If you’re reading this, you’ve probably undergone a successful weight loss effort, but need a little help trying to figure out how to get rid of those last few pounds. Or maybe you’re just trying to educate and prepare yourself for when the time comes. The truth is, great progress can be made at the beginning of a new fitness program, but the drastic body transformations start to slow down as there is less body fat to lose.
Figuring out how to lose those last 10 pounds can be just as difficult as losing the previous 50. If you need some ideas for losing that last little bit of body fat, implementing one or more of the following tips can help you reach your goal.
Increase Activity Levels
I don’t like to increase workout frequency any more than what’s necessary, but extending your cardio sessions or adding in some interval training can help push you over the top. In addition, just getting out and being more active can burn just enough extra calories to get your progress moving forward again.
Lower Your Carbohydrates
Nearly every competitive figure athlete/bodybuilder implements some sort of carbohydrate restriction over the course of their fat loss. Try dropping your carbohydrate intake down a bit. Don’t go too low though. You want to make sure you still have enough energy for your strength training. Drop it by 25-50 grams/day and see how that goes.
Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can be an effective strategy for losing the last 10 pounds. I don’t really like the name because the word “fasting” conjures up all kinds of unhealthy food restriction images. Intermittent fasting is simply the process of moving your food intake to within a smaller eating window. For example, you can undergo a 16/8, 18/6, 20/4 fasting schedule, where the first number is the number of hours your don’t eat, and the second number is the number of consecutive hours you do eat. Don’t change your calorie intake or food choices. Just move all your calories to within your eating window.
Remove Dirty Cheats
Cheat meals are a great thing. They can be implemented as part of a healthy lifestyle and still be beneficial. Sometimes though, they can inhibit progress if not used correctly. Getting rid of the dirty cheat meals in favor of a healthy carb-up could be just what you need. Try to find creative whole food alternatives that are still delicious enough to satisfy your psychological cravings, and will still provide you with the physiological benefits of a cheat meal.
Cycle Your Calories
Most people that undergo weight loss input their numbers in a calorie calculator, determine how much weight they want to lose every week, and then set their daily calories at that amount. There’s no need to keep your calories consistently the same day in and day out. Weight loss is not a day to day event. It is a cumulative effect over the course of time. Look at your calorie intake over the course of a week. Try changing your daily calorie intake so that you have low, medium, and high calorie days – with your total calories still creating a deficit over the course of a week.
Implement Nutrient Timing
Did you know that when you eat certain macronutrients can have an impact on your body composition? By eating certain macronutrients at certain times, you can manipulate your natural hormones to better compliment you fat loss efforts. One of the most effective methods of nutrient timing is moving your carbohydrate intake to around your workouts. Try having carbs in only your pre and/or post-workout meals, and have protein/fat/veggie meals the rest of the day. Doing so will keep your insulin levels low – providing a good metabolic environment for fatty acid mobilization, while at the same time still giving you the glucose necessary to fuel high-intensity exercise.
Remove All Sources of Sugar
Sugar, even it its whole food form, can work against your fat loss efforts. Fruit and dairy, which can usually be included as part of a healthy lifestyle, can also cause issues if eaten in large amounts. If your weight loss has plateaued, and you’re still trying to figure out how to get your weight loss moving again, cutting back on all sources of sugar could be just what you need.
Try Fasted Cardio
Not everyone is a morning workout person. However, doing cardio on an empty stomach has shown to be an effective method for losing body fat. The combination of low insulin, low blood glucose levels, and exercise has the potential to burn more body fat, as well as teach your body to use fatty acids more efficiently.