Firstly what is the ideal fat percentage for men and women? The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends fat percentage between 14% to 17 % for men and between 21 and 24 % for women. Athletes need to ensure a lesser fat percentage.
More fat in the body can be detrimental to overall health, because fat cells are not active, in the sense, they slow down the metabolic rate and make it difficult to lose weight. Besides, they contribute to insulin resistance in the long run, leading to diabetes. It is important to lower the fat percentage, while simultaneously building muscle mass, which increase the rate at which the body burns calories.
Muscle strengthening activities are important as they help you to increase the muscle mass in your body. They also help in the following ways:
• Helps to improve energy levels and stamina
• Increases bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
• Controls weight gain
• Maintains overall health and well-being
• Decreases risk of injury
• Helps to maintain good posture and balance
Muscle-strengthening activities include:
• Resistance bands
• Heavy gardening like digging, shovelling
• Push ups, sit ups
• Barbells and dumbbells
• Carrying groceries
The following tips will help you lose fat to look better, feel better, and live a healthier life. These tips are intended as a starting point or quick reference for individuals seeking to lose weight and fat.
1. Have frequent and small meals – Having 6 small meals helps to regulate the blood sugar, controls the cravings and keeps away hunger. It also maintains metabolism efficiency.
2. Increase fiber in your diet – Consuming fiber rich foods can help you feel full for a longer time; and as it delays the digestion process, you do not feel hungry for a long time.
3. Be active – A healthy weight can be achieved by being physically active. Exercise also prevents weight gain. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. (or a combination of moderate and vigorous exercise)
4. Cut down on sugar – Refined sugars play a role in our diets by contributing to our growing waistlines. Excess sugar in your diet increases the blood sugar and insulin level which causes our body to start storing and stop burning fat. They add a lot of empty calories to our diet.
5. Limit fatty food – Cut down on fatty foods like red meat, full cream milk, cheese, butter, ghee, fried foods etc.
6. Avoid skipping meals – Skipping meals can make you binge or overeat between meals as you tend to feel hungry.
7. Limit portion sizes – If the portion sizes of your meals are large, you will tend to gain weight. So have smaller meals and keep a check on your portion sizes.
8. Make changes gradually – Small changes in your diet and lifestyle can make big differences. Make sure you make one change daily.
9. Eat slowly – When you eat slowly and take smaller bites, you will consume lesser calories. This prevents you from gaining weight.
10. Limit alcohol – Alcohol adds empty calories to your diet. It leads to the weight gain from the calories it provides. After alcohol consumption, you tend to eat more calories which causes weight gain.
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