Whether it’s a beer belly, spare tire, or love handles, there’s no doubt that some of us carry a few extra pounds that would look way better on a middle school arch nemesis (kidding… sort of). But running marathons, heavy lifting, or going the no carb route doesn’t guarantee a drop in jean size. The key to weight loss is (drum roll, please) burning more calories than devoured.
Fat Attack — The Need-to-Know
One pound of fat is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories, so individuals need to burn 3,500 calories more than they consume to shed that first lb. But what’s the best way to do it? Researchers insist that diet is key— since studies show that losing weight comes down to a simple numbers game: calories in versus calories out .
Still, exercising the right way will help tip the scale. In one study, overweight participants signed on for eight weeks of either aerobic workouts or strength training . Surprisingly, the aerobic group burned 67 percent more calories than the resistance training group. Consider quick sprints over slow miles to slim that midsection, though; intervals are considered by many to be a more efficient way to burn fat  .
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But we may need more than a pair of Asics. Researchers have also found grabbing those dumbbells is an effective way to get rid of excess flab  . And unlike aerobic exercise (like running and biking), strength training dramatically increases muscle— which ramps up metabolism and calorie-blasting, too.
Bye-Bye Beer Belly — Your Action Plan
Still, let’s not forget food’s role (that Iron Man isn’t quite worth it if we hit the all-you-can-eat buffet every day this week). Cutting back on calories through healthier choices can make all the difference— so skip the super-sized burger and fries and go for some lean blackened chicken instead. And while calories count most when it comes to the number on the scale, researchers have found that higher protein diets have a greater thermic effect, a fancy phrase for speeding up metabolic rate  . (So maybe get that burger, but hold the bun?)
The body also adapts to exercise, so keep that workout routine varied to stay challenged while beating out boredom. Besides, studies suggest a combination of cardio and strength training is the best way to say sayonara to that excess body fat— something we surely won’t miss .
Do you have a weight loss success story? What are your tips for keeping off the pounds?
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