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Many times I see people doing the right type of training, but in the wrong way. There are many ways to turn good exercise and diet into a fat burning routine. After years of fitness research and real-life applications, this 5-step program is the absolute best for getting fit.

Step 1: Lift weights! There is no doubt that aerobic exercises are important for weight loss. But the way most people do it is too slow, without breaks, and for a long time. Lifting weights increases your 24-hour metabolism, which means you’re burning fat all day long, even while you rest. A West Virginia University study showed that weightlifters lost an average of 32 pounds of fat, while gaining muscle AND increasing their metabolism by 4 percent. On the other hand, people who only did aerobics lost 40 pounds, but 9 pounds of muscle.

Step 2: Keep aerobic workouts short and fast! A hard, fast workout burns a lot more fat than taking your time to run a mile. The reason for this is that a very intense 30 second burst, repeated 5-7 times, produces more growth hormone. Growth hormone is your best friend when it comes to burning fat. This aerobic idea helps burn fat for up to 3 hours after your workout.

Step 3: Get a second daily workout! I’m not talking about a workout that sends you to the shower right after. But something that makes you move and feel good. This could be anything from a brisk walk at lunch to a light dumbbell routine while sitting at the office. The second workout significantly improves flexibility and lowers cholesterol.

Step 4: Eat protein first! A study in the International Journal of Obesity compared diets high in carbohydrates with diets high in protein for weight loss in obese men. They were given meals with the same number of calories, but the protein group lost 28 percent more fat in a study of just 4 weeks. The metabolism of the protein groups was also 14 percent higher than the carbohydrate group.

Step 5: Eat healthy carbs! Starchy carbohydrates like white bread, potatoes, and pasta have a high glycemic index. What this means is that those types of carbs quickly turn into sugar, which everyone knows, sugar is bad! Eating whole wheat bread and whole wheat pastas have a much lower glycemic index. These foods give you the energy you need to get through workouts and through the day.

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