Ask the Expert: How Do I Lose Weight Fast?

Being a personal trainer and having been a natural bodybuilder for years, the question people ask me most is how to lose weight — often, it’s specifically how to lose weight fast. Although there are some basic, common-sense guidelines for weight loss, everyone is working from a different starting point and with different circumstances including health history, genetics and personal weight loss motivation. It’s sometimes hard to hear, but weight loss success stories typically include equal parts exercise and attention to diet. If you can get past what you wish were true about weight loss programs and get motivated to put effective weight loss tips to work, the outcome will be guaranteed weight loss.

Diet and Exercise: the Power Couple of the Best Weight Loss Program

Those who aren’t partial to working out want to do it all through diet, and those who love their food hope for significant weight loss through exercise alone. Either approach will bring results, but when you incorporate both together, those results will be even quicker and more significant, and it will be a healthy weight loss that will last.

Avoiding the Hunger Games

Drinking water before, during, and after your workout will help fight hunger.

Your body is used to doing its normal thing using a certain number of calories. When you up your calorie burn with exercise, be prepared for your appetite to increase when you first start working out. To avoid the urge to binge after working out, make sure to fuel up ahead of time by eating a full, protein-packed meal about 2 hours before your work out. If you don’t have time for a big meal, the American Council on Exercise recommends having a light snack that includes both carbs and protein about 30 minutes before exercising. Other useful tips for avoiding hunger when dieting include chewing gum, drinking water, and brushing your teeth immediately after eating.

A Healthy Weight Loss Diet

Track calories to ensure you’re burning more than you’re eating. Image by via Kevin Simmons/Flickr

To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in, and it helps if those are healthy calories. Start keeping track of how many calories you eat each day. MyFitnessPal has a calorie counter along with an extensive library of the calorie content of different foods. The good news is that successful diet plans are less about depriving yourself and more about portion control and when you eat. Most people will benefit from small adjustments to their diet such as increasing protein, switching to skim milk, and not eating after 6 pm (or at least getting a 12 to 14-hour fast between your last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day). As for calories, the free extreme weight loss diet from TargitFit runs around 1200 calories, which may be perfect for kick-starting weight loss, but might not be optimal for some people. To make sure you’re getting enough calories for your specific situation, you can figure the best calorie intake for weight loss using this formula:

your current weight x 15 – 500=optimal calories you need to lose weight

This calculation allows for a healthy maintainable weight loss of about 1 lb per week. Increase the “500” in the formula to 750 or 1000 for more rapid weight loss, or eliminate it entirely for the number of calories you need for weight maintenance.

Working Out for Weight Loss

Jen working out

Resistance training increases your fat-burning capabilities.

Taking an aerobics class or hitting the treadmill for 30 to 45 minutes three or four times a week will burn fat and keep your cardiovascular system in top condition. You can do more, though. Building muscle with resistance training will enhance your body’s fat-burning and weight loss capabilities because muscle is metabolically active. According to ShapeFit, every pound of muscle you put on will burn an extra six calories each day. So, let’s say your weight stays the same, but you replace 3 lbs of fat with 3 lbs of muscle. That’s an extra 126 calories you’ll burn every week without doing anything. That’s a nice payoff for time spent on the TargitFit Trainer or other resistance training program.


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