First, let's be honest. Even though it's the season for all the bikini/weight-loss/fat-burning talk, and yes, we're just about to divulge a trainer's top tips for speeding up your metabolism, we don't want to make it seem like losing weight or torching fat is a make-or-break factor when it comes to having a fabulous summer or increasing your body confidence. Because it's not, and we're also really into the idea of spreading all the body love this month.
That being said, does it have to be so black-and-white? To feel confident and happy, are we automatically supposed to dismiss every health or "diet" tip we see to protect ourselves? Burning fat is in no way synonymous with achieving health and confidence this summer, but truth be told, we're also not opposed to hearing top experts in the industry share wisdom on a topic which has left many of us bewildered and frustrated at one point or another.
So here's our strategy. We'll gladly listen to, share, and discuss their tips and know-how. Then, after the fact, we can decide if said tips and goals align with what we envision for both our physical and mental space this summer. Plus, we can each decide whether or not their recommended lifestyle changes equate to something that will be healthy for us in the long run.
Thus, when we heard David Kingsbury (ahem, the celebrity trainer to Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, and the cast of Wolverine) was offering up his best, most successful tips for a faster, fat-burning metabolism, we were intrigued. Known and loved by celebrities for his super-fast results (with no crash dieting), he shared with Healthista his seven best steps for climbing your way to an incinerator-level metabolism with as minimal peripheral damage (aka misery) as possible.
1. Up Your Protein Intake
Try increasing your protein intake so roughly 40% of your calories per meal come from lean, nutrient-dense sources like chicken, smoked salmon, tempeh, and beans.
"Protein is very important for muscle maintenance during a fat-loss plan and keeping the levels high will ensure you keep hold of all that hard-earned muscle whilst you are losing body fat," Kingsbury explained to Healthista.
2. Try Circuit Training Twice Per Week
For a hard-hitting and efficient full-body workout, circuit training is Kingsbury's go-to method to increase fat burn.
"The rest periods are kept very short in circuit training, these exercises put a high demand on your body, depleting your energy stores and boosting fat burning after the session," he says. He recommends starting with multitasking exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges.
3. Be Strategic With Carbs
By now we know completely cutting out any food group is a nutritional no-no and rarely does the body good. In fact, healthy, complex carbohydrates are essential for our bodies to function at their peak and reap the best, fat-burning results as they break down to produce glucose.
"This glucose is moved around the body to create fuel for muscles, brain, and other essential biological functions," Kingsbury explains. That being said, he also told Healthista keeping each meal ratio to about 20% carbohydrates might help boost metabolism and increase fat burn.
4. Do One LISS Session for 60 Minutes Per Week
Meet low-intensity steady-state exercise. Unlike HIIT which usually features a fast and furious workout block of heart-pumping exercises, LISS is typically done for over an hour per session and involves a form of exercise that gets the heart rate up, but not to as extreme a level (think walking on the treadmill or a slow-but-steady Spin session).
According to Kingsbury, LISS is great for fat burn as "it works by increasing your heart rate into a targeted fat-loss zone and keeps it there." Do as he suggests and strive to maintain your heart rate at 60% to 65% of your maximum heart rate throughout the one-hour workout.
4. Re-Evaluate Your Alcohol Consumption
All right, we get it. This isn't exactly the piece of advice you want to hear right before we dive head first into summer. But according to Kingsbury, decreasing alcohol (or cutting it from your diet almost completely) will likely do wonders for your metabolism. (Extra-strong and salty margaritas do not make for a fast and healthy metabolism, apparently.)
Kingsbury's reasoning: "Alcohol supplies almost twice as many calories as equivalent amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Plus, it is an irritant to the lining of your stomach, gradually weakening your liver and kidneys. As the lining is weakened, the food you eat is digested less efficiently."
Oh and as if that weren't enough, he concludes by saying alcohol can also lower testosterone levels, which can have a direct impact on the body's ability to burn fat and build lean muscle mass. Eek.
6. Make Your Plate 40% Fat
According to Kingsbury, fat has gotten a bad reputation in the past since it has the highest number of calories per gram compared to other macronutrients like carbohydrates and protein. That being said, he tells Healthista fat is essential for providing our bodies with the energy they need in order to function properly. Plus, it's highly satiating so you'll stay fuller for longer and will likely feel calmer around food in general.
"Fat is actually one of the secret weapons for effective fat loss because it provides energy with the lowest impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels," Kingsbury confirms.
7. Curb That Sweet Tooth
Prepare yourself because depending on the severity of your sweet tooth, we bear some somber news. According to Kingsbury, too much sugar is the number one reason most fat-loss efforts fail—especially when you consider we're not even aware of how much we may or may not be consuming.
"Our brains don't register sugary, fatty, heavily processed foods in the same way as other foods, and we don't get the same 'I'm full' signals," Kingsbury clarifies. And while natural forms of sugar found in fruit get the green light (of course, moderation is key), it's added sugars which Kingsbury takes issue with. "Eating excessive amounts of added sugar can have harmful effects on your metabolism, which can lead to insulin resistance, belly fat, fatty liver disease, and heart disease."
Our thought? Of course, it's completely healthy to indulge in something sweet occasionally, but try replacing your favorite processed picks (like from-a-box brownies) with something homemade instead.