more calories than low-fibre ones. Aim for 25g of fruit and vegetable fibre a day, which is the amount in three to four portions of your five a day. But be aware that juices do not count.
Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights will not leave you looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger (unless you are going for that look); instead, it will build lean muscle, which in turn burns more fat. Start off by working your full body – in other words, use most of the machines in your gym – from top to toe for half an hour, three times a week. Choose a weight that is enough to task you but not strain you and keep the pace up between repetitions to maintain a raised heart rate and leave you just short of breath. The remaining 30 minutes of your hour-long workout should then be devoted to cardio.