By Nik Toth
If you want to look good for the beach, staying active and eating clean are so important.
Have you been telling yourself for months that you’re going to get in shape before summer, but life just got in the way? If you haven’t exactly put your plan into action and you’ve left your fitness goals to the last minute, rather than making up excuses to watch movies or go out for Friday night drinks, this is a gentle reminder that it’s still not too late to get good results.
Don’t let excuses such as lack of time or other distractions discourage you from starting a new health kick, and get your butt in shape! It’s never too late to start, and if you do the right thing for your body, it will respond quickly. When you implement the right nutrition strategies, you won’t have to live off broccoli and chicken breast to slim down, nor will you have to exercise twice daily to fit into your skinny jeans.
You can fast-track your fitness progress and start slimming down in as little as 2-4 weeks, without eating rabbit food, going on a liquid fast or exercising like a maniac. Here’s how:
Instead of doing cardio, increase resistance training because it will increase your metabolic rate. Running on the treadmill or pedalling on the X-trainer may help you burn calories on the spot, but not much happens afterwards. On the other hand, lifting weights or using your own body weight can help you burn calories for up to 38 hours after you’ve completed your training session. Weight training helps you increase your lean body mass, which means that the more lean muscle you have, the more calories (and fat) your body burns at rest.
Aim for 3-4 resistance sessions per week using weights or your body weight. Choose 6 exercises such as lunges, squats, push ups or burpees and perform them in a circuit with no more than a 30-second rest in-between.
I’m referring to processed carbs, refined foods, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and packaged foods in general. They don’t contain many bioavailable nutrients and your body doesn’t recognise them as food, so they’ll only contribute to excess weight.
Sugar, especially the refined type, is not a nutrient that your body requires. Even the slightest amount can contribute to increased insulin levels in sensitive individuals and stop you from burning fat altogether.
When sugar is not used for immediate energy, it gets stored as fat. It can contribute to high cholesterol levels, chronic inflammation, as well as obesity and diabetes. Not to mention, it is very addictive and makes you age faster.
Fructose, a type of sugar, has the strongest impact on your weight because it goes straight to the liver, which immediately stores it as body fat. Artificial sweeteners aren’t much better either, as they are chemical compounds that can even stimulate your appetite and promote fat storage.
Instead, use natural sweet spices such as cinnamon, licorice powder or stevia.
In order for our bodies to function at their best, we need to consume a healthy, well-balanced diet, including all nutrients, proteins carbs and fats. If you cut out carbs, you can start to experience fatigue, tiredness, lack of motivation as well as disrupted hormone and thyroid function. Healthy thyroid function is important, as it controls your metabolism.
When your body is dehydrated, it becomes acidic and your body is a lot less likely to burn fat in an acidic environment. It’s cliche but our bodies are made of over 70% of water. In fact, even your bones are watery, containing over 30%! You should drink approximately 30mL of water per kilo of your bodyweight, with an additional 500mL-1L for each hour of exercise you perform.
Alcohol slows down your metabolism for 72 hours after drinking. It places a lot of pressure on your liver, which means your body’s priority is to eliminate it, therefore every other body process gets put on hold, including fat burning and regulating your metabolism. Is it worth it?
Protein raises your metabolic rate by 30% because your body has to work harder and longer to metabolise it. Make sure that every meal contains a form of protein and space out your meals about 3 hours to help your body burn more fat.
The calories-in versus calories-out theory is old news. There are many other important aspects of health and nutrition that affect your ability to change your body composition, for example the ratio of macronutrients you consume. You should focus on eating a balanced ratio of protein, carbs and fats (around 30-25-45 split) rather than the amount of calories you eat. If you get too little or too much of just one of these, it can seriously set you back from getting results, or it will take longer to get there. When I created the Lean Body Formula, I did it with the perfect macronutrient ratios in mind so that tapping into your fat reserves becomes effortless.
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