Habits Create Fat Loss for Men
Fat burning involves more than just eating clean and working out regularly. Adopting additional healthy lifestyle habits is the key to fat-burning success.
Drink LOTS of Water
You may already know that water is the #1 drink when weight or fat loss is your goal. Your body is made of about 70% water, and increasing your water intake helps you feel full without extra calories. Water makes it easier for your body to burn fat as fuel, flush out toxins, and boost energy.
For effective fat loss for men, aim to drink at least 16 cups of water daily, spaced evenly throughout the day:
- Drink about 4 cups of water when you first wake up in the morning
- Drink about 2 cups of water before meals to enhance weight and fat loss
- Drink lots of water before and after workouts
- Enhance the palatability of water by adding ice, lemon, other fruit chunks, or mint as flavor
If you think you might be hungry but aren’t sure, drink about 2 cups of water and reevaluate your body's hunger cues.
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Set a Regular Sleep Schedule
Stress and the hustle and bustle of work, family, and your social life can make getting enough sleep nearly impossible at times. But when fat loss for men is your goal, sleeping enough is crucial. More than one-third of adults in the U.S aren’t sleeping enough regularly, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Studies show that sleep deprivation makes fat burning more difficult, and weight gain associated with poor sleep is attributed to fat (not muscle mass) gains. Aim to get enough quality sleep each night by:
- Sleep 7-9 hours each night
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time
- Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room
- Use a white noise machine if necessary
- Have a light snack if you’re hungry before bed
- Work out regularly but avoid late-night workouts
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco in the evening
- Don't go to bed very full
- Seek medical advice if you have sleep apnea
Adopting these healthy sleep habits lets you get the high-quality sleep needed for effective fat burning. Better sleep gives you the energy needed to get through daily fat-burning workouts.
The effects of avoiding alcohol for fat loss are two-fold. Drinking alcohol can increase your appetite, and studies show it reduces fat oxidation and is associated with higher body weights and body fat. Alcohol adds unnecessary empty calories to your meal plan and is associated with certain forms of cancer. While nixing alcohol entirely is usually best, drinking in moderation is a much better alternative than heavy drinking when fat loss for men is your goal.
Drink Coffee or Tea
In addition to drinking water, add caffeinated black coffee or unsweetened tea to your daily routine to enhances fat loss. Studies show that increasing caffeine reduces body weight, body mass index (BMI), and fat mass.
The reason for this might be two-fold. Caffeine gives you more energy, which makes it easier to stay active and have better fat-burning workouts. Studies show that caffeine increases energy expenditure, decreases food intake, and boosts metabolism and your body's ability to burn fat.
How much coffee or tea is enough to reap fat loss benefits you might be wondering? If you don’t drink caffeine, adding 1-2 cups of coffee or tea daily can help. A 2017 review in BMJ says drinking 3-4 cups of coffee daily helps reduce all-cause death, heart disease, and cancer.
Stress is associated with increases in the hormone cortisol, which puts you at risk of weight gain and hinders fat burning. You can’t always avoid stressful situations, but you can de-stress by:
- Try yoga or tai chi
- Take a mental day off from work
- Get a massage
- Try relaxation techniques
- Stretch regularly
- Go for walks
- Get outdoors
- Take vacations
Avoid unnecessary stressors in your life as much as possible – even if it means turning down a work promotion, finding a new job altogether, or saying no to extra-curricular activities.
What Does a Fat-Loss Diet for Men Look Like?
Following a fat-loss diet might be easier than you think, as you don’t have to count calories or measure food. Just make a few simple changes in your regular eating habits and watch excess fat melt off.
Slightly Reduce Calories
If weight and fat loss is your goal, slightly lower your usual energy intake by about 500 calories daily to shed about 1 pound of fat per week. If you’re trying to burn fat while increasing muscle mass, simply change the composition of your current diet.
Eliminate Added Sugar
Added sugar can be addictive, but eating the right balance of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and natural sugar (from fruit and milk) helps curb junk food cravings. Examples of ways to nix added sugar include:
- Replace sugary drinks (such as juice, lemonade, sports drinks, and soda) with water, water with fruit chunks, black coffee, or green tea
- Consume protein-rich foods and healthy fats at each meal
- Eat fresh fruit in place of sweet treats
- Cut out baked goods
- Don’t keep sweets in the house
Over time, cravings for sweets might disappear for you entirely!
Steer Clear of Refined Carbohydrates
Eating too many carbohydrates, especially highly-processed carbs, can hinder weight and fat loss. Refined carbs to avoid include:
- White bread
- Regular pasta
- White rice
- Sugary cereals
- White tortillas
- White bagels
Choosing a lower-carb diet is an effective weight and fat loss strategy, but your body needs carbs daily to function at it’s best. Instead of refined grains, choose the following fiber-rich alternatives:
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Brown or wild rice
- Plain oatmeal
- Whole-grain pasta
- Sweet potatoes
- Black beans and other legumes
Because these foods are free from added sugar and fiber-rich, they fill you up for long time periods to enhance fat loss for men.
Protein can increase your metabolism, boost satiety, and maintain lean muscle during weight loss. If you work out regularly, aim to consume about 0.75-1.0 gram of protein per pound of your ideal body weight, spaced evenly throughout the day. For example, you might eat 25-30 grams of protein at each meal, 5-6 times daily.
Choose protein-rich foods at each meal and snack. Examples include:
- Very lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood
- Milk, low-fat cottage cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, and reduced-fat cheese
- Plant milks
- Tofu, seitan, and other meat substitutes
- Protein shakes
Drinking whey protein shakes is an excellent fat-burning strategy for men. Studies show that consuming a whey protein shake twice daily and reducing total daily calories by 500 enhances fat loss and helps maintain lean mass.
Boost Healthy Fat
Believe it or not, boosting your intake of dietary fat helps you burn body fat because nutritious fats boost satiety, curb cravings for added sugar and other unhealthy carbs, and stabilize blood sugar. Examples of healthy fats to include in a fat-burning diet for men are:
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butters
- Plant oils
- Fatty fish and fish oils
Cook meals in olive oil, add nut butter to protein shakes, snack on nuts and seeds, eat fatty fish, take omega-3 fish oil or algal oil supplements, and top salads with nuts, seeds, or avocado slices.
Fill Your Plate Properly
Fat loss for men can be as simple as knowing how to fill your plate. Aim to fill:
- Half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables
- One-fourth of each plate with fiber-rich starches
- One-fourth of each plate with protein foods
- Add healthy fats
Examples of non-starchy vegetables, which should make up about half of each plate, include leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, and green beans.
Know When to Eat
When fat loss for men is your goal, knowing when to eat enhances your results. Try:
- When you first wake up, drink about 4 cups of water
- Next, eat breakfast or drink a protein shake
- Eat small meals or snacks every few hours
- Eat 5-6 small meals, or 3 meals plus 2-3 snacks, each day
Keep portions small and don't overdo it. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to meal timing for fat loss, so design menus based on your schedule and preferences.