Nutrition 101: Burn Fat Fast

Everyone wants to have that perfect beach body, but most people aren’t willing to work for it. This series of posts will be about how changing up your diet and learning a bit about nutrition can help you reach your goal to lose that extra fat, regardless if you hit the weights or not. In this post, I’ll briefly describe the three basic nutrients you should have in your diet, the importance of water in your diet, how many meals you should be eating a day, counting calories, and a few other tips on how to burn fat. I’ll also be writing a separate post on each specific nutrient on how and when they should be incorporated into your daily diet and a sample 2 week diet plan. Whether you’re a bodybuilder or a couch potato, educating yourself more on nutrition can only be beneficial to you in the long run, especially if you’re looking to burn off some extra fat during the summer months.

1. Counting Calories- This is probably the number one mistake that people make. Most people assume that the less calories you take in, means the healthier and skinnier you’ll get. I’m not saying to go out and eat 10,000 calories a day but don’t assume because you take in 1,500 calories daily that you’re gonna burn fat. It’s okay to have a high intake of calories, as long as they come from foods that provide the three basic nutrients i’ll be talking about later on in this post. If your eating a big mac and french fries that hypothetically comes out to 1,000 calories and someone else eats the same amount of calories in foods such as steak, sweet potato and vegetables, chances are that person won’t gain as much fat because of the protein/carb/fat ratio in the foods. In order to calculate the amount of calories you should take in per day in order to lose fat you have to first calculate your BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate). The formula for that is…

Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )

Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year ).

Now in order to calculate the amount of calories you need to take in in order to stay at the same weight you must multiple your BMR by a number determined by your level of activity.

  • If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  • If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  • If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  • If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  • If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

The final number is how many calories you must take in to REMAIN at your CURRENT WEIGHT. In order to lose weight, or burn fat you must take in fewer calories than this number tells you to. I suggest 500 calories less, because 3,500 calories = 1 pound of fat. So if you reduce this number by 500 calories, you will be losing 1 pound of fat per week. Feel free to up it to 1,000 calories less if your intake is at 3,000 calories are more.

2. How many meals a day should I eat?- This is another common mistake that people make in regards to burning fat to cut up your muscles or to lose weight. The answer is 4-6 small meals a day! If you aren’t very active and don’t want to hit the gym I suggest to keep this closer to 4 meals but if you’re a gym rat you can easily inhale 6 meals a day and still burn fat while your building muscle. Reason is, at least 1 if not 2 of those meals should involve a protein shake with something small on the side like half a banana. 4-6 meals does not mean to visit the buffet 5 times a day. No excuses either, I understand people work or go to school and this is sometimes hard to accomplish, but you should be able to get at least 4 or 5 meals in, especially if 1 or 2 involve a protein shake. Eating small meals spread throughout the day puts your metabolism into overdrive and helps you to burn more calories than eating 3 big meals does. Depending on your daily calorie calculation you’ll most likely be eating more than normal and burning more fat at the same time.

3. Water, Water, and More Water- I can not emphasize enough how important it is to drink water when your dieting. Water is an essential nutrient for someone who is looking to burn off extra fat and it constitutes 72 percent of muscles. So for all of you bodybuilders out there you know it’s an important thing to have in your system to make your muscles look fuller. And for anyone who wants to lose that beer belly, try chugging waters and leave the beers in the fridge. Water contains no calories so you can have as much as you want, and if you drink all day it’ll keep you full and not make you want to crave snacks to cheat your diet.

4. Protein/Carbs/Fats- These are the three macronutrients that I will go into depth about in my next few posts. Protein provides the building blocks for muscle tissue and is involved in the structure of skin, bones, and tendons. Carbohydrates are fuel for energy. Carbs are the gasoline that keeps your engine going. They are made up of more complex and less complex sugar and starch molecules. Fat (or oil), is the nutrient that contains the most densely packed energy stores. I’ll be dedicating a post to each of these so you can understand what each is used for, examples of healthy foods for each, and when you should be eating these foods so that they’ll be used most efficiently. These three nutrients will make up your diet, and you should have a ratio of 40/40/20 in your diet. This means 40 percent of your diet is made up of protein and carbs and 20 percent of your diet made up of dietary fats.

5. Run!- This is the most useful tip I can give you while you’re looking to cut up or lose weight. If your true to your diet and really trying you might as well go a little further and get on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day. Cardio gets your heart pumping and your metabolism will sky-rocket which means you’ll be burning even more calories. The most important thing when doing cardio is to remember it ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE EASY. Don’t get on a treadmill and walk for 30 minutes. Make sure your running, and try to beat your distance from the previous day in that 30 minutes.

That wraps it up for this post, so please leave any comments, questions, or thoughts below in the comment box! If you comment, you should get an email the next time I post on here. I’ll be writing a post for protein next, with carbs, fats, and a 2 week diet program example following that to complete this series.

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