Whether you’ve got a big date coming up, an awards ceremony in the works or you’ve just left your Summer run a little late, losing a few extra pounds in a hurry could make a world of difference. But despite what you’ve seen on infomercials, the fastest way to lose weight isn’t always the best way to lose weight. The fad diets and too-good-to-be-true exercise routines we see on TV don’t always have your best interests at heart. In fact, when it comes to answering the age-old question of ‘how to lose weight fast’, the fundamentals remain paramount.
Weight Loss Considerations
Weight loss is a complex process that takes a number of food, exercise, lifestyle and genetic factors into consideration. We’ve all heard the basic principle of ‘calories in, calories out’ and while there are certainly individual aspects that play a role in this, for the most part, the theory works. Put simply, in order to lose weight, you must expend more calories or energy than you consume. The greater the deficit between the calories that you expend and the calories you consume, the more significant your weight loss will be. It seems easy enough, but before you go and cut your calories entirely, you need to know the best way to lose weight fast; one that will provide you with a solid foundation for overall health.
It bears reminding that losing a significant amount of weight in a short period of time is not always healthy. There are certain ways that you should approach weight loss, and hitting the gym for hours at a time and starving yourself is not advised. Remember, losing weight should be about improving your health, not sacrificing it in the name of getting skinny.
Secondly, it pays to know where your weight is actually coming from. A lot of the weight that we carry is comprised of the water in our bodies. If you wake up one morning and you’re three kilograms heavier than you were yesterday, don’t feel bad, that’s likely just the result of water weight. Similarly, don’t start patting yourself on the back after losing three kilograms overnight.
We commonly see this phenomenon at play in the world of competitive combat sports. Boxers and martial artists will have to meet a certain weight, so in the days leading up to the weigh-in, these athletes will perform a series of water-cycling activities. This ultimately leaves the body severely depleted and dehydrated, making them light enough to make weight. For us non-athletes, the process plays out on a much smaller scale each day. Over the course of 24 hours, your water weight will fluctuate, so it’s critical that you don’t worry too much about the number on the scale. Instead, focus on staying hydrated and getting enough water throughout the day.
Another key consideration is nutrients. When we attempt to lose weight fast, often we choose to cut a number of foods from our diet. While getting rid of sugar-filled candies and drinks is certainly beneficial, it’s common that we also give up key food groups as well. Whatever your diet plan, be sure that you are receiving enough Vitamin C, iron and zinc.
For those wanting to learn how to lose weight fast, the secret lies in your diet. As a basic rule, expending more energy/calories than you consume will put you in good stead for weight loss, but not all calories were created equal. Here are the key diet factors to consider when trying to lose weight fast.
When you cut calories from your diet, it is pivotal that you still get enough daily protein. By fuelling muscle growth and recovery through protein, you are better placed to maintain overall health and stamina. For this reason, you need to ensure you are receiving an adequate amount of protein each day. If you want to know how much protein you should have each day, check out our guide.
Examples of high-protein foods you should be focusing your diet around include;
- Meat – chicken, beef, pork, lamb
- Fish and seafood – Salmon, tuna, trout
- Eggs – whole with yolk, egg whites
- Plant-based – beans, legumes, soy, broccoli
As anyone who has Googled ‘how to lose weight fast’ would know, your carbohydrate intake is a big factor. As a general rule, foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as grains, bread and pasta will up your overall weight, but it’s not always a bad thing. Carbohydrates retain water, so while eating lots of bread might make you feel fat, a fair amount of your new-found mass may be attributed to water weight.
On the other hand, sugar-laden carbohydrates (simple carbs) and starches will do significant damage to your weight loss goals, particularly in the short term. As the body’s primary fuel source, carbohydrates provide a quick hit of energy. When you reduce the number of carbs that you consume, your body is forced to move to its back-up energy source; fat. Additionally, cutting carbs lowers insulin levels, causing the kidneys to shed excess sodium and water. This reduces bloating and unnecessary water weight. As a result, cutting carbohydrates from your immediate diet will allow you to lose weight fast.
How to Lose Weight Fast & Maximise Your Workout
There are many ways to lose weight fast, but from a basic perspective, they all follow a similar set of circumstances. It’s all about measuring your calorie intake, looking after your hydration and ensuring that you stay active. Someone who knows all about that is exercise scientist Tim West.
The fitness professional co-founded boxing and strength franchise 12RND Fitness alongside four-time world boxing champion Danny Green. We spoke with West to get his tips on how to lose weight fast and maximise your workout.
1. Be Goal-Oriented
Before you launch into a weight loss journey, it’s important that you determine the desired outcome. “Goal-setting is a crucial part of successful training because it ensures that you can track and measure your progress and have a clear benchmark to work towards,” West says. “It’s important that your goals are specific, so really think about why you’re doing what you’re doing, what are the intrinsic motivators that are going to keep you moving forward even when motivation feels scarce.”
It’s important to set a combination of short and long term goals so that you have an ultimate goal you can work towards, but shorter goals that you can tick off along the way. In the initial stages, place an emphasis on what you are ultimately working towards, whether that is to achieve a certain physical aesthetic, a level of athletic performance, or to be fitter, stronger and leaner for your next holiday or event. Once you have this overarching goal, you can utilise it as a basis to create short-term goals.
2. Train Like an Athlete
“Athletes are trained to get results fast, and maintain those results for as long as possible; they are prepared with a complete training program and diet to help them get to their peak and stay there,” West explains. It’s precisely this method of training that the exercise scientist says is critical to fast weight loss. In his boxing workouts, West implements a new daily workout that is similar to the periodisation cycle that athletes train on.
“This cycle looks like an upwards slope that starts with Base fitness, which is essentially working on high reps and low weights to build up your anaerobic conditioning and set a strong foundation for ongoing fitness,” he says. “This phase is followed by a Strength phase, where weights increase and reps decrease, then by a Power phase where strength and speed are combined through fast boxing padwork and plyometric exercises. To replicate this for yourself, plan out your workouts in 7 week cycles, with 2 x weeks per phase, and use the final week for active recovery before starting the next cycle.”
3. Factor Health into Your Lifestyle
We’ve all been guilty of kick-starting a new fitness regime only to fall off the wagon a few weeks in. Whether you are trying to lose weight fast for a specific event, or you are looking to make a lasting fitness resolution, the key is consistency. “Routine has an incredible impact on human behaviour – once we develop a habit, it becomes second nature and we do it without even thinking; if you can apply that to your training, you’ll stay on track and become more consistent and therefore see faster results,” West says. The 12RND co-founder believes a workout that is simple, no fuss and extremely accessible will remove the barriers preventing you from completing it, thus removing any excuses that could be made for skipping their training days. “Find something that you know will work in accordance with your home, work and family schedule so that you can always make time for it.”
4. Maintain Enjoyment
Keeping yourself motivated is critical to your weight loss success. If you find a workout that you love, you’re more likely to maintain it and commit to the routine for an extended period. It also helps to play off your interests and hobbies. If you are a football fan, incorporate an outdoor ball-skills session. Similarly, if you like to swim, try to hit the beach for a workout at least once a week. By adding simple but tailored approaches to your fitness regime, you can ensure you stay motivated and maintain your routine.
5. Set Challenges Each Workout
As we mentioned above, setting long term goals is essential to your sustained success, but if you want to lose weight fast, short terms goal play a significant role. “When you have a goal in mind, the best way to stay motivated on a daily basis is to set yourself regular challenges,” West says. “That could be something as simple as “get to the gym every morning”; just by getting out of bed and getting to the gym, you’re already in an environment where you can’t make any excuses to skip your training.”
For the more high-tech fitness fans, another great way to set daily challenges is through a heart rate monitor with built-in tracking and activities to gamify the process.
The team at Man of Many have been for long spruiking the benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and for good reason. The short bursts of intense exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods provide a long-lasting caloric burn, perfect for those wondering how to lose weight fast. “Not only is this the most time-efficient way to exercise it offers the ability to burn more calories than traditional exercise and continue burning calories for longer,” West explains. “We replicate a HIIT workout in 12RND with 12 x 3 minute rounds and 30 seconds rest in between. It’s important that during your rest period you intentionally rest to allow your heart rate to drop, before increasing the intensity again.”
From a basic standpoint, the methodology behind HIIT training relates to continues exertion. For this reason, West advocates for a sustained, high-effort performance throughout your ‘on’ points. “During your high-intensity periods, aim to maintain the intensity throughout in terms of tempo, duration and resistance,” he says. “Over time, your body will adapt to this method of training and become more conditioned to work longer and with greater ease.”
7. Train Smarter, Not Harder
Something we’ve all no doubt heard before, but what exactly is training smarter? For one, it isn’t spending hours in the gym busting your hump with overblown cardiovascular-based endurance workouts. Instead, a solid balance of endurance, strength and HIIT training will provide the most effective fitness regime. “You don’t need to train every day, twice a day, you need to give your body adequate time to recover between sessions, so maximising your output in each session is more important,” the 12RND co-founder says. “Through combining HIIT workouts with Training Cycles and utilising your entire body in every session to burn maximum calories in a short time, the dynamic intervals in your training will assist you in building a far more superior level of fitness, and the stamina to overcome fatigue.”
As the exercise scientist explains, it’s important to prioritise your body’s recovery, so make sure you allocate sufficient time each week for a low-intensity activity like walking or yoga. From there, you can incorporate mobility routines to ensure your body can continue training consistently at a higher intensity without burnout.
8. Be Accountable
It seems obvious, but if you are wondering how to lose weight fast, it does come down to you. “Humans are all motivated in different ways, some of us require external support to stay accountable, some of us can simply make a promise to ourselves and be driven by internal motivation – it’s important to find what works for you,” West says. “There are a mixture of things you can do that can keep you accountable, whether that’s telling your friends and family about your goals and asking them to keep tabs on how you’re going, finding a workout buddy to train with, or keeping a journal and tracking your progress.”
According to exercise scientist, it can be as simple as writing yourself a contract and signing it, putting pen to paper and having physical proof that you want this and that you deserve to achieve your goals. “Think about your everyday life, maybe your work environment, and what triggers cause you to take action throughout your day. Is it setting reminders for yourself? Keeping a diary? Or setting meetings with others? Think about those triggers and replicate them for yourself in your training and nutrition.”
9. Optimise Nutrition
As mentioned above, your diet is by far the most significant factor in your ability to lose weight. “Our bodies rely on food for energy to function, but it’s also important that the food that you put into your body is nutritionally balanced to ensure that your body can function optimally without excess energy, or calories which end up being stored as fat,” West explains. “Nutritional adequacy can make all the difference in your performance in the gym, if your body is insufficient in certain vitamins and minerals you may not be able to function at your peak. Therefore, ensuring that you consume a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, carb, fat and protein sources throughout your week, to achieve a healthy macro and micronutrient balance, you can maximise your output and see greater results.”
Another great way to optimise your diet is to ensure that you are getting a sufficient daily energy intake and being mindful to not go over, or introducing additional physical activity into the day if you do.
10. Get Expert Support
Whether you are a gym junkie with years of lifting experience or a complete health novice, there is no shame in seeking some advice. “Whether it’s a personal trainer, a nutritionist or a coach, or a friend whose knowledgeable in fitness or nutrition, having someone to help you develop a plan towards achieving your goals can take out the guesswork and set you on track with actionable steps to get to where you want to be faster,” West says. “Our coaches set goals for our members from the moment they get started, first they’re challenged to commit to at least 3 workouts a week for 4 weeks to help them develop a routine.”
Tips on How to Lose Weight Fast
While West’s advice will kick-start your fitness journey, there are other methods for dropping the kilos. Here is a list of 10 simple steps you can take to lose weight fast.
- Avoid sugary drinks and fruit juice. While we knew soft drinks aren’t good for us, some juices have a similar sugar content.
- Increase your protein intake. High-protein foods make you feel fuller for longer, which may help to reduce your snack cravings.
- Eat soluble fibre. Studies show that soluble fibres may promote weight loss.
- Weigh yourself at the same time every day. Your weight will fluctuate over the course of the day, so maintain some consistency by picking a set weigh-in time.
- Drink a large glass of water before meals. This will help you to eat less and feel fuller.
- Drink coffee or tea. Caffeine has been proven to boost your metabolism.
- Get good quality sleep.
While it is possible to lose 10 pounds in one week, it is far from a healthy venture to take. A significant weight loss over a short period such as this is generally a sign of dehydration and starvation. This is most commonly seen in boxers preparing for a weigh in. A combination of water-cycling, no carbohydrate intake and starvation will let you lose 10 pounds in one week, however, this is in no way advocated.
Unfortunately, you can’t lose fat in a specific location. Fat deposits collect in different areas of the body, so while you can isolate certain muscle groups with exercises, you can’t lose weight purely in one section. Instead, focus on reducing your calorie intake while also maintaining a healthy diet.
Yes, resistance training is a highly effective method for weight loss. This method of training allows your muscle to work in different ways than cardiovascular exercises. Muscle-building activities can help to burn more calories, providing you with a more succinct and successful workout.
Featured Video from Man of Many