We are all familiar with the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” Unfortunately, the vast majority of us typically defer to our daily routines rather than consciously identify and implement potentially beneficial changes. There are few areas in our lives where this is truer than with diet and exercise. The good news, though, are a few small tweaks can lead to quick and sustainable results. Below are a few non-intuitive hacks to increase your energy level, lower your body fat and assist you in becoming a healthier version of yourself.
- Cut the Crap Carbs. Think Paleo is just a fad for fitness enthusiasts? Think again. While I personally believe humans benefit from a diet that is diversified beyond the constraints of Paleo, the lifestyle is un-refutably right about one thing: swapping high quality vegetables in place of sugars and grains leads to fantastic results. The wheat we consume today barely resembles the grain our ancestors cultivated and provides little nutritional benefit. Eliminate gluten and sugar from your diet and enjoy the increased energy levels and fat loss that are sure to come.
- Get Lean By Eating Fat. Medium chain triglycerides are easily digested and absorbed on a cellular level, making them readily available for energy use. They’re so good for you, they don’t lead to fat storage even when eaten in excess. If you’re not currently using coconut oil, grass fed butter, avocado and animal fats as your primary fat sources, start today. They offer great metabolic benefits and keep you satiated in a way carbs cannot.
- Fast (intermittently). Intermittent fasting is a technique where you limit your meals to smaller time windows, thus allowing your body more time to burn existing body fat during the day. Not sure you can go all morning without something in your stomach? Give “bulletproof” or “fatty coffee” a try – it’s delicious and keep you feeling full. Moreover, fatty coffee fasting is super effective when combined with a low carb or Ketogenic diet.
- Learn to Cook. In his bestselling book “4 hour chef“, Meta-learning specialist (and lifelong non-cook) Tim Ferris breaks down the art of cooking into 14 strategically chosen 5-20 minute meals that provide you with all the skills you need to be a culinary dynamo. For those of you looking for a great book full of fat loss tips and AMAZING recipes, check out “The Wild Diet” by the Abel James, the bio-hacking host of the top-ranked “Fat-Burning Man” podcast.
- HIIT the Gym Hard and Quick. Few things in the fitness world embrace the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy more than High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT combines large muscle group strength and cardiovascular training, alternating short intense training bursts with less intense recovery periods. It’s extremely effective for fat loss as the intensity of the workouts provide an “after burn” that keeps your metabolism in fat burning mode for hours after your workout. Better yet, almost all of the best HIIT workouts are less than 30 minutes in length. Search “HIIT for Beginners” on Pinterest for ideas. Not wild enough? Try an Outdoors HIIT workout.
Make the most of your finite time and energy and start experimenting with some of these non-intuitive strategies. You’ll be thrilled with the results.
Mike proudly serves as Interim Director of the Career Center and Director of Career Discovery at Williams College. He started his website, wakeupbeawesomegotosleep.com, as a way to share small and easy lifestyle that lead to huge results.