It’s summertime. For most Americans, that means beach days, barbecues and bikinis. If you’re part of the majority, you have probably felt a little insecure in your swimwear at some point. It’s not the best feeling, but we’ve all been there! Summer can be a good motivator to stick to your diet and workout plan, so you can build confidence in your ability, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and ultimately feel like a badass in your swimwear this summer.
In this article, the team at WOLFpak have rounded up the top 10 ways to sculpt your summer body, to give you evidence-based tips and tricks to drop fat, tone up and sculpt out some muscle. Let’s go.
- Calculate your macros
Your body weight is regulated by energy balance. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will be in a positive energy balance and gain weight. If you eat less than you burn, you will lose weight.
This is the ‘calories in - calories out’ theory that underpins pretty much everything you’ll hear in fitness! While it’s not 100 percent gold standard, it’s a helpful way to view your food intake and energy output. For fat loss, the aim is to calculate your macros using an online calculator like this. Once you have them, you need to consistently eat less than your energy requirements to create a deficit.
Pro tip: depending on your size, a deficit of 200-350 calories per day is sufficient. If you are larger with more fat to lose, you can be on the higher end of that, even pushing up to 500 calories a day.
- Speak with a professional
If you’re used to working out and eating healthy all year but now it’s summer and you haven’t seen the results you want, you may want to speak with a professional. There are many components that may be impacting your success. Here are some common situations that require professional intervention:
- You may have an undiagnosed thyroid condition that is slowing your metabolic rate (hypothyroidism).
- You’re not calculating your macros correctly and unknowingly overeating.
- You’re overestimating the energy expenditure from exercise.
- You’re not recovering properly, causing muscle breakdown and a reduction in your metabolic rate.
- Your diet composition is poor - not enough protein and too many carbs!
Depending on the issue, you may want to speak with a doctor, a personal trainer, or nutritionist. But oftentimes, the first point-of-call will be a doctor, to discount any medical conditions that may be involved.
- Cut the carbs
When carbohydrates are stored in the body they bind with four grams of water to form glycogen.
When you cut carbohydrates from your diet, your body uses the glycogen stores. As the glycogen is burnt, you also lose the four grams of water weight - result in quick weight loss and a less bloated and puffy appearance.
While this is not necessarily fat loss (rather, total body weight loss) it can be a great way to sculpt out your summer body, revealing your muscles and giving an all-over more ‘toned’ appearance.
- Increase the protein
You don’t want to cut the carbs and protein, otherwise you’ll be unknowingly breaking down muscle mass alongside the fat loss, which causes a decrease in your metabolic rate - not ideal! Protein is partially thermogenic and is the most satiating macronutrient - 30 percent of the calories in protein is burnt in digestion!
Aim to have at least 25g of protein each time you eat. Here are some of the best sources of protein in food:
- Whey protein shake
- Chicken breast
- Canned tuna
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Powdered peanut butter
These examples are complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids, are highly bioavailable for maximum absorption, and low calorie.
- Fasted workouts
Fasted workouts are workouts performed in the morning, on an empty stomach. When you workout in a fasted state, you’ll break down fat stores rather than using the energy you’ve just consumed. Plus, your blood sugar and insulin levels are low; the ideal combination for optimized fat burning.
A meta-analysis involving more than 27 randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of research, finished by stating that fasted cardio results in higher fat oxidation than being in a fed state.
Simply get a sweat on before you have your first meal and your body will do the rest of the work! It’s better to leave these fasted workouts for cardio as fasted weight lifting can cause muscle breakdown.
- Don’t drink your calories
Cut out ALL drinks that contain calories, they’re pointlessly providing caloric density without any nutritional or satiety benefit. If you want coffee, have it black; if you want soda, drink water.
- Repurpose your time
What better idea to socialize outside this summer? It’s sunny, warm, and the days are long. Instead of meeting your friend in a restaurant or bar, ask them to go for a walk or hike with you. Exercise + socializing = happy, time efficient weight loss.
- Meal prep
Prepare your meals in advance to avoid high calorie temptations. Meal prepping every few days can keep food fresh, increase diversity of meal choice and make it more likely that you’ll actually eat the meals! When you’re finished, pack your food into your WOLFpak 45L Backpack. Our fitness backpacks are waterproof with multiple storage pockets so you don’t have to worry about embarrassing spills or the food causing your other items to smell! It’s a summer necessity!
- Take the stairs
Every time you see the stairs, take them. No more elevators! Believe it or not, these calories burnt will add up.
- Focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT)
HIIT involves working at maximum effort for between 15 to 45 seconds, followed by a short, sometimes active, rest period of 10 to 30 seconds. You repeat this cycle for 10 to 20 minutes. HIIT creates an oxygen deficit which elevates your metabolic rate post-workout to increase the amount of fat lost.
A study that examined the effects of a six minute HIIT section found that the participants burnt up to 112 calories in the six minute workout. But due to the elevated metabolic rate, continued burning more calories over the next 24 hours, resulting in 457 calories burnt in total from this one six minute workout.
We hope these 10 fat loss tips give you the guidance and motivation to sculpt out your dream summer body. You deserve to look and feel your best. You’ve got this!