June 5, 2023

14 Ways to Burn Fat and Keep It Off

Out of all the ways to burn fat, most people think hours of cardio coupled with caloric restriction top the list. Surprisingly, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Learn how to burn fat without running low on energy or spending hours at the gym each day.

How to Burn Fat and Keep It Off

How to Burn Fat and Keep It Off

What the masses believe and what science proves true is often vastly different. Most people think spending a minimum of 30 minutes doing cardio each day is the best way to burn fat. If this was true, far fewer people would still be struggling with body composition. And so those who have committed to cardio for fat burning then turn to their diet for solutions instead. Their biggest mistake? Not only eating the wrong things but eating far too little of it.

Drop the Cardio

The research on fat burning doesn’t point to cardio or extreme caloric restriction as beneficial for fat loss. Cardio, especially the long-distance sessions recommended for weight loss, stimulates the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. The presence of cortisol cues the body to hold on to fat and wears down muscle instead. This further decreases one’s metabolic (fat-burning) rate.1 , 2 Perform long, steady cardio workouts in an underfed state, and this effect is even greater.

Build Muscle

The evidence says building muscle is actually the best way to burn fat. Studies on resistance training alone as a fat-burning intervention are few and far between. But research on those restricting calories to lose weight finds that resistance training protects lean muscle mass (unlike cardio), thus improving fat-burning and likely assisting with weight loss.3

Eat Right

In addition to intense, heavy lifting sessions, fat burning requires proper nutrition. To build muscle (and therefore burn more fat), getting sufficient protein is a must. Eating enough protein without consuming too many calories, helps to cut out any macros that aren’t beneficial. Protein and fat are necessary for function and satiety. So, it is the carbs that have to go.4 What’s more, multiple studies find intermittent fasting is far more effective for fat burning, and more sustainable when compared to diets that restrict calories at every meal.5 Those are the basics. For those who like to see the details in list format, we’ve broken the foundations down even further into the 14 best ways to burn fat.

The 14 Best Ways to Burn Fat

The 14 Best Ways to Burn Fat

Burning fat and keeping it off requires a combination of healthy habits that includes proper nutrition, regular exercise, and consistency. Here are 14 ways to burn fat and keep it off:

1. Increase your protein intake

Protein is necessary, for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Especially while trying to burn fat or lose weight. Eating more protein can help you feel full, limiting hunger. Excellent sources of protein include beef, bison, lamb, pork, chicken, fish, and eggs.

2. Eat only what you need

If you’re eating enough protein and essential fats, you’re getting everything you need. So, cut calories from inessential sources, which include any and all processed foods and carbohydrates. Despite popular belief, carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient, and the extra you eat just ends up getting stored as fat.6

3. Be mindful of portion sizes

Being mindful of portion sizes doesn’t just refer to eating less. A 200-pound man who wants to build muscle should be getting 200 grams of protein per day. Are you getting enough? Many people find once they get enough protein, they have little room leftover for the non-essentials. 

4. Avoid sugary drinks

When thinking about what to eat, don’t forget about what you’re drinking. Sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice, sports drinks, and yes, alcohol all contribute to fat storage. Stick to water, tea, and coffee (without added sugar) as your primary beverages.

5. Drink plenty of water

Research shows hydration increases cell metabolism and is associated with weight loss. So, drinking plenty of water can help you burn calories, even outside of your workouts. Stay hydrated by aiming for at least 8 glasses of water per day.

6. Reap the rewards of fasting

Intermittent fasting is tremendously beneficial. In terms of fat loss, fasting for longer periods kicks the body into ketosis, a state in which the body turns to fat (versus carbs) as its primary source of energy.   

7. Drop the prolonged cardio sessions

Prolonged cardio sends the body into survival mode. It cues the body to hold on to fat and turns to another energy source: muscle. Depleting the body of muscle only hinders fat-burning in the long run. Do cardio if you think it’s fun, but limit sessions to 30 minutes.

8. Focus on strength training

Building lean muscle mass not only burns fat but continues to do so by raising your metabolism. The best way to build muscle is via intense, heavy resistance training.

9. Try variable resistance

Contrary to popular belief, free weights aren’t the most efficient form of resistance training. Variable resistance training using bands lets the body access seven times more strength than free weights and helps create the hormonal environment necessary for muscle growth.

10. Stay consistent

Building strength and burning fat is not a one-and-done proposal. Variable resistance training with the X3 bar builds muscle in 10-20 minutes daily. This makes it easier to exercise daily as part of a consistent, steady routine.

11. Get enough sleep

No amount of exercise or eating well can make up for the damage that lost sleep causes. Lack of sleep increases cortisol and leads to metabolic changes that will work against your gains.7

12. Manage stress

Chronic stress can also increase cortisol levels, making it harder to lose weight. Stress-reducing techniques include sleeping well, eating well and exercising, as well as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.

13. Track your progress

Tracking your progress should be more about performance than body composition and the number on the scale. Using the X3 app to count reps with each band, for example, can motivate you to stay on track as you watch yourself getting stronger.

14. Seek support

Getting support from friends, family, or a healthcare professional can be helpful when trying to burn fat and keep it off. Even a supportive, online community such as the X3 Bar Facebook groups can go a long way in helping you realize you’re not alone, and success is possible.

No Weights, No Cardio

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