If you’re looking to cut fat, trainer Kim Oddo, owner and founder of Body By O, recommends increasing your caloric expenditure through training rather than drastically slashing calories. “If you restrict your diet too much [below 1,100 calories], you may inhibit your body’s ability to gain lean muscle and cause your metabolism to slow drastically,” he says. Instead of leaning out, your body ends up hoarding calories—exactly the opposite of what you want.
A healthier way to slash body fat is to ramp up cardio without cutting back calories on your strength days. “I like to use moderate-intensity cardio, around 70 to 75% max heart rate, mixed in with a few high-intensity intervals, in 30- to 40-minute sessions,” says Oddo. Doing these workouts on a treadmill at an incline will also help target your glutes and hamstrings, he says. Oddo’s tactic has the added bonus of keeping your energy levels high because you’re consuming a more sustainable level of calories. “To speed up metabolism you must feed it, and in order to gain or maintain good lean muscle, you must have adequate nutrients to provide the proper environment.”