Weight Loss for Men

5 Tips to Help You Lose Weight

Men who trying to lose weight can have a tough time trying to get expert advice. Many diet products and resources are geared for women. And other resources provide contradictory advice about supplements, the best workouts, and trendy food plans.

So what are you supposed to do if you're a guy who wants to lose fat while building muscle and improving overall strength? These common sense, evidence-based tips will help you boost your level of fitness, supercharge your metabolism, reach—and maintain—a healthy weight.

Track Your Calorie Intake

man with kettlebell
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Trendy fitness blogs and maybe even guys at the gym would have you believe that calories don't matter. Calorie counting is considered out-of-date by some proponents of trendy eating plans that are popular in gyms across the country.

But the truth is that when weight loss is your goal, calories count. It is not the only factor that it matters, but in order to lose body fat you must create a calorie deficit.

At the beginning of your weight loss journey, take a week or two to track your calorie and macronutrient intake in a food journal. You may be surprised at the number of calories (and the lack of nutritional value) in some of your favorite foods. Compare your daily calorie intake with recommended guidelines.

Once you are armed with solid information, you can make smarter choices about a comprehensive nutrition program. You'll also get into the habit of checking nutrition labels—a habit that is helpful when you are trying to maintain a healthy weight.

Balance Your Macros

Many food products and processed meals geared for men provide substantial protein. Supplements, bars, and other products help you to boost your intake of essential amino acids to maintain muscle mass.

But protein isn't the only macro that matters. And several reports indicate that many of us already consume too much of it. If your protein intake is too high, you may be putting yourself at risk for health problems.

According to dietary guidelines, men should consume 10% to 35% of their calories from protein. This guideline is supported by the American College of Sports Medicine.

If you're weight training to build muscle mass, the ACSM also suggests that you can also calculate your intake of protein by weight. They suggest that you consume 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Your food journal will help you to determine if your protein intake is too high. By putting it in line with recommended guidelines, you can balance the other macronutrients for optimal health.

Guidelines suggest that you consume 45% to 65% of your calories from quality carbs such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. About 20% to 35% of your calories can come from healthy fats, such as those found in plant-based foods such as olive oil, seeds, nuts, and avocado.

Get Expert Advice

Getting advice from qualified experts will help ensure that your diet and fitness plan is based on solid scientific evidence and is tailored to meet your personalized needs.

First, connect with your healthcare provider. Discuss any supplements that you might be considering and talk about whether or not you need to make any modifications to your food or exercise plan to accommodate a health condition or any medications you may be taking.

At the gym, consider getting advice from a qualified trainer. Ask about certifications and conflicts of interest. Organizations like the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) are all highly recognized. Most reputable organizations also suggest trainers do not sell or promote products (especially supplements) for which they receive a commission.

Lastly, consider working with a registered dietitian. Sure, you might get dietary advice from the bros in the weight room. But you are likely to get better personalized advice from a professional with academic training. Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to an R.D.

Second Guess Supplements

It is nearly impossible to open a men's magazine without seeing ads for dietary and fitness supplements. There are supplements targeted to men who want to increase fat loss, maximize muscle gain, boost testosterone levels, and improve sexual functioning. The problem is that many of these supplements make claims that aren't supported by science.

Nutrition experts consistently agree that you should meet your nutritional needs by consuming whole foods. Protein drinks and other nutritional beverages can be convenient and may be warranted in some situations, but you are also much more likely to enjoy your meals if you're not sipping them through a straw. If you enjoy your meals and feel satisfied after eating you are much more likely to stick to your food plan for weight loss.

Lastly, remember that supplements are only minimally regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sometimes, supplements contain ingredients not listed on the label and may not contain the ingredient advertised. It is also not uncommon for supplement companies to make exaggerated claims about what their product can do.

Focus on getting your nutrients through food first. If you feel that you are falling short, talk to your healthcare provider or registered dietitian about potential nutritional deficiencies.

Be Consistent With Well-Rounded Workouts

A well rounded workout consists of three key areas of activity: strength training, cardiovascular training, and flexibility training. Each provides unique benefits.

Strength training builds muscle mass. Weight training also helps you to maintain muscle mass as you age. Having a strong, capable body can help you to stay active throughout the day and burn more calories as a result. A body with more muscle also helps you to burn more calories even when your body is at rest.

A strength training workout does not require a membership to the gym or expensive equipment. Simple body weight exercise like push-ups, burpees, lunges, and squats promote functional training and improve strength.

Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise helps promote heart and lung health and can lower your risk for disease. You'll also burn excess calories when you do cardiovascular activities like running, walking, basketball, soccer, cycling, or swimming. The ACSM recommends that we get 250 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, but more is recommended if weight loss is your goal.

Flexibility training improves the range of motion in your joints. Stretching your muscles also helps to reduce your risk of injury and helps your body feel better through activities of daily living. This type of training gives you the biggest benefit for the least time commitment. By simply adding a five to 10-minute stretching session at the end of your strength or cardiovascular workouts, you can improve your performance in sport, decrease stress, and keep your body moving smoothly.

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