It’s easy to hide under sweaters, coats and jeans in the cold winter weather, but summer is right around the corner! Fortunately, getting on track to sculpt a fit and toned beach body doesn’t have to take countless months of work. “If you put your mind to it, you can begin to transform your body in as little as six weeks,” said Kelli Michelle, Tempe, an Arizona-based fitness and sports nutrition specialist, macro tracking coach and certified personal trainer.
The goal of having a fit and sculpted physique can cause some individuals to go to extreme measures. However, Kelli Michelle emphasizes that approaching transformation in a slow and healthy way is the best strategy for long-term success. Initial changes in transformation will be evident within six weeks and individuals will be motivated by the changes they see in their body and inspired to continue as a result.
Following the strategic tips below will help you begin to lean out and lighten up in time for the summer sunshine.
1. Eat Whole Unprocessed Foods
Calories are not all the same. While it’s important to consider calories in versus calories burned, the quality of the calories is equally important. Certain foods facilitate weight loss and build muscle better than others. International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro bodybuilder and Max Muscle sponsored athlete Pete Ciccone encourages people to eat adequate amounts of protein as it supports fat burning and protects lean muscle tissue. He also warns against consuming too much sugar, which stimulates fat storage and can increase cravings.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011 showed a link between weight gain and an intake of processed foods such as soda, potato chips, and processed meats while weight loss was linked with an intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and yogurt.
Eating whole foods as opposed to processed items helps supply adequate nutrition to the body and keeps one fuller and more satisfied, according to Karey Northington, registered nurse, IFBB Bikini Pro Athlete and Owner of Northington Fitness and Nutrition in Gilbert, Arizona. Northington suggests individuals shop the perimeter of the grocery store for fresh vegetables and fruits, purchase wild-caught fish and lean meats, get healthy sources of fat including avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut, olive, and sesame oil; and clean sources of complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, oats, and brown rice.
A key strategy for building a healthy beach body is staying hydrated. The body is made of approximately 70 percent water, and if one’s goal is weight loss, adequate water consumption can help facilitate progress. According to Dr. Susan Kleiner, Mercer Island, Washington-based registered dietician, fellow of the American College of Nutrition and author of Power Eating, Fourth Edition, “Hydration is very important at all times, but especially during a weight loss diet. As fatty acids are released into the bloodstream, potential dietary toxins that have been stored and dormant in our fat cells are also released for elimination from the body. Elevated levels in the blood can be made more dilute by drinking more water.”
Dr. Kleiner added that sometimes people mistake thirst for hunger. “Before you eat something, if you think you should not be hungry, drink water. You might just be thirsty. Water is non-caloric, so it is a great choice for a beverage all day long. You also might be able to lower your appetite by drinking cool water,” she said. Finally, high protein diets require more water. The metabolism of protein causes water loss, so hydration needs to increase as a result.
3. Eat Regularly
“From a metabolic standpoint, eating on a more frequent basis can help in maintaining blood sugars. When we go long periods of time without eating, our blood sugar drops and we get really hungry and we end up eating a lot, resulting in a spike in blood sugar. These drastic highs and lows put our body into storage mode and also lead to more hunger and cravings. This does not work well in regards to weight management,” said Samantha Easterly, a registered dietician and certified wellness coach at the Scottsdale Healthcare Bariatric Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Easterly encourages her clients to eat enough to hold them over for three to four hours. “If your meal is holding you longer, it can be a pretty sure sign that you ate too much,” she said.
Furthermore, willpower is significantly decreased when one gets over hungry, causing it to be more difficult to make healthy choices. Always keep snacks available to help prevent going too long between meals. Pay attention to how much you consume in an effort to stay connected to your daily caloric and nutritional goals.
Don’t Miss: Get Multiple Sources of Protein for Best Results
4. Track Your Progress
To see noticeable changes in your body requires being diligent about tracking progress. One of the most important variables in this is to pay careful attention to your caloric and macronutrient intake. Macronutrients include protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Even those who know very little about what this means can easily begin by using an app such as My Fitness Pal and logging in daily foods eaten. My Fitness Pal will calculate the breakdown on a day-to day-basis. In addition to tracking macronutrient consumption, other things such as sugar, fiber, and total calories can be examined. Reviewing this can provide enlightening results.
“Macronutrient tracking greatly decreases frustration when trying to lose weight,” said Northington. “Often, clients will come to me and say they have done everything to lose weight and the weight will not come off. When you track, you know how to trouble shoot your efforts and ultimately attain success.”
Northington suggests starting with setting a caloric intake goal first. In general, daily calories should be calculated by taking current body weight and multiplying it by 10 to 13 depending on activity level. More active individuals use the higher number.
Once you set a caloric intake number, you can determine your macronutrient levels as follows. Protein totals can be calculated by taking lean body mass (which requires you to take a body fat test) and multiplying that number by one gram per pound. The remainder of calories come from carbohydrate and fats. That specific number is determined by a variety of factors, including food preferences, physique goals, and activity level. Working with a qualified professional is the best way to accurately determine one’s unique macronutrient needs.
Supplementing can make a substantial difference in your progress. Supplements are designed to fill in the gaps to help you meet your nutritional and vitamin needs, said Corry Matthews, IFBB Pro athlete and Max Muscle franchisee. The beauty of supplements, shared Matthews, is “they make life in the 21st century doable.” Matthews suggests starting with the supplement options below and adding others as necessary based on your specific needs. You can visit your local Max Muscle Nutrition store and speak with a Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach about all of this.
Don’t delay another day. Get started now to begin to sculpt a fit and toned physique by summer. The process will not only change your physically but also increase self-esteem and overall health, allowing you to enjoy the summer months with confidence. Remember, diet is 80 percent of the battle, so dial in that nutrition today.
TIP: Visit your local Max Muscle Nutrition store to inquire about the InBody machine that will calculate your body fat percentage and lean muscle mass (among other things) and speak with a Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach there about your macronutrient needs.