Trying to lose weight this summer? You’re not the only one. As soon as the sun appears and the winter jackets are thrown to the back of the wardrobe, we can start to feel a little conscious about our physique.
So here are some tips on how to lose weight this summer!
1. Alcohol abstinence
Ok, so total abstinence may be asking too much, but cutting down on your alcohol intake is a quick and easy way to lose weight quickly. Just two pints of lager whilst you’re sat in a beer garden can rack up 360 calories; whilst making your way through a bottle of red after a long day in the office amounts to 644 calories. These calories are empty, offering you very little nutritional benefit, and promoting weight gain. If the lure of a nice cold refreshment at a summer barbeque is just too much, try to make sensible decisions about what you’re drinking. A vodka and soda, with a squeeze of fresh lime, comes in at only 96 calories.
2. Drink up
From what you shouldn’t be drinking, to what you should be. Following the 8×8 rule, of drinking 8 8oz glasses of water a day, has multiple health benefits. In addition to the obvious benefits for your kidneys, bowels and skin, water can aid in weight loss. Water can act as an appetite suppressant when drank before a meal, filling up the stomach and leading you to eat less. Staying well hydrated is especially important when exercising, allowing cells to maintain their balance of fluids, electrolytes and reducing muscle fatigue. Guidelines suggest drinking two glasses of water two hours before exercising, then drinking at regular intervals throughout a workout to maximise the benefits.
3. Patrol your portions
Whilst your initial reaction may be to drastically cut your calorie intake, this is not always necessary or healthy when trying to lose weight. Our brand ambassador, Scott, recommends following a basic diet plan, which can be increased or decreased depending on activity level and goals. If you are overweight despite eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, then cutting down on your portion sizes may be the answer. Studies have shown there are some unlikely factors that can affect how much you eat. For example, eating your meal slowly in a relaxed environment, avoiding bags or boxes of food and turning off the TV during mealtime can all decrease the amount of food you consume.
4. Cut down the carbs
Cutting down on your carb intake is one of the most effective ways to lose weight and lower your insulin. However, carbohydrates are an essential source of energy, important to fuel cells such as those of the brain and muscles. Ultimately, this means that choosing the right carbohydrates in the right quantity is a far healthier alternative than eradicating carbs altogether. Scott, our brand ambassador, eats a diet rich in high-fibre, low-fat starchy foods, such as brown rice and pasta. Simply replacing refined carbs with wholegrain alternatives can improve energy levels, digestive health, and muscle recovery after exercise. With regards to portion control, the Eatwell guide recommends that starchy foods should make up just over a third of what we eat daily.
5. Power proteins
When losing weight, your body will be losing both muscle and fat. Ensuring adequate protein intake will promote fat burning whilst preserving lean muscle. Protein satiates you more quickly by slowing down digestion and making you feel fuller for longer. Protein is particularly important after intense exercise such as strength training, promoting muscle repair and growth. Much like carbohydrates, however, it’s important to choose the right forms of protein to maintain a healthy diet. Eating too much saturated fat, contained in protein rich foods such as whole-milk products or red meat, can lead to high cholesterol and have even been linked to cancer and diabetes. Lean protein alternatives, such as chicken or turkey, are much lower in fat. For the non-meat eaters, it can be more difficult to eat a protein-packed diet. Vegetarian sources of protein include beans and pulses, eggs, and meat replacements such as tofu or Quorn.
6. Vary your veg
We all know we should be eating at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, but did you know that should amount to over a third of what you consume. Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, high in fibre, and are naturally low in fat and calories. Eating a diet high in fruit and veg may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Bulking out your meals with lots of veg, such as kale or spinach, is a great way of filling you up and reducing calories without cutting portion sizes. Try to eat a diverse array of fruit and vegetables throughout the day to maximise the nutritional benefits. A great way to do this is eating by colour, and including a rainbow of fruit and veg in your meals, to get as many essential nutrients as possible.
7. Crank up the cardio
Cardio is a key component when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The health benefits of regular aerobic exercise are numerous, including strengthening respiratory muscles, strengthen the heart muscle, decreasing stress, and improving circulation. The type of cardio you undertake will depend on your fitness goals. If you’re looking to lose weight quickly, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a good place to start. This type of training burns more calories than a regular workout, with one study showing that 6 30-second sprints burn more fat than an hour of incline treadmill walking! However, if your exercise routine is already heavily based on strength training, participating in HIIT could put you at risk of injury and exhaustion. A better alternative could be low-intensity steady-state cardio, which is much easier to recover from. Scott ends every other workout with 15 minutes of LISS cardio, which will improve his cardiovascular health and increase his work capacity.
8. Strength training
If you’re eating healthily and doing regular cardio, but still not seeing the desired results, you are probably missing a critical workout component: Strength training. This type of training will help to build muscle and burn fat, and can help combat the natural decline in muscle and bone density that we all experience as we get older. Lifting weights can improve flexibility and strengthen not only muscles but ligaments and tendons too. This can help to prevent injury, by reducing the risk of tears or sprains when exercising. Building muscle does not mean you are going to turn into a huge body builder, and it can simply help you to appear more lean and toned.
9. Listen to your body
It is important to listen to your body when training, to avoid injury, rest your muscles, and improve your sleep patterns, and mental alertness. Scott recommends varying the muscle groups you focus on in each session to allow your muscles to grow and repair. He splits his training into 5 areas, spending one session on each of the following: Shoulders, back, chest, legs, and arms. Understanding the importance of rest days is also essential, and Scott takes one whenever he feels that he needs one. However, he does warn against cutting a workout short because you’re simply ‘not feeling it’. Attaining visible results is challenging, and will take time, so don’t give up!
10. Treat yourself
Often known as cheat days, incorporating planned splurges into your diet can benefit your overall fitness. Having a pre-planned cheat meal in the diary can improve your motivation for a workout and act as a reward for your hard work. After several days of dieting, a cheat meal can improve your metabolism and allow your body to stock up on glycogen for future workouts. It should also satiate any cravings you’ve experienced during your diet. Scott describes his favourite cheat meals as pizzas or burgers, conceding the dirtier the food the better!
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