If you are looking to lose weight fast and safely, you’ve come to the right place.

This article features proven tips that are based on scientific research and experience to help you reach your weight loss goals quickly and efficiently.

While 101 tips may sound overwhelming, Kristin & I have structured this article so that you can absorb it quickly, take away the tips that work best for you, and use it as a reference. Keep in mind that implementing just one tip on this list may be a lifechanger.

So let’s begin.

How Weight Loss Works


Before we jump into all of the tips, it’s critical for you to understand the fundamentals of how weight loss works.

You may have heard that you need to cut carbs or exercise every day to lose weight, but the truth is that losing weight comes down to calories – how many you eat and how many you burn. This is known as the calorie balance equation.

Given that 1 pound of fat contains 3,500 calories1, you must eat 3,500 fewer calories than you burn to lose 1 pound of fat.2

Let’s take Mike who is 200-pounds and wants to lose weight fast. If Mike burns 2,500 calories each day and eats 2,000 calories per day, he’ll create a 500 daily calorie deficit (2,500 calorie burn – 2,000 calories eaten). After 7 days, he’ll have a 3,500 calorie deficit, which means he will burn 1 pound of fat. So in one week he has burned 1 pound of fat. Pretty good.

You may be thinking – “I just need to eat as few calories as possible and burn as many as possible, right?” Kind of.

If you eat too few calories, you may lose muscle and your metabolism can decrease.3 You will also have less energy to exercise. In other words, your body will fight you to conserve energy, burn fewer calories, and make you feel extremely hungry so you eat more.4 In addition, the quality of the calories you eat and your lifestyle choices affect this calorie balance equation by making you more or less hungry and increasing or decreasing the number of calories you burn.

If you want to lose weight and get lean fast, you must create a large enough calorie deficit that is sustainable, that allows you to lose only fat (not muscle), keeps your metabolism humming, and energy levels high so that you can burn fat fast.

So how much food and what type of foods should you eat? How much exercise and what type should you do? The following tips will answer these questions and help you determine the best strategy to lose weight fast and safely.

Top 10 Tips To Lose Weight Fast


1. Get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night5Sleep may be the most important habit of all to help you lose weight fast. The more quality sleep you get, the easier it is to control hunger and the more energy you have to exercise. Lack of sleep can cause increased hunger,6 muscle loss, and weight gain.7 We have plenty of tips to help you improve the quality of your sleep in our lifestyle section below.

2. Log your food intake in a journal, or app for 3 days – When you track your eating habits with a food journal, or calorie tracking app even for a few days, it will be an eye-opening experience that can increase your body awareness and help you change your habits.8 You will learn how many calories you are eating each day, and also the calories in the foods you normally eat. Understanding your current habits will make changing them much more manageable, and can help you keep weight off long-term.9

3. Calculate your target daily calorie intake – Once you have a sense of your eating habits, you can calculate your target calorie intake to ensure you create a calorie deficit. Remember, if you don’t eat fewer calories than you burn, you will not lose weight. Our recommendation is to multiply your bodyweight by 10. If you’re a man with over 25% body fat, or a woman with over 30%, subtract 200 calories from the target calorie number. For more information, you can check out How Many Calories Should I Eat To Lose Weight? and also How To Calculate Your Calorie Burn.

4. Replace processed foods with whole foods – Obesity has many causes, but the root cause is arguably the rise of processed foods. Food that is processed, like cereal, cake, donuts, and french fries to name a few, provide significant calories without filling you up. Even worse, your hunger levels can increase shortly after eating these foods, causing a vicious cycle of weight gain. Eating foods in their natural state, or as close to their natural state as possible like apples, fish, lettuce, yams, eggs, etc. will help fill you up and stabilize your energy levels, so that you maintain that large calorie deficit.10

5. Eat protein with every meal – While nutritionists may argue about whether low carb diets are best, one thing is for certain – a high protein diet helps you lose weight faster.11 Foods and meals that are high in protein help fill you up without providing too many calories. While 1 gram of fat has 9 calories, 1 gram of protein and carbs has only 4. That’s not to say dietary fat is bad, it’s just that protein, especially lean protein sources, will help satisfy your hunger more.12 Find out how much protein you need to build muscle.

6. Drink 8-12 cups of water per dayDrinking plenty of water is strongly associated with improved weight loss. Staying hydrated can help increase satiety, especially if you drink a cup of water before each meal.13

7. Follow a nutrition plan – You know your target calorie intake and you’ve learned about your current eating habits, now it’s time to create, or find a nutrition plan to follow. You can use the tips from this article to help you craft your own plan, or you can follow one from an experienced nutritionist like our BuiltLean Nutrition Plan. Either way, you know the goal – eat foods that fill you up without providing too many calories so that you hit your target calorie intake each day.14

8. Follow a workout plan – Over 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin advised, “If you fail to plan you are planning to fail”. Clearly, if you have a great workout plan to follow, the likelihood of losing weight increases substantially.15 You can create your own workout plan using the tips in this article, or you can follow a plan from an experienced fitness coach or trainer, like our BuiltLean Workout Plan.

9. Do full-body workouts 3x per week – Training your entire body each workout will help increase your metabolism and calorie burn while preventing muscle loss. Focus on multi-joint exercises that challenge large muscle groups like squats, lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups to help maximize calorie burn.

10. Be patient – You may have come across this article because you are dying to lose your belly fat fast, but the truth is that losing weight – especially only fat – does not happen overnight. While you can lose 10 pounds in one day simply by dehydrating yourself, it will be almost entirely water weight. On the high-end, you can lose 1.5% of your body weight in fat per week. Much more than that, and it’s more likely you’ll be losing muscle and/or water. So a 200 pound man can lose 3 pounds of pure fat per week,16 which is a hefty 1,500 daily calorie deficit. Just because you want to lose weight faster, doesn’t mean you should, or you will. Be patient, follow your plan, and the excess weight will come off.

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Exercise Tips


Strength & Cardio Training

11. Schedule Your Workouts – Write down in your calendar what days you’re going to exercise and treat your workouts like unbreakable commitments. If you use the calendar app on your phone, set an alarm to remind yourself it’s gym-time. For example, you could plan to workout every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

12. Use Strength CircuitsStrength circuits are two or more strength exercises performed consecutively with 30 seconds (or less) rest between exercises. Focusing on resistance exercises (ideally multi-joint exercises like squats) helps prevent muscle loss.17 Because strength circuits use full-body exercises and challenge your heart rate, they are a time-efficient, effective way to build strength, lose fat, and get lean.18 The BuiltLean Workout Plan uses strength circuits every workout.

13. Avoid Sitting During Your Workout – There’s a good chance you already spend a lot of your day sitting down– such as at work, while watching TV, and while you’re driving your car.19 Make the most of your workout by using active recovery instead of just sitting on a bench between sets. Stand, walk around, grab a sip of water, or perform dynamic stretches. This can help improve your posture and increase your calorie burn during your workout.

14. Learn Kettlebell Swings – The kettlebell swing is an incredibly effective exercise that builds power, core strength and stability, and awesome grip strength. Additionally, it induces a powerful metabolic effect making it a great exercise for weight loss, especially fat loss. Learn how to do this exercise with perfect form to get the most out of every rep. Kettlebell training can burn 20.2 calories per minute while jogging burns half the calories.20

15. Do 50 Kettlebell Swings To Finish Your Workout – End your workout with a metabolic finisher like kettlebell swings to boost your metabolism, increase your aerobic conditioning, and burn some serious calories.21 For example, do 10 kettlebell swings every minute on the minute for 5 minutes. Kettlebell swings alone can be a solid workout routine, so you don’t even need to leave your home if you buy one.

16. Invest In A Personal Trainer – A personal trainer can teach you proper exercise form and technique, hold you accountable to your goals, and teach you how to safely progress your workouts. Working with a trainer can also increase your workout success, helping you lose fat, and increase lean muscle mass more effectively than working out alone.22 Your trainer should be able to take you through a fitness assessment to identify your weaknesses and muscular imbalances, which can help you set appropriate and realistic training goals.

17. Workout First Thing In The Morning – Get your workout done first thing in the morning and you won’t have to worry about squeezing it in later in the day. Set your alarm to wake up 30-60 minutes earlier so you can either do an at-home workout or hit the gym before heading to the office. This is also a great way to wake up, increase your energy, and improve your work performance for the rest of the day.

18. Walk 7,500+ Steps Every Day – Use a pedometer or fitness tracker to count your daily steps, which will incrementally help you lose weight.23 If you have an iPhone, there is a health app that automatically counts your steps. Otherwise, you can download a pedometer app for your smartphone, or buy one of the many fitness trackers on the market. In general, the more active you are, the more weight you will lose. Consider walking in the morning, during lunch, or after-dinner to exceed 7,500 steps per day.

19. Actively Commute To Work – If you can, walk, bike, or run to work instead of taking a car. This is a great way to increase your daily energy expenditure, spend some time outdoors, and wake up before work. Commuting daily by car has been found to contribute to an average weight gain of about 5 lbs over 4 years.24 So if you have the option, actively commute to work.

20. Take The Stairs Every Time You Have A Choice – If you have a choice, challenge yourself to take the stairs instead of an escalator or an elevator. This gets your heart rate up and works your muscles more than idly standing on an escalator or in an elevator. Taking the stairs daily can increase your cardiovascular conditioning and decrease your waist size, weight, body fat percentage, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.25


21. Find Your Active Passion – Find an active hobby that you enjoy. Examples include learning to surf, playing soccer or basketball, climbing, hiking, hunting, skateboarding, or fishing. A sedentary lifestyle is associated with weight gain over time, while active hobbies can help you burn more calories and maintain weight loss.26

22. Foam Roll or Stretch Every Day – Flexibility is an important part of fitness and injury prevention that can simultaneously improve your post-workout muscle recovery and strengthen your mind-body connection.27 Foam rolling and stretching can also help you burn incrementally more calories than just sitting on the couch. Keep a foam roller in your living room so you can stretch and roll out your muscles while watching TV. This way, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

23. Do Yoga 1x Per Week – Including yoga at least once per week, either taking a class, following a yoga dvd, or even following a yoga class on audio can help you decrease stress and increase weight loss. Yoga is associated with increased mindfulness, which can help you make better food, exercise, and sleep decisions.28 All you need is a 10-20 minute yoga flow to reap the benefits of this exercise form.

24. Try A Group Fitness Class – Are you competitive? Do you work out harder when other people are around? Group fitness classes are a great way to get motivated, challenge yourself, and meet active people. Try boxing or muay thai, TRX, brazilian jiu jitsu, salsa dancing, parkour, rock climbing, and fitness bootcamps. In bigger cities, you could even try circus classes or train like an American Ninja Warrior. Find a class you like and go to it every week.

25. Try An Outdoor Activity – There are a ton of benefits that come when you take your workout outdoors – stress reduction, improved mood, increased self-esteem, and greater exercise adherence.29 If you live near water, try kayaking, stand-up paddleboard, surfing, or rowing. In mountainous areas, try bouldering, rock climbing, or hiking. And in cities, join a recreational sports league.

26. Take At Least 1 Day of Rest Per Week – It’s during rest that you get stronger from your workouts. Rest is essential to improved performance and fat loss.30 You might find that one rest day works for you, or that 3 rest days help you recover optimally and crush your workouts every time. By “rest day” we don’t mean sitting down in front of the TV all day. Instead, think of it as active recovery and make sure to move in some way, such as walking, swimming, stretching, or foam rolling.

27. Exercise During Commercial Breaks – When you watch TV, turn commercial breaks into exercise challenges. These short 90-second workout bouts can actually do some good for your workout goals.31 See how many push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, or jump ropes you can do, or how long you can hold a front plank. Another idea is to shoot for a certain number of reps per exercise, like 20 squats for example.

28. Do Yard Work Or Housework – This is about increasing your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is a fancy way of describing any activity other than sleeping, eating, and working out.32 Mow the lawn, pull weeds, plant in your garden, mop or vacuum the floor, clean the kitchen, organize your bedroom. Increasing your daily movement could have major benefits for your health and body composition. All the little things add up!

29. Don’t Make Excuses, Just Start Working Out – If you’re tired, don’t think too much about it. Put your headphones on and just start moving. Do a dynamic warm-up to get yourself in the mindset, and start with easier exercise sets. You can keep your workout low-key if you’re tired or stressed, and you can go hard when you’re full of energy. You never regret a workout, but you might regret skipping one.

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Nutrition Tips


Nutrition Plan Tips

30. Limit Meal Variety – While variety is the spice of life, eating different foods every meal makes controlling calories and hunger far more difficult. Monday through Friday, choose 3 breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options within your calorie intake budget and rotate through them. This way, you won’t have to wonder what to eat for your next meal, or worry about creating a calorie deficit. This tip alone can help you lose weight consistently.

31. Take 20 Minutes To Eat Your Meals – It takes about 20 minutes for leptin, the body’s satiety hormone, to kick in and let you know that you’ve eaten enough. As tough as it can be sometimes, take your time, eat slowly, and chew your food. This method can help you eat more mindfully and increase your body awareness, which can mean improved portion control.33

32. Write A Weekly Grocery List – Write down your grocery list before going to the store so you know exactly what you need when you’re walking the aisles, thereby decreasing impulse purchases and helping your weight loss.34 Another good tip to practice – don’t go to the grocery store hungry. Hungry shoppers are typically more tempted by high-calorie food options. Alternatively, you can opt for a grocery delivery service, which has been associated with healthier grocery shopping, limited food variety, and increased weight loss.35

33. Shop The Perimeter Of The Grocery Store – Grocery stores keep all of good stuff on the perimeter.36 It’s here that you’ll find your fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. The aisles are usually filled with highly-palatable processed foods containing a combination of fat, salt, sugar, and a ton of calories. Only venture into these sections when you have your grocery list in hand so you’ll know exactly what you need.

34. Purge Your Cupboards – Throw out all of the processed, sugar-filled junk food so you aren’t tempted by it, especially these 7 most addictive unhealthy foods. If it’s not convenient, you’re much less likely to eat it. Instead, keep fruits and vegetables visible and readily available.37 This small change is associated with increased fruit and vegetable consumption, which could make all the difference in your weight loss efforts.38

35. Sign Up For A Meal Delivery Service – If you are crunched for time and don’t like to cook, consider signing up for a healthy meal delivery service that delivers tasty, low-calorie meals. A gourmet food delivery service may sound expensive, but many are affordable around $25/day, or less. If you live in the U.S, consider BistroMD, which offers high-protein meals and snacks within specific calorie ranges. Hollywood actors who need to lose weight fast for a movie get food made for them so they don’t have to think about it. You can too.

36. Test Your Food Allergies – If you’re eating a healthy diet and not losing weight, something else might be interfering with your efforts. There’s a chance you have a food allergy or sensitivity that’s causing your body to hold on to excess fat and weight. Eating allergenic foods can cause systemic inflammation and impaired gut health. Get a food allergy test or do an elimination diet to find out what could be causing the problem.

37. Avoid Extreme Low Calorie Diets – While it may be tempting to eat very few calories to lose weight fast, the strategy can backfire. Very low calorie diets (called semi-starvation diets) are associated with a decrease in metabolism. In fact, one study showed that women following a diet of 1200 calories per day lost more fat than women eating only 500 calories per day over a 24-week period.39 In addition, when eating very little food, you have a greater risk of nutrient deficiencies. If you want to learn more, check out Starvation Mode: Are You Eating Enough?

Food Choice Tips

38. Eat Eggs For Breakfast – Eating a high-protein breakfast has been found to decrease cravings, increase satiety, and assist in weight loss.40 Eggs are an easy and fast breakfast option. If you’re allergic to eggs, you can also try a breakfast sausage, a whey or vegan protein shake, or dinner leftovers.

39. Choose Lean Proteins – Chicken, fish, and turkey are excellent high-protein, lower-fat options. These options also have fewer calories, so you can eat bigger portions while still keeping your calories low. Lean protein keeps you feeling fuller longer and helps control your blood sugar, which means fewer cravings for sugary, high-fat foods.41 This doesn’t mean you have to avoid red meat – just be sure to order leaner cuts. For more ideas on good sources of protein, check out our list of Complete vs Incomplete Protein Sources.

40. Avoid Trail Mix – Yes, nuts contain a lot of heart-healthy fats and nutrients. But trail mix, which usually contains raisins, chocolate, and nuts are calorically dense foods that are easy to overdo. A small 6-ounce bag of trail mix can easily be over 1,000 calories – and that’s just supposed to be a snack.42 Opt instead for plain, roasted, or mixed nuts and make sure to measure your portions.43

41. Eat Salad For Lunch (Or Dinner) – Salads are an excellent fat loss food because they are nutrient-dense, which means they’re high in fiber, water, vitamins, and nutrients. Salads fill you up without providing a ton of calories (as long as you’re not loading your salad with high-calorie dressings).44 Fill your plate with lettuce and veggies, top it with lean protein, and add a healthy dressing like olive oil and lemon juice. Voila, a delicious, satisfying, meal that can satisfy a man-sized appetite while helping you get lean fast. Try these recipes for inspiration: Ahi Tuna Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing, Sweet & Crunchy Raw Kale Salad, Healthy Caesar Salad.

42. Choose Low-Calorie, High-Flavor Condiments – Mustard and hot sauce are packed with flavor without excess sugar and calories. Other great flavor-enhancing, low-calorie seasonings include herbs, spices, salsa, lemon, and vinegar. Limit sauces, like bbq sauce and teriyaki sauce, with are made with a lot of sugar.

43. Eat Fermented Foods – Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt can help to curb sweet cravings while also improving gut health. Believe it or not, eating fermented foods has also been found to improve blood pressure and body composition.45 Fermented vegetables aren’t your only option either. You can also include fermented drinks like kombucha, coconut water kefir, and kvass.

44. Make Your Comfort Foods Healthier – There are so many creative ways to make your favorite comfort foods healthier. Do a little research to find healthy and delicious substitutes for your favorite comfort foods and desserts. Everyone has non-negotiables, or things they are unwilling to give up no matter what. See if you can find a healthy alternative. Here are some recipes you can try: French fries, Frozen grapes, Frozen Banana Ice Cream, & Pizza.

Beverage Tips

45. Eliminate Sugary Drinks – Americans are drinking more sugary drinks than ever, and we’re also facing higher obesity rates. Probably not a coincidence. Soda is filled with unnecessary sugar and calories. Ditch the soda for water, unsweetened tea, sparkling water, coffee, and other drinks that are not loaded with sugar. This is one of the easiest changes you can make to decrease your calories and lose weight fast.46 Not quite sold yet? Check out these 5 Shocking Facts About Coca Cola.

46. Drink A Cup Of Water Before Every Meal – Drink a glass of water before every meal and snack to help increase satiety and weight loss. Staying hydrated can help you control your hunger so that you eat less calories.47 Now, you don’t need to go crazy and drink a gallon a day like a bodybuilder. Aim to drink 8-12 cups of water per day, approximately 8 cups for women and 12 cups for men.48

47. Drink Your Coffee Black – Coffee can offer some benefits to weight loss, including an increased metabolic rate and fat oxidation.49 It can also enhance your strength, power, and athletic performance. This is not an excuse to drink coffee all day every day. Nor does this mean you’re doing yourself a favor by drinking sugar-filled coffee beverages that contain a lot of calories. If you drink coffee, drink it black or add just a splash of cream, milk, or nondairy milk.

48. Eliminate Coffee After 3pm – Drinking coffee later in the afternoon (within 6 hours of your usual bedtime50) could interfere with your sleep cycle, and adequate sleep is crucial for fat loss. Ideally, stick to 1-2 cups of coffee, and drink it before 12pm. This should give your body plenty of time to process the caffeine and enable you to fall soundly asleep when that time rolls around.

49. Eliminate Alcohol – If you’re serious about losing weight, it’s important to eliminate or significantly decrease your alcohol consumption. Not only can alcoholic drinks be calorie bombs, but the alcohol disrupts fat metabolism which could prevent you from losing weight.51 See Does Alcohol Cause Weight Gain? for more information.

Mindful Eating Tips

50. Write Down Your Cravings – By writing down your food cravings, you can determine what’s going on in your life that makes you crave certain foods. Are you stressed? Angry? Write down your thoughts whenever you have cravings for a certain type of food or drink. What are you doing? Who are you with? What time is it? This can also help you identify and avoid the trigger foods that cause you to binge. For more tips, see How To Stop Food Cravings.

51. Choose Small Plates – Eating on larger plates and bowls can inadvertently lead you to eat more calories than if you used smaller dishware. Instead, eat using smaller plates and bowls. This visual cue makes your plate look fuller and more substantial. Also, this practice is utilized in the Blue Zones, meaning it could lead to longevity.52

52. Brush Your Teeth After Dinner – The taste of toothpaste can help curb late-night snacking. It can also signal your body that it’s the end of the day and you’re getting ready for sleep.

Meal Prep Tips

53. Prep Meals For The Week On Sundays – Cooking at home can mean increased food quality and greater awareness of what ingredients you’re actually eating. This is helpful in controlling how much protein, fat, and calories you’re eating on a daily basis. People who prepare food at home also tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. Start preparing healthy meals over the weekend so you can don’t have to think about what to eat for lunch or dinner during the week.

54. Pack A Lunch Monday Through Friday – Instead of buying lunch all the time, prepare a lunch at home and bring it to work. If you did your meal prep on Sunday, this should be super easy. An excellent lunch idea is grilled chicken breast with baked sweet potato and roasted vegetables like brussels sprouts, carrots, and red bell peppers. Add some healthy fats, like half an avocado or a tablespoon of olive oil, and you have a delicious lunch that’s low-calorie and filling.

55. Have 1 Healthy Snack At Work Per Day – Bringing a snack to work eliminates the temptation to buy less healthy options. Some great choices include an apple, hummus and veggies, hardboiled eggs, turkey jerky, or plain greek yogurt with berries. This should help keep your energy levels high while keeping your hunger under control until dinner time. Here are 25 awesome snack ideas to choose from.

Eating Out

56. Eat Dinner Out Only 2x Per Week – Limit restaurant meals to 2x per week. Restaurant meals typically contain a lot more fat and calories than the meals you would cook at home, and one study found that eating at restaurants could be as bad for your waistline as eating fast food. Limiting the number of times you eat out per week can help you better control your calorie intake, making it easier for you to lose weight.53

57. Say No To The Bread Basket – The bread, tortilla chips, and other pre-meal snacks that restaurants give you add a lot of empty calories to your meal. They also don’t fill you up so you still eat your appetizer and entree. Save your appetite for your actual meal and just say no to the bread basket.

58. Opt For Oil & Vinegar Dressing – When you order salads, choose oil & vinegar over creamy dressings. Better yet, get it on the side so you can dress your salad as much or as little as you want. Additionally, choose only a few toppings for your salad instead of every topping. Toppings, like nuts, seeds, dried fruits, cheese, olives, etc are fine, just not in large amounts all together.

59. Order Grilled, Not Fried – Fried foods contain a lot more fat and calories than grilled food. For example, grilled chicken often has 40% less calories than fried chicken. This goes for both meats and veggies. Ordering grilled is an easy way to ensure that your meal won’t break your calorie bank.

60. Order Steamed, Not Sauteed – “Steamed” means that a food was cooked using the steam from boiling water, and it’s a cooking method that preserves more of the beneficial vitamins and nutrients than many other cooking methods.54 “Sauteeing” refers to cooking foods in some fat over high heat. Many restaurants use loads of fat like butter and other calorie-dense cooking oils for sauteed dishes. So steam your veggies to get the most nutritional bang from your broccoli with minimal calories.

61. Customize Your Meals – The unfortunate truth is that 8 out of 10 adults in the U.S. are overfat.55 If you want to be lean, consider customizing your own meals so you are not eating what everyone else is. Ask for salad on the side instead of fries, or sauce on the side instead of smothered on your entree. If you eat out often, this is a very powerful strategy that can be the difference between getting lean, or gaining fat.

62. Eliminate Seconds – At a buffet, it’s easy to get tempted by all of the options to overeat. Remember our recommendation to “limit variety”? That applies to when you’re at a buffet as well. To counteract the temptation of buffet variety, take only one plate and don’t go back for seconds. Fill ½ of your plate with veggies, ¼ with protein, and ¼ with a healthy carbohydrate.

63. Choose 1 Low-Calorie Meal Option At Each Cuisine – When you go out to eat, be prepared with your go-to low-calorie meal option. Then, you won’t even need to look at the menu when you get there. This eliminates the stress of choosing a healthy meal, and lets you focus on your dinner company instead.

Eating While Traveling

64. Pack Food For The Plane– Bringing your own food is the easiest way to ensure you eat something healthy and tasty when you travel. You can pack your own meals and bring your own snacks. Taking a little time to prepare food before your flight lets you control what and how much you’re eating. A simple and filling snack to pack is a Bison-Cranberry EPIC bar and an apple. If you want more of a meal, consider packing one of these easy quinoa recipes to keep you full during your flight.

65. Have Water On The Plane – While alcohol, sodas, and juices are tempting, these sugar-filled beverages are full of empty calories. Instead, opt for still water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee on the plane. Staying hydrated can also help decrease your symptoms of jet lag if you’re crossing time zones, so you have more than one good reason to drink water.

66. Fast During Your Plane Ride – Humans don’t need to eat every 3-4 hours. If it’s not a very long plane ride, it could be a great opportunity to give your digestive system a break from food by fasting. So skip the plane food and snacks and instead focus on your hydration by drinking lots of water. Plan on having a good meal once you’re at your destination.

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Lifestyle Tips



67. Go To Bed Before Midnight – Sleep quality is influenced by your circadian rhythm, and going to bed before midnight greatly enhances the quality and benefits of your sleep. Going to bed past midnight is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease and obesity.56 So listen to your body and go to bed when that first wave of sleepiness hits, which is usually well before midnight.

68. Sleep In A Cool, Dark Room – Sleep is optimized in a room that’s between 60-67F, and that’s as dark as possible. Artificial light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that makes you tired. Creating the optimal sleep environment in your room can greatly increase the duration and quality of your sleep, which can help with weight loss.57

69. Dim The Lights – In order to prepare your mind and body for sleep, dim the lights in your house 1-2 hours before bedtime. This can cue your system that it’s dark outside and help you get to sleep faster.

70. Turn Off Your Technology – The light emitted from your TV, computer, smart-phone, and ipad confuses your brain into thinking it’s still light outside.58 For optimal sleep quality, turn off your tech 1-2 hours before bed so your brain will know it’s soon time for sleep.

71. Read A Book – Reading a paper book 1-2 hours before bed can help calm your mind and prepare you for sleep. If you don’t prefer paper books, get a blue-light cancelling app on your ipad or other device to mitigate the effects of the electronic light.


72. Check Your Hormones With A Blood Panel – Nutrient deficiencies and hormonal imbalances cause stress to your system. For example, if your cortisol is high and your adrenals are insufficient, or you’re low in vitamin-D3, thyroid hormone, or vitamin B12, you could experience low energy and difficulty losing weight. A blood panel can also tell you whether your blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and other values are in the normal, healthy range. All of this information can help inform you about what nutrition and lifestyle changes to make to optimize your energy and health. Work with a medical professional to determine what blood values to test.

73. Get A Weekly Massage – Massages are known to help decrease cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) and can also aid muscle recovery after a workout.59 Those are two good reasons to treat yourself to a massage. If once per week is outside your budget, consider once per month.

74. Practice Breathing Or Meditation First Thing In The Morning
– Did you know you can control your central nervous system with your breath? It almost sounds like a ninja training trick, but you can actually do it too. Practice a breathing exercise, like crocodile breathing, for 5 minutes any time you’re stressed or before going to bed. Alternatively, you can try meditation, which is associated with increased mindfulness and productivity, decreased stress, and improved weight management. Increasing your body awareness through breath or meditation can make you more aware of your hunger and satiety cues, meaning increased weight loss.60


75. Bring Your Gym Bag To Work – Set yourself up for success by packing your gym clothes in your briefcase, or bag. Go to the gym before work, during your lunch break, or after work. Don’t stop at home to get your workout gear. Leave no room for excuses.

76. Pack Workout Clothes When You Travel – Bringing your workout clothes can help motivate you to workout when you travel. All it takes is 10 minutes to get a solid bodyweight workout in your hotel room. Alternatively, you could training in your hotel gym if they have some weights, or even go for a jog outside. Also, consider bringing a jump rope with you for an intense cardio workout in just minutes. And don’t forget to bring your workout shoes.

77. Get A Sit-To-Stand Desk – People who stand during the workday have been found to burn more calories than those who sit.61 There are a number of sit-to-stand desk options available these days. You can invest in an automated desk that adjusts heights based on whether you want to sit or stand, or you can build your own standing desk using Ikea furniture. Having the option to sit or stand could encourage you to move around more and be more active throughout the day.

78. Take A 30-Minute Walk During Lunch – Walking after a meal may help you control blood sugar levels and aid weight loss.62 Start by taking a 30-minute walk after you eat lunch. You can also do this after dinner, instead of just sitting on the couch and watching TV. The added benefit is that you’ll get outside to breathe the fresh air and get some sunshine.

79. Stand Up And Walk When Taking Calls – When you’re on the phone, use it as an opportunity to get up and move around. Instead of sitting at your desk or in a conference room, walk around your office or get some much needed vitamin-D by taking your meeting outdoors.

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Motivational Tips


Goal Setting

80. Write Down 2 Goals – Make them SMART. That means they’re specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound goals. Setting SMART goals may make you more likely to achieve them.63 Create one performance goal and one body composition goal. Keep your goals somewhere visible so you’re reminded of them every day. For example, “Do 10 pull-ups in a row in 3 months” or “Lose 15lbs in 3 months.”

81. Write Down Why Your Goal Is Important To You – Write down exactly why your goal is important to you. This helps you connect with and remember exactly what’s motivating you to lose weight. Go deeper than “I want to look good on the beach”. That goal is fine, but it might not motivate you for long-term change. Why do you want to lose weight and get lean? Is it to prove to yourself that you can? Is it to increase your sense of self-worth and self-confidence? Is it to be strong and healthy for your family, your kids, or yourself? Find your ultimate why, and you’ll be more motivated to work hard to get there.

82. Create One Weekly Goal – Yes, you have the BIG goal of losing weight. But setting little goals along the way helps to keep you excited, motivated, and focused, and can help you reach your BIG goal faster.64 These could be weight lifting goals, realistic weight loss goals (of 1-2 lbs per week), number of workouts per week, running distance, etc. An example could be running 1 more mile on your long run day. Write your goal down and keep it somewhere you can see it every day.

83. Track Your Body Stats – Tracking stats like your weight, body fat, and body measurements for example can keep you more motivated as you progress. Logging your progress may also help you maintain your weight after you’ve reached your goals.65 Write these numbers down in a log or on your calendar so you can see where you started and how far you’ve come. Here are a few options you can track as you continue on your weight loss journey: (1) measure your waist, chest, and hips, (2) measure your starting weight, and weigh yourself once per week on the same day at the same time,66 and (3) measure your starting body fat %, and then remeasure monthly.

84. Take Progress Pictures – Every week, or month, take a shirtless picture of yourself to see your change over time. This comes back to motivation. Since you see yourself in the mirror every day, you might not notice the subtle changes in your aesthetics and physique. Taking pictures of yourself lets you compare where you started with where you are and where you’re going.

85. Focus On Following Your Plan, Not Losing Weight – Dieting and focusing solely on weight loss have been found to be big predictors of weight regain.67 Instead, focus on following a workout and nutrition plan. Define your self-worth in ways other than how you look or how much you weigh. Focus on following your plan and your workout goals, like getting stronger, running faster, and being a better athlete overall.

Social Motivation

86. Sign Up For A 5K Race – Signing up for a race is a great motivator to get fit. After you sign up for the race, find a 5K training plan to help you cross the finish line. Training programs for 5K runs usually last 8-12 weeks, so you’ll have a solid plan to follow to get you in shape.

87. Sign Up For A Spartan Race – Maybe the idea of running a road race sounds boring to you. Then sign up for a Spartan Race and follow a Spartan Race Training Plan to get you fit enough to finish strong. This obstacle course race will challenge your endurance, strength, and agility as you face barbed wire, rope climbs, a javelin throw, mud, heavy objects, hills, and fire. In case you’re worried this sounds far too intense for you, the Spartan Race is more an obstacle course than a race. No matter what your fitness level, you’ll have a lot of fun.

88. Find a Workout Buddy – You’re more likely to stick with your workouts when you have a friend to motivate you and hold you accountable. You will also be more likely to keep your commitments of consistently going to the gym, or the track.

89. Make Active Friends – If the friends you have right now aren’t active, try to meet some people who engage in active hobbies. Join some active Meet Up groups in your area, start or join a running club at your office, or encourage your friends to take up a new hobby with you. Your social environment has a big influence on your personal habits,68 so making friends with active, healthy people could help you stay fit long-term and help you achieve your weight loss goals.69

90. Tell Your Friends About Your Goals – Commit to giving your friends or followers an update every week or month. Email your family and friends, or share your goals on social media, for example your New Year’s resolution.

Motivational Media

91. Make A Workout Playlist – Make a workout playlist that revs you up for gym-time. Listening to music can increase exercise performance and help you enjoy your workout more, and it might just be a strategy that helps you stick to your workout plan.70

92. Watch A Motivational Video – Choose one of these 10 motivational videos to watch before you workout. Watching a video displaying exercise mastery could get you excited to train, and to train hard .71 Find an exercise video of a workout you want to try, or an athlete you admire, and get inspired to train like a pro.

93. Look At A Motivational Image – Print out one of these 10 fitness motivation images to look at every day. Pick an image that’s positive and inspiring. If possible, make it specific to things you like to do. For example, find a cool picture of a surfer riding a wave, a bodyweight exercise you want to accomplish, your favorite athlete, or a rock climber scaling a mountain wall. Looking at that image may inspire you off the couch and into the gym.

94. Read A Motivational Quote – Have one (or more) motivational quotes where you can see it (on your desktop, in the bathroom by the mirror, in your room by your dresser, etc). A positive quote about strength, endurance, tenacity, or overcoming challenges may help you remember what you’re striving to accomplish, and it could be the only reminder you need to stick with your workout and nutrition plan. One of our favorites is, “Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” -Francis of Assisi

95. Embrace KaizenKaizen is a japanese concept that means constant improvement. Every day, strive to be better than you were yesterday. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting stronger, running faster, jumping higher, and moving more efficiently. This concept can also be applied to your diet. You don’t have to overhaul your lifestyle, but instead make small, maintainable changes over time.

96. Visualize Your Success – Practice visualization techniques. Imagine yourself working out, and what you look like and feel like when you achieve your goals. Visualization can increase your mind-body connection, helping you be more aware of your eating and exercise habits.72

97. Use the BuiltLean Search Bar – If you have any fitness or nutrition questions, are in need of workout ideas, or are looking for healthy recipes, use the BuiltLean search bar to research what you’re looking for. BuiltLean has medically-reviewed articles on fat loss, muscle building, fitness motivation, healthy food, and more. We’re your one-stop resource for scientifically-proven ways to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Fitness Challenge Motivation

98. Hang The Pants That No Longer Fit You – Do you have a pair of pants you used to fit into? Hang them somewhere in your closet that you’ll see every day. If you fit into your pants before, you should be able to fit into them again. You can make that one of your SMART goals, and retest how your pants fit every month to make sure you’re on-track. This is about finding your personal emotional trigger, so it doesn’t have to be a pair of pants. It could also be a picture of yourself, or another item that reminds you of where you used to be and where you’re working to get to.

99. Bet Money On Your Weight Loss Goals – Want to earn money for getting healthy? What better way to stay motivated than to invest money in your success using an app, for example PactApp. When you set goals in PactApp, you have a chance to earn money for achieving your goals, paid by the members who don’t. You also run the risk of losing your investment if you don’t accomplish it. Studies have found that people who use social gaming apps for weight loss motivation experience excellent weight loss results.73 Are you up for the challenge?

100. See How Much Money You Can Save – Money is motivating. Calculate how much your restaurant and alcohol indulgences are costing you per month and find out just how much you’ll save by cooking at home and drinking less alcohol. Maybe you can use the money you’ll save on restaurant meals and alcohol to plan vacation where you can show off your strong, lean physique.

101. Subscribe to the BuiltLean Newsletter – If you’ve enjoyed this article so far, you may be glad to learn we publish new articles and videos every week. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter where we send out updates every week to help you stay motivated and unleash your inner athlete. BuiltLean is your trusted resource for effective methods to lose fat, get strong, and improve your health.

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We hope this article can be a useful resource for you and that you’ve found some great tips to help you in your weight loss journey.

Did we miss any tips you would include? What is your favorite tip?

Show 73 References

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  1. Wayne d Jan 02, 2016 - 11:54 #

    Very motivated, great start to the new year

  2. kit mitchell Jan 02, 2016 - 20:41 #

    Really great article thank you enjoyed and will use quite a lot of the advice.

    Thank you again

    1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 02, 2016 - 23:01 #

      Thanks, Kit. Happy to hear that!

  3. vignesh Jan 03, 2016 - 02:12 #

    Awesome Write up !

    1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 03, 2016 - 12:19 #

      Thanks, Vignesh, happy you liked it

  4. Tracey Jan 03, 2016 - 06:39 #

    Love this …a great reinforcement and some new knowledge 🙂

    1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 03, 2016 - 12:19 #

      Thanks, Tracey

  5. cameron Andrews Jan 03, 2016 - 12:39 #

    By far the best advice Ive seen in a long time. Really well thought out and put together. Ill be sharing this with all my clients.
    Thanks Marc Perry

    1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 03, 2016 - 12:54 #

      Thanks, Cameron, I really appreciate! It took Kristin and I about a month to write this article.

  6. Ken Hoffman Jan 04, 2016 - 00:15 #

    Great article and very helpful.

    When tracking my steps it auto corrects my caloirie intake on myfitnesspal, or if i enter in any workout.

    Should i be consuming more lean calories or should i leave it as a bigger deficate?

    1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 04, 2016 - 12:08 #

      Hey Ken, happy you liked the article. I wouldn’t rely on the MyFitnessPal calorie intake / burn calculator. In general, calore intake calculators tend to overestimate calorie intake. I would stick to your target calorie intake even if you happen to do a little more exercise, or more activity. That’s my opinion. What I do with private training clients is use the Katch & McArdle method to arrive at estimated calorie burn, then subtract about 30-35% to create the estimated calorie intake. Another option, which is easier and similar, is just to multiply your weight x 10 for the calorie intake, which assumes 3 to 5 workout sessions. For more info, you can check out my article How to Calculate Calorie Burn.

  7. Belinda Lawrence Jan 04, 2016 - 17:01 #

    Love the article: lots of reminders , new info and assurances that I am on track! Now if I can just get my sweet tooth under control, life would be good!!!
    Thanks Marc

  8. Mary Pat Lorman Jan 05, 2016 - 05:51 #

    Marc, very holistic and all inclusive list!! Thanks for great advice all in one place!

    1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 05, 2016 - 09:49 #

      Thanks, Mary

  9. Steve Simone Jan 07, 2016 - 03:00 #

    I have been watching you on YouTube and then read this WHOLE article…I thought that I was OK, as long as I didn’t have a heart attack at my age, and no pains that I was FINE… Well, seeing ME now…I know I WAS WRONG. What I needed to do was this last JAN 15….but I am a procrastinator….so a wedding and a SUIT that DID not fit at ALL…. pants had pleats at one time and the Jacket was like being stuffed into a Sausage skin…I am the sausage, same SHAPE….maybe a bigger belly although a sausage has no belly…. I JUST QUIT ALL MY BAD HABITS…. COLD TURKEY….. so I did this on Aug 03-15 and HAD to fit into that suit….in 11 days…and had started my Journey…. well, 9 pounds in that time alone…..Drank more water, QUIT SUGARY anything….coffee is a must but down to 2 a day and only 1% milk, so Lattes!! and having seen this transformation in that little time, TODAY,, 38 pounds less of me, exercising a lot, purchased a ROWING machine for my MAN CAVE, great spot, 2 fans and motivating music…. weights at the Club at Work, including Treadmill and bike…MORE to follow… BUT you and your Program is something I am PAYING more attention to…… I could go on, but maybe in 9 more pounds less and MORE of all these muscles that I thought would not ever be like this on me at THIS AGE….57. Thanks young fella…. you are so motivating! I can do it…. I push myself, the PRAISE has been a REWARD worth hearing more of each day……

    1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 07, 2016 - 12:53 #

      Congrats on your success, Steve!

  10. Gareth Jones Jan 08, 2016 - 10:09 #

    Great set of tips Marc.

    The only thing I would add is to invest in something like a Fitbit. Since I’ve been using my Fitbit I take much more notice of how much walking I’m doing each day compared to looking at my iPhone. There’s something about having it on your wrist that provides that extra bit of motivation to make you hit your goal for the day.

    1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 08, 2016 - 14:31 #

      Thanks, Gareth. I have a FitBit and agree it can be motivating to help people move more every day.

  11. Cici Jan 24, 2016 - 14:40 #

    Great article! Thank you!

  12. Bruce M Jan 24, 2016 - 15:21 #

    My question: even if you incorporate weight training or other resistance exercises into your exercise programming, won’t your weight loss almost inevitably involve a percent loss of lean body mass as well as fat? In my experience, if I lose weight strictly by dieting and don’t exercise at all, based on % body fat measurements, about 50% of my weight loss is fat and about 50% is LBM. If I add 45-60 minutes of exercise 4-5 times per week, about 2/3’s moderate-intense eliptical and 1/3 weights/resistance exercise, I can change that ratio from 1:1 to maybe 3:1 (i.e. 75% of the weight loss seems to be fat.) Under ideal conditions, is it possible to completely eliminate muscle loss when losing weight? My interest in this fraction is that it affects the estimate of what my final weight should be to obtain a given % body fat.

    1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 24, 2016 - 17:43 #

      Hey Bruce – I’ve trained a lot of guys and meticulously tracked their body fat percentages and only one lost any muscle (he went very low carb and I don’t think he ate enough calories). If you are 25+ pounds overweight, tracking body fat percentage can be really tricky. It’s very hard to measure using body fat calipers, which is what I rely on (See: How to Measure Body Fat Percentage. What I’m getting at is you are at best guessing when it comes to your body fat percentage, so it’s entirely possible you are not losing muscle when you diet with exercise. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t worry about body fat percentage / body weight etc. too much. Focus on becoming a stronger and better athlete and everything falls into place. Maybe you create a strength goal of doing 10, or 15 pull ups. You will likely be pretty lean if you can do that. In the long run, changing your mindset from losing weight to becoming more flexible, stronger, and developing a deeper mind-body connection will allow you to achieve a higher fitness level and enjoy the process as opposed to just “working out to lose weight” which gets super boring and is unsustainable. See my article 25 Fitness Goals to Get in Awesome Shape. Hope that’s helpful!

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