Lose Fat, Not Weight
Believe it or not, a thin person can still have a high body fat percentage. The more lean muscle mass you carry, the less body fat you have. If you’re trying to prevent the wiggle under your arm when you wave or lose that last layer of fat from your abdominal muscles, increase muscle first.
After you’ve built up your lean muscle mass, you can lose the body fat through diet and exercise.
How Big is Your Spare Tire?
You can go out and buy one of those expensive scales that measure your body fat percentage, but the easiest way to do this is simply by going into your gym or local city recreation center. Ask a trainer there to measure you with calipers.
Women, don’t fret. Females have a higher body fat percentage than men. A healthy woman ranges from 14 to 24 percent while healthy men range from eight to 20 percent.
Intervals are Key
Sprinters have the lowest body fat percentages of almost any athlete for a reason. Every time you mix up high intensity bursts with active recovery you will get the benefit of aerobic and anaerobic training in one session. You can do this a number of different ways, but the treadmill is probably easiest.
Plan to train for 25 minutes. Warm up for the first five minutes, then switch between sprinting or running fast with walking or jogging every other minute or two. If you’re able to do it longer than 25 or 30 minutes you need to crank up the intensity a little.
The Bodybuilder’s Approach
Competitive bodybuilders have a very specific diet that helps them lose their body fat slowly without compromising their muscle mass. Bodybuilders also increase their protein to support muscles. They simply utilize carbohydrates at a very low level while they are cutting fat. To mimic this approach, limit your carbohydrate intake by eating them only just before or after training to promote intensity and recovery.
Also, carbohydrates should be limited to vegetables and very small amounts of fruit, whole grain rice or whole wheat pasta. Remember to eat monounsaturated fat found in avocados and olive oil. Fat should account for 15 to 20 percent of your daily caloric intake.
Don’t Go for the Gimmicks
Decreasing body fat isn’t an overnight effort. While it is may be beneficial to supplement with protein powders, anything stimulating will compromise your sleep and natural recovery cycles. Instead, spend your enthusiasm on short term goals and pre-plan your training and menus. Keep things written down and get yourself measured every two weeks to keep motivated.