How to Lose Fat, Gain Muscle in 2017

There's more to losing weight than cardio and lifting heavy things.

By Harley Pasternak, MSc. | January 4, 2017

It’s the moving you do when you’re NOT in the gym.

There are 168 hours in a week. Even if you work out five times a week, you’re still not in the gym more than a handful of hours. It’s these non-gym hours that are key to getting lean and healthy. I tell my clients, you get strong in the gym but lean in life! Make sure you take at least 10,000 steps before you go to bed at night. Unless you’re driving a car, eating a meal or sleeping — keep moving! 

Eat protein and fiber five times a day.

Stop counting calories, weighing food and avoiding restaurants. Instead, aim to eat three meals and two snacks a day. Make sure your meals and snacks contain protein (seafood, eggs, chicken) and fiber (veggies, legumes, seeds). Aside from their individual benefits — protein boosts metabolism and fiber aids digestion — these nutrients work together to help you feel fuller, longer and keep your appetite in check.  

Track your heart rate.

My clients and I use a tracker, like a Fitbit Charge 2, to monitor our steps and our heart rates during workouts. Monitoring your heart rate is a great way to find your ideal exercise intensity at which you can get your most efficient results. Moreover, knowing what heart rate you’re working at will also tell you if your burning carbs or fat.

Sleep at least seven hours every night.

Considering it makes up a third of our lives, we tend to overlook the importance of quality sleep. In fact, lack of sleep can lead to eating more food, being less active and gaining weight. A University of Chicago study found that when healthy young men went from sleeping eight hours a night to five, their cravings for fattening, high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods increased drastically. If you’re serious about losing fat and gaining muscle, you’ve got to prioritize getting rest. 

About the Author

Harley Pasternak, MSc.

Celebrity trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak holds a Master of Science in exercise physiology and nutritional sciences from the University of Toronto and an honors degree in kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. He is also certified by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology, and he served as an exercise and nutrition scientist for Canada’s Department of National Defence. As a fitness and nutrition specialist, Pasternak has trained many celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Halle Berry, Katy Perry, Megan Fox, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Pattinson, Jessica Simpson, Kesha, Hilary Duff and Jennifer Hudson.