Endless cardio just won’t cut it if your goal is to strip bodyfat to reveal a lean physique. In fact, training of any kind comes second to a serious look at diet. Most of us don’t eat enough protein and, conversely, eat too many carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, particularly high GI, processed, packaged foods spike insulin levels encouraging the body to store bodyfat. If you struggle with bodyfat on your torso, stomach, hips or lower back, this may be the culprit. Here are our top five tips for cutting bodyfat, in order of importance:
1. Carbohydrates. Take a proper look at the amount of carbohydrates you eat and aim to cut out processed, man-made foods. Prioritise carbohydrates from a variety of vegetables (limitless) and some fruit. Eat good natural carbs, like oats, brown rice (if you tolerate grains), quinoa, sweet and white potatoes, but stick them before and after training when your body needs the fast energy.
2. Boost the amount of protein in your diet. Most of us simply don’t get enough to build and support lean muscle growth. Look to natural sources like lean red meats, turkey, chicken, tuna and other fish and invest in a quality whey, casein, hemp, pea or goat protein powder. These supplements are invaluable when you need to grab protein on the go and are a great way to get protein and a little carbohydrates into your system in the critical post-training window of opportunity.
3. Lift heavy. If you don’t already, it’s time to start lifting weights. Men, women, young, old, we should all be challenging our bodies by lifting free weights. Prioritise the classic big lifts: deadlifts, squats, bench press, shoulder press, clean and press. Just make sure you get someone knowledgeable to show you the ropes, as good form is imperative. Lift weights which only allow you to perform 8-12 repetitions with good form for 2-3 sets. That’s how heavy it needs to be to shed bodyfat.
4. Intervals are the new cardio. Long slow cardio can be great for your mind but does little for your metabolism and there are better options out there for shedding bodyfat. Burn calories and spike your fat-burning furnace by performing intervals at a high intensity. These can be running, hill repetitions, intervals on CV machine or circuits with body weight. The important thing is to work as hard as possible, recover, and then go again.
5. Work hard, rest harder. You can train and eat as well as you like but if you don’t rest, relax and sleep, you won’t give your muscles the chance to grow, and it’s muscle tissue which will lead to the shedding of bodyfat. If you struggle to sleep, try a ZMA supplement. Work hard, eat to recover, and then get your sleep. You’ve earned it.