A lower number on the scale almost always means you’ve lost – at least some – body fat. However, certain diet and exercise tricks can maximize fat loss during weight loss. The University of Washington suggests women maintain body fat percentages of 20 to 21 percent, while men achieve body fat percentages of 13 to 17.
Exercise Frequency and Duration
Exercise most days of the week for best weight- and fat-loss results. A 2009 review published in “The Ochsner Journal” recommends overweight and obese individuals exercise 45 to 60 minutes, five to seven days weekly. Authors of this review point out that after 30 minutes of working out, your body’s main fuel source switches from stored carbs to body fat.
Weight-training and high-intensity interval training workouts are effective for fat loss in adults, according to a 2009 review published in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” and a study published in 2012 in “The Journal of Obesity.” Weight train at least three times weekly, and work all your major muscle groups. High-intensity interval training consists of continuously alternating periods of high-intensity exercise – like sprinting – with lower intensity recovery periods, such as slow jogging.
Reducing your food intake will help you shed pounds and get rid of excess body fat. However, if you drastically increase your calorie expenditure by exercising regularly, you may not need to reduce your calorie intake much, if any. Your goal is to burn off 500 to 1,000 more calories than you eat each day, which often leads to a 1- to 2-pound weekly weight loss, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
High-protein diets are often effective for weight and fat loss because they help you feel full and increase your body’s energy expenditure, according to a study published in 2009 in the “Journal of Nutrition.” Another study published in 2010 in “Diabetes Care” found that combining a reduced-calorie, protein-rich diet with a regular resistance-training regimen significantly reduces body weight, waist circumference and body fat. Choose from protein-rich egg whites, low-fat dairy foods, seafood, skinless poultry, lean meats, soy products, nuts, seeds and legumes.
- University of Washington: Weight Management
- The Ochsner Journal: Exercise Aspects of Obesity Treatment
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults
- Journal of Obesity: The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- The Journal of Nutrition: Single-protein Casein and Gelatin Diets Affect Energy Expenditure Similarly but Substrate Balance and Appetite Differently in Adults
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