Well, it is almost that time of the year again, SUMMER! Everyone wants to be tighter and leaner for the summer time RIGHT! You know that bathing suit that you have to dust off from the winter and try on to see if it still fits. Already I can see the gyms becoming more crowded with members trying to lose that last bit of fat or gain a couple pounds of muscle for the summer time.
Believe it or not, a well-rounded diet is about 70-80% of your progress in achieving that leaner more muscular body. For the next 2-4 weeks I want you to try these suggestions:
1. Eat smaller more frequent meals. Preferably 5-6. If you are only eating 2-3 work on rising it to 4 one week and 5 the next week. (Remember that the portions should be enough to satisfy you until your next meal 2-3 hours later.)
2. Make sure all of your meals are built around a good quality, lean protein source (lean meats, poultry, fish, protein powders, and tofu), and combine them with some type of vegetable. For at least your first three meals, you want to divide your plate in three sections:
1. Protein Source
2. Complex Carbohydrate
3. Fibrous Green Vegetables.
Each time you ingest a solid protein, you will raise your metabolic rate 30% to burn more calories and fat! (Not a bad deal).
3. Eat your biggest meal in the morning and slowly taper off the calories as the day moves on.
4. Avoid simple sugars; substitute foods high in sugars for low glycemic, complex carbohydrates, and fibrous green vegetables. You can use artificial sweeteners.
5. For your last meal of the day try eating just protein and all the green vegetables you want. Examples are broccoli, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, etc. These vegetables will give you the recommended fiber you need daily, and also help speed up your metabolism.
6. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! Try to get a ? gallon to a gallon a day within the next 2 weeks.
7. Don’t eat within 2-3 hours before going to bed.
Now, with the proper nutrition to build a foundation, your efforts in the gym will benefit greatly. Here are some key tips to get the most out of your training:
1. Leave your ego at the door. Only train as heavy as you can with PROPER FORM! Control the movement throughout the full range of motion and really go for the peak contraction. Keep the reps no lower than 6 and no higher than 15.
2. Do not start lifting lighter weights to tone up; use the same program that you have been using up until now. If you are going to use reps in the 20-25 range, make sure the weight is heavy enough where the last two reps are very difficult.
3. Try to complete your workouts within 45-60 min. If you are not, you need to stop talking, cut your rest intervals, and train more intensely.
4. Try training each body part once a week. Split the body into 4-5 days with one or two body parts each day. This will allow you to recuperate better and also get that workout done in time. (See Above)
5. Train abdominals every other day
6. Make sure you warm up and cool down thoroughly. Usually 10-15 minutes on the bike or treadmill will help warm you up and get the blood flowing. Make sure you stretch in-between sets, and after your workout.
7. Don’t forget to train the calves.
8. Most of all make exercising FUN!
With proper nutrition and training, now it is time to strengthen the heart, the most important muscle, and really burn off the fat. Try to build up your cardiovascular endurance slowly by following these suggestions:
1. Try to do some cardiovascular training at least 3-4 times a week for 20-30 min. for the next 2 weeks. Then slowly build your time up to 45 min.
2. The best time to do your cardio is before breakfast on an empty stomach, or right after you complete your resistance training.
3. Harder is not better when it comes to cardiovascular training. To burn fat you want a moderate intensity for a longer duration.
4. Work within you fat burning heart rate zone. Take 220 minus your age. Take the number you get and keep your heart rate within 60-75% of that to burn fat. EX. 21 year old person: 220-21= 199. 60%-75% of 199 is around 119 – 149 beats per minute. That is the fat burning zone I want to stay in for the 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular training.
Remember supplements are just that, supplements! They are to be used to compliment an already well balanced diet. Here are some that might help you achieving the body you want.
Muscle Building: Creatine, glutamine, hmb, andro blend (for men only), high quality protein meal replacer.
Fat Burning: Glutamine, hmb, fat burners, Efa’s, Metabolism Boosters (Ripped fuel, Diet Fuel, Hydroxycut, Xenadrine NRG, Lipo 6, etc…)
NOTE: Read the warning labels and consult with a physician if you are pregnant or taking any medications!
Well there you go! These guidelines will help you get started on achieving your ideal body. Over the next 2 parts of the series, we will make some minor but effective modifications to progress to the next level of achieving your goals. Until then, train hard, train smart, shoot for you dreams and most of all god bless!
Huge Thank You to Chris Zaino for a truly inspiring article