Now, I know that summer has just started so most of us could do with looking a bit leaner. I will admit it myself, no matter how lean I am, it just isn’t enough, especially if I am going to be on some nice beach with plenty of beautiful women around. Having grown up in a place with sunshine year-round, I came up with some easy-to-follow tips that I follow any time I want to speed up the fat loss process and, in turn, have a beach body. These tips are useful for those already hitting the weights or the pavement, as well as for those who follow a more sedentary lifestyle. What is more, they dont require calorie counting or equations so they are easy to use and follow. Incorporate them into your nutritional strategy and you will be reaping the benefit of sped fat loss almost instantaneously.
1) Avoid carbohydrate-dense foods
Carbohydrate-dense (CD) foods include pasta, bread, breakfast cereals and grains. Instead of eating these, you want to be replacing those with salad and leafy vegetables, which contain a much lesser amount of carbohydrates per weight. Salad and leafy vegetables also contain high amounts of fiber and water which serve to suppress hunger when replacing CD foods. Eat as much as you want of leafy and salad vegetables, they will provide hunger relief everytime your stomach starts rumbling. A list of salad and leafy veggies can be found here.
2) Increase protein intake
Catabolism and fat loss go together. Catabolism is when your body is breaking down stores to release energy. These stores include fat and muscle. The body likes to break down muscle in favour of fat as one gets leaner and leaner, primarily because the body is sensing a period of starvation thus it breaks down the tissue in the body with the highest caloric requirements, muscle. While this was actually a good thing back when we lived in caves, it isn’t so for the modern physique conscious man. In order to amelliorate the breaking down of muscle, you should increase your protein intake with lean cuts of meat, fish and dairy. This may sound easy but considering one tends to eat these sources of protein together with CD foods, it actually becomes a bit of a trick how to go about it. To put things into perspective, you should be thinking of meals combining one food item from anything that used to walk or swim (or its by-product), together with some form of leafy vegetables. Steak, chicken breast, minced turkey, cottage cheese, low fat cheese, salmon, tuna or sardines are some of the food items that fit the bill of increasing protein intake.
3) Avoid hydrogenated fats
Hydrogenated fats have been linked with a wide array of diseases, including insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, and one of their effects is increased bodyweight and waist circumference. These oils are formed by modifying unsaturated fats such as vegetable oil and are used in many fast food-restaurants and processed foods. They are used for making pastries and desserts as well as in the fast-food industry. A rule of thumb is, if it has solid fat and you haven’t cooked it yourself, it is very likely to contain hydrogenated oil. Don’t step into a fast-food restaurant and stick to steak and salad, problem solved.
4) Eat more nuts
I mean, if you take pasta away from me, you better give me something tasty to eat dude! I know, I know, I am already anticipating the drama that you are thinking of. Personally, if it weren’t for nuts, I would have probably succumbed more than once during my times of speeding fat loss. Not only are nuts delicious but they are nutritional and they have healthy amount of fats such as the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated types. While nuts are calorie and fat dense (aprox 60% of weight being fat), they are very potent hunger suppressants. Don’t believe me? Buy a pound of nuts and try to eat them in one go. Provided you haven’t been fasting for three days, you will have trouble finishing even half of it and will not be hungry for about 8 hours. Now, throw in some chicken breast and as much salad as you want, and you can see how adding a handful of nuts can provide a meal that will be healthy, pro-fat loss and hunger suppressing. The term “nut” covers several items which are outside its botanical definition so we will stick to the more conventional “culinary” definition, thus, you should be consuming any of the following: almonds, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, peanuts (if not allergic) and pistachios. Eat a handful when feeling hungry and make sure to read the label so that they do not contain any added sugar or starch (stick to natural or salty/roasted types).
5) Do not avoid fat
Yes, I have said it, though I need to say more. Do not avoid natural fat. If you follow the guidelines of no CD foods and eating lean protein sources and nuts, you will be taking in enough natural fat already. So, why put this as a point? Because people tend to obsess about any fat they encounter in their steak or chicken. So long as you are not eating protein-rich foods covered in fat or lard, you should not worry about trimming your steak until it looks red all over. Fat is needed in one’s diet as it is involved in many body’s processes, including in the manufacture of hormones such as testosterone, and it also allows for the absorption of certain vitamins (A, D, E and K). As a rule of thumb, any visible fat should only be trimmed if it makes more than 1/5 of the area of the food item. Likewise, it is OK to use oil to cook meat although it is best to go with either extra virgin olive oil or butter, as vegetable oil such as sunflower oil contains certain types of fats (omega 6) which are already abundant in the diet. I personally vouch for extra virgin olive oil, the stuff is too tasty and healthy to even consider skipping it from one’s diet.
6) Take a multivitamin
Despite a diet based on the aforementioned points will yield high nutrition, you should aim to ensure all your micro-nutrient (vitamins and minerals) needs are covered, thus a multivitamin is a great way to go about this. A multivitamin covering all your vitamin and mineral RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowance) by 100% is enough. A good multivitamin is not expensive and very convenient to take (once a day with breakfast). Look at the label and see what is the % of the RDA it covers (all good multivitamins put this on the label), you should be looking for those covering over 100% on most micro-nutrients except for some specific minerals such as calcium or iron. As a rule of thumb, a high potency multi-vitamin covers over 100% of the RDA in at least two-thirds of the micro-nutrients it lists.
As you can see, these are easy to follow and will speed your leaning efforts when your progress has stalled. They are best used together and when you are striving to get a six pack and haven’t unveiled it yet. There is no calorie counting because by following these points you will be self-modulating your calorie intake, it really is hard to eat too many calories of the aforementioned food sources. Of course, if you want to get the super lean look with veins popping out of your abdominals, you will have to start counting calories, but such a goal is outside of the scope of this article. For now, we want a beach body, and following these tips will help you get there.
All the best