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Tips for Getting Lean for the Beach Body You Desire
It’s good to have fitness priorities but you cant use them as an excuse for bad nutrition. Whether you want visible 6-pack abs or not, its important to stay lean. Or height / weight proportionate. Obesity is the #1 health problem in much of the world. Carrying more weight then we should be is NOT GOOD for your overall health. Good nutrition is hard work and it is extremely important for our bodies. Its also very important to point out that are many health reasons to reduce your body-fat other than getting visible 6-pack abs.
Many of us want the perfect beach body. Or a better beach body than we may have now. Everyone has different criteria for their “beach body”. Some want a six pack while others just want to shed a few pounds of winter weight, lower their body-fat and look better in their swim suit.
“1,000 sit ups and still missing that perfect 6 pack?” asks Chicago personal trainer and dancer Koby Grant (Koby G Fitness).
Hey, if you can do 1000 sit ups – you are probably doing them wrong. I don’t know anyone who can do 1000 sits up a day and use good form.
If you are using good form, your abdominal muscles will start to hurt after a while of working them. Focus on quality, not quantity. AND DIET. If you can’t see your abs, it’s not an issue of “muscle development” at all. We all have abdominal muscles. If you can’t see them, you simply have too much body fat covering up the ab muscles.
Maybe your goal is just to get a better body or dropping a few pounds. Either way, it’s going to come down to diet and exercise. There are no shortcuts.
“We imagine what our bodies will look like laying on the beach after we just left the gym. Going to the gym is not a guarantee of the perfect body but more of an opportunity to obtain that dream,” says Koby Grant, performer, fitness trainer and owner of Koby G Productions. (right and below).
“How much effort are you actually putting forth in the gym? Of that 100% effort level, where do you rank yourself? Creating short term goals is the best way to measure this. Creating yourself an obtainable, realistic short term goal is the best way to hold yourself accountable for how hard you’re working in the gym. For diet, beyond skipping pizza and ice cream, what gets you lean? what do you focus on? what do you stay away from? For a healthy well balanced diet, it is important to recognize that everything from fat to protein is an necessity for every diet.” Koby explained.
“Moderation is key, mapping out your diet for the week ahead is one way to do this. Using an nutritional chart or from the guidance of a licensed nutritionist of course. One misconception of getting lean is by not eating, which I can not stress enough is more dangerous and in the end will not achieve these goals.
Think of your metabolism, which is burning calories, as a fire. Starting at the beginning of a day, you don’t throw all the wood onto the fire to keep it burning through out the day, no, you slowly feed the fire wood through out the day to keep it burning. It as important to feed your metabolism a well balanced diet, to keep it burning all day long for that perfect beach body. Weight training + Nutrition + Cardio Program!”
Competitive Bodybuilder and personal trainer Aaron Guy says, “I tell people that abs are made in the kitchen. You can do crunches and sit ups till you are blue in the face but it won’t, I repeat, won’t do anything to spot reduce the fat around your abdomen, which is necessary to reveal the coveted six pack.
A beach body starts with weight training. If you don’t have any muscle under all that body-fat then you’re not gonna be left with much when you start shredding for summer.
Try doing a weight lifting split and working each muscle group at least once a week. Stick to moderately heavy to heavy weight that allows you to maintain proper form and stick with 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. That is the ideal range for increasing muscle cell size, otherwise known as hypertrophy. Remember that all of the “growing” you’ll be doing happens when you’re not at the gym and sleeping or recovering. So be sure to give yourself ample rest in between body parts and even a complete day off once or twice a week. Once you’ve worked on building a strong muscular foundation you can move on to cutting or what we often refer to as “prepping for summer”.
I would add several days of cardio into your routine on top of your lifting schedule. My favorite cardio is StairMaster because it not only burns a lot of calories but it also works on building leg muscles. Big leg muscles burn more calories and that increases your metabolism which in the long run makes you and effective fat burning machine. If you find the StairMaster too rigorous in the beginning start with 5-10 min a day and work your way up. I guarantee you that you can be doing 30 minutes in no time.
Swimming is also a great full body cardio option as well as rowing. In place of running I usually tell clients to walk on a steep incline on the treadmill as it is easier on the joints and also builds up those leg muscles I talked about earlier. I avoid the elliptical machine. I think its too easy and its definitely too easy to cheat on.
For diet I like to keep things simple. I like a high protein, moderate fat and low carb diet. All of my carbs come from veggies and fruit. I do not eat any carbs from cereals, breads, pastas or refined sugars. I drink unsweetened green tea or water and never drink soda or sports drinks or flavored waters with calories.
My favorite protein sources are fish, chicken, eggs, greek yogurt and lean red meat. To incorporate healthy fats into my meals I eat lots of avocados and nuts, including peanut and almond butter and lots of olive oil and olive oil based dressings. Make sure that each meal contains a high level of protein including breakfast. Most people skimp on protein for breakfast. I also tell clients they should consume a protein shake with some carbs within one hour of completing a workout.
Remember to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum as it can inhibit weight loss. Also remember that after all this hard work you deserve a cheat meal here and there. So treat yourself once or twice a week but make sure its within moderation. It’s not going to derail all your hard work for the week and treating yourself every so often prevents the binging and over-consumption that generally results from extreme restriction over long periods of time. With all of these things combined you should be ready bathing suit season in no time.