If you’re a guy, you know that the fad diets you find in women’s magazines probably aren’t going to help you. You can’t survive on a stick of celery and some cottage cheese for lunch. Fortunately you’re in luck, because as long as you maintain a healthy schedule of exercise and a reasonable diet you should have a slightly easier time of losing weight than your fairer counterpart.
Here’s a few things you might not have known about how to lose weight as a man:
1) It’s all about testosterone. Your testosterone levels have a big influence on a lot of your life – from how you feel in the morning to how much you want to exercise. Higher testosterone means that not only will you want to exercise more, but you’ll get a larger benefit from doing it. You can eat many foods, like red meat which contains zinc, to help boost your testosterone levels. There are also supplements available, but consult your doctor before taking any hormone supplements.
2) Get a good breakfast. You have to have energy to burn fat, and the sad truth is that your body would rather use a much more readily-usable fuel, protein, than fat. If you skip breakfast your body will learn that it’s not getting much energy in until late morning, so it will limit its energy expenditure and go into ‘starvation’ mode, trying to store fat. You’ll feel lethargic, and won’t get much benefit from that morning jog. Make it a healthy breakfast with fruit, brown breads, wholegrain muesli or eggs with fruit juice, not coffee.
3) Graze. Grazing is a type of eating that’s gaining popularity amongst professional athletes, and is a great way for men to lose weight and control their energy levels. Instead of three big meals a day, rather eat five or as many as seven small meals. Your metabolism will speed up, you’ll always have enough energy (and no more). You’ll also have less urge to snack, but if you do…
4) Stock up on healthy snacks. They don’t have to be disgusting, or a little embarrassing like Special K bars, but there are loads of high-fibre, high-protein and low-fat snacks and oat bars out there that are great to snack on, and contain fewer calories than you’d burn in a brisk walk to the store. Fruit also makes a good snack – bananas are high in energy, and one big one will fill you up for an hour or more until your next graze.
5) Pile on the meat. You’re a man, and you need protein. In fact, you generally need about 25-35% more calories than she does, but there’s a big difference in how you take these calories in. If you chow down on pasta and baked potatoes you’ll only feel lethargic, and all of those calories will get stored by your body to keep you warm for what it can only assume will be a long period of hibernation. A big steak contains zinc, which boosts testosterone, and protein is more readily burnt as fuel than fat. If you have a high-protein meal about an hour and a half before gym you’ll be able to work out for longer and burn more fat.
6) Just drink water. It’s a habit you have to get into, but once you do you’ll be able to feel the benefits. Most people simply don’t drink enough water – you need about 6 pint glasses, or 8 to 10 large water glasses per day. Drinking a lot of water is one of the most important things you need to do as a man trying to lose weight. After drinking lots of water for a few weeks you’ll notice the difference in your energy levels, alertness, digestion, and even the clearness of your skin.
7) Crunch those abs. Chances are that if you’re a man trying to lose weight, you want to get rid of your gut. There are dozens of different abdominal exercises you can do, but remember that improving those muscles doesn’t necessarily mean you’re burning fat off that area. When you get a good workout you’re losing fat all over, and if you do stomach exercises you’ll be improving the general muscle tone of the area. Make sure you’re targeting your lower, mid and upper abdominals, as well as your core. Here are one or two good exercises you can do for your abs, and a video detailing how to target those tricky lower abdominals:
Bicycle Kicks – Lie on your back, with your hands at the side of your head, and bring your right knee up to your chest. Start by crunching your stomach to bring your head and elbows up, and then twist to bring your left elbow to meet your right knee. Extend that knee while lowering your head and bring the other one in, repeating with the other elbow. The idea is to do it in a fluid, cycling motion, without relying on the momentum of your body or the muscles in your back. Do 30-40 reps of this in three sets.
Leg Lifts – Lying on your back with your hands at your sides, lift one leg up slowly to about 30 degrees while keeping your knee stiff and leg straight. Hold it there for a few seconds and then lower it slowly. Repeat this with the other leg. The idea is that you want to be focusing on your lower abdominals, and forcing them to do the work. If you’re feeling another muscle group doing the work, try adjusting your position or taking a break. Here’s a video (above) to give you a few more tips on how to work those stomach muscles, one of the best ways for men to lose weight.