You can train and eat as healthy as you want, yet that has a certain range if you do not count the rest. If you want to make a serious change to your body, you do not want to concern yourself with the fine details, but with the basic ingredients that will give you the big results. And if one of the basic ingredients is not right, your dish can still fail – in spite of the tricks from outside.

You can worry about which variation of leg exercises you need to do in the gym, how many grams of protein each should have in your smoothie or if you have to eat organic meat – but that is not enough. You may be concerned about things that do not matter for a long time. It’s nice to keep busy with the fine ingredients, but you forget that the underlying principles and the most effective methods provide 90% of the result.

Leg exercises do not matter if you only go to the gym once a week, proteins do not matter if you do not eat fats and organic meat does not matter if you pour a bottle of cola back for breakfast. Similarly with fat burning and sleep.

More sleep = more fat burning!

There is a way to calculate how much fuel your body uses, called the RER (respiratory exchange ratio). If you mainly burn fat, your RER is close to 0.7. And if you mainly burn carbohydrates, your RER is closer to 1.0 or even higher. 

Okay, so how do you get the RER down? By simply not ‘cutting’ in your sleep and waking up refreshed. So that is

1. going to bed earlier
2. sleep quality (I’ll come back to this later)
3. waking up with enough sleep.

If you do not get enough sleep, your RER goes up and you burn more carbohydrates and proteins (muscles are made from proteins, you do not want to lose too much!) As the main source of fuel. It means that you can burn 1750 calories per day, more one person can be fatter and the other person can burn more carbohydrates. If you sleep well enough, the RER moves more downwards.

And if you eat healthily and eat less than you burn, you also want your RER to be as close to 0.7 as possible, so that you burn fat as much as possible. Strength training also helps. And a stress-free (er) life.

If you do this for a while … then you have small results within no time leading to larger results in months. Yes, it takes time – but then you also have something. Fat burning cannot be achieved in one day, which you achieve with small steps every day.

Better sleep

Without any advice to make you sleep better, I am here to call you and it is a waste of your time. Here are my top 5 tips to get more and deeper quality sleep:

One: make your room as dark and anti-tech as possible. You can also get a sleep mask at night. The bedroom is only for sleep and sex, not to watch TV or to check the latest news on your phone. This only gets you out of sleep and activates your brain. If you really need to use a telephone, then set the brightness as low as possible.

Two: write down what you have to do the next day so that you do not wake up all night.

Three: do not eat or drink too much before you go to sleep so that you have to empty your bladder at night and lie awake in bed again. You sleep deeper at a low body temperature, so I advise you not to eat before you go to bed.

Four: use the dim lights in your house or light candles. The bright light makes your body think that it is during the day and that makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Burns candles in the bathroom, lights candles in the living room and wherever possible. The goal is to let you yawn and sleep before you are in bed at all. The goal is to give your brain a rest, not to give stimuli. This also applies to telephone use: preferably not staring at your phone within 60 minutes before going to sleep. Read a book or take a walk outside.

Five: take a shower or bath 30-60 minutes before you go to sleep. This relaxes your muscles and mind – preferably in a dark bathroom with candles. The (blue) light in bathroom lighting prevents you from getting drowsy.

So in summary: take more (deeper) quality sleep, to get your RER to the 0.7, you keep your muscles and you burn more fat.