Some men don't work out to lose body fat. They eat and train with the goal of becoming stronger or faster or better at their sport, and a great physique
is just part of the deal. In fact, athletes can screw up their chance for glory by focusing too much on appearance—that is, cutting the calories they need to fuel their workouts. But for most of us, better performance is just a nice perk. What we really want is to drop fat without losing muscle.
1. Calculate Your Carbs
The key to shedding flab is to adjust your carb intake to your activity level. Men's Health
weight-loss advisor Alan Aragon, M.S., has a simple way to calculate how many carbs you need.
Multiply your target body weight by 1 if you have a desk job, work out in a gym several times a week for an hour or less, and your main goal is fat loss. Multiply by 2 if you're a recreational athlete who trains for more than an hour a day. And multiply by 3 if you're a competitive athlete who trains multiple hours a day, or if you're a guy with a Mini Cooper body and a Corvette metabolism who is struggling to gain weight.
The number you end up with indicates how many grams of carbs you should eat every day. If you're in category 1 and weigh 180 pounds, that's the equivalent of about two Chipotle burritos.
2. Eat to Lose Weight
Don't forget the protein. About 25 percent of the protein calories in your food are burned off in digestion, absorption, and chemical changes in your body, so protein has less of a caloric impact. And perhaps best of all, it defends your hard-earned muscle tissue when you're trying to lose fat. A recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
found that a weight-loss diet with 35 percent of its calories from protein preserved muscle mass in athletes, while a diet with just 15 percent protein led to an average loss of 3 ½ pounds of muscle in just 2 weeks. Aim for a daily intake of about 1 gram of protein per pound of target body weight when you're working to lose fat.
Your eating plan for buring fat and losing weight
3. Blend the Best Shake
You can boost the appetite-suppressing effect of a whey shake by whipping it to a froth. When Penn State researchers had men drink blended shakes of various volumes, they found that the men who drank the more-aerated shakes ate 12 percent less food at their next meal. The scientists speculate that the larger appearance of the shakes made men think they were drinking more.
4. Fight Fat With Fat
A lean body is a well-oiled machine. A 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
showed that people who swallowed 1.9 grams of omega-3s daily and did cardio a little more than 2 hours a week reduced their body fat, lowered their triglycerides, and raised their HDL cholesterol. Here's the kicker: When another group with the same exercise regimen was given sunflower oil (which has mostly omega-6 fats) instead, they lost hardly any fat. Omega-3s are powerful body sculptors in their own right.
Fixing the omega imbalance is a two-step process. First, says Aragon, take three to six fish-oil capsules a day, for a total of 1 to 2 grams of DHA and EPA. Second, cut back on omega- 6s. Many salad dressings and mayonnaises are packed with soybean oil, the source of more omega-6 fats than any other food. Choose salad dressings made with extra-virgin olive oil (rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats), and use mustard instead of mayo.
How to identify what's stopping you from losing weight
5. Scramble to Slim Down
Not only are eggs a great muscle-building food, but they can also help you look less egg-shaped. A 2010 study in Nutrition Research
showed that men who had eggs for breakfast ate less over the next 24 hours than those who began their day with a bagel instead.