By Daniel Lucas

Almost everyone that steps in a gym wants to lose some body fat. Health and vanity are both powerful motivators! The big question is: How? What’s the best way to get your body to utilize (i.e. burn) fat?

get rid of that fatLet’s start with what it feels like when your body is actually using fat as energy, instead of just carrying it around. Fat is essential for the body, so if you’re using fat effectively, you will often have a sense of well-being and balanced energy–meaning your blood sugar does not skyrocket up and crash back down. Your body uses fat for fuel, so committing to regular movement and exercise is a good first step to getting your body to use fat.

There are a couple of other important functions of fat–supplying essential fatty acids, which our bodies are incapable of producing, and delivering vitamins A, D, E, and K, known as the fat-soluble vitamins, into and around the body. [Source: WebMD, Wahida Karmally, PhD] And good fat comes from lots of readily available sources, like fish (omega-3s), avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil and eggs.

Now, here are some of my secrets to maximizing your body’s fat burning potential:

*Be hydrated! Being on point with your water intake helps your energy, neuromuscular activation, gut health, and lowers the chance of overeating due to de-hydration.

*Cut the crap. Cut all the processed food, sugar and alcohol out of your diet for a month. One glass of wine a night is supposedly good for us, but we are talking about releasing body fat, so if you really want to get rocking then cut it all out for a month. If it’s really hard to wrap around this idea, maybe it really is time to give this a shot!

*Know your metabolic type. One secret to eating success is taking the time to assess what nutrient ratios work best for how you metabolize food. For every person, there’s an ideal balance of protein, carbs and fat they need to consume for each meal.

Intense exercise*Build muscle! It’s simple, More muscle = more body fat burned.

*Train at varied intensities, and understand why. High-intensity strength work and interval training are both a great way to release body fat.

*Get your rest. Studies have shown that losing sleep actually lowers our metabolism to preserve energy for the day ahead. A slower metabolism means less fat being burned off. If you’re not getting the sleep you need, you’re also not allowing your body to rest and repair properly—which means losing muscle tone.

Every time you work out, your body will be changing, even if you can’t see the results right away. Dedication and remembering to have some fun will create new habits and deliver the fat burning results!