If you want to know how to reduce body fat, this post is for you! We’re sharing the best diet, exercise, and lifestyle tips and tricks to help decrease your body fat naturally. Whether you’re trying to slim down for health reasons, or specifically want to target belly fat so you can look good in a bikini on your next beach vacation, these ideas will help.
What is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage?
If you want to know how to reduce body fat, an important first step is to determine what your current body fat percentage is, and what your goals are. A doctor or personal trainer will have the tools needed to give you an accurate body fat percentage, but for those who prefer to measure themselves at home, a set of skin fold callipers or a body fat scale can give you an approximate measurement. Once you know what your body fat percentage is, you can assess if you fall within a healthy range using the following body fat percentage charts for women and men.
Body Fat Percentage (Women)
Body Fat Percentage (Men)
Keep in mind that when it comes to body fat, less isn’t always better. If your body fat drops too low, it can weaken your immune system and put you at an increased risk of vitamin deficiencies, heart distance, and fertility issues.
How to Reduce Body Fat Naturally
Once you know what your current body fat percentage is and what your goals are, you probably want to know how to reduce body fat quickly. Your immediate thought may be to lose as much weight as possible in the shortest amount of time, and while quick weight loss may be beneficial to you if your BMI is too high, losing weight too fast can lead to muscle loss as well. And since muscle helps us burn more calories – even when you’re resting! – slow and steady wins the race. Keep reading for our best tips on how to reduce body fat naturally!
1. SLEEP MORE
Quality sleep is an essential part of your overall health, both physically and mentally. Ongoing sleep deprivation can lead to issues such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood sugar, anxiety, diabetes, stroke, weight gain, and (you guessed it) increased body fat. Not everyone realizes the importance of quality sleep, but it’s just as crucial as exercise and healthy eating. Of course, stress, anxiety, and hormones can all interfere with our sleep, so even if you’re committed to improving the length and quality of your sleep, your body may not cooperate. If this sounds like you, we’ve written an entire post about insomnia with tips for a better night’s rest, which you can read HERE.
2. INCREASE YOUR CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE
If you want to know how to reduce body fat naturally, engaging in 30+ minutes of cardio at least three times per week is a great starting point. Cardio helps you burn fat and calories, and it can also help you manage feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, and offers a whole host of other health benefits, making it one of the most effective natural remedies for weight loss. With that said, remember that you don’t need to do excess amounts of cardio to see results. Overtraining causes an increase in cortisol (our stress hormone), which can lead to a whole host of issues, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and weight gain. Instead of doubling up on your cardio workouts, experiment with high intensity interval training instead. HIIT is when you exercise at a high intensity for 30 seconds to several minutes, followed by 1 to 5 minutes of rest or low intensity exercise. It’s one of the most efficient and effective ways to burn calories and fat, increase muscle mass, and sky rocket your metabolism.
CLICK HERE for the best at-home fat-burning cardio exercises.
3. LIFT WEIGHTS
While many women believe cardio is the best and only thing she should do to slim down, strength training is also important for optimal health and a lean physique. Strength training, such as bodyweight exercises, is one of the best things you can do to lose weight, burn fat, and tighten and tone your body. Along with weight loss, incorporating regular strength training into your weekly exercise regime will:
- Increase your muscle mass, allowing you to burn more calories while resting
- Reduce your visceral fat (the fat stored around the organs within your abdominal cavity)
- Increase your metabolism
- Give you more energy
- Improve the quality of your sleep
CLICK HERE for the best muscle building workouts for women!
4. REDUCE CONSUMPTION OF REFINED CARBS
Cutting back on refined carbs – foods like cookies, cakes, pastries, candies, fast foods, breaded or battered foods, sugary cereals, pastas, bagels, and pizza – has many health benefits, especially when it comes to weight loss and maintenance. Refined carbs are absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, causing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can perpetuate cravings for high carb, sugary snacks. If you want to know how to reduce body fat, cut back on these foods as much as you can.
5. EAT A DIET THAT’S HIGH IN PROTEIN
If you’re trying to figure out how to reduce body fat, make sure you have a protein source at every meal, whether it’s eggs, meat, fish, dairy, tofu, beans, or whatever your favourite protein is. Protein moves through your digestive system slowly, helping you to feel full for a longer period of time, and making you less likely to overeat. It’s also an excellent post-workout food choice as protein helps repair, recover, and build more muscle, as well as prevent muscle breakdown, which is key to reducing body fat!
6. INCREASE YOUR FIBER INTAKE
Consuming adequate fiber (at least 25 grams per day) is a great way to manage your weight and reduce belly fat. Fiber helps with your digestive health, disease prevention, weight control, and foods high in fiber help you feel full for longer. To increase your fiber intake, eat foods such as lentils, black beans, peas, broccoli, raspberries, pears, and oatmeal.
7. LIMIT LIQUID CALORIES
If you have a tendency to indulge in a mid-morning latte, enjoy a soda in the afternoon, and/or pour yourself a glass of white when your kids are in bed for the night, I strongly urge you to stop. Liquid calories such as these offer absolutely no nutritional value to your diet, and will do nothing but hold you back from reaching your weight loss goals. Alcohol in particular can lower your inhibitions and make you more prone to snack in the evenings, and can also cause interrupted sleep. If you want to know how to reduce belly fat, stick to water, black coffee, and herbal teas.
8. ADD PROBIOTICS TO YOUR DIET
Probiotics are living microorganisms that live in certain foods. They’re created during the fermentation process, and are similar to ‘good bacteria’ that naturally occur in your digestive system. And since 70% to 80% of our immune system is located in our gut, a diet rich in probiotic foods will help with everything from indigestion and irritable bowl syndrome to arthritis and cancer. Probiotics also help decrease inflammation, increase energy, and certain strains are said to reduce body fat. If you want to add probiotic foods to your diet, THIS POST is a great resource. Probiotic supplements are another option to consider.
9. MANAGE STRESS
My last tip for those who want to know how to reduce body fat is to keep your stress levels under control. Chronic stress can cause high levels of cortisol – the hormone responsible for controlling our blood sugar levels, regulating our metabolism, and reducing inflammation in the body. Also know as the ‘stress hormone’, high levels of cortisol due to chronic feelings of stress can lead to a whole host of issues, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and weight gain. It can also influence where you gain weight, and elevated cortisol levels tend to cause an increase in visceral fat. Yoga, meditation, mindful breathing, regular exercise, and therapy are all great ways to keep your stress, cortisol, weight, and body fat under control.
If you’re trying to figure out how to reduce body fat naturally, I hope the tips and ideas in this post proved useful to you! Remember to sleep more and keep your stress levels under control, increase your protein intake and reduce your consumption of refined carbs, exercise regularly and efficiently, and incorporate strength training into your weekly workout regime.