Worried about having packed on a few pounds over Thanksgiving? Still struggling with a larger weight loss goal that seems even further and further out of your reach? Although there are a few weight loss hacks you can use to speed up the process, the reality is that – for most people – losing weight takes time.
But while you’re working towards your overall goal, there’s no reason you need to look like an overweight slob! Instead, try using any of the following techniques to help you look skinnier immediately while your body catches up to your overall weight loss goals:
Tip #1 – Work out your traps
Your “traps” are your trapezius muscles. These muscles run down your back along your spine, supporting the work of your scapula and shoulder blades. Although most weight lifting routines don’t specifically target your traps, bulking up these muscles can have a serious slimming effect on your overall profile, as they make your torso look taller. This counters the extra width of your belly, making you a skinnier-looking optical illusion.
A few of the different exercises that will work out the traps include upright rows, bent rows and shoulder shrugs. Try adding these exercises to your workout routine 2-3 times per week (with a day of rest in between sets), being sure to consult a gym employee or online tutorial for instructions on correct form before starting, as doing these exercises incorrectly can lead to damage to the spine and lower back.
Tip #2 – Make your chest proportionate to your waist
There have been some pretty interesting studies conducted that suspect we don’t truly see other peoples’ bodies in normal, everyday interactions – we only see the difference in proportion between key areas of the body.
In the case of women, researchers have found that it doesn’t matter much if a woman is skinny or heavy. As long as she maintains a certain waist-to-hip ratio (typically involving at least 10” of difference between the two), male subjects will find her attractive. The same goes for men – but, obviously, in reverse. For men, the ideal chest-to-waist ratio is about 1.6-to-1.0, meaning that your chest should be a little more than half again as large as your waist.
To achieve this ratio, you’ve got two options – you can either bulk up your chest or you can lose weight from your waist. Since it’s going to take most men longer to blast away excess fat, try adding chest strengthening exercises to your regular workouts while sticking to a healthy eating and cardio plan.
Tip #3 – Wear vertical stripes
This one isn’t exactly a secret, but you’d be surprised how many men routinely violate this staple of women’s fashion wisdom.
Simply put, horizontal stripes make you look wider, while vertical stripes make you look taller. If you want to look skinnier, stick to the vertical stripes that will elongate your torso and give you a more pleasing overall appearance.
Tip #4 – Buy shirts with tight sleeves and workout your biceps
I love this tip, because it’s a great way to trick the minds of those around you into thinking you’re in better shape than you really are. Here’s what you do…
Put a heavy focus on bicep exercises into your workout plan. Because these muscles are relatively small (compared to, say, your back or leg muscles) and because most men don’t store as much fat in their upper arms as they store in other areas, it shouldn’t take you long to start seeing some definition in this area.
Once you’ve toned up a bit, look for shirts that are especially tight around the arm. Even if you’re still sporting a serious spare tire around your waist, the straining fabric on your upper arms will immediately draw peoples’ attention towards your arms and away from your gut – making you look skinnier automatically.
Tip #5 – Got a gut? Work your chest…
If you’re sporting a bit of a beer belly that doesn’t seem to be going away, use the rule of proportions I mentioned earlier and focus on your chest instead.
Yeah, I know this sounds contradictory. After all, if you’ve got belly fat, why wouldn’t you put the extra effort into your ab workouts in order to tone and tighten this area up first? Well, unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to “spot treat” with weight lifting exercises, meaning that most men will need to up their cardio and decrease their calorie intake in order to lose fat see any type of definition in this area.
But while this takes time, keep in mind that you don’t store as much fat in your chest as you do in your gut. As a result, exercises that strengthen these areas will show results faster, making your waist seem smaller in comparison to your larger chest – even if you haven’t lost any weight around your mid-section at all!
Some of the best exercises you can do to work your chest include the bench press or the incline bench press – so get a buddy to spot you and start pumping up these muscle groups!
Tip #6 – Try HIIT on the elliptical
If you aren’t already familiar with high intensity interval training (HIIT), you’re missing out on one of the best ways to lose fat ever!
Basically, HIIT involves interspersing bursts of high intensity cardio activity with longer intervals of lower intensity work. These bursts of effort drive your heart rate up, while the lower intensity segments of your workout enable you to keep going longer – resulting in a higher calorie burn per workout than you’d see using either high- or low-intensity activities on their own.
As a result, a single HIIT cardio session has the same fat burning impact as 30 minutes on the treadmill – giving you more bang for your workout buck. HIIT workouts also help to keep your heart rate up long after your workout is completed, meaning that you’ll still be burning fat as you’re eating your post-workout meal.
My favorite place to do HIIT workouts is on the elliptical, although you can do them in just about any type of exercise (including jogging, swimming, biking or the gym equivalents of these activities). I find that doing HIIT workouts on the elliptical helps me to get more intervals done in less time, though your results may vary based on the type of machine or exercise you’re most comfortable with.
Tip #7 – Wear a bulky belt
Finally, when all else fails, cover up stubborn belly fat with a bulky belt. That way, when people see the extra bulk in this area, they’ll assume it’s your belt that’s causing you to look heavier – not the extra fat that’s hidden underneath this helpful accessory!
These are just a few of the techniques that I used when I was in the process of losing more than 40 pounds. If you have any other suggestions on how to look skinnier without actually losing weight, share your tips in the comment area below!