Low body fat is the key to both increasing your attractiveness, and in general, athletic performance.
We know that diet and exercise are important for achieving a nice physique. What you might not know is that diet probably accounts for 80% of that balance.
Basically, doing a million crunches won’t do you any good if your body fat is still high. You start to see the abs at about 12% bodyfat for men and they start to look shredded around 6%.
Lets take a look at the one thing that will have the greatest effect on achieving a low body fat percentage and looking sexy – diet.
If you look at all successful diet trends in America over the years – Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, Slow Carb, you name itâ€¦the two characteristics they all have in common are Low Sugar, High Fiber.
1. Low sugar
The basic principle here is that when you consume sugars in excess f your immediate needs, they are converted to fatty acids and stored as fat. Additionally, consuming sugar (and other “simple” carbs) causes an insulin response. When insulin levels spike, fat burning is shut down and your appetite can increase.
Foods in the category of sugary/simple carbs:
Fruit juice, white bread, most â€œwheatâ€ bread (basically white bread with a little extra fiber), white rice, baked white potato, bagels, croissants, pretzels, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, waffles, corn chips, cornflakes, cake, jelly beans, sugary drinks, Gatorade, beer, and anything that has high fructose corn syrup on the nutritional label.
2. High Fiber
All the old folks stand around the water cooler and talk about how great fibers is, and they are on to something. As a microbiologist, I have learned how important cultivating a health (diverse) gut microbial community is. Having both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet creates a gooey mixture that â€œsticksâ€ to the walls of your gut, preventing leaky gut syndrome and keeping your microbes healthy.
Foods that help you get your fiber: Whole fruits (especially raspberries and blackberries), veggies (broccoli, artichokes), legumes (black beans and lentils), nuts, and whole grains (barley and oats).
One of my personal favorite ways to get fiber is nuts. Â I tell all my athletes and friends to add nuts to their diet. Studies have shown that people who eat just 1 ounce of nuts per day are leaner. This may be due to the feelings of satiety the fat and proteins in the nut provide. If you want more ways to add nuts to your diet, check out my wife Maryâ€™s cookbook: Nut Butters: twenty nut butter recipes and creative ways to use them.
So what is the easiest way to achieve both these dietary measures? Cook real food.
And now: Amplify your dieting efforts with these two bonus hacks!
Here are the two best fat burning types of exercise:
Some steady aerobic exercise (walking, cycling) over 70 minutes at a time a few days/week, which teaches your body to utilize stored fat as a preferred energy source.
Short, high intensity exercise (10 X 1 min running intervals, or kettlebell swings) one or two times per week.
We know that losing sleep increases appetite, causing us to increase caloric intake without a corresponding increase in metabolism. It also tips the scales towards fat storage, away from fat burning. Sleep 6 hours minimum, unless you are over 50, and especially if you have any focus requirements the next day. Most people should get 8 hours (do i really need to remind you?), and if you are an athlete in the middle of intense training, 10 is common. All you crazy entrepreneurs out there that don’t sleep enough and think you are productive, think again – losing sleep is like being drunk – impairment.
It all sounds so simple right? The hardest part is adjusting your schedule and plans if they arenâ€™t set up for this lifestyle already.
So, set yourself up for success – only buy food that is real and cook it yourself.
Emotion trumps reason when you are trying to change something that is hard to change. If you donâ€™t love moving your body and sleeping already, and have to convince yourself with the reasons I have just told you, add in that emotional reason too: put a picture of the lean, sexy version of the person you want to be somewhere you can see it every day and it will remind you what you are striving for.
Question: What is one food that you could add or subtract from your diet that you think could make a big impact on lowering your bodyfat?