This year I was lucky enough to get married and then 6 weeks later went on honeymoon, naturally one of the things running up to both of these events was about getting into "shape". That meant dropping body fat and trying to maintain as much muscle mass as possible. Many of us have similar goals heading towards the summer in search of that beach physique and there maybe a little work still needed to get you where you want, even though we're half-way through summer. However, time is not against you - you can make dramatic progress in just 2 to 4 weeks as I witnessed in the run-up to my big day.
It's important to note that I am an advocate of and have in the past written about adopting eating and training strategies that can be maintained or even become part of your lifestyle. However, sometimes it can be effective to periodise like an elite athlete would and work at a more intense rate for a specific event / target date.
Many of these strategies aren't necessarily long-term approaches and as usual we'd advise that you seek approval from your GP before beginning a new training or dietary programme.
1. Check your calories
So one really popular method is by dropping your calories, some of the most popular tools on the internet help you calculate how many calories you should drop - that's great. Just, don't drop too few or too many, aim for a deficit of 400-700 calories per day, I know that's quite a broad range but it's the cumulative effect of a couple of weeks rather than a single day that will make or break your success and we all respond really differently, you may find that 400 calories is distinctly enough.
2. Honesty really is the best policy
It's fine, we're all human and we're not entering the Olympics, simply planning on watching it. So don't feel too guilty by the odd snack or food which wouldn't be the most appropriate for you, don't make a habit of it but just as importantly be honest when accounting for your calories that day. Do the same for your exercise, don't overestimate how many you've burnt each day.
3. Let's get hot and sweaty
Yes, we all agree to the benefits of weight training, high intensity interval training and these effects on increasing metabolism but in a short period of time there is one major requisite - burn more calories. Don't waste time by trying short-cuts, just burn some calories in a variety of ways.
- Fasted steady state cardio in the mornings for 45 minutes at least 4 times a week.
- Want to take it up a notch? Then for the middle 15-20 minutes of the steady state cardio perform it as intervals of 90s steady 30s sprints.
- Perform 3-5 weights sessions a week, go for volume though higher reps and high sets with one exercise each session. Don't go for the old adage of light weights high reps, maintain a challenging weight but ensure reps are at the top end of hypertrophy (12).
- Abs, 20 minute blasts 2-3 times a week starting with weight resisted exercises such as medicine balls, weight plates and weighted crunches followed by exercise that involve a lot of movement.
4.Protein and carbohydrate intake
I found very quickly by combining my calorie deficit to be consistently between 400 and 800 calories and aiming to increase the amount of protein I consumed everyday I was steadily dropping weight. Add to this a careful consideration of how many carbohydrates I ate casually and results came around even quicker. Don't demonise carbs, I didn't stop eating them and if I really wanted something during the couple of weeks I questioned it and if viable ate it.
5. Just get up and move.
It's simple really, find a way to 'accidentally' move more and it casually adds to the calorie deficit you achieve everyday. So I began cycling to work, walking more around work more and if I needed something from the shops I walked there...unless it was really miserable and yes I confess I then jumped into the car!
Combine these 5 points and you really will be shedding the lbs!
Don't forget that if you can't get to Birmingham, UK for one of our sessions you can still contact us for online support!