How to Burn Fat (as a Vegan or Not)
"Losing fat and toning up" is easily the # most common goal I hear from my prospective clients.
Personally, I've spent more time in my fitness career building muscle vs losing fat, but both are separate, yet equally important components of getting that body you want! You gotta build the muscle to be strong and look "toned," but then chisel away the fat so you see the fruits of your labor, AKA the lines and definition you want.
When you're new to lifting or working out, you can see relatively fast muscle gains, which is exciting, but often when it comes time to shed that body fat, results can be frustratingly slow. And that's okay! Fitness is a long game thing. You gotta have patience galore when it comes to both building and trimming down. If you're in a huge rush to burn fat, I'll tell you right now this ain't the post for you.
There's simply no way to burn fat fast that's both legit and safe. Same goes for building muscle.
The rule of thumb I abide by is to lose around 1-2 lbs per week, max. Meaning 8 lbs ish per month should be about as fast as you wanna go - anything beyond that and it won't be the healthiest on your body or the most sustainable (meaning you'll prob starve yourself or do dumb shit to get there, and end up boomeranging right back.)
If you're looking to slowly, safety burn fat though, here are my tips, from most crucial at the top, to less big-picture, but still super-important at the bottom.
Insert standard disclaimers here that everybody's body is different and responds differently - but it's true! These are things that have worked for me, and are universally good tips, but everyone's body responds differently, meaning your fat-loss may happen quicker or slower than mine, and one of these tips may be the thing you implement that seems like the magic key that change the game. There is no magic key though, truly, so I suggest using all these tips for the ultimate in healthy fat loss!
1. Be in a caloric deficit. Plain and simple, the king of all weight loss is eating less than you burn. Use a meal plan like the ones I provide or an online calculator from a reputable source to calculate your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and then your goal calories you should consume if you want to lose weight. No going under 1200..that's a starvation diet. See point #4.
2. Obviously, move yo body! When I switch from bulking to losing fat, I add in extra calories (in addition to cutting my calories.) Whether you choose HIIT or steady state (like walking,) just move!
3. And move more outside the gym, too. If you lift heavy and do cardio daily, that's awesome, but if you've been doing that a while, or you're sitting the rest of the day, it's not enough. Most of us don't have active jobs, so if you're at a desk lots or on the couch, add in other sessions of cardio, like walking the dog several times or taking multiple short walks (i'm adding one in the AM and then a daily PM walk too, outside of my gym time!) We can't sit all day and fix that with a 30 minute workout!
4. DON'T starve yourself. Sounds counterintuive, but if you lower your calories too much and start starving your body, you can actually shoot your weight loss in the foot. Our bodies are great at adjusting and wants homeostasis. This means, it can adjust to a low calorie diet and stop losing weight after a while. In fact, your body may cling to calories it does get, because your calories are so low your body isn't sure when it's next meal will come. AKA, sometimes if you're stuck, adding in a few hundred more calories a day may shift things.
5. Sleep, a LOT. Our bodies recover from workouts and burn fat not while we're working out, but while we're sleeping. I noticed a HUGE difference in my fat loss when I bumped up my sleep to 9 hours a night vs 7. Everyone's needs are different, but no one thrives on 5-6 hours a night, so don't kid yourself. Sleep more, weigh less!
6. Drink a LOT of water. Water keeps everything working as it should, metabolism and fat burning included. I drink at least a gallon a day, year round, and notice a big difference when I skimp. Your minimum goal should be half your body weight lbs, in ounces.
7. Lower stress. Along with lack of sleep, stress causes us to hang onto fat. So if you're stressed about your job, relationships, your bills, literally anything, it's causing your body to hold onto cortisol which hinders fat burning. I suggest meditation, gratitude journaling, listening to music that makes you happy, time with friends, time in the sunshine - whatever makes you feel happy!
8. Stop obsessing over the scale. At the leanest I've ever been in my life, I weighted actually more than I did when I looked "skinny fat." AKA, you've heard before, but the scale ain't everything. It can be a good guide, but if you're obsessive over a matter of a few pounds, it's time to hide it in the closet and go by other more-telling signs, like how you look in photos and how your clothes fit.
9. Pay attention to sensitivities. For me, I blow up and hold onto water weight when I eat a soy. I've noticed this time and time again and so when I'm prepping for a show, it has to go. Gluten causes many of issues with us too, so pay attention to that. You can get a food allergy test if you wanna be sure, but I just go by how I feel. I'll have gluten sparingly but it has to be organic, and soy goes completely and I notice lots of bloating improve immediately.
Hope these tips were helpful!
Let me know in a comment below - what are you fat loss goals? 5-10 lbs? 10-20 lbs? 20-40 lbs? 40 +? Either way, or if you're more interested in muscle gains, I'm here to help!
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