Many people would like to lose fat and tone up their bodies. And while there are magazine articles, infomercials, online fitness plans and supermarket diet products seemingly everywhere you look, it can be tough to determine how to best lose unwanted fat while still maintaining muscle mass and a fit, toned body. If you're interested in losing fat but not necessarily changing your weight, you need to focus on a few key diet and fitness steps.
Increase your cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise burns major calories and blasts away excess fat, says the American Council on Exercise. Therefore, it's integral to any fitness plan aimed at reducing fat. Choose a cardio exercise you enjoy, such as running, swimming, skating, cycling, brisk walking, playing tennis or dancing, and aim for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise three to five times per week for optimal fat loss.
Strength train two to three times per week. Strength training is the best way to build muscle mass while decreasing fat, says ACE. Because muscle weighs more than fat, by building it through strength exercises, you can maintain your weight even as you're losing fat.
Eat a healthy, lean diet. Nutritious, low-saturated-fat food choices, including fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat or non-fat dairy products, help you lose excess fat while providing you with the necessary nutrients and energy you need to fuel your workouts. By eating sufficient calories from healthy foods, you can reduce your body fat while maintaining your weight and your lean, healthy muscles.
Consult your physician for medical approval before beginning any new diet or exercise program.