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Weight loss goals

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Right after your weight training is prime fat-burning time. All it takes is 15 minutes on a treadmill or stationary bike to make a serious dent in your fat stores. It’s the most efficient fat-burning cardio you can do.

To review, these are the top-five giant steps you can take toward getting ripped and losing weight.

1) Eliminate junk food most of the time

2) Tone down your alcohol intake

3) Slow down the negative stroke in the gym

4) End each body part workout with muscle burn

5) Do a short cardio session after you lift

TOP TIP: Don’t get greedy. Lose fat gradually. If you drop more than three pounds a week, you can be sure a lot of it was water and muscle. Continue that, and you won’t start looking better or feeling healthy — in fact, you’ll feel like crap and look worse than you feel. We’re all impatient when it comes to changing our bodies, but the best strategy is gradual and steady.

Have a goal of losing about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of fat in a month as you keep lifting hard to build muscle. You’ll be amazed at what shedding some ugly fat and gaining some rock-hard muscle will do for your total look and how you feel — from both health and self-confidence standpoints.

And remember, if you do it right, you’ll be adding muscle and losing fat, so the scale isn’t something you should pay attention to very closely. If you lose 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will look completely different — and  so much better — but the scale will read exactly the same. It’s the fat-to-muscle reshuffle.

Take photos

A better strategy for gauging your progress is to take photos every few weeks. They’re real eye-openers. You can take relaxed front, side and back views, or you can shoot standard befores along with a variety of bodybuilding-type poses. (Put the camera on a tripod, if possible, at about waist height so you get a balanced top-to-bottom assessment.)

Be sure to keep a list of the shots you take — the poses you hit — and the camera settings you use. A few weeks later take photos again and use the same poses and camera settings. Also — and this is important — be sure the lighting is the same. Take the pictures in a room with a fairly bright overhead light, and don’t use the flash on your camera, or your muscularity will be washed out.

You should see noticeable changes in your body if you’re consistent — work out with weights for about an hour four days a week and follow each session with at least 15 minutes of cardio. Cardio on your off days is okay; just don’t overdo it. Even 30-minute walks will add to your calorie deficit. And eat clean, but don’t starve yourself — get plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables without the junk most of the time.

Try all of the above and be consistent, and in just a few weeks your attention-grabbing physique will start to peak. Soon you’ll be smiling when you peel off your shirt and hear, “Man, where’d you get those abs?”

Need more fat loss tips? Check out our weight loss section for more advice and tips.

Iron Man - In the Gym