If there is one thing that I have learned as a fighter it’s how to lose weight. Unfortunately, just like learning how to fight, there is no easy way to go about it. Losing weight takes a lot of discipline and hard work. The good news is it gets easier with time and experience, and there are definitely some tricks that will help you along your journey. What I have compiled here are some of my favorite techniques that I advise fighters, athletes or anyone just looking to live healthier and lose weight.
1. DRINK MORE WATER
Increasing your daily water intake helps you lose weight, plus improves your overall appearance by keeping your skin looking its best. Staying hydrated not only helps get rid of those unwanted, pesky pounds; it also curbs your cravings. When you are dehydrated, the body believes you need to eat when you really need liquid intake. Lack of fluids sends mixed signals to the brain and causes you to believe you are hungry. It is recommended to drink 64oz of water every day, but I tend to drink more during days of strenuous workouts. Personally, I find the best results during the days where I drink close to a gallon of water a day. Splitting the gallon into 32oz and spreading them into 4 servings a day, helps me achieve my daily water intake goal.
2. MINIMIZE YOUR SUGAR CONSUMPTION (SUGAR IS THE DEVIL)
I personally find this one to be the hardest (I have an incredibly huge sweet tooth) one to accomplish but by far the most rewarding for losing weight! Sugar is essentially simple carbohydrates and excess carbohydrates turn into fat. Another reason it is so difficult to lower your sugar intake is because a lot of food is secretly loaded with added sugar. Bread, dressings, condiments, cereals, yogurts, you name it – a lot of foods have added sugar. Do yourself a favor and check the nutritional facts on the packages of your favorite brands and avoid the added sugar. A good rule-of-thumb is to cook your food from scratch. This will ensure you have complete control of what goes into your meal.
3. STOP DRINKING SODA
This goes in hand with tip number two. Soda contains huge amounts of sugar and those calories add up quickly. As a matter of fact, do away with all drinks that contain sugar – yes, including fruit juice and fancy coffees from cafés. It is way easier to drink your calories than it is to eat them. Try your best to stick to mostly water. I know things can get a little boring, so what helps me is to add a little lemon to my water, or you can try infusing your water with cucumbers, mint, or basil. Trust me, some infused water works miracles on the pallet.
4. EXERCISE DAILY TO LOSE WEIGHT
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but in today’s hectic lifestyle, we are constantly on the go, and it is easy to forget or just not have enough time to get your daily exercise in. But guess what, that is no excuse. Constancy is key! This is not a 100-meter dash. It is a marathon and you have to keep on moving every day. It does not matter if you just have 10 minutes of free time. Get it done! A lot can be accomplished in a short amount of time. Ideally, going to the gym is best, but realistically you can exercise anywhere, anytime. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and do some push-ups. If you are a truck driver, bust out some squats in between your rest and gas stops. Burpees, jumping jacks, or just dance your butt off, it doesn’t matter. Just get it done daily. Something is definitely always better than nothing when it comes to exercising.
5. INCORPORATE HIIT
High intensity interval training is ideal for maximum calorie burning. In addition, it only takes a few minutes to get great results, so it is perfect for a busy lifestyle. Plus, research shows, HIIT continues to burn calories even after your exercise is done. The calorie burning continues during the course of your day. The goal is to work until you get a 70-90 percent max heart rate then rest to get to about a 60-65 percent heart rate and repeat. You can accomplish this by doing 5 to 10 (depending on your fitness level) sets of 20-30 seconds of sprinting followed by one-minute rests. You can also do a combination of 5 sets of Burpees, Jump Squats and Jumping Jacks for three minutes and then rest for one minute. Or, you can try some sets of shadow boxing for 3 minutes and resting one minute. I especially recommend HIIT to people who don’t like to run. Studies show, 15 minutes of HIIT burns the same or even more calories than a 30-minute session of steady pace running. The possibilities are endless. Just remember, when it comes to HIIT, the duration is not as important as the intensity so work hard!
6. INCORPORATE RESISTANCE TRAINING
Cardio is good but resistance training, like weightlifting, is King! Research shows that resistance training builds lean muscle and the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn during a day, even while at rest. I especially tend to remind women to incorporate resistance training into their workouts because women tend to rely mostly on cardio and aerobic exercises for calorie burning. You’ll be surprised how much more calories you’ll burn during your aerobic exercises after you have built some lean muscle. And don’t worry ladies, believe me, you won’t get too muscular or manly looking if you start lifting weights. It is incredibly difficult for a woman to build as much muscle as a man and to look like one too. Oh and before I forget, when weightlifting, focus on compound movements and your biggest muscle groups like your quads, chest, and shoulders. This will maximize your calorie burning.
7. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
That’s right! Do what is most difficult for you to do. Research shows, calorie burning is maximized when you force your body out of its comfort zone. If you hate water, try swimming. If you are a powerlifter, try yoga. If you are a basketball player, try Olympic-style weightlifting. You get the idea. The body is very resourceful and it adapts very quickly to a routine. Avoid plateauing and continue to maximize calorie burning by getting out of your comfort zone.
Above all, if you take only one thing from this article, let it be this: consistency is key! Stay determined. Stay Disciplined. Don’t give up! Your body will thank you later.