Just when you thought is was safe to start reading the supplement articles again, I'm back! And this one will wake you up. This time I am focusing specifically on getting your pudgy self ready for poolside fun.
How did I get this fat? Wow, did you look in the mirror today? I did. What happened to that awesome 6 pack that was there last fall? Hmmmm, hidden in the cooler is it, looks more like a beach ball? What do we do about this?
I will be taking you through some of the steps you can take to get yourself in the best possible shape you can be in. My main areas of focus will be:
- Basic Fat Loss Eating (please consult a doctor)
The main groups of people I will focus on in this article are people who are committed to trying to regain that "bathing suit body". Beer drinkers and h-ll raisers read no further, you won't get it done that way.
Put down the beer and chips and pick up the diet soda (or water) and chicken. If you are this close to summer and are just now freaking out, you've got a lot of work to do baby, and the bathing suit leaves room for no excuses.
We have a problem, time is short. We need to drop some ugly body fat relatively quick. But we cannot do this at the risk to lean muscle tissue. (What do you think burns calories? Muscle! Lose it and you lower your metabolism permanently). This takes a very delicate balance of enough protein, complex carbs, and dietary fats to allow for the body to burn excess body fat but retain that necessary muscle. We do not want to just become a skinnier flabby person. Do we? NO!
Guess what we are not going to do? Get extremely specific and lay out a complicated diet that you could not possibly follow because of ... (fill in your favorite 6 excuses here).
We are going to keep it basic and to the point. This will require you to use your brains. You know, those things that keep your skull from caving in and help you keep your job. I am drawing a lot on my experiences with myself, my wife, people I train with, have trained, and people I have helped look good for special events.
You will need to eat multiple meals. This has shown to help keep the metabolism ramped-up, as well as deliver the proper nutrients to the body to help it repair itself from the hard work we will be doing. Most people can get by with about 5-6 meals. This would generally be:
- Pre-bedtime protein
My best results have come with changing the profiles of the meals to compensate for activity levels and energy needs. So I have found that front loading grains and starches to the first half of the day and switching to green vegetables for the second half of the day works best.
Every meal needs a lean protein source and some kind of complex carbohydrate.
- 4 egg whites with 1 whole egg and some oats
- Oatmeal (I usually have a big shake with whey and a blended protein and quick oats mixed in, but some people need solid food.)
I use a lot of different proteins throughout the year, but for this period I prefer low carb (~3 grams per serving). My personal Whey choices consist of: Bioplex 100% Whey Protein, Muscletech Nitro-Tech Hardcore, Next Designer Protein, Optimum 100% Whey Protein, Six Star Professional Strength Whey Protein, and (if using alone) Syntrax Nectar makes a most tasty fruit flavored drink.
The snacks should be small versions of meals, mainly trying to get the protein in to retain the muscle, not focusing as much on the mix of food. Lunch would be the last meal with starches.
The meals need to be lean and green after that. The pre-bedtime shake should consist of a casein protein or slow digesting blended protein. I personally like: ISS Micellar Matrix, Labrada Pro V60, Optimum 100% Casein, and Xtreme Formulations Ultra Peptide.
You may find this type of eating very difficult, especially if you have not been consistent with your diet recently (looks in mirror). I find it helpful to allow myself one cheat meal each week. Now this does not mean an entire meat lovers pizza. I mean a regular meal of something you love, that will not crush a weeks worth of diet and exercise in one fell swoop.
For me, it's tacos al carbon at Sabrosos. They will make it for me with soft corn tortillas and no oil during the prep. It is fresh and tasty and just enough to keep me from going insane. I can do this unless I am in the last 6-8 weeks of a contest prep, but this is not our goal, we are trying to go to the pool, not the stage.
I also use Optimum 100% Casein, mixed thick and put in the freezer, as my last meal of the day. You eat this like a spoon and, if all the flavors are as good as the vanilla, it tastes a lot like frozen yogurt.
My rule of thumb, during the fat trimming period, is a minimum of one ounce per pound of bodyweight. This really should come mostly from water. Now this is a lot more water than the average American drinks. Even a 120 lb female would be taking in almost a full gallon (as opposed to the old 8 glasses of 8 oz theory).
This helps with a lot of issues: skin, hair, nails, kidney function, liver function, flushing toxins etc... and it makes you feel full so you are less likely to want to feed.
Many times people get a lot of their fluids from food, so when they are dehydrated, they feel 'hungry' when what they really are is thirsty. I also find that I have less allergic reactions to my surroundings when drinking as much water as I need.
My wife and I both notice less dry skin, hair, and nails, and we just "feel better". This intake is especially important when you consider that we will be increasing our exercise times just when it is starting to get warmer in much of the country.
Some of my personal favorite excuses for not drinking enough are: "I can't drink that much water", "My water tastes like #@*%", "I'll have to pee all the time". Yes, I know drinking that much of anything is a daunting thought, especially if, like me, you are a 200+ lb guy.
Some Observations and Hints
- Buy a couple of Wal-Mart 1 gallon containers of water (or more if your tap water tastes like an armpit). This makes it much easier to judge the amount of water you are truly drinking.
- Crystal Light to go packs (the 5-10 calories is negligible when you figure you can stretch it to almost a liter for each pack).
- Use smaller containers and always have them with you. Buy a good 1 liter or larger drinking bottle and carry it everywhere. Try to split your water up and drink heavily during the early part of the day, tapering off in the evening (unless you like getting up 2-3 times a night) Keep track of your intake closely.
- You will have to pee a lot when you first start this, but it tapers off as your body adjusts.
- You will gain some 'weight' the first few days. You will find that you were dehydrated and your body will hoard some water until it realizes you are providing it steadily, then it will release and flush regularly.
"Oh MAN! You mean there's not a 'magic pill' I can take to avoid this?" NO! You are NOT mistaken. There is no 'magic pill'. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
First, you need to keep your strength training in the mix. Since you will be in a negative calorie position, however, you need to keep the weight heavy but the volume low. This will stimulate the muscle enough for your body to realize it still needs it, but not enough volume to break it down where it is unable to repair itself.
Second, you must add cardiovascular training into your routine. What kind? This depends on you, but do what is 'comfortable', meaning what does not "hurt or injure" you. Ex: if you have done no cardio for months, running 6 miles twice a day will probably hurt and injure you, so ease into it.
My fallen arches, ankles, and old back will not take running, so it's fast paced walking on a high incline for me. Remember, on a treadmill the belt is 'pushing at you' and simulating a downhill walk when set to 'flat' and putting undue strain on your knees. So adjust the incline up to at least 2-3% for beginners.
If you do cardio with your workout, do it after lifting. This allows you to have a better lifting session and also helps to burn some of the muscle glycogen out before hitting the cardio. I recommend a minimum of 20 minutes. And do not be afraid to mix it up, switching between treadmill, bike, and elliptical to keep it from being totally boring.
It would be best if you could do 'some' cardio twice a day 3-5 days a week. A morning session with a lighter 'after dinner' evening session would be ideal. The evening session does not need to be heavy, but a 20-30 minute walk around the neighborhood will do wonders for increasing your fat loss.
Thermogenics might make a 10-15% difference if you are doing the other things right. They will not make up for lack of consistency with the diet and exercise. But when looking in the mirror, before heading to the pool, 10-15% can seem like a huge difference in your eyes.
Which ones? There are soooo many. Yes Virginia, there are so many. Here are the ones I can personally recommend: CEL N-Cinerate, Goliath Labs Thermoloid, and Muscletech Hydroxycut Hardcore.
Two others work great but they both include cayenne (capsaicin) which can cause some minor side effects so extra care needs to be taken to drink enough water (remember, we are doing this anyway): Axis Labs Adipo-X and Designer Supplements Basic Cuts. There are many other good ones in my previous articles, but whenever someone asks me, these are the first ones that come to mind.
View Fat Loss Products Sorted By Top Seller Here.
As always, supplements do not take the place of proper nutrition and getting enough rest. But with everything else in place, these guidelines will make a difference.
Every person will react in a slightly different way to each dietary adjustment. This is why I avoided any detailed dietary specifics. But just because one exact diet worked for me, does not mean it would work for you. The only things I am pretty sure will help you are the basic guidelines I have listed above.
Now go for it, show up at the pool in the best shape you can, don't give yourself any excuses, and you can be proud. Let me know if this helped. Lets check in at Memorial Day and July 4th and see how we've all done, I'll be joining you on this one.