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Burning Fat? 9 Things Not To Do

Burning Fat? 9 Things Not To Do

Burning fat and achieving your fitness goals is a fantastic journey, but it's not always smooth sailing. We've all heard the fitness "hacks" and quick fixes, but some of them can actually slow you down or even harm your health. Let's bust some common myths and shed light on sustainable fat-burning approaches you can trust.

fat loss mistakes

1 - Severely restricting your calories

Severely restricting your calories might seem like a shortcut to fat loss, but it's a recipe for disaster. Think of your body like a car: if you run it on fumes, it'll sputter and stall. Eating too little can lead to nutrient deficiencies, slowing down your metabolism and making it harder to burn fat. 

Rather than severely restricting your calories, aim for a moderate calorie deficit, ideally with the guidance of a nutritionist and/or a TDEE calculator, to ensure you're fuelling your body properly while still achieving your goals. Alternatively consider changing your eating window with intermittent fasting which is also a great strategy for fat burning. In the absence of food your body burns fat and ketones. Combined with a diet that keeps insulin low so that fat can be burned as a fuel source i.e. keto, intermittent fasting can help you lose body fat.

Related: Can Intermittent Fasting Help with Weight Loss?

intermittent fasting fat loss mistakes

2 - Avoiding fat

Fat isn't the enemy! Healthy fats, like those found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, are essential for hormone regulation, nutrient absorption, and even satiety. 

Ditch the low-fat fad and focus on incorporating healthy fats into your diet alongside complex carbs and lean protein. This balanced approach will keep you feeling full and energized, supporting your fat-burning goals in the long run.

Related: What to eat before and after a workout

3 - Doing cardio and only cardio

While cardio is great, relying solely on it can lead to plateaus and even injuries. Yes, you will burn more calories in the moment than a typical strength-training session, but this catabolic activity can eventually lead to a loss of muscle tissue.

Mix things up with strength training, HIIT workouts or swimming! A diverse exercise routine keeps your body challenged and burns more calories overall. Remember, rest and recovery are crucial too, so give your body the time it needs to repair and rebuild.

Related: How to boost cardio performance with protein 

Related: What is the best way to train to get leaner?

4 - Cutting sleep to fit more in

Burning the midnight oil or waking extra early to squeeze in one more workout might seem productive, but skimping on sleep is counterintuitive. When you're sleep-deprived, your body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone that can hinder fat burning. 

Set a consistant wake up time and aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to keep your hormones balanced and your metabolism humming. Remember, a well-rested body is a fat-burning powerhouse!

Related: Sleep: It May Help You Build Muscle and Burn Fat

5 - Not drinking enough water

Water is your body's best friend, especially when it comes to fat burning. Forgetting to drink water throughout the day (or intentionally doing so because, “water weight”) will put your body in a disadvantageous position, especially if you plan on hitting the gym. Dehydration can slow down your metabolism and make you feel sluggish. 

Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and even more during and after workouts. Hold yourself accountable by setting reminders on your phone to refill your water bottle. Ditch the sugary drinks and sip on H2O for optimal fat-burning results.

6 - Doing the same workouts every time

Doing the same exercises day in and day out might feel comfortable, but it's not the recipe for maximum fat burning. Your body adapts to routines, so keep things fresh by trying new workouts, classes, or activities. 

Challenge yourself with different exercises, weights, and intensities to keep your body guessing and burning calories efficiently.

Related: How to Break a Fat-Loss Plateau

fat loss plateau

7 - Overdoing It

Pushing yourself too hard in the gym might seem admirable, but it can lead to injuries and burnout.

Listen to your body's signals! Take rest days when needed, and don't be afraid to scale back the intensity if you're feeling overwhelmed. Remember, progress over perfection – sustainable fat burning is a marathon, not a sprint.

Related: Secret Recovery Hacks to Performing at Your Highest Level

8 - Obsessing over the scales

Stepping on the scale every day can be tempting, but it's not the best way to track your progress. Weight fluctuates daily due to various factors like water retention and food intake. 

Instead, focus on non-scale victories like increased energy levels, better sleep, and improved strength. Celebrate these wins as markers of your success, and trust that the fat burning is happening, even if the number on the scale doesn't always reflect it immediately.

Related: How To Stick To Your Workout Goals

9 - Focusing on what you’re cutting out

Instead of seeing "diet" as a deprivation of your favorite foods, view it as an exploration of new delicious and healthy options. Cultivate a mindset of abundance over restriction. This means shifting your focus from what you're taking away from your diet to what you're adding in that nourishes your body and fuels your goals.

Experiment with new recipes, discover fresh fruits and vegetables, and learn how to prepare them in ways that tantalise your taste buds. 

  • Fill your plate with colourful fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least half of your plate to be non-starchy vegetables at every meal. 
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains. Opt for brown rice, quinoa, or whole-wheat bread instead of white bread or pasta. 
  • Include lean protein sources in your diet. Chicken, fish, beans, and lentils are all great options.
  • Don't deprive yourself of your favourite treats. Allow yourself to enjoy occasional indulgences in moderation.

Related: Plant-Centered Eating: What It Is and Why You Should Consider It 


By avoiding these common mistakes and embracing a balanced, sustainable approach, you can ditch the detours and reach your fat-burning goals in a healthy and enjoyable way. Remember, it's a journey, not a destination, so enjoy the process, celebrate your progress, and keep moving forward.

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