Whether you want to lose weight for an upcoming event or get your body beach-ready in record time, you want results fast, don’t you?
If so, good news! Contrary to popular belief, you can slim down in record time without damaging your health or burning away muscle mass.
In this article, you’ll discover 8 evidence-based tips that will allow you to say “Goodbye, gut! Welcome back, flat stomach!” faster than you ever thought possible.
1. Cut the Calories
- You will lose weight if you consume fewer calories than you burn
- You will gain weight if you consume more calories than your burn
Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, did an interesting study to show the importance of calorie balance .
For two months, he ate Little Debbie snacks, Doritos, cakelets, sugary cereals, and other junk food while maintaining a deficit of 800 kcal per day.
As a result, Haub lost 27 pounds and went from 33.4% body fat to 24.9% – a reduction of 8.5% in two months.
Sure, his weight loss approach was unhealthy, and if you do the math, you’ll notice he also lost a vast amount of muscle mass. But the fact remains: to lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn.
How big should your calorie deficit be to trigger rapid weight loss without the risking muscle loss? The answer is between 20% and 25%. So, if you need 2,000 calories to maintain your current body weight, get between 1,500 and 1,600 calories daily.
2. Eat More Protein
Increasing your protein intake is one of the easiest ways to aid weight loss. This may sound counter-intuitive – after all, protein contains calories (4 per gram, to be exact) – but it works.
Why? Because protein is highly satiating. A higher protein intake tends to pair with an automatic decrease in calorie consumption.
One study found that when the subjects raised their protein intake from 15% to 30% of their daily calorie count, they ate, on average, 441 fewer calories per day . This led to the study participants losing 11 pounds on average in 12 weeks.
What’s more, getting enough protein also prevents muscle loss when you slim down. Instead, most of the weight you lose comes from actual fat mass.
I’ve covered the optimal protein intake in this guide. In it, you’ll learn the evidence-based truth about how much protein you need.
3. Decrease Sugar Intake
On average, we consume 19.5 teaspoonfuls of sugar a day . That’s a whopping 120,000 calories per person each year! This not only wreaks havoc on your health but also on your shape.
Why’s that? Because sugar, especially when consumed in liquid form, is terrible at curbing hunger. As a result, sugary calories usually end up on top of what you already consume .
So, to lose weight, eliminate refined sugars from your diet. Fruit juices should be avoided as well because they contain as much sugar as soda, sometimes even more.
Whole fruits, on the other hand, are beneficial. They support weight loss efforts due to their high food volume relative to their calorie content. Besides, most fruits are loaded with fiber, which increases satiety and is linked to lower body weight [9–10].
4. Drink More Water
If you don’t drink (enough) water, consider increasing your intake because it helps you get rid of excess pounds [11–12]. The reason is that drinking more water tends to go together with lower total calorie consumption.
Research shows that habitual water drinkers consume on average 9% fewer calories compared to those who don’t drink water regularly . This comes at around 200 calories a day, which is nearly 0.8 pounds of fat weekly .
Drinking water before your meals is particularly beneficial, as shown by a study published in Journal of American Dietetic Association . The researchers did an experiment on 24 overweight and obese older adults, who were given an ad libitum breakfast on two different occasions.
One time, they got 500 ml of water 30 minutes before breakfast. The other time they didn’t receive water. Interestingly, when drinking half a liter of water before their breakfast, they consumed, on average, 13% fewer calories.
So, if you want an easy weight loss aid, increase your water intake, especially before your meal. If you replace all calorie-rich drinks such as soda and fruit juice with water, you’ll lose even more weight.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Many trainers and trainees continuously tweak exercise and nutrition plans to optimize results. However, they often overlook sleep, which is a shame because your sleep habits have a massive impact on your figure.
One meta-analysis based on 604,509 adults found that bad sleepers have a 55% higher chance of becoming obese . The reason is that sleep deprivation changes your brain chemistry – it lowers leptin, the satiety hormone, while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin .
This rise in appetite tends to manifest itself mainly in the evening and late-night hours, usually resulting in an attack on junk food and an overall increase in food consumption [18–19]. This is because will power is weaker at those times, making it harder to opt for healthy food.
Here’s where it gets really interesting: one 14-day, calorie-controlled weight loss study found that when people slept only 5.5 hours a night compared to 8.5 hours, they lost a lot less fat (0.6 kg vs. 1.4 kg, respectively) but significantly more muscle .
Therefore, to shape an eye-catching figure, it is crucial to get enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends between 7 and 9 hours each night, but in the end, you know best how much sleep you need to wake up well-rested. For some, this means they’ll have to aim for the higher end of the range (perhaps even more), while others require less.
6. Decrease Salt Intake
That’s one of the reasons why your body weight tends to be higher the day after eating out. It’s not that all the food you ate is stored as fat; it’s because restaurant food is usually loaded with salt and causes you to hold onto extra fluids.
Fortunately, it also works the other way around. If you reduce your salt intake, your body will shed excess water, and the number on your scale will drop. Sure, this weight doesn’t come from fat mass, but decreasing water retention will give you a leaner and “harder” look.
The main contributors to salt intake are processed foods – they’re responsible for 3/4th of the salt consumption in the US . So, if you want to cut back on salt, start by eating less processed food.
Also, make an effort to increase your intake of potassium ─ a mineral that counterbalances sodium by pumping water out of your cells .
The best dietary sources of potassium are avocado, acorn squash, spinach, sweet potato, wild-caught salmon, dried apricots, pomegranate, coconut water, white beans, and banana.
7. Lift Weights
So far, you’ve received six powerful tips to help you lose weight in record time. Using them will allow you to reduce the number on your scale fast – guaranteed!
There is, however, one piece still missing: resistance training. Lifting weights regularly ensures that the weight you lose comes from actual fat mass, not muscle tissue.
Besides, resistance training boosts your metabolic rate. One study found that a high-intensity strength training routine with a short rest between sets raised metabolism 24% . This led to an extra energy expenditure of 452 calories in 22 hours.
When hitting the gym, focus mainly on big compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, rows, presses, and weighted carries, gradually increasing the resistance you use in those movements.
8. Do HIIT
When it comes to losing weight, most people believe they must grind away, doing cardio for hours on end. While cardio can be beneficial, replacing it with HIIT will yield superior results, especially if you combine it with a strength-training routine.
HIIT is a style of training in which you alternate bouts of (nearly) all-out effort with (active) rest periods. An example is doing 30-second sprints on an exercise bike followed by 30 seconds of very slowly pedaling.
The superiority of HIIT over steady-state cardio for fat loss was shown by a study from Laval University . The researchers had 27 young adults split into two groups. Group one followed a 20-week steady-state cardio routine. Group two did 15 weeks of a HIIT program that consisted of 15 sprints of 30 seconds.
The results were impressive. Even though their program was 5 weeks shorter in duration, those who did HIIT dropped nine times as much fat and 12% more visceral belly fat.
But why is HIIT superior to steady-state cardio for fat loss? Because it is better at increasing metabolism and fat oxidation and suppressing post-workout appetite (while cardio doesn’t) while also having a more beneficial influence on your hormonal environment .
The Bottom Line on Losing Weight Fast
Yes! It is possible to shed fat quickly without impairing your health or muscle mass. By now, you know eight proven and powerful techniques that can get you lean in record time. The only thing that’s left to do is take action. Good luck on your weight loss journey!