How to Burn Fat: Reduce Body Fat Fast
If you want to be shredded for summer, you know it’s all about burning body fat to get lean. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on how to lose body fat quickly but safely. Before you crack on, read this.
Is Getting Lean The Right Goal For You?
Fitness fans around the world are constantly considering how to lose body fat. Whether it’s for a shoot, a show, or a special occasion, losing body fat is an ideal goal. But is it right for you right now?
The fundamentals of losing body fat are rather simple; it may even seem like a mathematical formula. Don’t forget that you’re a human, not a computer, and humans have emotions and stress to contend with.
Before you start your fat loss phase, run a quick life audit and consider your lifestyle. Are you surrounded by supportive friends? Are your daily routines in check? Is life stress relatively low? Can you separate your self-worth from your body composition?
The process of losing body fat is a process that you need to commit to – it’s not all about an end goal.
What Is Body Fat And Why Is It Important?
It is unrealistic and impossible to achieve 0% body fat due to our bodies requiring a healthy amount of fat in order for us to stay alive.
When considering fat loss it is important to keep the concept of healthy fats in mind. It may not be a good idea to set an arbitrary body fat % goal when starting to lose body fat, you need to be realistic and remember that your body needs fat in order to stay healthy.
Many people forget that there is a big difference between losing weight and losing body fat.In order to lose weight you just need to see the scale go down. A decrease in physical weight could mean weight loss from fat, however this could also be affected by muscle, water food volume or other variables.
If you want to get leaner this year, your aim should be to lose body fat and obtain muscle mass.
Why Is Some Body Fat Healthy?
Body fat is necessary for:
- Balancing hormone levels
- Storing vitamins from food
- Regulating body temperature
- Good reproductive health
- Brain and nerve function
- Maintaining a healthy metabolic rate
What Is The Different Between Essential Fat, Subcutaneous Fat, And Visceral Fat?
Body fat is a type of tissue in the body and there are three main types of this fat: essential fat, subcutaneous fat (which is stored under the skin) and visceral fat which is located around the organs.
Essential fat can be found in the nerves, brain, bone marrow and membranes around your organs. As the name might suggest, this type of fat is essential to both your life and your health.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat we refer to when we use the term “body fat percentage” and it is the body fat you should aim to lose if you are hoping to get lean. When you lose this type of fat you become slimmer, drop dress sizes and look tighter.
Visceral fat is internal fat that is located inside your abdomen and around major organs like the liver, kidneys, heart and pancreas. High amounts of visceral fat can cause significant health problems such as an increased risk of strokes, heart disease, type two diabetes and some types of cancers.
What Is A Healthy Body Fat Percentage?
Now you know that you need to lose some essential and subcutaneous fats in order to become leaner. But how much body fat is healthy for men and women to lose?
Healthy body fat ranges can change throughout the different stages of life: what is healthy for you now will not be the same in ten or twenty years’ time.
Body fat recommendations are also likely to differ between the sexes as female bodies require more body fat for ovulation and will also have body fat increase in breast tissue.
Healthy body fat for women:
Age 20-39 – 21%-33%
Age 40-59 – 24%-34%
Age 50-79 – 25% – 36%
Healthy body fat for men:
Age 20-39 – 8%-20%
Age 40-59 – 11% – 22%
Age 50-79 – 13% – 25%
What Body Fat Percentage For Visible Abs?
In their attempts to lose weight, many people tend to set visible goals to measure the success of their fat loss phase. We believe this isn’t the best way to measure success. For one thing, some people have more developed abdominal muscles than others. And what does “visible abs” mean, anyway?
If you are truly looking to become leaner, you need to aim to get your body fat percentage into the lower half of the “healthy range” for your age group.
Measuring Body Fat
There are many ways to measure body fat and some of these are more accurate than others. Some methods will require the skills of a qualified practitioner or a specialist facility. It is important to choose a method that fits your lifestyle.
Callipers are the easiest way to measure subcutaneous body fat loss and can be reliable when done by an experienced person. It’s pretty difficult to use callipers on yourself with any accuracy. Callipers measure skinfolds at 3 or 7 sites on your body (the triceps, above the hip bone, thigh, abdomen, chest, near the armpit and beneath the shoulder blade are also measured).
Advantages: affordable, quick, portable
Disadvantages: requires experience to be accurate
Underwater weighing compares your weight on dry land to your weight underwater to estimate your body fat percentage.
Advantages: quick and accurate
Disadvantages: lack of availability, impractical
DEXA (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) Scan
DEXA is an accurate way of measuring body fat and gives you very detailed information about the amount of body fat in different areas of your body. But it does involve an X-ray and obviously means you have to travel to a facility that has a DEXA machine.
Advantages: accurate and detailed, also gives information about bone density
Disadvantages: lack of availability, cost
The Bod Pod uses Bottom of Form air displacement plethysmography to estimate body fat percentage based on your body density against air pressure. It involves sitting inside a small chamber (wearing a swimming cap) for a few minutes.
Advantages: accurate, pretty quick, no water involved
Disadvantages: lack of availability, cost
Bioelectrical impedance places electrodes on your skin and sends small electrical currents into your body. How the currents pass through different tissues gives the body fat reading. There are various types of bioelectrical impedance devices available.
Advantages: Quick and easy, can be used at home
Disadvantages: huge variation in accuracy, fluid intake affects readings
Top Ways to Lose Body Fat Quickly and Healthily
As you may well know, a calorie deficit is the most important part of losing fat. But there’s much more to it than that. How should you eat to lose fat? Which workouts help you to lose body fat? Is diet or exercise more important?
Fat loss workouts
So what are the best gym workouts for getting lean? Well, there’s no such thing as a fat loss workout however strength training will certainly help you maintain muscle and develop a great shape.
This 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of diet, exercise, or diet + exercise concluded approaches combining diet and exercise were more successful than diet alone. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4429709/
You should aim to do some kind of resistance training at least three times a week. This could be free weights, functional fitness, CrossFit, bodybuilding style training or using strength training machines.
You need to ensure that you train all of the major muscle groups during the week. A great way to do this is to include squats, hip hinges, vertical and horizontal press, vertical pull and horizontal row movements.
Learn more about how our pre workout or post workout supplements can aid your training.
Cardio for fat loss
Is it possible to lose body fat without doing cardio? Yes, it is possible but aerobic exercises including rowing, running or cycling will make it easier for you to get lean. Cardio workouts don’t have a special fat burning magic, but they do use calories and increase the total amount of calories you burn during the day.
To be successful, you need to pick the cardio exercise that you enjoy the most and that can easily fit into your lifestyle. If you love running then going for a quick run in the morning or at the gym could be the key for you. You may even like the idea of going for fast walks in the evening. Whatever the case, choose something that will get your heart rate up and increase the calories you burn throughout the day.
The most important thing you can do to lose fat is to keep your training manageable. You need to be eating a slight calorie deficit so make sure that you can recover from training and keep your appetite in balance.
Nutrition for fat loss
Energy output (calorie burning through exercise and activity) is important for fat loss. However, diet and nutrition is even more important. If you are eating more than your body needs, you simply will not be able to lose fat. So you could train twice a day and do two or more hours of cardio but you still won’t get lean if you are eating excess calories.
If you are in the fat loss phase, the very first thing you need to do is figure out the number of calories you need to eat. This figure needs to be based on your current basic metabolic rate (BMR), activity levels and total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). In order to do this you can use an online calculator like this: https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
In order to lose fat, you need to eat less than the number that is generated, but its up to you how much less you eat. If you need to lose fat quickly you will need to have a larger calorie deficit. If you have time (or an open-ended goal), you can afford to use a smaller deficit.
The best diet for fat loss
There is no such thing as fat burning foods. Low carb, intermittent fasting, vegan, and strict meal plans may all help you lose fat. But the key with all of them is that you are able to get in a calorie deficit and be consistent with it.
It’s common sense to limit processed foods and fill your diet with as much nutrient-dense food as possible because this type of natural food won’t use up all your calorie allowance. Imagine if you tried to lose fat eating ice cream and chips. You could do it, but you wouldn’t be able to eat much food at all.
On the other hand, if you fill your diet with lean protein, vegetables, whole grains, and some healthy fats, you’ll be able to eat much more food by volume. And that will keep your mind and your stomach happy!
Protein is an important part of your fat loss nutrition plan. Protein only contains 4 calories per gram, it is the most satiating macronutrient, and it builds muscle – which will help you with your body transformation.
Start losing fat
If you’re fired up to start getting leaner, figure out your starting fat loss calories and work out how long you want to diet for. Then decide how you will manage the “calorie burn” side of the equation. Do you want to do formal cardio or HIIT-style workouts? Would you rather increase your step count? Or do you have a really active lifestyle?
Plan out some healthy, filling meals that help you stay within a calorie deficit. Start tracking your calorie intake (or at least your food portions) so you know what’s working and what needs to change.
Tell a good friend, partner, or training buddy about your exciting new goal. Then get ready to buckle up and head into your fat loss phase. Just in time for summer!