cutting fat

Lift Heavier and Eat More Protein to Cut Fat

Yes, you read that correctly! Too often, people who decide they want to lose body fat attempt to go about it by doing more cardio, less strength training, and drastically reducing their calorie intake. However, recent research from the University of North Carolina (UNC) shows that one of the real secrets for getting the body to burn more fat and retain more muscle actually requires the opposite approach.

When you lift extremely heavy weight for low reps or sprint at a very challenging pace for 30-60 seconds, your body will have to work much harder overall to reach the level of intensity you demand of it than if you lifted lighter weight for more reps or simply jogged slowly for a longer period of time. High intensity training results in an increase in your metabolic rate, which can last an hour or more after exercising.

Caloric Impact

This means you will burn more calories overall per day when you perform a workout of this nature. Lifting lighter weights for more reps or performing “steady-state” cardio does not produce this same effect.

Therefore, even though you technically burn a greater percentage of calories from fat while doing low to moderate intensity exercise, your overall calorie burn is likely going to be greater with high intensity exercise.

Another important consideration is eating enough to recover adequately from high intensity workouts. If you simultaneously increase the amount of exercise you do and decrease the amount of food you eat, this can actually slow your metabolism and encourage increased fat storage.

While decreasing calorie intake by at least 100-200 calories per day is likely necessary to lose weight, a better task to focus on is replacing some calories from carbohydrates with calories from protein. This is especially true for people already accustomed to working out most days of the week.

Additionally, having some protein before a workout can help the body to burn more calories from fat and rely less on carbohydrates for energy. Good examples of pre-workout protein options include Greek yogurt or a protein bar.

The main take away here is that weight loss success is not a game won by eating 1000 calories per day and doing an hour of moderate cardio 5 days a week. Changing your body composition can be as simple as doing a few high-intensity workouts per week and replacing some carbohydrate servings in your daily diet with protein sources.

To read the full article mentioned in this post, see the link below. While the research at UNC focused on these effects in active women, they can also be applied to men aiming to lose body fat as well.


To determine what type of exercise program and diet prescription you need to reach your health and fitness goals, leave me a comment or send me an e-mail and I will be happy to offer guidance!

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