Ever heard the saying "Summer bodies are made in Winter"?
Well in my honest opinion, it doesn't matter what season it is, motivating yourself to work out and stay healthy all year round can be a struggle at times.
Whether your objective is to look and feel great come swim short season or you are just looking to bring some consistency to your health and fitness regime, I thought I would share some tips that will help to ensure you find yourself on the right path.
The downside? I will not be introducing you to any magic pill or 6-second ab machine! Trimming off those extra kilos of fat, leaning up and maintaining a healthy lifestyle simply comes down to hard work and dedication.
The good news is that if you adopt the below and then add, adapt or even go above and beyond then you are assured to be a fit and fighting lean machine all year round.
The Wonders of Green Tea
I thought we could start off with the easiest of them all! Did you know that green tea is actually one of the most commonly drunk beverages in the entire world?
The consumption of green tea has shown to offer a number of positive health effects, such as protecting against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer's.
However, the main reason I have included this little wonder drink comes down to its effect on fat loss! Drinking green tea on a regular basis promotes fat loss through two distinct mechanisms. Firstly, it improves your body's ability to break down and metabolise fat, turning it into energy and secondly, it causes an increase in your body's overall metabolism.
In a similar manner to increase muscle mass, this causes a significant spike in the amount of energy you use at rest to simply function. Through these two awesome fat burning mechanisms, green tea can promote some major fat loss over time.
The general consensus is that around 2-3 cups of the green stuff per day is the sweet spot, with any more being unnecessary from a fat loss perspective.
Make Sure You Get Plenty Of ZZZZ's
Probably one of the most important tips I share with you today! You see, sleep is critical to maintaining a high-quality level of health and maximising weight loss. A lack of sleep has been known to seriously mess with your hormone levels, increasing cortisol secretion tenfold, while causing an associated decrease in testosterone production, which results in a massive decline in energy levels and actual fat gains.
Taking all of that on board, the recommendation is to aim for somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. This will help ensure your hormone levels remain well regulated, but also allowing you to properly recover between your training sessions.
Heavy Weight Training 2-3 Times A Week
Maybe slightly against conventional wisdom, but nonetheless still very much effective. Our metabolism (the amount of energy we burn to survive) is strongly dictated by the amount of muscle mass we carry on our body.
It is the muscle mass that we consider as active tissue, which ultimately means that uses energy to survive. With this in mind, if you increase the amount of muscle mass you have, even slightly, you can see a major increase in your metabolic rate. What this means is that you will burn more energy every day, irrespective of any additional exercise levels. Then there is obviously the slightly more superficial reason, which is that the actual building of muscle is integral to obtaining that powerful 'V-shaped' physique, we all secretly want.
Protein plays a fundamental role in our recovery post-exercise because it is used to build and repair muscle and connective tissue. If we are undertaking regular strength training, which we should be, then we need to make sure we are consuming an adequate level of protein to recover and build new muscle tissue, which invariably increases our metabolic rate, which in turn contributes to fat loss.
Protein also has the highest satiety rating out of the all macronutrients, which means that per calorie, protein makes us feel 'fuller'. Have you noticed that when you have protein in a meal you feel much more satisfied and are less tempted to snack throughout the rest of the day?
And lastly, protein also has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF) of all the macronutrients. This means that the body is forced to use energy to break down and digest any protein that you consume, which further contributes to the amount of energy you expend on a daily basis.
Put simply, protein promotes fat loss, so eat it!
Be Aware Of Those Liquid Calories
Have you ever seen those scare-tactic tv shows where they physically show you how much sugar is actually in certain foods and drinks we consume?
Sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soft drinks in particular and fruit juices are some of the unhealthiest things you can put into your body! They are literally full of sugar and contain a ridiculous amount of energy per serve. On top of that, they register extremely low on the satiety index, which means that they do not make us feel satisfied in any way after consumption.
I appreciate that for most of us it is fairly obvious that by consuming these sugary drinks we are directly increasing our rate of fat gain, but for those of us sweet tooths out there who love a can of coke each day at lunch, I implore you to do your best to knock that habit on the head asap!
No Sweat, No Glory
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) for any of you that have been living under a rock for the last 2 years, is the act of performing short bouts of high-intensity cardiovascular activity, which are separated by short bouts of low-intensity cardiovascular activity.
A very simple example of this could be 30 seconds running at say 90% of your max speed, followed by one minute of very light jogging, which would be repeated for a total of 21 minutes.
HIIT offers some major benefits as not only is it very time efficient, but there is also evidence to suggest that it helps you burn calories both during the session, as well as after you have finished. HIIT training places the body under a high amount of physical strain (this is a good thing, I assure you), which requires a slightly longer period of recovery. What this means is that the body must work overtime to actually maintain and contribute to this recovery process.
This then leads to an increase in your metabolic rate for up to 48 hours after the session has finished. Another great thing about HIIT is that it can be easily modified for all levels of fitness, which means it is enjoyable and effective for all of us, no matter what our level.
This form of training is without question a better option than steady state cardio for promoting weight loss.
Thanks to the world of social media, it is not difficult to find people, products and services to help motivate, inspire and ultimately improve your overall health and fitness levels.
With that being said, I thought I would highlight a few accounts that we here at Nicolas Alexander like to follow.
- Anthony Joshua (@anthony_joshua)
- Michael Jennings (@michaeljennings)
- Joe Wicks (@thebodycoach)
- The Rock (@therock)
- Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real)
- Matthew Fraser (@mathewfras)
- Tim Robards (@mrtimrobards)
Products/Services/ Delicious Healthy Recipes
- Fresh Fitness Food (@freshfitnessfood)
- My Protein (@myproteinuk)
- Protein Haus (@proteinhausuk)
- Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver)
- Dan Churchill (@dan-churchill)
- Luke Hines (@lukehinesonline)
- Neat Nutrition (@neat_nutrition)
- Planet Organic (@planetorganic)
- Men's Health (@menshealthmag)
- Men's Fitness (@mjfit)
- TRX Training (@trxtraining)
- Spartan Race UK (@spartanraceuk)
- Ask Men (@askmen)
- GQ (@gq)
- Active Escapes (@activeescapes)
- Muscle & Fitness (@muscleandfitness)
- Barry's Bootcamp (@barrysbootcamp)
Well there you have it, a few bits and pieces to get you started or maybe a few friendly reminders that will see you want to wear nothing but your Nicolas Alexander swim shorts all year round!
With that in mind, I would be crazy not to tell you that our Summer Sale is now live! We have 30% OFF ALL OUR SWIM SHORTS, so why not click on the link below and check out our distinctive S/S18 Collection.