I’ve always lived by the saying “fitness is not a season, it’s a lifestyle,” but, if you’re one of the many people who may have fallen off track after their New Year’s fitness resolution, but want to get in “beach ready” shape as quickly as possible, this article is for you.
There are three major components that are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for you to get the results you are looking for. If one isn’t where it should be, you will not get that chest, arms, back, and of course, the abs to show!
No workout in the world can outweigh a poor diet when trying to drop body fat. The diet must be clean, free of simple sugars, processed and fatty foods. A good tip is to shop only around the outside walls of your grocery store (skip the bakery of course). This is where you’ll find the healthiest, cleanest foods. Because you’re dieting, you need to create a caloric deficit, and that deficit needs to come from carbohydrates. Protein and fat (non-saturated) typically remain the same regardless of your goal. When you limit carbohydrates, you have a limited amount of glycogen (energy) in the body. When glycogen is low, your body must use another fuel for energy, which in this is case is fat. The carbohydrates you eat should be only come from veggies, and every third day you can reward yourself with a small portion of oats, red potatoes, or brown rice, yay!
2) Weight Training
The problem with a reduced calorie diet, and the carbohydrate manipulation discussed above, is that you may lose muscle in the process. In order to counteract the effects of a reduced calorie diet, you must have some sort of resistance training as well. This tells your body that although you are dieting, you still are using the muscle you have, and as long as your protein intake is the same, you can keep (or even gain) muscle during the process. You can have an excellent diet but if you don’t lift, you will never have any muscle definition.
The following are 3 of my favorite “beach ready” ab exercises, as well as a barbell circuit that will have you fit in no time.
Now that your glycogen levels are low (because you have a clean diet right?) you need to maximize fat loss. This is where the cardio comes in. In the morning, you’ve been fasting for close to 8 hours. During this time your glycogen has gotten even lower, meaning even more of your energy needs to come from fat. This is the optimal time to do your cardio, in the morning, before you eat breakfast. You can essentially do any mode of cardio here (bike, jump rope, elliptical, stairmaster, or old fashioned running), but mix up the intensity each day. Alternate days of low-intensity/long distance, with HIIT (high-intensity interval training). An example of a HIIT workout would be to sprint for 15 seconds, then slow pace for 45 seconds. Repeat for 20 minutes.
Again, all of these components must be in order to get the results you want. Do 2/3 of them, get 2/3 of the results, simple as that. A perfect diet with no weight training will have you looking skinny and soft, and likewise, if you weight train with a Mcdonald’s diet, your muscle will never show behind that layer of fat. This regimen takes the most dedication by far from a fitness standpoint, but the results are well worth the effort!