If you’re done fuming about how you’ve lost your beach body, it’s time to take hardcore steps to get it back—fast!
How quickly will you get your beach body back? Well, consider that although it took you perhaps six months to get out of shape, it will take you far less time to get back into shape, especially if you did some exercise during this period. This good news holds true not just for fat loss, but also for muscle gains.
Building on the reasons why you let yourself go in our previous “Fickin’” article, here we will discuss practical tips on how to change the shape of your shape. Each tip alone with have a positive impact, and it follows that the more of them you use, the faster you will progress.
Some of these tips are easy – such as swallowing a few D3 soft gels – and some of them kind of suck, like hitting the squat rack. Some will have a large effect, like hitting the squat rack; and some will have a small effect, like swallowing a few D3 soft gels. But the bottom line is that they all work. With that background, is an alphabetic guide to getting back the body you had:
Cheat Right. If you have 21 meals a week and 18 of them follow the motto, “If it doesn’t swim, fly, walk, and it’s not green – don’t eat it,” you’re doing OK. And just as it’s good advice to “set a limit” when it comes to drinking alcohol, plan your cheat meals so you keep your sugar intake and calories within reason. Seriously, just because you can eat a large pepperoni pizza with mushrooms doesn’t mean you have to eat a large pepperoni pizza with mushrooms.
Get off Your Butt! Most jobs in the US involve little physical activity – and it’s not likely you can excuse yourself for 10 minutes every hour to take a “constitutional.” But maybe you could buy a stand-up desk converter (or, better yet, have your boss buy one for you!). Although some manufactures of these units claim you will burn an extra 50 calories an hour using a stand-up desk, research shows that’s quite an exaggeration. However, every bit helps—and there are many other health benefits to using a stand-up desk, including improving your posture and lowering your risk of cancer.
Give a Crap. If you want to lose fat, you need to take care of your gut. High fiber foods can help curb your appetite and control your blood sugar. You can take a fiber supplement, but it’s best to get most of your fiber from foods, especially vegetables. Probiotics are also a must. Probiotic bacteria can help counter the effects of high cortisol (a stress hormone that can result in weight gain) and can target belly fat.
Introduce Yourself to Food. Eating while you are distracted will cause you to eat more – just look at the size of those tubs of popcorn at movie theaters! Power down your Internet, put down that cellphone, switch off the TV, and have a nice lunch.
Just say “No” to Bars! Although there are some good meal replacement bars and cookies on the market, chances are the ones you will find in your local supermarket have tons of sugar. One way the manufacturers of these meal replacement foods fool you is by reducing the serving size. The popular “Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie” foods have a serving size of ½ cookie – who eats ½ of a cookie? So instead of getting 14 grams of sugar from their yummy Coconut Chocolate Chip treat, you are getting 28.
As a reference, consider that the World Health Organization suggests an upper limit of 25 grams of added sugar a day. Here is the sugar content of a few popular candy/energy bars: 3 Musketeers, 40 grams; Milky Way, 35 grams; and Nestle Crunch, 23 grams. As for those “healthy” energy bars, here is the bad news: PowerBar Peanut Butter Performance Energy, 46 grams; Clif Chocolate Almond Fudge, 43 grams; MET-Rx Big 100 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, 25 grams; LARABAR Banana Bread, 20 grams, and KIND Almonds & Apricots, 16 grams. Again, there are some good low-sugar bars and cookies, but to find them you’re going to have to start reading labels.
Lift Things Up and Put Them Down. Running on a treadmill will help you lose weight, but it will do so at a snail’s pace. Buy a “Squat Every Day” T-shirt and get to the gym. Weight training is the fastest way to lose fat and pack on muscle, especially when using proven programs such as “German Body Comp” and “German Volume Training.”
Phone a Friend. You can’t gain if you don’t train, and one of the best ways to make certain you make it to the gym is to work with a training partner. Training partners can help motivate each other, spot each other, and make each other feel guilty for missing workouts.
Snooze to Lose. If you want to lose weight, you need about 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Sometimes life gets in the way and you may not be able to get at least 7 hours at once; in those cases, try to get some Z’s in with a power nap.
Stop Drinking the White Death. It’s estimated that we drink 50 percent of our sugar intake, and much of this is processed sugar. This sugar rush can be in the form of energy drinks. A 16-ounce can of Coke is bad with 52 grams of sugar, but a watermelon Rockstar energy drink will saturate your bloodstream with 62 grams of sugar. And be careful of vegetable juices as they often contain added sugar – invest in a juicer and do it yourself (and save a few bucks in the long run).
Swallow Some Sups. A multi-vitamin is always a good idea, but often the dosages of most of them will do little to help with fat loss. Supplements such as omega-3s will stimulate calorie burning, and optimal levels of D3 and magnesium can improve insulin sensitivity. There are many more great supplements for body transformation, but you can’t go wrong starting with these three.
Don’t Trust Your Instincts. If you wander around supermarkets aimlessly, chances are you’re going to end up buying a lot of stuff that will make you fat – and the problem is often worst if you bring kids along who will try to influence your decisions. Write down what you want to buy at the supermarket and stick to it. As they say on the A-Team, “You’ll love it when your plan comes together!”
There’s a lot to take in here, and some of these ideas are considerably more effective that others. But if you want to get on the fast track to getting back your beach body, these are the proven ways to do it.