We all know that eating and exercise habits are crucial in determining our weight and health, but there are many non-diet and gym-related changes we can make to significantly boost our weight loss efforts. Here are five simple, yet incredibly effective strategies that you can implement into your life.
1. Stand up.
We sit way too much. We sit at work all day, we sit in our cars to and from work and we sit on the couch when we get home.
Here’s the major problem with sitting for prolonged periods: Your glutes hibernate, your posture deteriorates and studies show it can lead to increased blood pressure, decreased metabolism, high blood sugar and increased belly fat. While we can’t always control our commute time or desk time, there are a lot of things you can do to decrease your sitting time.
Standing desks are a great option for sitting less throughout the day. Though simply getting up and stretching every 30 minutes or so can also help to reduce the metabolism-killing effects of the sedentary work day. Research shows that breaking up your sedentary time is positively associated with healthier waist circumferences, body mass index, triglycerides and blood sugar. A short two-minute standing and moving break every half hour will not only help your body, but your productivity and focus, as well.
2. Turn off the TV.
When you come home from a long day at work, most of us just want to turn on the TV and kick our feet up. This is totally natural— we need a way to decompress and relieve ourselves of the stresses of the day.
Coming home and popping on the TV could be ruining your waistline and all the hard work you put into your diet and workouts. One episode turns into three very quickly and next thing you know it’s time for bed. So, set limits on your TV time and stick to them. Make physical activity a part of your decompression from work. Take a walk, go to the park, go for a bike ride — it doesn’t matter. Just add some activity to your evenings.
3. Be strategic at the gym.
Here are two different workout methods/styles you can easily incorporate into your workouts to burn more fat:
Compound lifts: Lifts that work more than one muscle group with movement at more than one joint. Compound lifts like squats or deadlifts are great to try. These exercises burn more fat and result in better strength increases than isolated, single-joint exercises like bicep curls.
High intensity interval training (HIIT): Also known as short rounds of high-intensity exercise followed by short periods of recovery; this exercise method may be more effective than steady-state cardio for fat loss.
4. Prioritize your sleep.
Getting a proper amount of sleep each night is critical for maintaining a healthy metabolism. Sleep contributes to your body’s natural maintenance of hormones, body mass and energy.
Just one night of sleep deprivation can cause you to crave more fattening foods while limiting your brain’s more rational, decision-making center. In addition, studies show that not getting enough sleep can also cause elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels in your system. This can cause a decrease in metabolism, a pudgy belly and little results from proper nutrition and exercise.
5. Walk more.
Let’s say you work out for one hour, three days a week and average seven hours of sleep a night. This would means that you only use 2.5% of your waking hours for exercise. So the question becomes, what are you doing the other 97.5% of the time?
If your goal is to burn more fat and keep the inches off your waistline, you must move more regularly outside of the gym. This means taking the stairs instead of the escalator, walking or biking for short trips around town and generally being more active.
We all know where we can make healthier decisions in our lives that will ultimately help us attain our physique goals. As always it comes down to implementation and following through. Extreme lifestyle changes rarely result in sustainable long-term results. I recommend starting with small changes throughout your day. Over time you’ll notice greater benefits in your lifestyle, and your waistline will thank you for it.