If you've put into practice the philosophy that "the best summer beach bodies begin in the winter," then congratulations! All those dark, cold winter treks to the gym, all those times when you resisted holiday temptation and held fast to your dietary regimen, are paying off now. You're very close to your goal.
Now, as the poolsides and beaches of June and July beckon, you're ready to put the finishing touches on a physique that you can be proud of. With that in mind, let's look at five tried-and-true strategies for dialing in your ripped and rock-hard summer physique as you approach the finish line.
If you're close to achieving your summer physique goal, you've been doing this all along, and now is no time to stop. We all know protein intake is indispensable for muscle support and growth, but protein is also essential to fat loss as well. It requires more energy to digest and can blunt the energy crashes and cravings associated with carb intake. Eating proteins in tandem with carbs slows down the absorption of sugar from stomach to bloodstream, which helps keep you satiated for longer.
So, what to do? Make sure every meal you consume contains a portion of protein. This especially includes breakfast. When you wake up in the morning, your muscles are in a fasting, catabolic state, so a bagel or a blueberry muffin just isn't going to cut it, muscle-support-wise. Don't have time to cook up an elaborate breakfast? Keep a few hardboiled eggs in the fridge. A typical 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt has 15 to 20 grams of protein and much less sugar than regular yogurt. Oatmeal is also a valuable source of protein that can be further augmented with skim milk and a scoop of your favorite whey protein formula. And take a serving of that protein formula with you so that later in the day a quick protein shake can forestall a counterproductive trip to the office vending machine or convenience store for a carb-laden snack.
Avoid Simple Sugars and Starches
This is really Shredded For Summer Strategy 1A. As you increase your protein intake, hopefully you're decreasing your intake of sugar and simple starches. With each passing year, researchers are learning more about the disastrous health effects of consuming large portions of simple carbohydrates. Eating foods loaded with simple sugars or refined white flour, or white rice and potatoes, over the short term, causes your blood sugar levels to rise, which in turn spurs your body to produce more insulin to mop up the extra sugar. When your blood sugar levels then drop, the result is an energy crash. Over the long term, all that sugar gets stored as excess fat.
Clearly, this is no way to celebrate the victory lap of your beach-body transformation. So in addition to increasing protein intake, sub out simple carbohydrates for more complex forms. Complex carbs (as found in fruits, cruciferous vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and other legumes) take longer to digest and will help you feel full longer and enjoy sustained energy. More importantly, they're packed with vitamins, minerals and trace elements that will diversify and multiply healthy gut bacteria to improve digestion, enhance immune response, support brain and nervous system function and provide numerous other health benefits. You've worked long and hard to get where you are physique-wise, now put in the effort to sustain those gains.
Support Metabolic Rate and Energy
If you've been sustaining a caloric deficit for any extended interval, you know all about energy crashes and reduced metabolic rate by now. When your body perceives itself as starving, it compensates by throttling down metabolism to preserve body mass, especially fat stores which are less metabolically costly than muscle. Interestingly, one method for powering up metabolism is resistance training, which you're been doing all along. Increased metabolic rate and muscle mass are closely correlated.
Another remedy is targeted thermogenic supplementation. The best thermogenic formulas contain a matrix of compounds associated with metabolic support and energy production, including caffeine, green tea extract, chromium, raspberry ketones, and conjugated linoleic acids. The absolute best of the best contain an advanced weight-loss technology validated by clinical testing.
One such weight-loss technology is BetaStax® Elite from BioQuest. BetaStax Elite’s key active ingredient is a patented PureWay-Slim® technology which delivers clinically validated and significant reductions in body weight, waist and hip circumferences in as little as two weeks. In fact, in a comparison of clinical studies, the PureWay-Slim® blend found in BetaStax Elite has been shown to achieve more weight-loss in four weeks than other leading weight-loss compounds achieved in eight weeks.
And BetaStax Elite's story doesn't end there. BetaStax® Elite contains a matrix of energy catalysts which have been shown to help optimize mental alertness, reduce sensations of fatigue and provide the energy needed to train at a high level. Just as importantly, these factors will support energy expenditure and fat mobilization, the very processes you’re depending on to make all that caloric restriction worthwhile. If you haven't been utilizing a first-class thermogenic supplement already in your physique transformational journey, now is a golden opportunity to start.
Emphasize Compound Movements, Heavy Weights, Fewer Reps
With summer upon us, your first instinct may be to lace on the running shoes and log several miles under the merciless sun to keep the excess fat at bay. While cardio comes well recommended for improving heart health and supporting general stamina, the truth is, it has little effect on body fat. In fact, because extended steady state cardio tends to put your body into a catabolic state that chews up lean muscle tissue for fuel, those long runs actually decrease your body's fat-burning efficiency. If muscle is the ultimate fat-burning furnace, then you need as much of it as possible, so it's wise to keep the cardio short and impactful.
If you want to keep the fat off, you've got to maintain (or increase) muscle mass. That means it's time to emphasize compound movements and go heavy. Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscles or muscle groups at one time. The squat is the king of compound movements, enlisting the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abs and shoulders. Deadlifts have a similar effect. Dumbbell rows work the back, shoulders, and triceps. Bench presses and their variations build pecs, triceps and delts.
At least one day per week, focus on going heavy with fewer reps. Instead of the standard 3x12, consider four sets of six reps, at a heavier weight. On other days, work bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and dips into your routine. These exercises are great for knocking out muscle groups in your back (lats and rhomboids) while also hitting your bi's, tri's and abs.
Shed Water Weight Gently and Naturally
You're almost there! The only thing standing between you and a super shredded, lean and hard physique is a little water weight. The key here is to avoid the kind of harsh pharmaceutical diuretics that can lead to weakness, fatigue or nausea. Fortunately, supplemental science has you covered here as well. A top-quality natural definition formula like Razor Ripped by BioQuest is your optimal solution for shedding excess water retention.
Razor Ripped contains all-natural ingredients that eliminate extra water weight in just three days or less while boosting energy levels and metabolism. These ingredients include dandelion and green tea extracts, plus natural diuretic sources like vitamin B6, magnesium, uva ursi, parsley powder, and celery seed powder. The green tea extract in Razor Ripped also works synergistically with caffeine to further promote weight loss while further promoting diuresis.
So there you have it! All you need now is some sunblock, a beach towel and a beach chair. Get ready to turn some heads and enjoy your season in the sun!