The weather starts to improve, the days start to get longer, the shorts start to come out, and the knowledge that summer is just around the corner starts to hit.
Until you realize that you planned on doing a little more work in the gym before beach season…
Now, don’t get me wrong – I am all for both accepting and loving one’s body.
I truly believe that you are worth so much more than simply how you look on a given day. I also believe that you shouldn’t give a second to thought as to what others think about you, nor how they think you look at any given point in time.
However, I am also very aware that on a personal level, I like being leaner in the summer time.
Call it vanity – hell, call it whatever you want – it’s the truth, and I am perfectly OK with that.
And you should be to.
So, with all that in mind, here are my 5 keys to leaning out before summer – do with them what you will, and enjoy the results!
1. Lift weights 2-3 times per week
This may go against what some would consider conventional wisdom, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.
The amount of energy your body needs to survive (AKA your metabolism) is heavily dictated by the amount of lean muscle tissue you have on our body. This is because muscle mass is what is considered active tissue – which simply means that it needs to use energy to survive.
As a result, if you increase the amount and quality of muscle mass you have on your body (even slightly), you can cause a pretty substantial increases in your metabolism.
In short, this means you will burn more energy every single day – even irrespective of any additional exercise that you may be doing outside of your gym sessions.
2. Consume a serve of lean protein every single meal
Now, I can certainly appreciate that telling you to eat more of something may sound somewhat counter intuitive, but hear me out for a second.
First up, protein plays an integral role in recovery after exercise. In this manner, it is used to build and repair muscle tissue.
So, if you are performing strength training on the regular (which, as the above point so aptly states, you should be), then you need enough protein available within your body to recover and build new muscle tissue – which invariably increases your metabolic rate, and therefore contributes to fat loss.
Secondly, protein has the highest satiety rating of all the macronutrients that we eat – this means that per calorie, protein will make you feel ‘fuller’ for longer.
As a result, eating protein will seriously increase the amount of satisfaction you feel after a meal, while simultaneously reducing hunger cravings throughout the day. This will lead to less snacking, which will cause an associated reduction in energy intake.
Third and finally, I should note that protein also has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF) of all the macronutrients.
This means that your body actually has to use energy to break down and digest the protein that you consume, which can contribute to the amount of energy you expend on a daily basis.
So, to summarize: Protein = fat loss.
3. Perform 1-2 sessions of high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions per week
HIIT pretty much describes a modality of exercise that requires you to perform short bouts of high intensity cardiovascular activity, which are then separated by short bouts of low intensity cardiovascular activity.
Those of you have been to iNform before would have a pretty good idea of what I am talking about here.
So, a simple HIIT session may consist of 30 seconds running at a fairly rapid pace (say, 90% of your top speed) followed by one minute of very light jogging – which could then be repeated for a total of 21 minutes (or for 14 intervals, however you want to look at it).
Now, the reason I like HIIT over some other modalities of training is twofold.
- Firstly, it is extremely time efficient.
- Secondly, it not only burns energy during the session, but also helps you burn calories after the session has been completed.
You see, HIIT places the body under high amounts of physical stress (good stress, of course).
As a result, it requires a slightly longer period of recovery than lower intensity cardio. This means that the body must work harder to contribute to this recovery process. This results in an increase in energy expenditure for up to 48 hours after the session has been completed.
And, to talk it up a little more (sorry if this sounds like a shameless plug… it just works that damn well), HIIT can be applied to any exercise modality, and tailored towards anyone’s individual level of fitness – meaning it is pretty useful for anyone.
4. Stop Consuming Liquid calories
People think the bubonic plague was bad – but at least those guys got to go quickly.
Sugar sweetened beverages do it slowly. They increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity – and obviously weight gain.
Beverages like soft drink and fruit juice are literally full to the brim with sugar, and as such, provide an abundance of energy per serve. Within this, they register very low on the satiety index – meaning that they will not make you feel either full or satisfied after you drink them.
With all this in mind, it should be pretty obvious as to how they increase your risk of gaining weight, and also how they severely hinder your ability to lose it.
So simply – try to avoid them.
5. Knuckle down on sleep
Now my final tip is pretty boring – but that doesn’t make it any less important.
Many don’t realise it, but sleep is absolutely integral to maintaining a high quality of health and maximising weight loss.
A lack of sleep can wreak absolute havoc with your hormone levels, leading to an increased secretion of the hormone cortisol – which can result in huge declines in your daily energy levels, combined with an inability to lose weight.
As such, in situation where you are getting minimal amount of sleep per night, fat loss can become very challenging.
With his in mind, you should aim for anywhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
This will improve health, enhance your ability to lose fat, and of course increase your energy levels throughout the day – all of which are pretty damn important.
Enhancing Fat Loss: The Take Home Message
With summer just around the corner, why not take a few extra steps to get beach ready – I certainly know I am!
The tips in this article are pretty simple to implement, and seriously make the world of difference.
So give them a go and let us know what you think!