Whenever we start our fitness journey, the most important thing is tipping number on the scales. We are so focused on moving it down that we sometimes lose our sense of proportion. Though, the number on the scales is important in charting our weight loss progress, however, experts recommend that measurement of body fat is just as important, in fact it may give a clearer picture than the scales!
Sure, it is always great to look slim and thin but being thin does not guarantee good health! The key is to lose body fat. With the new mantra of ‘Strong is the new healthy’, many people are now changing their attitudes towards attaining a healthy lifestyle. They are focusing more on losing body fat and then moving the number on the scales.
Here we discuss how you can burn fat efficiently and be strong and healthy!
Determine Your Body Fat Percentage and Set Your Goals!
The first step is to determine your body fat percentage. This gives you a clear picture of how much fat you have. There are different ways of determining your body fat percentage and generally require a few measurements, including your body weight, waist measurement, wrist and hip circumference (for females) and your forearm size at the widest point.
Once you have found out your body fat percentage, you can set a reasonable daily calorie goal for yourself. Yes, it sounds cumbersome but it will surely give you a very clear picture of your current position and the goals you want to set for yourself. If you think this is too much to handle, you can always consult a nutritionist and a dietician to guide you.
Every Calorie Counts!
Losing fat has to be the hardest thing to do but, it is not an unattainable goal. Once you have determined your body fat percentage and set your goal, it is time to focus on the number of daily calories you need. Just like determining body fat percentage requires a formula, there is a formula for determining your calorie needs. This formula takes into account your body weight, your metabolism level and your activity level. Based on the results, you can divide your daily calorie requirement into 5-6 meals a day.
In the beginning, we admit, that it can be very tough counting each and every calorie but, with the passage of time, you will be able to do so without using any chart or jotting down everything in your food journal. Another easy but not-so-accurate approach is to count calories on the basis of a pre-determined portion size such as your palm or fist. However, it is generally recommended that you stick to a regular calorie counting chart to get better results!
Set Your Meal Plan
Once you have figured out your calorie requirements, it is time to get down to food business! Your meal plan should be largely comprised of proteins (50%), followed by 30% of carbs and 20% of fats. In order to lose body fat, the healthy way, it is important that you do not starve yourself and you do not cut back on any of the major food groups.
As far as proteins are concerned, you can indulge in lean red meat, skinless chicken breast, turkey, fish and eggs. Avoid processed meats such as those found in sausages and salami. They are high in salt and nitrates. You can also opt for a home-made protein shake instead of a meal! Remember, when you are working out, you need proteins and carbs so do not cut back on them!
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Carbohydrates have always been considered a bane to all the diets out there! However, keep in mind that in order to lose body fat, you need nutrients. You just can’t starve yourself. When it comes to selecting the right carbohydrates, glycemic index is the most important thing to consider. Always opt for carbs with a low glycemic index. This will give you energy without causing an intense surge in blood glucose levels. Sweet potatoes, yam, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain products, apples, bananas, vegetables and beans are all low glycemic carbs.
It may sound counterintuitive to add 20% of fats in your diet but, your body needs healthy fats to function normally. That said, you can’t stuff your mouth with a burger and fries or a chocolate shake! A handful of mixed, unsalted nuts will do the job. Stick to low-fat cheese, peanut butter, olive oil and canola oil.
Combine Your Diet with Exercise
Combining your diet with exercise is going to give you fast and optimal results. Find what you love doing and stick to it! It can be running, brisk walking, cycling or even dancing to some music in your room. Take out time for yourself and unwind!
Losing Body Fat is Not an Easy Task but, With Sheer Determination, You Can Do It!