1. Get more sleep
You’re less likely to hit your maximum intensity if you feel like crawling into a hole. Melanie McGrice, from the Dietitians Association of Australia, says tired people are less likely work out.
“It makes it really easy to think of an excuse not to go to the gym.” There’s also a good physiological reason to get enough kip. “We know that lack of sleep decreases the production of leptin, which is a hormone that helps us to know when to stop eating, and we know that it increases the production off ghrelin, which is a hormone which increases our appetite,” McGrice warns.
If you’re stressed, you may find fat loss harder. Stress hormone cortisol “triggers the brain chemical neuropeptide Y that increases food cravings, and high levels of cortisol causes us to hold onto abdominal fat,” O’Neil says.“I’ve seen really good weight loss results when people address their stress. It’s like the cortisol was hanging on to all the fat and when cortisol was lowered the gates opened and the fat flowed out.”
3. Eat more protein
Here’s where those protein shakes come into their own. Of all the macronutrients, protein ‘costs’ the most calories to digest.
In other words, a higher proportion of the calories in a protein shake are used up just to digest it than those in a muesli bar.
“Thermogenesis is basically the production of body heat,” explains McGrice. “Thermo, relates to temperature, and genesis to production. So if you think of the body as a machine, when it’s working and active it produces heat and burns kilojoules. When we are exercising or digesting food our body undertakes thermogenesis.”
But beware ‘thermogenic enhancers’, which often claim to stimulate fat loss. “The commonly promoted thermo bars and drinks and products that target brown fat and increase metabolism have no substance,” says Matt O’Neil, exercise physiologist and dietitian.