It’s a harrowing time of year.
Special K adverts are back on the screen, which means summer must be around the corner, or if you’re in Manchester, UK, slightly less rain.
This is the specific time of year where you realise that;
1. your belly flab has not receded much since Christmas despite that zumba class you attended religiously for three weeks straight, and
2. you are fat, or at least more fat than you want to be, and with summer (or less rain) approaching, times will soon become desperate.
3. It's time to hit the panic button and buy some Special K.
But before you head to your local supermarket, read on. There is another, better, healthier, more effective, more satisfying way to shed fat and gain muscle tone...
You can never out train a bad diet, and believe me I’ve had more than a few clients who have wished they could work out harder and eat what they want. They always get worked harder and get a strict diet.
The truth is that if you want to burn fat and gain body tone fast, you’re going to have to commit to your nutrition first.
Eat whole, fresh, unprocessed foods with plenty of meat, fish, good fats and vegetables that grow above ground.
A diet that is gluten and dairy free is a good start (followed by re-introduction days to see if you have an intolerance), as well as avoiding foods that you know can be difficult for you to process. For those that like colourful pictures, you generally want things to look like this:
Try a meat and nut breakfast – 5 types of meat (chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, fish), and 5 types of nut (brazil, walnut, almond, pecan, hazelnut), pairing one meat and one nut each day like this:
Monday: Beef & walnut
Tuesday: Chicken & almond
Wednesday: Lamb & hazelnut
Thursday: Turkey & pecan
Friday: Salmon & brazil
Yes, it can sound a bit weird to some people. And yes, I know you don’t want to swap your Coco Pops for meat and nuts, but this is the fastest way to get results and despite sounding slightly hardcore to the uninitiated, our clients who try it (which is most of them), find it’s a great way to start the day.
#2 Calories The thought of calorie counting makes me want to be sick, so let’s get that out of the way. Is total caloric intake a part of achieving fat loss and other body composition results? Yes. Does that mean you need to count every calorie you eat? No. Just listen to your body and be honest with yourself, you know when you’ve over eaten, or under eaten. Eat enough. Listen to your body.
In addition to calories and creating a net calorie deficit, your health status can be a critical factor in achieving the body you want. Your hormonal, immune, inflammatory and metabolic responses to your lifestyle choices and the foods you eat are all important.
#3 Training programme
You’re going to need some resistance exercise combined with conditioning training for the best fat loss and body tone results.
Build volume (between 3-6 sets with 8-12 reps per set), keep rest periods short between sets – 1 minute is a good place to start – and lift medium to heavy weight (for you). Compound exercises – bench press, squat, lunge, rows, deadlifts and chin ups are perfect.
Combine this style of workout with modified strongman training – tyre flips and hammer slams, farmers walk, sled pushing and pulling, battling ropes are all great conditioning methods.
This approach will turn your body into a fat burning, muscle tone machine. You’ll burn plenty of fat, but the hormonal and muscular response to this kind of training is just as important when it comes to your results.
Sleep is quite possibly the most important factor when it comes to fat loss and muscle tone. Why? Because lack of sleep weakens your resolve to eat as you know you should, and work out hard.
Sleep is also when your hormones do their thing (Human Growth Hormone is released during sleep), repair takes places, and detoxification processes are left alone to grapple with all the awful stuff we put into or onto our bodies. All crucial if you’re looking for fast results.
Studies also show that those who sleep enough lose weight as fat, while those who skimp on sleep lose muscle.
Cut out or minimise artificial light before bed, make your bedroom as dark as possible, and get 8-9 hours unbroken, high quality sleep per night.
Can supplements help get you faster results? Yes, they can. But too many people have no clue about what to take and when to take it. Here are my favourites (with more detail on each to follow in a subsequent post):
1. Fish oil
4. Vitamin D
And one more:
To your lean, healthy, optimised future,
Matt & Dee