Are you panicking yet that summer is really right around the corner? Are you suddenly wishing you hadn’t eaten that extra piece of pecan pie, all the candy in your stocking, the entire box of Valentine’s chocolates you got, and all your kid’s Easter candy?
Yes, you’re not alone. It’s easy to look back and see why we’re not exactly bathing suit ready. But, that’s not helping the situation. You want to have a solution, right? You need to know what to do: stat.
Well, luckily, all is not lost and you can still salvage your physique. Here are 5 simple steps that will get you looking ripped and ready.
Step 1: Add HIIT
If you want to get rid of excess body fat, one of the fastest ways to burn off extra calories and fat is by adding HIIT (c). Why does this work so well? HIIT cardiovascular exercise requires short bursts of all out effort followed by periods of slower cardio. The maximal effort you put into the bursts forces your body to use more oxygen than it normally does. This means you burn more calories.
And, the news gets even better. The extra oxygen usage means you’ll be burning more calories than usual for hours after your workout (after-burn). This condition is known as “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” (EPOC).
A study in the Journal of Obesity concluded that HIIT exercise has a massive impact on your levels of body fat, especially in the midsection. And, you don’t have to do this type of exercise every day to reap the benefits. Doing three HIIT workouts a week, using 20-25 minute intervals is sufficient for maximizing fat burning.
Step 2: Up Your Protein
Protein requires energy to be digested. That means just the simple act of eating protein dictates that you’re going to burn more calories than usual. It stands to reason, then, that the more protein you add, the more calories you burn.
How much protein do you need in order to reap the fat-burning and weight loss effects? The typical rule of thumb is to get anywhere from .75 grams—1.25 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, depending on your fitness goals, and your weightlifting regimen. Obviously, if you’re lifting heavy weight and really tearing it up at the gym, you’ll want to err on the higher side for protein intake. If you’re not getting in that much in terms of lifting, then around 1 gram per pound is a good start.
Protein also helps you burn more fat. It is one of the building blocks of muscle and you need to get plenty of protein to keep your muscles strong and allow them to repair themselves after heavy workouts. Adding extra muscle to your physique means you’ll require more calories to maintain your weight, and that translates to an increased metabolism. So, even if you didn’t change a thing, you’d naturally be burning off additional calories on a daily basis just by being more muscular. So, eat your protein!
Step 3: Eat Your Carbs at the Right Time
Yes, you still want to both watch your carbs and eat your carbs, but it’s critically important that you eat them at the most beneficial time. When is the best time? It’s going to be optimal for fat loss and muscle-building purposes if you can consume your carbs around your training sessions. Ideally, right after your weight workout is the best time to eat the bulk of your starchy carbs for the day.
The remainder of the day should consist of low carb and fibrous veggie selections as well as plenty of protein and healthy fats. This is the quickest way to maintain your muscle while burning off the maximum amount of body fat.
Step 4: Eat Enough Healthy Fats
Speaking of healthy fats, how do fats fit into the equation? Fats will provide you with the energy you need to get through your tough muscle-sparing fat-burning workouts. They’ll also help your body repair and recover quickly.
You need to eat fat to make sure your body is able to produce enough testosterone, absorb certain vitamins, have proper brain function, keep skin and hair soft and supple and more.
You’ll also want to make sure to include fat so that you feel full and satisfied. Eating healthy fat sources like whole eggs, coconut oil, fish oil, fatty fresh wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats and dairy products, raw nuts, nut butters and seeds will help your body release body fat while staying energized.
Step 5: Eat Organic and Fresh
Get plenty of fresh (and whenever possible) organic foods. When your body is not fighting against the food you eat, it will be much easier to lose weight. When your body doesn’t have to filter out the pesticides, chemicals, preservatives and other undesirables commonly found in our food sources, your body can simply use the nutrients in your food for fuel, and then focus on fat loss.
Getting the toxins out of your diet will mean less cravings, you’ll shed water weight and you’ll retrain yourself to be satisfied with the good wholesome tastes in natural foods.
Put all these steps into play in your lifestyle and you can virtually guarantee you’ll watch the pounds melt off your body. Throw in some weightlifting alongside your HIIT cardio and you’ll be transformed and beach ready by summer!