The body is amazing in its capacity to heal and stay slim with the right food and a minimum of the right exercise.
There is no one diet that fits all. But if you have failed many times then that is actually a good thing because then you can rule out what did not work. Some of the diets you have tried will have certain parts that did work to some degree which can serve to put you in the right direction.
Rest days are critical no matter what type of workout routine you follow. You need rest days so your muscles get time to repair and recover following tough sessions and to make sure you feel your best the next time you hit the gym, writes trainer Jeff Behar on Bodybuilding.com. Rest days can feel counterproductive though -- doing nothing feels like stagnating. Avoid this scenario by making the most of your rest days with strategies to keep burning fat.
Go for a steady walk, or take part in an active pastime. Rest days don't mean you have to spend all day on the couch -- you can keep active while having a rest from hard training. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, refers to the calories you burn from activities such as walking, performing chores or doing manual labor. NEAT can play a huge role in body composition and when it comes to fat loss, every extra calorie you burn can help, explains nutritionist Brian St. Pierre. Don't be lazy on your rest days -- get outside, do some gardening or yard work, or go bowling instead of to the movies.
Maintain a calorie deficit. Burning fat is all about how many calories you burn versus how many you consume. To lose fat you must consume fewer than you burn. Men need around 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day and women need 1,800 to 2,400 to maintain weight, so start at the bottom end of these guidelines. If you lose less than 1 pound a week, reduce them slightly, or increase them a little if you lose more than 2 pounds.
Perform high-intensity interval training and weights workouts on your training days. These are far more effective than regular low-intensity steady-state cardio at creating an after-burn effect, which means you're still burning calories on your rest days. This effect is known as excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC and refers to the increase in your metabolic rate following a hard session. By changing to interval cardio and lifting weights, particularly using challenging loads and working your whole body with compound moves like squats, bench presses, rows and deadlifts, you can continue burning fat on your rest days.
Use your rest days as an opportunity to plan your next few workouts, or spend the extra free time cooking and preparing healthy meals for the next days.
Check with your doctor before starting any type of training or diet plan.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.