Losing body fat can be a challenging task, often requiring hard work, patience, and dedication.
Although many fad diets and fat-burning supplements promise quick results, modifying your diet, lifestyle, and exercise routine is the most effective way to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Plus, you can take several simple steps to promote long-lasting, sustainable fat loss while improving your overall health.
Here are 12 of the best ways to increase fat loss.
Strength training is a type of exercise in which your muscles contract against resistance. It builds muscle mass and increases strength over time, and it usually involves lifting weights.
Research reveals that strength training has multiple health benefits, especially when it comes to fat loss.
According to a review of 58 studies, resistance training for at least 4 weeks may help decrease body fat by an average of 1.46%. It may also significantly reduce body fat mass and visceral fat, which is a type of fat that surrounds the organs in your belly (
Another study showed that 5 months of strength training was more effective at reducing body fat in adolescents with obesity than aerobic exercise alone (
Plus, resistance training may help preserve fat-free mass, which may increase the number of calories your body burns at rest (
According to one review, resistance training boosted people’s resting metabolic rate compared with a control group, while aerobic exercise had no effect on metabolism (
Doing bodyweight exercises, lifting weights, and using gym equipment are a few easy ways to get started with strength training.
Strength training may not only help decrease your body fat levels but also increase resting energy expenditure and target belly fat.
Eating more protein-rich foods may help reduce your appetite and increase fat burning.
Try adding a few servings of high protein food to your diet each day. Protein-rich foods include meat, seafood, eggs, legumes, tofu, and dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Eating more protein may be associated with a lower risk of belly fat. Plus, it may decrease appetite, lower calorie intake, and preserve muscle mass.
Going to bed a bit earlier or setting your alarm clock a little later is a simple strategy to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
In fact, several studies associate sufficient sleep with weight loss.
One 10-year study linked sleeping fewer than 6 hours per night to a higher risk of obesity among young women (
Another small study showed that getting 1 less hour of sleep per night led to less fat loss in people following a low calorie diet, compared with a control group (
Other research indicates that a lack of sleep may contribute to alterations in hunger hormones, increased appetite, and a higher risk of obesity (
Although everyone needs a different amount of sleep, most studies tie at least 7 hours of sleep per night to the most benefits for weight management and overall health (
To support a healthy sleep cycle, stick to a regular sleep schedule, limit your intake of caffeine in the evening, and minimize your use of electronic devices before bed.
Getting enough sleep may help reduce your appetite and hunger levels, as well as lower your risk of weight gain.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, increasing your intake of healthy fats may prevent weight gain.
Another review linked diets enriched with olive oil to greater reductions in body weight and belly fat compared with diets without olive oil (
What’s more, increased intake of trans fats — a type of fat often found in fried or processed foods — is associated with increased long-term weight gain (
Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds are just a few examples of nutritious fats that can benefit your health.
Keep in mind that healthy fat is still high in calories, so it’s important to moderate your intake. Instead of eating more fat overall, try swapping fried foods, processed ingredients, and refined oils for the healthy varieties above.
A higher intake of healthy fats, such as olive oil and nuts, is associated with a lower risk of weight gain.
Swapping out sugary drinks for healthier selections is one of the easiest ways to promote long-term, sustainable fat loss.
For example, sugar-sweetened beverages like soda are often packed with calories and offer little nutritional value. Alcohol is also high in calories and may lower inhibitions, which may increase your risk of overeating (
Instead, opt for calorie-free beverages like water or green tea.
According to one small study in 14 young men, drinking 1 pint (570 mL) of water before a meal increased feelings of fullness, reduced hunger, and decreased the number of calories eaten during the meal (
Sugar-sweetened beverages and alcoholic drinks may be linked to a higher risk of increased belly fat. Replace them with green tea or water, which have been shown to increase weight loss and fat burning.
Soluble fiber — which is found in plant foods — absorbs water and moves through your digestive tract slowly, helping you feel full for longer (
According to some studies, increasing your intake of high fiber foods may protect against weight gain. These foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
For example, one study in 345 people tied eating more fiber to increased weight loss and improved dietary adherence (
Upping your fiber intake by consuming foods like fresh fruits, veggies, and legumes may boost fat loss, feelings of fullness, and weight loss.
Decreasing your intake of refined carbs may help you lose extra body fat.
During processing, refined grains are stripped of their bran and germ, resulting in a final product that’s low in fiber and nutrients.
Refined carbs also tend to have a high glycemic index (GI), which may cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels that lead to increased hunger. Still, you’re likelier to see these effects if you eat refined carbs on their own rather than as part of a balanced meal (
Conversely, diets high in whole grains are tied to a lower body mass index (BMI) and body weight, plus a smaller waist circumference (
Just keep in mind that traditional weight metrics like BMI don’t capture the full portrait of health.
Aim to replace refined carbs from pastries, processed foods, pastas, white breads, and breakfast cereals with whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, and oats.
Refined carbs are low in fiber and nutrients, so it’s best to choose nutrient-dense whole grains for long-term, sustainable fat loss.
5 ways to burn fat fast
Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is one of the most common forms of exercise. It’s any type of exercise that specifically trains the heart and lungs.
Adding cardio to your routine may be one of the most effective ways to enhance fat burning and weight loss.
Most research recommends 150–300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, or roughly 20–40 minutes of cardio each day (
Running, walking, cycling, and swimming are just a few examples of cardio workouts.
Studies show that the more aerobic exercise people get, the more body fat they tend to lose. Cardio may also help reduce waist circumference and increase muscle mass.
Caffeine has also been shown to enhance fat burning during aerobic exercise, particularly for those who are untrained or sedentary (
One large review of 12 studies associated increased coffee intake with a lower risk of obesity, especially for men. Another study including 2,623 people linked higher caffeine intake to a higher rate of success with weight loss maintenance (
To maximize the health benefits of coffee, avoid adding large amounts of cream and sugar. Instead, enjoy it black or with a small splash of milk.
Coffee contains caffeine, which may boost metabolism and fat breakdown. Studies suggest that high caffeine intake may aid weight loss.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that pairs quick bursts of activity with short recovery periods to keep your heart rate elevated.
Studies show that HIIT is incredibly effective at ramping up fat burning and promoting sustainable weight loss.
One review found that doing HIIT 3 times weekly for an average of 10 weeks significantly reduced body fat mass and waist circumference (
According to another study, HIIT helped people burn up to 30% more calories than other types of exercise, such as cycling or jogging, in the same amount of time (
For an easy way to get started, try alternating between walking and jogging or sprinting for 30 seconds at a time. You can also cycle between exercises like burpees, pushups, or squats with short rest periods in between.
HIIT may increase fat burning and help you expend more calories in a shorter period than other forms of exercise.
Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria found in your digestive tract. In fact, these bacteria have been shown to play a role in everything from immunity to mental health (
Increasing your intake of probiotics through either food or supplements may also rev up fat burning and support long-term weight management.
One review of 15 studies showed that people who took probiotics experienced significantly larger reductions in body weight, fat percentage, and BMI compared with those who took a placebo (
Another small study showed that taking probiotic supplements helped people following a high fat, high calorie diet stave off fat and weight gain (
Taking supplements is a simple, convenient way to get in a concentrated dose of probiotics every day. Alternatively, you can eat probiotic-rich foods like kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
Taking probiotic supplements or increasing your intake of probiotic foods may help reduce body weight and fat percentage.
Intermittent fasting is a diet pattern that involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting.
Although it may not be a good fit for everyone, some research indicates that it may enhance both weight loss and fat loss.
One review on intermittent fasting examined alternate-day fasting, a method in which you alternate between days of fasting and eating normally. Over 3–12 weeks, this method reduced body weight by up to 7% and decreased body fat by up to 12 pounds (5.5 kg) (
Another small study showed that eating only during an 8-hour window each day helped decrease fat mass and maintain muscle mass when combined with resistance training (
Several types of intermittent fasting exist, including Eat Stop Eat, the Warrior Diet, the 16/8 method, and the 5:2 diet. Seek out a variation that fits your schedule, and don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce body weight and body fat. It may also help preserve muscle mass when combined with resistance training.
To lose body fat sustainably, it’s best to avoid crash diets and unsafe supplements.
Rather, you should incorporate healthy habits into your routine, such as eating whole grains instead of refined carbs, replacing sugary drinks with water, trying probiotics, or drinking coffee.
Be sure to pair these simple nutrition tips with a well-rounded diet and active lifestyle to promote long-lasting, sustainable fat burning.