Unless you have superhuman confidence or single-digit body fat, you’re probably concerned everyone’s eyes will be less on your personality and more on the cheeseburgers and beers hanging around from the past few weeks.
For weeks, if not months, you’ve known you have that beach vacation with your girl, your friend’s wedding (with all the single bridesmaids), that video shoot at work. But suddenly, you’re looking at a calendar and the big day is just a week away.
Here’s the good news: “Assuming you’re already pretty healthy, hovering between 15 and 20 [percent body fat], you can realistically dump 1 to 3% in a week,” reassures personal trainer and strength coach Pete McCall, CSCS, instructor at Equinox in San Diego.
The bad news? You’re going to need to channel all your willpower into being on top of your game. After all, if it was easy to reach and maintain the next number, you’d have done it already.
How easy it is for you to lose weight is based partially on genetics. “I’ve seen guys lose 1% in a week, but also I’ve seen guys take a month to lose 1%,” says ACSM Health Fitness Instructor, Jim White, R.D., owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach.
But it’s also heavily influenced by how you eat and sleep, so there are parts you can control.
The majority of the pounds you’ll be able to drop fast are not from fat, but instead water weight. “Carbohydrates hold onto about three times the amount of water, so if you want to dump weight quick, you cut down on your carbs and that eliminates water storage in the muscle tissues,” McCall explains.
This is 100 percent a short-term approach—as soon as you touch beer or bread, you’ll gain it back. But a carb-cutting strategy can reduce bloating, carving out your muscles more and helping you feign a lower percentage in the immediate future.
“If you’re already healthy and you need to be a little more cut, you can do it no problem—just stop doing what you don’t need to do, do what you do need to do, especially considering it’s a temporarily restricted lifestyle,” McCall adds. Click through the slides below to find out what that lifestyle entails, so you can cut a percentage point of body fat in a week.
And if you don’t find it that hard to trim the fat from your life in order to trim the fat from your body? Keep it up and plant roots in your new body fat category.
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As for losing actual body fat fast, your first step is swearing off alcohol for the week (we’ll repeat: willpower of steel). Not only are most varieties full of water-retaining carbs, but weight loss is, to some extent, a calories game, White explains. And the 150 calories per beer is an easy way to nix a few from your daily total.
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