Skip the Gym and Lose Body Fat at Home With These 7 Strategies – CNET

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For many people, reducing body fat is one of the top reasons they exercise. A balance of exercise and diet can lead to a whole-body trimmed physique. As little as 15 minutes of exercise daily can benefit you greatly.

Despite what you may have heard, you can’t target a specific area for fat loss. Many studies have disproven spot-reduction techniques, such as abdominal exercises or upper-body resistance training. Fat cells from all over the body can be broken down when we exercise; they don’t break down in one specific area.

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You don’t need to drag yourself to the gym each day to lose body fat. You can effectively do it at home by implementing these seven strategies. 

1. Get your steps in

Walking is an ideal workout to do outside the gym. It can be done around the neighborhood or at a park. On good weather days, you can also get some much-needed fresh air. Plus, it’s free and you can take your dog with you (if you have one).

Walking is also a body fat buster. One study found that healthy postmenopausal women lost 3.9% of body fat after 30 weeks of walking and 1.8% after 15 weeks of walking. While we can’t target specific areas, walking can help lose belly fat.

According to Nature, 30 minutes of walking most days of the week showed a significant reduction in body weight and body fat percentage. The study even found that 30 minutes of walking may be as beneficial as 60 minutes (with a healthy diet). 

2. Try intermittent fasting 

One diet trend that has risen in popularity over the years is intermittent fasting. As the name suggests, this is where people fast for a certain time, and then eat at other scheduled times. One study review found that subjects who fasted intermittently had weight loss ranging from 0.8% to 13%. The idea is to force the body to use up its immediately accessible sugar stores and start burning fat.

A perk of intermittent fasting is that you can customize it to your preference and ability to abstain from food. According to John Hopkins Medicine, fasting can last for a certain number of hours every day or even just eating one meal per day for two days out of the week. For instance, you might only eat during an eight-hour period each day and fast the rest of the day. 

It’s important to note that intermittent fasting is not for everyone, especially those at risk for disordered eating or during pregnancy. Before trying intermittent fasting, consult with your doctor to ensure you follow the best plan for you and your goals.

3. Lift heavier weights 

This point might seem counterintuitive since we just covered how you can’t burn fat in one specific region, no matter how many stomach crunches you do. You can balance weight training to target multiple muscle groups or work on certain body parts as part of a whole-body workout. That may give you more balance and a lean appearance and help with body composition

If you don’t have dumbbells at home, check out these household items that double as weights.

Weight training can also help lose fat while building muscle. Studies show that 3 pounds of lean muscle weight gain corresponded to 4 pounds of fat weight loss. Resistance training has also been shown to reduce body fat percentage, body fat mass and visceral fat (the fat that surrounds your organs).

Resistance training, be it with weights or bodyweight exercises like pushups, is recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for at least two days a week, so it can be a fairly easy exercise to fit into your schedule.

4. Start running or jogging 

Profile shot of man running on a treadmill at home

Azlin Nur Bakarudin/EyeEm/Getty Images

Another great exercise idea to lose body fat is to start running or jogging. Like walking, you can do it around the neighborhood or in a park, so it’s free. If you are concerned about the weather, you can also find an indoor track at a gym or community center. You can also consider getting a treadmill to run or jog at home. 

Sprint training is especially good at busting the fat, where you switch how fast you run every several seconds. The Centers for Disease Control also recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity or a mix of the two every week. The CDC lists walking at a rate of a 15-minute mile as moderate activity and jogging or running as vigorous.

5. Focus on high-intensity interval training

This type of exercise, often shortened to HIIT, is where you exercise as hard as you can for short bursts and then spend some time doing lower-intensity training. A perk with this exercise is that it can be any activity that gets your heart pounding, from jumping jacks to stair climbing, so it’s customizable based on how much room you have and what equipment you have around.

It’s a fat buster too. It may result in a modest reduction of overall and abdominal fat.

You can do 30 seconds to several minutes of hard-as-you-can working out and then one to 5 minutes of recovering with a lower-intensity exercise level. These workouts typically go for about 30 minutes, including 5-minute warm-ups and cool-downs, but can be tailored to suit comfort and fitness levels. Typically, the aim is to do these sessions five times a week.

6. Eat the right foods

You can also focus on your diet. While there are no foods that’ll magically burn your fat, there are foods that can increase your metabolism. Most of these foods are high in protein and good-for-you fats, making you feel fuller longer.

Some foods to incorporate into your diet if you’re trying to reduce fat, as listed by the CDC, Healthline and the World Health Organization, include:

  • Fat-free, sugar-free yogurt, such as Greek yogurt.
  • Fatty fish like tuna, herring or salmon.
  • Eggs.
  • Veggies.
  • Fruit.
  • Green tea.
  • Whey protein.
  • Olive oil.
  • Beans.
  • Grilled chicken.

7. Get enough quality sleep

We tend to associate burning fat with endless exercise and painfully restrictive diets. Getting a good amount of rest can also help get rid of the fat. Staying awake for too long can make us eat sugary foods to stay awake, give us tired and ineffective workouts, and may even contribute to stress and inflammation, leading to poor workout recoveries.

One study found that not getting enough sleep decreased the proportion of fat weight loss by 55%. Another found that better sleep quality was linked to more weight and fat loss. Another study found a positive relationship between sleep duration and body fat loss.

The Mayo Clinic recommends adults get seven or more hours of sleep at night. Sleep needs can vary by individual, so adjust higher if seven doesn’t quite feel like enough. 

Too long; didn’t read 

You have many different options when it comes to losing fat at home. You could try walking, running, high-intensity interval training or bodyweight training, all of which have studies to back up their fat loss capabilities.

You might also try adjusting your diet. Eat foods that are low in saturated fat and sugar and ones that can keep you full longer. Opt for high-protein or low-calorie foods like grilled chicken, beans, eggs or green tea. You can also try intermittent fasting. 

Finally, make sure you are getting enough sleep. A good amount of sleep is also associated with fat loss.

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