With the summer fast approaching so begins the scramble to get in shape.
Whilst I am best known for my rapid transformations I am a firm believer in health and fitness for the long haul.
The idea of short crash diets simply does not appeal to me as a trainer, my focus is long term sustainable results so you can be happy, confident and healthy all year round.
The best time to start getting in shape for this summer is last year, or the year before. The second-best time is right now!
5 top tips to get in shape this summer
When time is tight getting leaner will have a more profound impact than building muscle. Building muscle is slow and often is accompanied by extra body fat. To boost the appearance of muscle and definition in a short space of time dropping fat is key.
Like I said before I dont encourage crash diets, but you can achieve pretty amazing fat loss results in a relatively short space of time.
Focus on achieving a consistent calorie deficit with a 15-30% reduction on maintenance calories for 6-8 weeks and you will surprise yourself by just how much you can achieve.
Think 7 days a week
You can easily undo 5 days hard work with a couple of bad days, I see it far too often to not mention its importance here. If your 20% calorie deficit leaves you with a budget of 2000 per day and you stick to it Monday Thursday you have achieved a 1600 calorie deficit. If you then overeat by 533 calories on Friday, Saturday and Sunday then your solid to start to the week will be written off!
533 calories may sound quite a lot, but it is surprisingly easy to do
70g of Macadamia nuts = 524 cals
4tbsp of peanut butter = 485 cals
2 slices of dominos pizza = 760 cals
Also, an important thing here to remember is dont let a blip in your healthy eating turn into a big thing. Dont let it sabotage the rest of your week, dont stress, just get back on track and continue making progress.
Honesty and accuracy
This may seem like unusual advice in a series of tips but its crucial to progress.
Are you training as hard as you need to?
Is your training burning as many calories as you think?
Are you eating what you need to?
Are you eating more than you need?
Are you estimating your calories correctly?
A lot of questions I know! But each and every one of these is important and interconnected when it comes to results.
Its easy to get the calories in vs calories out wrong, and I mean very easy. Small portion variation can have a profound difference in total calories and a lot of healthy foods are incredibly calorie dense. Its also difficult to estimate exactly how many calories are in your food and calculating your calorie needs in the first place isnt that easy.
On the calories burned through exercise side of things there are a number of problems I see people encountering when trying to achieve their summer body goals.
Training intensity effects calorie expenditure and often people overestimate the effort they are putting in to training.
Fitness trackers are the next big problem, they give overexaggerated calorie expenditure and often extremely overexaggerated calorie expenditure. This leads us think I burned 900 calories so I can refuel with 900 calories the problem here is we actually only burned 500 then we havent just refuelled a session but potentially removed our entire calorie deficit for the day.
The trick with all of this is to get an accurate measure of how many calories you need and to be accurate and honest when sticking to it.
Short term goals as well as long term goals
Working with long or even medium-term goals it can be hard to stay focussed. If your beach holiday is 6, 8 or 10 weeks away it can be difficult to stay motivated and easy to put things off til Monday. Then once the deadline creeps up and the drive to get it done kicks in there simply isnt enough time to get the job done.
I find one of the best solutions to this being setting daily goals, targets and challenges. Get a few consecutive days under your belt and things start to happen. Pretty amazing things.
Some really good daily goals
To prep my food for the week (or a few days)
Get a good training session in
Stick to my goal focussed eating plan
Stay on track for the day
Drink plenty of water
Be aware of and avoid any hidden calories (if they push you over your deficit)
Work with a coach, training partner or group
Accountability, support and the motivation of working with others is an incredibly powerful tool. Doing this whole health fitness thing alone is a lot to ask of yourself.
Find someone with similar goals and time frame to you or a coach that will support you, and work together to achieve your goals.
Any questions can be answered, any problems solved and on the days you are struggling to get fired up to train there will be someone there to encourage you.