No matter how great the workout program, a lean and fit summer body will never be achieved without the proper nutritional program and diet adherence. Many people resort to radical protocols to achieve a desired summer physique such as increased meal frequencies, nutrient timing, and cutting certain macro-nutrients; when in reality they should really be focused on the basics. We have compiled three basic dieting tips to achieve a lean, muscular and toned physique for the upcoming bathing suit season.
1. Know Your Numbers
You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so tracking your overall calories and macronutrients is a must for anyone who is looking to shed some fat. Set your numbers according to your body type and goals then stick to them. Use a food log or one of the various applications for tracking macros and calories to allow yourself to monitor your calories much more accurately so that you can assess your progress over time and make adjustments accordingly. In addition to tracking calories and macros, you should also be monitoring your estimated body fat percentage using calipers or a bioelectrical impedance if you have access to one. Monitor your weight one every one to two weeks but don’t overanalyze the weight on the scale because it will adjust frequently due to variability in water retention, food in the bowels, and carbohydrate intake.
2. Cut the Carbs
If you are in a rush and need to get in shape as fast as possible, lowering your carbohydrate intake can be one of the quickest ways to drop body fat and will also provide an immediate drop in weight.
It’s very common for those new to low-carbing to lose a significant amount of weight very quickly at the beginning of their carb restriction. We could be talking four pounds, or even ten or twelve, depending on how overweight the person is to begin with. This is not fat loss and is specifically due to reduced glycogen. Glycogen is the energy stored in our muscle and liver and each gram of glycogen is bound to 3-4 grams of water. So, as your body burns its way through the reduced dietary carbs and into the glycogen stores, the water attached to the glycogen flushes away as well which results in the phenomenon commonly known as “water weight.” This reduction in water weight can mean you physically appear thinner, but for the more muscular person it will also make your muscles look flat and visibly smaller than usual.
Over the long term, an extremely low carb diet will be very metabolically pricey. This means the process of ketosis and gluconeogenesis to produce energy for the brain and body will have a higher thermic effect and will expend more energy. Essentially, the stubborn fat you have will start to be utilized for energy and at a higher rate than usual due to the metabolic tax placed on the body to synthesize energy.
3. Build a Support System
This may not be a diet secret exactly but it can honestly determine your success, progress, and adherence to a weight loss diet. You’re are a direct product of the people who are closest to you. If your family and friends around you are constantly drinking alcohol and eating terrible food, the likelihood of sabotaging your diet to be social will be much higher. Find a close group of friends who have similar goals. Prep your meals together, cook together and give each other motivation and support when times are tough.