The road to a thinner waistline and a deflated spare tire is plagued with pitfalls, diet mishaps, and false supplement claims. Whereas many guys have likely tried one particular weight-loss method in the past, most fall short.
To experience positive, sustained results, guys looking for weight loss must put together the entire package, including proper nutrition, a good workout routine, and appropriate lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. To help clarify your path to weight-loss success, we’ve identified the perfect fat-loss day equipped with all of the tools and techniques necessary to get you to your optimum physique.
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6 a.m.-8 a.m.
1. Eat a protein-rich breakfast
By getting at least 35 grams of protein in your first meal of the day, you can not only help prevent hunger later in the day, but also ultimately reduce body fat and the total number of calories you eat, according to a study from the University of Missouri.
To help rehydrate after 8+ hours without liquid as well as combat the inevitable hunger pangs, down a large glass of water. Hydrated individuals binge less throughout the day and boast a more functional metabolism.
3. Drink a cup of coffee.
While your java addiction might make this an obvious morning choice, swigging back a cup of the black stuff is beneficial for more reasons than a simple energy boost. The extract found in coffee beans may help boost weight loss. To make matters even better, black coffee is a natural low-calorie alternative to energy drinks making it a much better choice to start your morning.
4. Take some fish oil.
It turns out your inability to hold back from bingeing on that box of cookies isn’t solely due to lack of willpower. New research indicates that poor eating habits actually damage brain cells making it even harder to resist temptations. However, an omega-3-rich fish oil supplement can help to create new nerve cells and counteract the effects of high junk food intake.
9 a.m.-11 a.m.
After checking your e-mail and getting set for a hard day of work, ditch the office chair for a trip around the office. The quick walk will help you stay awake as well as boost your metabolism and help you burn a few extra calories. If you’re looking to try something a bit more progressive, consider a standing or even a treadmill desk. Both help to minimize slouching and keep you active while plugging away. For those who aren’t ready to stand all day, try standing through meetings or phone calls.
Despite your morning glass of water, you’re probably slightly dehydrated, even more so if your morning routine includes more than one cup of coffee. To help prevent the mid-morning munchies and keep you hydrated, consider downing another one or two glasses of water.
12 p.m.-2 p.m.
1. Work out.
To spice up your workday as well as rev up your metabolism for the afternoon, skip the lunch date with your co-workers and opt for a workout instead. The workout will also serve to amplify the effects of your intermittent fasting routine since your body will be forced to rely heavily on stored fuel during the gym session. To make the most of your lunch hour, aim for a total-body circuit emphasizing multijoint moves like a squat to overhead press and lunge to curl. (For a solid workout you can do at your house—download The 21-Day At-Home Shred.) The big exercises will elevate your heart rate and provide the perfect catalyst for building muscle while burning fat. Top your sweat session off with some cardio intervals for the complete package.
Since you haven’t eaten yet today, you might feel as if you’re running low on fuel as you move through the gym. To combat the flat feeling, down some BCAAs pre-workout. Provided you’re hydrated and well rested, it should be the only pre-workout you need.
2. Fuel up.
Post-workout is the perfect time for your first meal of the day since your muscle cells are primed to uptake nutrients. Focus on taking in a meal that is high in protein, moderate in carbohydrates, and low in fat. The high protein will help your muscles recover faster for your next workout. The carbohydrates will help to prevent the natural breakdown of muscle that occurs during a workout (referred to as catabolism) and will help to pull protein into the cells. By keeping the meal lower in fat, you’ll help to keep the speed of digestion high so the nutrients get to your muscles faster.
2 p.m.-4 p.m.
1. Take a nap.
A little shut-eye can go a long way in preventing a midday crash. There’s also evidence to show that a short nap can boost productivity, helping you get more work done when you return to your desk. If you can’t get upper management to go for naptime, take 10-15 minutes during the afternoon to get away from your computer (and other electronics—including your phone) and meditate.
Rather than bingeing on office doughnuts, opt for a snack that is high in protein and lower in carbohydrates. The lower-carb count will help to keep your blood sugar in check and prevent the typical afternoon slump. The high-protein content will make sure you’re rebuilding the muscle that you broke down during your afternoon workout.
How you can sneak in more protein
6 p.m.-8 p.m.
1. Eat a homemade dinner.
Your perfect weight-loss day shouldn’t end with a quick trip to the salad bar or a microwave meal. While cooking dinner may be the last thing you want to do after a hard day of work, cooking at home offers several benefits. First, you’re able to control every aspect of the meal including ingredients. Second, you can make a bit extra for lunch the next day, knocking out two meals in one session.
To reduce cooking time, plan all of your meals in advance. Use your weekends as a chance to pick up all of the necessary ingredients and do any preparation (like chopping vegetables) ahead of time. Then, even when you’re tired getting home from work, you’ll be poised to whip up a great meal.
2. Limit the booze.
After a hard day of work, you might want to curl up on the couch with your favorite brand of beer and a good football game. However, ruining your newfound nutritional prowess with alcohol calories won’t be nearly as rewarding long term. If you have to imbibe, aim for quality of enjoyment over quantity. Pick your favorite beverage and limit the volume. If the evening requires you to indulge (your best friend’s bachelor party for instance), opt for lower-calorie beers and mixers.
3. Log your food.
Sure, it might take a while to recall everything you ate throughout the day but keeping a diet log will definitely pay off down the road. Why were you so successful that one week? What exactly led to your dropping five pounds last month? Without a proper record, these results are left up to anyone’s best guess. Keeping a log helps dieters to lock down trends. To get the most out of your food journal, also keep notes on energy levels, workout performance, and overall feelings of satiety.
8 p.m.-10 p.m.
1. Pack your gym bag.
The best way to prevent a missed gym session is to remove all of the obstacles ahead of time. By prepping your gym bag before heading to bed, you’re removing all of the excuses (like I forgot my gym shoes) that might prevent you from a lunchtime sweat session. The nighttime organization also helps to take away stress from your morning routine leaving you to feel fresh and rejuvenated when waking up rather than rushed.
2. Focus on quality sleep.
Poor sleep quality has been linked to many issues including elevated risk for cardiovascular disease and increased weight gain. You can sleep your way to a leaner physique by removing many of the obstacles that prevent normal guys from getting a good night’s rest. This includes taking electronics (including your TV) out of the room. Rather than watching your favorite show, listen to some soft music or read a book. Both will be easier on your eyes than a television or tablet.
3. Set a consistent bedtime.
Rather than varying your routine every night, set a consistent bedtime. The routine will help prepare your body and your mind for sleep. For optimal results, try to maintain a similar sleep schedule every day (including weekends).