How to Lose Weight Fast: 3 Simple Steps, Based on Science

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Put simply, cutting carbs puts fat loss on autopilot. Like next level good. Men and women who did hours of cardio over the course of a year lost an average of only five pounds. Used pappardelle egg noodles…your vegan parm has been my money-saving go-to for almost 3 years…red pepper flakes were an excellent touch…the few glasses of the leftover sav blanc to have with it was the ultimate pairing…omnivore hubs had seconds…looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow. But keep in mind this isn't a fad diet—it's more a medical necessity for those at risk. First, just wanted to say that I love your site.

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Start with a regular warmup. When you've finished that, pedal or run at a rate that's 20 percent harder than your normal cardio intensity. After 30 to 60 seconds, bring the intensity down to a rate that's half the intensity of a normal cardio workout. You want two extremes: Alternate periods of 30 to 60 seconds of hard work with 30 to 60 seconds of easy pedaling or easy running for six to 10 intervals to complete your session.

As this gets easier, increase the intensity of each interval, work longer during the hard portion, shorten your rest periods or add more intervals. If you haven't sprinted since a coach was blasting a whistle in your ear, you're missing out on a natural but extreme form of interval training that can pay dividends for more than just your legs.

They have tremendous arms and shoulders, too," said Nick Tumminello, director of Performance University. A quick caveat, though: If you're not used to bursts like these, Tumminello says, it's easy to pull a hamstring, halting your training -- and your results. He suggests following these tips to start safely.

Sprint on a hill. The impact on your joints is lower, Tumminello says, which can help you avoid injury. Live in a flat area with no hills? Instead of the drag race approach, begin your sprints by speeding up from a jog. At a local track, jog the curve, then sprint 10 to 20 yards of the straightaway. Continue interval sprinting in this way. To maximize benefit and lower injury risk, keep your sprints on the shorter side -- no more than 50 yards per sprint. This will help you maintain a high intensity throughout, says Tumminello, and prevent your form from breaking down, which can lead to injury.

To increase the overall results of your sprint workout, increase the number of sprints instead of going for long distances. When you're starting out, perform a sprint workout just once per week -- you'll be surprised at how sore the workout makes you, even in the abdominals. Once you're used to the stimulus, Tumminello suggests bumping it up to only two sessions per week, mixed with other gym workouts.

Allow at least two days of recovery between sprint workouts. You don't have to run, bike or perform any traditional cardio exercise to get high-intensity, fat-burning training.

By pairing strength exercises that work opposing muscles, you can build muscle while keeping your heart rate high, maximizing fat loss. During the lunges, the arms and back rest, while the legs rest during the pull-ups.

Jack uses such exercise pairings to do escalating density training, an interval protocol with a built-in challenge. To try this challenge: Choose two exercises that use opposite movements or work completely different muscles -- pair a pushing exercise with a pulling exercise or a lower body move with an upper body move. As an example, consider a dumbbell bench press and an inverted row. For each exercise, choose a weight with which you can perform 10 reps.

Alternate between the exercises, performing just five reps of each move, with the rep weight, in each set. Rest as needed between sets and pairs so that you can complete each set of five without failing. As with cardio intervals, strength intervals like these won't work if your reps aren't high-intensity. Continue alternating between the exercises for a set time -- 10 or 15 minutes, for example -- keeping track of how many total sets you can do.

In following sessions, try to beat your score by finishing more sets in that time or by finishing the same number of sets but with tougher weights. Density training sessions are great to add to the end of a traditional strength training workout, Jack says. For a complete density training workout, he suggests performing multiple time blocks in the same session, using new exercise pairings for each. Other pairs he recommends include a goblet squat with a single-arm dumbbell row, a reverse lunge with pushups or pulldowns, deadlifts with dumbbell overhead presses or split squats with a rowing exercise.

Countdown workouts also use exercise pairs and are a motivating way to finish a workout, says Mike Wunsch, performance director at Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. With each round of the exercise pair, the workout involves one fewer rep of each move -- moving from sets of six to five to four, and so forth, until the count reaches zero. That finish-line mentality can keep you going.

As with density training, Wunsch recommends pairing opposing exercises for countdowns, but also suggests picking moves that have a rhythm. Moves like the kettlebell swing, squat thrusts and pushups work well. Wunsch says stress-busting med ball slams and throws can add to the fun. Moves like these, he explains, can result in injury if your form falters while performing exercises at a fast pace. For the same reason, he also advises avoiding overhead-pressing moves like dumbbell thrusters. To try your own countdown, choose a pair of exercises from Wunsch's following list.

There are many ways to lose a lot of weight fast. If you don't have iron willpower, then hunger will cause you to give up on these plans quickly. When you do that, your hunger levels go down and you end up eating much fewer calories 1.

Another benefit of cutting carbs is that it lowers insulin levels , causing your kidneys to shed excess sodium and water out of your body. This reduces bloat and unnecessary water weight 2 , 3.

It is not uncommon to lose up to 10 pounds sometimes more in the first week of eating this way, both body fat and water weight. This is a graph from a study comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in overweight or obese women 4.

The low-carb group is eating until fullness, while the low-fat group is calorie-restricted and hungry. Cut the carbs and you will start to eat fewer calories automatically and without hunger 5. Put simply, cutting carbs puts fat loss on autopilot. Constructing your meals in this way will automatically bring your carb intake into the recommended range of 20—50 grams per day.

The importance of eating plenty of protein cannot be overstated. This has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to calories per day 6 , 7 , 8. When it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients.

You can eat massive amounts of them without going over 20—50 net carbs per day. A diet based mostly on meat and vegetables contains all the fiber, vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy.

It will make you feel miserable and abandon the plan. To see how you can assemble your meals, check out this low-carb meal plan and this list of healthy low-carb recipes.

By lifting weights, you will burn lots of calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight 11 , Studies on low-carb diets show that you can even gain a bit of muscle while losing significant amounts of body fat If lifting weights is not an option for you, then doing some cardio workouts like walking, jogging, running, cycling or swimming will suffice.

It is important to stick to healthy carb sources like oats, rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit, etc. But only this one higher carb day — if you start doing it more often than once per week you're not going to see much success on this plan. Be aware that cheat meals or carb refeeds are NOT necessary, but they can boost some fat-burning hormones like leptin and thyroid hormones 14 , You will gain some weight during your refeed day, but most of it will be water weight and you will lose it again in the next 1—2 days.

It is NOT necessary to count calories as long as you keep the carbs very low and stick to protein, fat and low-carb vegetables. However, if you really want to count them, use this calculator. Enter your details, and then pick the number from either the "Lose Weight" or the "Lose Weight Fast" section — depending on how fast you want to lose weight.

There are many great tools you can use to track the number of calories you are eating. Here is a list of 5 calorie counters that are free and easy to use. The main goal of this plan is to keep carbs under 20—50 grams per day and get the rest of your calories from protein and fat.

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