Summer shred secrets
I see it every hot spring day. My phone and my fitness studio get even busier after that first glimpse of warmth. Yes folks, summer is practically upon us and boardshorts and bikinis will be replacing blazers and jeans. Of course, there’s the other remnant of winter that will hang around – those pesky kilograms stacked on from a few too many pastas and red wines, which may have left you with more rolls than a bakery!
Here’s exactly what you need to do to lose the layers of excess, fast. Let me tell you, sit ups will only tighten the muscles under that layer of fat.
1. Eliminate all processed foods
This includes gluten, pasta, wheat, sugar and alcohol. See a common bond with most of these nasty ingredients? No colour! If it’s not living or a growing organism, then it can’t offer you vital nutrients to help detoxify your summer body. Colour is life, and life is essential for immunity and happiness. Get it into you!
2. Watch Your Portion Sizes
Keep it simple. Each meal should be no bigger than the size of two closed fists. A fist size of protein and veggies, and a thumb full of good fats, this makes it very easy to follow. Or make sure that each meal can be eaten off an entrée sized plate. No supersizing here.
3. Incorporate high intensity workouts
If you’ve been exercising moderately, the trick to lose fat is to up the intensity. There’s no point showing up for your workout and meandering through, you have to turn it up, get your heart pumping and get uncomfortable for a short period. You can do a high intensity interval training (HIIT) based session anywhere, and anytime using nothing apart from your bodyweight, or using some weights in the gym.
In the park, aim for speed runs. At the beach, soft sand sprints. In the lounge room fit in some speed squats before the kids wake up. The list is as long as your imagination.
The benefits of an HIIT sessions is that compared to a long walk, your body burns kilojoules for a few hours post-workout due to EPOC – Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This is the period after an exercise when your metabolism is still raised, allowing your body to continue to burn calories whilst in a resting state, even more so than usual.
So the key here, is to up the intensity on your normal routine. If you normally walk, start jogging. You’ll halve the time you need to exercise and get results twice as fast. Running becomes a sprint or you can incorporate sprint intervals. Whatever your starting point is, you need to move your body as fast as you can for a prescribed amount of time.
My advice is to follow the rough guide of a 2:1 work rest ratio. Whether it’s 20 second work and 10 second rest, or a 40:20 second work rest ratio, it’s up to you to decide and mix it up. You want the workout to last for at least 10 mins, depending on your fitness levels. Very unfit people will start with seven minutes to build up the tolerance, whilst the fit will aim for around 16 minutes. Yes, 16 minutes folks! You really need to be working to your absolute maximum to get the best results.
To make it simple, here’s an HIIT workout to do at home.
- Three exercises.
- Each one is done for 30 seconds work and 15 seconds rest.
- Do each exercise one after the other and for four rounds.
- Six high knee runs with a double hop after every six knees.
- Two push ups + six mountain climbers.
- Squats done as fast as possible.
4. Drink water
As much as we love our coffee, the truth is, water is the most critical fluid you can, and should have. Period. With your body comprising of around 70% water, it is critical for transporting nutrients, minerals and blood throughout your body and brain. A dehydrated body cannot operate at it’s optimum. Thus, your performance in the gym or on the road will suffer. For every 1kg of bodyweight, you need to have 30ml of H2O just to maintain daily cognitive function. Add at least 1L of H20 per 45 min of elevated exercise.
5. Ditch the take-away
Instead, eat home-cooked, fine food! Take the time to cook a few, nutritionally sound meals in advance for yourself. Take away foods contain so many additives and preservatives to help maintain their shelf life, that your body spends far too long trying to process it all rather than focusing on its basic needs.
Combine your proteins, fibrous veggies (they are your carbohydrates) and some good fats with each meal and your body will be thanking you every day by dropping a few hundred grams of fat. Over the course of three months, this adds up to several dress sizes!
6. Set goals
It will help to establish some fitness goals. Make a note of a goal you’d like to achieve within three months. It may be to do a 10km fun run, or to swim 20 laps in a pool. It doesn’t matter, just have a plan to keep yourself moving and accountable for an end date in say, 12 weeks. and ideally, lift some heavy stuff a few days per week so that your skin gets all sweaty and firm. Plus your brain gets a fair boost of my favorite feel-good hormones called endorphins. We all love that stuff!
No need to panic, just follow these simple, yet achievable general rules, and you will be feeling awesome come Christmas holidays.
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