Blend Your Smoothies Longer
Research from Penn State University shows that blending a smoothie longer leads to increased incorporation of air and a larger-sized muscle shake. Drinking the larger sized (but same calorie) shake for breakfast led men in the study to eat 12% fewer calories at lunch.
Keep on with Creatine
Some people drop creatine from their supplement stack when dieting to «drop water weight.» Bad idea. The water weight that you gain is intramuscular water, not subcutaneous water (water in the space between your muscles and skin). It will help drive strength gains despite your calories being low, which could lead to greater calorie burn and more fat loss.
Supplement with L-Theanine
Low calories, lots of training, and thermogenics can cause sympathetic nervous system overload—putting you on edge and making you jittery. L-theanine—a unique amino acid found in tea—has a neurological calming effect, without taking away from any of the benefits of stimulants.
Sometimes you just need to take a moment to breathe in and breathe out. Deep diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to decrease levels of exercise-induced oxidative stress in athletes. Emphasizing a long exhale stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and further aids in the recovery process.
Eat Fewer Meals
Eating 6-7 times per day while dieting isn’t a smart move. Research from the University of Missouri shows that the size of your meal—not how often you eat—is a more powerful driver of satiety. Instead of eating like a rabbit 7 times a day, eat like a king 3-4 times.
Stay Active with Aerobic Conditioning
Don’t dismiss the importance of steady-state cardio. High-intensity sprinting and intervals are great for calorie burning but, when it comes to improving your overall fitness levels, aerobic work could be the answer. Maintaining a steady intensity for an extended period of time—think 45-60 minutes of work at a heart rate of 130-140 beats per minute—strengthens your hearts ability to pump blood so that you can train harder and recover better.
Focus on Your Actions
Unfortunate newsflash: You really have no control over the rate at which you lose fat. There are a lot of different individual metabolic and environmental factors at play and, as of yet, we don’t fully understand them all. Don’t get obsessed with losing 1-2 pounds a week. Instead, focus on actions that are under your control. Stick to your diet and training plan, focus on being consistent, and train with intensity. Train hard, eat right, and the fat loss will come.
Plan for the Worst
Being optimistic is great but, when it comes to fitness, being realistic is better. Always have a backup plan. Don’t focus on how awesome your diet and training regimen is; instead, try to figure out when it will fail. Determining sticking points ahead of time (when you would skip a workout, in what situation you won’t have the food you need) is a proven strategy for increased success. Plan for the worst so that, when it happens, you’ll be ready.
Indulge Without Gorging
Restricting your dietary options—and categorizing everything into «good» and «bad» foods—works in the short term but is a terrible long-term strategy. Instead of eliminating entire food groups from your diet—and running the risk of binging later—find a way to enjoy the foods you like in moderation. Take the «if it fits your macros» (IIFYM) route and eat treats in the context of your diet.
Sleep Like a Baby
Fat loss is usually an adventure of more—more dieting, more training, and more cardio. One thing that’s continually left off of the list: more sleep. Cutting down on your sleep is a nightmare for fat loss. When you sleep poorly or too little, fat-loss and hunger hormones are kept from doing their thing, making your fat-loss efforts more challenging. Avoid this by getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Lift with a Consistent Tempo
Metabolic training is often synonymous with fast lifting. That refers more to your rest periods than your lifting tempo, however. Keep a controlled and deliberate tempo when lifting. As opposed to just leaving you winded, a consistent tempo creates greater metabolic stress, which leads to better body composition changes.