Are you looking to lose some weight but feel like you’ve hit a fat-loss slump? Don’t get discouraged, getting back to cutting out that extra layer of fat might be easier than you think.

Most people are missing just a few key elements in their fat-burning arsenal to transform sluggish progress into soaring results. And the best part is that these are all lifestyle changes, no fad diets so your results continue to come to help you reach your best body and maintain it.

Get moving in the right direction with these tips and tricks and learn more about maximizing your metabolism and living a healthy life long term.

1. Focus on Form

Rushing through the exercises as you workout is a guaranteed way to NOT maximize your results. Proper form is the key to any exercise. Start slowing down in the gym and really focus on each muscle contracting and relaxing. This will instantly boost the effectiveness of the session.

2. Keep Your Rest Periods Short

Maintaining short and snappy rest periods during your workout is one of the best ways to crank the calorie burn up a notch. Keep it at 30-45 seconds between sets to ensure you aren’t letting your rest periods drag on. Maintaining a faster pace also helps your body naturally release human growth hormone helping your body burn fat even faster.

3. Take A Diet Break

Treating yourself occasionally is not only ok but also necessary if your everyday diet is very clean. Prolonged periods of dieting can cause your metabolism to slow down, making weight loss grind to a halt even on low caloric intake. A short diet break can significantly boost your results. One week at a higher calorie and/or carbohydrate intake can help you move forward with your long-term goals. You can also try incorporating weekly cheat meals into your lifestyle shocking your system once a week and helping your metabolic rate stay high. Note though that this only works if your everyday diet is free of junk.

4. Cook with Fresh Herbs and Spices

BBQ sauce may sound yummy but it is loaded with sugar so watch out. Instead of high-calorie condiments, take your meals to the next level with fresh herbs and spices. Adding a bit of oregano, a few sprigs of fresh basil, or some crushed peppercorn to a dish is a fast and easy way to spice up your meal’s flavor profile.

Not only do herbs taste amazing and fresh but a lot of them boost the nutritional contents as well: oregano has a high antioxidant capacity, rosemary may help prevent damage to blood vessels, and ginger may relieve swelling. One of my favorite spices, cinnamon helps balance blood sugar and reduces inflammation so sprinkle on.

5. Add Some Caffeine

Caffeine is not for everyone. I personally am too sensitive to it but judging from my energy levels, I think I might be producing a natural version myself. LOL! If you can tolerate caffeine, it not only boosts your energy level, giving you that extra jolt of energy needed to dominate intense workouts, but caffeine intake is also correlated with increased weight loss and fat oxidation and reduced fat-storing hormones in women. Caffeine also has a slight metabolic enhancement effect, meaning that adding a cup of Joe daily can boost your calorie burn.

6. Eat Salmon Twice Per Week

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can aid the reduction of total body fat mass by increasing the oxidation of fat for energy. In fact, eating 4-5 ounces of salmon twice per week provides you with enough omega-3 fatty acids for the entire week. Salmon is also packed with protein, B vitamins, and 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin D.

7. Add Coconut Oil to Your Diet

Of all the fats, coconut is the only one to have a thermic effect similar to protein. This means that just eating it helps your body burn more calories! Coconut also contains medium-chain triglycerides, which can be immediately used as an energy source in your body, enhancing total body fat loss results.

8. Drink Three Cups of Green Tea Daily

Try swapping out coffee or soda for something healthier. Antioxidant-rich green tea not only helps ward off disease, but people who consume three or more cups daily have been shown to have higher metabolic rates over time.

9. Use Smaller Plates

The simple act of using smaller plates can help you consume less food, therefore enhancing your health and body weight management. Studies have shown that diners given smaller dishes served themselves smaller portions. Stick to plates roughly 8-9 inches in diameter. Looking for even more visual cues for portion control? Use darker plates. New research also shows that an increased color contrast between the plate and food leads people to eat less.

10. Take in Whey Protein Daily

In the first part of this series, we discussed kicking up your protein intake so you now know why it’s important. Not all proteins are created equal. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that, when it comes to satiety, whey has the upper hand. Consider making a post-workout whey protein shake or adding vanilla whey powder to a greens smoothie for an afternoon snack.

11. Try a Boot Camp Class

Looking for a way to boost your cardio performance? Consider a boot camp class. These classes combine strength and cardio training, which will help to boost your metabolic rate. Plus, you’ll meet like-minded individuals to help cheer you on during a particularly tough routine or a workout slump.

12. Always Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time

Planning your meals ahead of time will help you resist the urge to grab a quick snack from a fast food chain. Try prepping your meals for the week on Sunday night. Having that Tupperware stacked and ready to go will leave little temptation to stray from your nutrition plan. Be sure to take your meals for the day with you when you are at work and on the go. There are so many great looking, functional coolers nowadays that you have no excuses.