Two Ways to Increase the Probability on Early Morning Trades

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The Martingale approach and averaging down

Nothing creates a split camp more in gambling circles than the Martingale system. One side will say it is amongst the oldest and simplest ways to ensure a profit, whilst the other will mutter darkly about it being one of the most expensive ways to learn a lesson.

Developed in France in the 18th Century, the Martingale system works on a fifty/fifty premise such as blackjack, or a heads or tails format. The idea is that if you keep doubling your bet after each loss then eventually you will win back all your money.

The Martingale was introduced by the French mathematician Paul Pierre Levy and much of the study in the area was carried out by American mathematician Joseph Leo Doob who sought to disprove the possibility of a 100% profitable betting strategy.

Most experts use the roulette table as an example for how the system works. If a gambler bets £10 on red and loses then he must double his bet to £20 on red. If he loses again he doubles it once more to £40 and so on. When he eventually wins he will not only return his losses, but will guarantee a win of the initial bet.

According to the memoirs of Venetian author and adventurer Giacomo Girolamo “Casanova” de Seingalt, this simple betting progression was in vogue at the original Ridotto Casino as early as 1754. Casanova wrote of doubling the size of his wager after every loss until his bet eventually won. He added, though, that “bad luck” meant he soon “left without a sequin.”

Martingale in stock market trading

In stock markets, the Martingale strategy is implemented when a trader keeps doubling his position size till he makes a winning trade.

There are variations on this, where the trader increases his position each time he loses but not necessarily by doubling it. Instead our trader increases his position by a smaller amount, adding say 30% or 50%, rather than 100%. This is sometimes called smooth Martingale.

The Martingale system, however, has many practical drawbacks in this environment.

As it has a statistically computable outcome, the Martingale system can under certain conditions create incremental profit. Yet, the principle of it can only work if the pattern remains uninterrupted. In reality this requires an extremely large, if not infinite, bankroll.

For this simple reason most professional traders will avoid the method as the majority of people have to work within the boundary of their limited bank balance.

In addition, as markets are affected by so many external factors, from national disasters to regulatory announcements, it is unlikely that the pattern can continue without being knocked sideways by a market curve ball.

The risk-reward ratio is another disadvantage. You can’t predict the number of successive losing trades that will take place, so the risk will keep increasing with each trade. Yet the possible reward is limited to the position size of the first trade.

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There are also costs involved with every trade such as brokerage and in certain markets there are taxes on each transaction too. All shares will not get the best offer rates so bids will need to be increased. Similarly, you may not be able to sell all your shares at the best bid rate and you may have to decrease your offer.

Gamblers’ fallacy and other behavioural bias at play

Many experts claim that Martingale as a strategy leans into gamblers’ fallacy and the notion that to catch the anticipated good luck they must keep on gambling.

It is based on the belief that the chances of something happening with a fixed probability become higher or lower as the process is repeated, yet this is a misconception as, more often than not, previous outcomes have no bearing on future outcomes.

Investors can fall prey to gambler’s fallacy in two ways. The first will be to hold on to stock that is falling in the belief that it can’t keep on falling. The second risk is liquidating too early as it seems unlikely that the stock can keep rising.

As psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman discovered, most of us like to avoid losses. Their research found that the average person is willing to risk a potential loss only if he or she stands to gain at least double that amount.

The sunk-cost fallacy

Another study by psychology professor Harold Miller from Brigham Young University found that behavioural-driven financial fallacies can go hand-in-hand. He found that people who demonstrate loss aversion are more likely to fall victim to the sunk-cost fallacy, and vice versa.

He said: “The sunk-cost fallacy is behaving as if more investment alters your odds. In a way, you are also motivated by an aversion to loss, but you keeping investing more, believing the more you put in, the more it will pay off.”

The principle behind it is that the same people who avoid loss are more likely to double down on risk irrationally.

Averaging down

Investors have three options when stock starts to fall. They can:

  • sell and take a loss
  • hold and hope
  • average down (double down)

With double down the idea is that you throw more money after bad in the hope that the stock will perform well.

This Martingale strategy can be implemented through a series of closed positions that have gone against you, or by averaging within an open position. In the first case there is a real loss and the next time the volume is doubled. In the second case, there is an unrealised loss and a volume is added to the open position.

This ‘doubling down’ is the key to the Martingale System and according to trader and strategist Steve Connell, Martingale in a “nut shell” is a cost-averaging strategy.

Averaging down is the widespread practice of buying more stock of something you have already invested as the price falls. This then lowers your average price and that makes it easier to break even or to turn a profit. However, it also makes it easier to lose more money as you’ve built a larger concentration of shares.

It can be a dangerous strategy as the asset has already shown weakness, rather than strength. Some feel adding more cash to the pot is only compounding the problem as it can only work if the stock price rises again.

Historic oil price drop
Don’t miss your trading opportunities

Connell said: “The idea is that you just go on doubling your trade size until eventually fate throws you up one single winning trade. At that point, due to the doubling effect, you can exit with a profit. The act of ‘averaging down’ means you double your trade size. But you also reduce the relative amount required to re-coup the losses.”

They key is to hold on to the stock for as long as it takes to recover, but If it keeps on falling it could be the fast route to bankruptcy.

Connell added: “Averaging down is a strategy of avoiding losses rather than seeking profits. Martingale doesn’t increase your odds of winning. It just delays losses – for a long time if you’re lucky.”

If you practice short selling, the same risks and same logic appear if you average up and throw more money into a position if the price goes up when you hoped it would go down. Again, you can do this for a series of closed trades or within an open traded with an unrealised loss.

The reverse Martingale

A more logical method for traders, especially Forex traders, is to use an anti-Martingale system. This is something that is seen by many to be a more effective way to maximise opportunities as it hangs on to winning trades, and drops losers.

As a strategy it requires discipline as psychologically it can be harder to add on risk when you are already in profit.

However with the reverse-Martingale, the averaging up rather than down means your profits can be turned very quickly into loses should the market turn against you.

Investors who average up can limit the average price that they pay for stocks by making smaller and smaller purchases as the price gets higher. This is known as pyramiding and was something that Warren Buffet did with Berkshire Hathaway.

When could the Martingale system be profitable?

Some more experienced traders claim that a ‘smarter’ version of the Martingale system could be used when trading binary options. To do this a maximum limit should be set and traders need to keep in mind that even when you are winning you could also lose at a certain point. It is also important to only to go ahead only when you have something you can afford to lose.

Another benefit is that you don’t need to predict the market direction to use it as it has a well-defined set of trading rules.

Martingale trading systems are also popular in Forex automated trading, because, unlike stocks, currencies rarely drop to zero. Although companies easily can go bankrupt, countries cannot.

The forex carry trade is a type of strategy in which traders sell currencies of countries with relatively low interest rates, and use the proceeds to buy currencies of countries that yield higher interest rates.

A note of caution is that these currency pairs with carry opportunities often follow strong trends so can be victims of unexpected changes in the interest rate cycle.

Experts also go to lengths to point out that you need to be disciplined enough to bank your gains so that they don’t snowball for too long. In Forex there are flexible tools to control martingale trading such as the ‘stop-loss and take-profit’ orders.

Forex trader Andriy Moraru, said: “The major problem for martingale systems in gambling is that every next result is completely independent of the previous results, so the streak of any number of losses is totally possible. In Forex the probabilities are not linear, so the streaks can have some inner logic dependent on markets.

“It makes martingale trading system less predictable and potentially profitable if optimised to the market conditions. But well optimised and modified martingale systems, in my opinion, can’t be called martingale and can’t be discussed as the one.”

Common errors made by losing traders

This ‘double up to catch up’ method is one of the common errors made by losing traders. There is a school of thought that if you are averaging down it is because a mistake was already made in stock selection and buying more stock is throwing good money after bad.

It might, therefore, make more sense to move on and invest in something else. Yet, psychologists say it is an instinctive reaction to take on a greater risk if you are on a losing streak, believing that eventually you will strike gold.

Robert Williams, a professor of health sciences and gambling studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta calls it the “near miss” effect. He says it is like when people play the lottery and get half the numbers right and think they were “so close” so promptly re-enter. “So while they might believe that they just missed the target, the difference in probability is actually in the hundreds of millions.”

This is why it is advisable before averaging down on any investment that the investor has a plan, rather than throwing money ad hoc into a company with a falling share price and getting carried away.

Carry out due diligence on the companies you wish to average down on so that quick action can be taken if needed to cap a loss. Some analysts even say that you should average down only when nothing about a company has changed except its share price.

Before adding to a losing position investors should ask themselves this question: how much faith do I have in my initial research or do I just need to acknowledge I made a mistake and switch to the next opportunity?

Professional traders need to plan and adapt endlessly. Thinking ahead is the key to this as is treating every trade individually.

Doubling down using a Martingale strategy requires patience, confidence in the stock and knowledge that markets do not always move in your favour. The same as in roulette, just because the ball landed on red the previous ten times, doesn’t mean that the next one will be black.

Martingale, in all its forms, comes with a warning. Be careful. Professionals apply this approach inside predefined trading systems. But even if you are an experienced trader, make sure you have good risk management strategy in place. Martingale is an easy way to lose a lot, fast.

7 Ways Science Proves Early to Bed and Early to Rise Really Works

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

You’re probably familiar with Ben Franklin’s old saying “Early to bed, and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” It’s actually true.

I know. I’m not a morning person either, but I’ve found that by going to bed earlier, I actually can wake up first thing in the A.M. That has made me more productive, and dare I say more successful. But, that’s not just me.

Here’s the science to back-up the words of advice from Ben Franklin.

1. Helps you better deal with negativity.

Unhappily, a study in 2020 determined that people who go to bed later are more likely to be overwhelmed with repetitive negative thoughts. As an entrepreneur, I can vouch for that statement. I can’t count how many nights of sleep I’ve lost worrying about a team member, problem-solving how to secure more funding or wondering if maybe it’s time to close-up shop.

But while sleep disruption leads to more pessimistic thoughts, a good night’s rest helps you deal with problems and improves problem-solving. Developing a pattern that allows you to sleep a full 6-9 hours each night helps you handle any negativity that’s being thrown your way.

2. Enhances your chances of success.

According to Christopher Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany, “When it comes to business success, morning people hold the important cards. My earlier research showed that they tend to get better grades in school, which get them into better colleges, which then lead to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them.” Randler added, “ They’re proactive. Many studies have linked this trait, proactivity, with better job performance, greater career success, and higher wages.”

“Though evening people do have some advantages — other studies reveal they tend to be smarter and more creative than morning types, have a better sense of humor, and are more outgoing — they’re out of sync with the typical corporate schedule.”

Furthermore, a good night’s rest can make you more productive since it assists with improving your concentration, memory, and solving complex problems.

3. Morning people are more persistent, cooperative, agreeable, conscientious, and proactive.

Randler’s work listed above already determined that larks are more active than night owls, but his research also discovered that early-risers tended to be more persistent, cooperative, agreeable, and conscientious. These are all positive traits that leaders and successful possess since they make them more likable, disciplined, appreciative, and eager to learn.

4. Sleep keeps you healthy.

If you’re a freelancer, small business owner and a parent, like so many of us are, you can’t afford to get sick. Luckily, that’s something that getting enough shuteye and waking up early can help you with.

For starters, research has found that getting plenty of sleep strengthens your immune system — which is an excellent preventive against whatever nasty bugs are going around.

Secondly, getting enough rest keeps you energized enough so that you can exercise — besides waking up earlier gives you the time to squeeze in a workout before you get distracted. And, when you sleep-in, you tend to skip breakfast, which means when you do get hungry you’re going to crave unhealthier options.

5. Reduces stress and makes your happier.

Here’s two scenarios.

You have to be out of the door by 8 a.m., and you sleep-in until 7:30 a.m. You’re rushing to take a shower, brush your teeth, grab something to eat and make sure that you have everything you need for the rest of the day.

If you woke up at 6 a.m. that gives you two hours to not only get ready, but also catch-up on emails, the news, or work on a pet project. Most importantly, it makes your mornings less stressful, which in turn, will make your days less stressful.

The first hour or so of your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. A study conducted by Dr. Joerg Huber of Roehampton University in London found that “Morning people tend to be healthier and happier as well as having lower body mass indexes.”

6. You procrastinate less.

A 2008 study found that early risers didn’t procrastinate as much as people who stayed up later. This statement shouldn’t come as a surprise since they’re proactive and have more quiet time in the morning to complete tasks. When you aren’t waiting until the last minute, you reduce your stress and can fall asleep worry-free.

7. Sleep makes you look better.

There was an interesting study from the University of Stockholm that found that those who appeared tired are also more likely to be perceived as unhealthy and less attractive. That’s not necessarily the end of the world, but when you’re trying to make a solid first impression on the opposite sex, potential client, or prospective investor, you want to look as good as you possibly can.

You can make the switch to morning person.

If you’re not a morning person or you are having a difficult time trying or staying to fall asleep, here are a couple of pointers to help you sleep better at night:

Take baby steps. Start slowly by waking up earlier than you normally do, like 15 minutes for the first week, 20 minutes the following week, and so forth until you reach your goal time.

Create and stick to a sleep schedule. Even if you don’t fall asleep right away, at least make it a habit to start getting into bed at a set time every night, such as by 9 p.m.

Stay away from bright lights. Electronics, such as your TV and smartphone, produce light that stimulates your brain. Instead of watching Netflix, read for an hour.

Follow the circadian rhythm. This is your body’s clock telling you when to sleep and when to wake-up. Since it’s a part of nature, try camping for a couple of days to get back on-track.

Set the mood. The ideal sleeping condition is pitch black and a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees.

Avoid alcohol and eating before bed. Both of these prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Exercise. This makes you tired enough so that you’ll sleep straight through the night.

Are you an early riser or late sleeper? What benefits do you find when you fall asleep early?

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8. Heart disease is thought to be caused by eating the wrong things.

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The 14 Best Ways to Burn Fat Fast

Whether you’re looking to improve your overall health or simply slim down for summer, burning off excess fat can be quite challenging.

In addition to diet and exercise, numerous other factors can influence weight and fat loss.

Luckily, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to increase fat burning, quickly and easily.

Here are 14 of the best ways to burn fat quickly and promote weight loss.

Strength training is a type of exercise that requires you to contract your muscles against resistance. It builds muscle mass and increases strength.

Most commonly, strength training involves lifting weights to gain muscle over time.

Research has found strength training to have multiple health benefits, especially when it comes to burning fat.

In one study, strength training reduced visceral fat in 78 people with metabolic syndrome. Visceral fat is a type of dangerous fat that surrounds the organs in the belly ( 1 ).

Another study showed that 12 weeks of strength training paired with aerobic exercise was more effective at reducing body fat and belly fat than aerobic exercise alone ( 2 ).

Resistance training may also help preserve fat-free mass, which can increase the number of calories your body burns at rest ( 3 ).

According to one review, 10 weeks of resistance training could help increase calories burned at rest by 7% and may reduce fat weight by 4 pounds (1.8 kg) ( 4 ).

Doing body-weight exercises, lifting weights or using gym equipment are a few easy ways to get started with strength training.

Summary Strength training has been shown to increase resting energy expenditure and reduce belly fat, especially when combined with aerobic exercise.

Including more protein-rich foods in your diet is an effective way to reduce your appetite and burn more fat.

In fact, multiple studies have found that eating more high-quality protein is associated with a lower risk of belly fat ( 5 , 6 ).

One study also showed that a high-protein diet can help preserve muscle mass and metabolism during weight loss ( 7 ).

Upping your protein intake may also increase feelings of fullness, decrease appetite and reduce calorie intake to aid in weight loss ( 8 , 9 ).

Try incorporating a few servings of high-protein foods into your diet each day to help amp up fat burning.

Some examples of protein-rich foods include meat, seafood, eggs, legumes and dairy products.

Summary Eating more protein may be associated with a lower risk of belly fat. Increasing your protein intake can decrease appetite, lower calorie intake and preserve muscle mass.

Going to bed a bit earlier or setting your alarm clock a little later can help boost fat burning and prevent weight gain.

Several studies have found an association between getting enough sleep and weight loss.

One study of 68,183 women showed that those who slept five or fewer hours per night over a period of 16 years were more likely to gain weight than those who slept for longer than seven hours per night ( 10 ).

Another study showed that better sleep quality and getting at least seven hours of sleep per night increased the likelihood of successful weight loss by 33% in 245 women enrolled in a six-month weight loss program ( 11 ).

Other research shows that a lack of sleep may contribute to alterations in hunger hormones, increased appetite and a higher risk of obesity ( 12 ).

Although everyone needs a different amount of sleep, most studies have found that getting at least seven hours of sleep per night is associated with the most benefits when it comes to body weight.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule, limit your intake of caffeine and minimize your use of electronic devices before bed to help support a healthy sleep cycle.

Summary Getting enough sleep may be associated with decreased appetite and hunger, as well as a lower risk of weight gain.

Vinegar is well known for its health-promoting properties.

In addition to its potential effects on heart health and blood sugar control, increasing your intake of vinegar may help bump up fat burning, according to some research ( 13 ).

One study found that consuming 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of vinegar daily reduced people’s body weight, belly fat and average waist circumference over a 12-week period ( 14 ).

Consuming vinegar has also been shown to enhance feelings of fullness and reduce appetite ( 15 ).

Another small study of 11 people showed that adding vinegar to the diet reduced daily calorie intake by up to 275 calories ( 16 ).

It’s easy to incorporate vinegar into your diet. For example, many people dilute apple cider vinegar with water and drink it as a beverage a few times per day with meals.

However, if drinking vinegar straight doesn’t sound appealing, you can also use it to make dressings, sauces and marinades.

Summary Vinegar may help increase feelings of fullness, decrease calorie intake and lower body fat.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, increasing your intake of healthy fats may actually help prevent weight gain and help you maintain feelings of fullness.

Fat takes a while to digest and can help slow the emptying of the stomach, which can reduce appetite and hunger ( 17 ).

One study found that following a Mediterranean diet rich in healthy fats from olive oil and nuts was associated with a lower risk of weight gain compared to a low-fat diet ( 18 ).

Another small study found that when people on a weight loss diet took two tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil daily, they lost more belly fat than those who were given soybean oil ( 19 ).

Meanwhile, unhealthy types of fat like trans fats have been shown to increase body fat, waist circumference and belly fat in human and animal studies ( 20 , 21 ).

Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds are just a few examples of healthy types of fat that may have beneficial effects on fat burning.

However, keep in mind that healthy fat is still high in calories, so moderate how much you consume. Instead of eating more fat overall, try swapping the unhealthy fats in your diet for these healthy fat varieties.

Summary Fat is digested slowly, so eating it can help reduce appetite. A higher intake of healthy fats is associated with a lower risk of weight gain and decreased belly fat.

Swapping out sugar-sweetened drinks for some healthier selections is one of the easiest ways to increase fat burning.

For example, sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and juice are packed with calories and offer little nutritional value.

Alcohol is also high in calories and has the added effect of lowering your inhibitions, making you more likely to overeat ( 22 ).

Studies have found that consuming both sugar-sweetened beverages and alcohol is associated with a higher risk of belly fat ( 23 , 24 ).

Limiting your intake of these beverages can help reduce your calorie intake and keep your waistline in check.

Instead, opt for calorie-free beverages like water or green tea.

In one small, 12-week study, drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of water before meals increased weight loss by 4.4 pounds (2 kg), compared to a control group ( 25 ).

Green tea is another great option. It contains caffeine and is rich in antioxidants, both of which may help increase fat burning and enhance metabolism ( 26 , 27 ).

For instance, one study in 12 adults showed that green tea extract increased fat burning by 12% compared to a placebo ( 28 ).

Trading in even just one or two servings of high-calorie beverages for a glass of water or a cup of green tea is a simple way to promote fat burning.

Summary Sugar-sweetened beverages and alcoholic drinks may be associated with a higher risk of belly fat. Green tea and water have been shown to increase weight loss and fat burning.

Soluble fiber absorbs water and moves through the digestive tract slowly, helping you feel fuller for longer ( 29 ).

According to some studies, increasing your intake of high-fiber foods may protect against weight gain and fat accumulation.

One study of 1,114 adults found that for each 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake per day, participants lost 3.7% of their belly fat over a five-year period, even without any other changes in diet or exercise ( 30 ).

Another review also found that increasing fiber intake promoted feelings of fullness and decreased hunger. In fact, an increase of 14 grams of fiber per day was associated with a 10% decrease in calorie intake.

Not only that, but it was also linked to nearly 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of weight loss over a four-month period ( 31 ).

Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are a few examples of high-fiber foods that can boost fat burning and weight loss.

Summary A higher intake of fiber may be associated with fat loss, decreased calorie intake and greater weight loss.

Decreasing your intake of refined carbohydrates may help you lose extra fat.

During processing, refined grains are stripped of their bran and germ, resulting in a final product that’s low in fiber and nutrients.

Refined carbs also tend to have a higher glycemic index, which can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, resulting in increased hunger ( 32 ).

Studies show that a diet high in refined carbs may be associated with increased belly fat ( 33 , 34 ).

Conversely, a diet high in whole grains has been associated with a lower body mass index and body weight, plus a smaller waist circumference ( 35 ).

One study in 2,834 people also showed that those with higher intakes of refined grains tended to have a higher amount of disease-promoting belly fat, while those who ate more whole grains tended to have a lower amount ( 36 ).

For the best results, reduce your intake of refined carbs from pastries, processed foods, pastas, white breads and breakfast cereals. Replace them with whole grains such as whole wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, barley and oats.

Summary Refined carbs are low in fiber and nutrients. They may increase hunger and cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Consuming refined carbs has also been associated with increased belly fat.

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is one of the most common forms of exercise and is defined as any type of exercise that specifically trains the heart and lungs.

Adding cardio to your routine may be one of the most effective ways to enhance fat burning.

For example, one review of 16 studies found that the more aerobic exercise people got, the more belly fat they lost ( 37 ).

Other studies have found that aerobic exercise can increase muscle mass and decrease belly fat, waist circumference and body fat ( 38 , 39 , 40 ).

Most research recommends between 150–300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise weekly, or roughly 20–40 minutes of cardio each day ( 41 ).

Running, walking, cycling and swimming are just a few examples of some cardio exercises that can help burn fat and kick-start weight loss.

Summary Studies show that the more aerobic exercise people get, the more belly fat they tend to lose. Cardio may also help reduce waist circumference, lower body fat and increase muscle mass.

Caffeine is a primary ingredient in just about every fat-burning supplement, and for good reason.

The caffeine found in coffee acts as a central nervous system stimulant, increases metabolism and boosts the breakdown of fatty acids ( 42 ).

In fact, studies show that caffeine intake can temporarily increase energy expenditure and enhance metabolism by 3–11% ( 43 , 44 ).

One large study with over 58,000 people found that increased caffeine intake was associated with less weight gain over a 12-year period ( 45 ).

Another study found that higher caffeine intake was linked to a higher rate of success with weight loss maintenance among 2,623 people ( 46 ).

To maximize the health benefits of coffee, skip the cream and sugar. Instead, enjoy it black or with a small amount of milk to prevent the extra calories from stacking up.

Summary Coffee contains caffeine, which can increase the breakdown of fat and raise metabolism. Studies show that higher caffeine intake may be associated with greater weight loss.

High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a form of exercise that pairs quick bursts of activity with short recovery periods to keep your heart rate elevated.

Studies show that HIIT can be incredibly effective at ramping up fat burning and promoting weight loss.

One study found that young men performing HIIT for 20 minutes three times weekly lost an average of 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of body fat over a 12-week period, even with no other changes to their diet or lifestyle.

They also experienced a 17% reduction in belly fat as well as a significant decrease in waist circumference ( 47 ).

HIIT may also help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than other forms of cardio.

According to one study, performing HIIT helped people burn up to 30% more calories than other types of exercise, such as cycling or jogging, in the same amount of time ( 48 ).

For an easy way to get started with HIIT, try alternating between walking and jogging or sprinting for 30 seconds at a time.

You can also cycle between exercises like burpees, push-ups or squats with a short rest period in between.

Summary HIIT can help increase fat burning and burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than other forms of exercise.

Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria found in your digestive tract that have been shown to improve many aspects of health.

In fact, the bacteria in your gut have been shown to play a role in everything from immunity to mental health ( 49 ).

Increasing your intake of probiotics through either food or supplements may also help rev up fat burning and keep your weight under control.

One review of 15 studies showed that people who took probiotics experienced significantly larger reductions in body weight, fat percentage and body mass index compared to those who took a placebo ( 50 ).

Another small study showed that taking probiotic supplements helped people following a high-fat, high-calorie diet prevent fat and weight gain ( 51 ).

Certain strains of probiotics in the genus Lactobacillus may be especially effective at aiding weight and fat loss.

One study in 28 people showed that eating yogurt containing either Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus bacteria reduced body fat by 3–4% (52).

Taking supplements is a quick and easy way to get in a concentrated dose of probiotics every day.

Alternatively, you can try adding some probiotic-rich foods to your diet, such as kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut.

Summary Taking probiotic supplements or increasing your intake of probiotics through food sources may help reduce body weight and fat percentage.

Iron is an important mineral that has many vital functions in the body.

As with other nutrients such as iodine, a deficiency in iron may impact the health of your thyroid gland. This small gland in your neck secretes hormones that regulate your metabolism ( 53 ).

Multiple studies have found that low levels of iron in the body may be associated with impaired thyroid function and a disruption in the production of thyroid hormones ( 54 , 55 , 56 ).

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism, or decreased thyroid function, include weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath and weight gain ( 57 ).

Similarly, a deficiency in iron can cause symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, headaches and shortness of breath ( 58 ).

Treating iron deficiency can allow your metabolism to work more efficiently and can fight off fatigue to help increase your activity level.

One study even found that when 21 women were treated for iron deficiency, they experienced reductions in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index ( 59 ).

Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough iron in their diets.

Women, infants, children, vegans and vegetarians are all at a higher risk of iron deficiency.

Be sure to incorporate plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet to help meet your iron needs and maintain your metabolism and energy levels.

You can find iron in meat, poultry, seafood, fortified grains and cereals, leafy green vegetables, dried fruits and beans.

Summary A deficiency in iron may be associated with impaired thyroid function and can cause symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath. One study found that treating iron deficiency aided in weight loss.

Intermittent fasting is a diet pattern that involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting.

Research shows that intermittent fasting may help enhance both weight loss and fat loss.

One review looked at the effects of intermittent fasting, including alternate-day fasting — a method that involves alternating between days of fasting and eating normally.

They found that alternate-day fasting over a period of 3–12 weeks reduced body weight by up to 7% and decreased body fat by up to 12 pounds (5.5 kg) ( 60 ).

Another small study showed that eating only during an eight-hour window each day helped decrease fat mass and maintain muscle mass when combined with resistance training ( 61 ).

There are several different types of intermittent fasting, including some where you eat only on certain days of the week and others where eating is restricted to specific hours of the day.

Popular types of intermittent fasting include Eat Stop Eat, the Warrior Diet, the 16/8 method and the 5:2 diet.

Find a variation that fits in with your schedule and lifestyle and don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you.

Summary Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce body weight and body fat and may help preserve muscle mass when combined with resistance training.

There are plenty of options available to help you shed excess fat and improve your health.

Incorporating some healthy habits into your routine and switching up your diet can make a big difference. Even minor changes to your lifestyle can have powerful effects on fat burning.

Be sure to pair these simple tips with a nutritious, well-rounded diet and active lifestyle to simultaneously boost fat breakdown and improve your overall health.

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