Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Fitness, Health & Wellness | Posted on 26-05-2010
Tags: beach body, body sculpting, build muscle, burn fat
These days everybody seems to want instant gratification. Whether it’s the new car, the better job, or the better body people don’t want to wait. The pace of life has quickened over the past few years and patience, while perhaps being a virtue, is in short supply.
It just so happens too that around this time of year people start getting a little manic when it comes to their appearance. And everyone can relate. When the weather gets nice our clothes get a little scarce. All of a sudden there is a lot more of our hyde out there exposed to goggling eyes. That is often a boon for those who want to flaunt what they’ve got (if they’ve got it) and a curse for the people who feel like they didn’t drop those extra winter pounds quick enough. But I’ve got some good news for those of you who feel like you haven’t built any muscle or burned any fat lately. For all of you who don’t have that lean body, there is a solution. And no, it isn’t a magic pill. It’s not some new fly-by-night “miracle” supplement that will turn your body hard over night. And it’s not plastic surgery or something equally drastic. The process of getting your body lean, toned, or muscular simply entails about ten steps, that if followed correctly, can make a huge change in your appearance – even in as little as a week.
Now, let me just start by saying there generally two categories of people when it comes to looking good at the beach. Here they are:
Category # 1: You workout. Maybe you’re not in the best shape of your life, but you have some muscle tone, not a whole lot of excess weight in the form of body fat, and you don’t have too much trouble controlling what you eat or your body weight in general. Guys that like to “bulk” up, adding muscle, as well as, inevitably, some body fat in the winter belong in this category. So do the people who work out somewhat consistenly but don’t feel like they are in the best shape possible. Basically anyone who works out, has some muscle, but is also carrying extra body fat that, when lost, will reveal muscle tone in much higher contrast, and result in more visual appeal.
Category # 2: You don’t workout. Maybe you talk about working out, or you want to work out, but for whatever reason you just don’t. You haven’t been doing any sort of physical activity lately, or perhaps for a while. Your diet may or may not be that bad, but the fact that you don’t partake in any sort of regular physical activity limits your ability to sculpt your body. But of course, like the folks in category one you want to be in shape too. You want your body to be beach ready at a moment’s notice – and without all the hard work if possible.
Now, if you really think about the above two categories for a moment you will realize that those two groups of people encompass practically everyone on the planet…except for those people who are already in awesome shape. And, while compared to the rest of the population, the folks who are already in great shape make up a relatively small percentage, some of them probably already do the things that I’ll list in this article to keep their bodies lean and sculpted. So for those of you who are already in phenomenol shape take a read anyway. You might find a thing or two that can help you take your body to the next level. One more thing to realize is that I don’t mean to mislead people into thinking they can get a rippling six pack in one week after never working out in their life. I also don’t want any women to think I’m saying that they’ll have the figure of the best athlete or supermodel after working out for the first time ever and only for a few days. What I mean to provide here is a template for people to follow to get their body the best that it can be. Again, if you have been working out (correctly) for a long time and there is consistency in your diet as well, then this plan will help to showcase that. At the same time, if you haven’t really ever worked out consistently or you are fairly overweight, the goal is simply to shed some of the excess weight as quickly as possible to have a healthier, more aesthetic body shape. Building whatever might be considered a “perfect” body takes time, consistent training, dieting, the right genetic makeup along with other things. And, for the purposes of this article we only have six days. In this case it’s about getting the best results in the shortest amount of time. So here goes:
The Ten Steps (Here are the first five):
1. If you’re not already drinking a ton of water, start doing it!
And then drink some more. The idea here is simple: hydration (duh!), but it’s more than that. You want your body to be hydrated not only for your general health, but for your bodies appearance at the end of the six days. Why? Here’s the thing: when our bodies are dehydrated, they hold onto water, which ends up often being held underneath the skin on top of the muscle. And when you have water being held under the skin (or within the fat storage areas) it wreaks havoc on your appearance. It basically results in your muscles looking “soft”- the opposite of defined. The solution is to drink enough water so that your body never thinks that it is even coming close to being dehydrated. That way it will constantly flush out extra water and keep less in storage that might “soften” the look of the muscles. A good general guideline to follow, especially in the summer months is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. So, if you weight 150lbs, you should be drinking 75 ounces. And, if you live in a drier, desert climate you can add an extra 16 ounces onto that figure. Even though this may be counterintuitive to some people it is the only way to go. The leaner you want to be, the more water you need to drink! Water also helps with general performance and muscle recovery after workouts (which are part of this plan)
2. Protein, protein, protein.
Can I say it again? Protein. The whole goal here is to burn fat or even for some, lose weight very quickly. This means that protein needs to be the cornerstone of your diet. The body will very rarely hold onto protein and store it as adipose tissue. When you are consuming mostly protein, (very little carbs) your body wants to use your body fat for energy. Read that again. Body fat is used for energy. In other words, body fat is burned off because the body is not taking in the sorts of calories (i.e. carbs) that it wants to use directly for energy or store as extra fat. And protein is even more important for people who are trying to burn body fat while building or maintaining muscle because protein has to provide the nutrients for muscle mainteance as well as some calories for energy (the rest come from stored body fat) So, if you are working out hard and trying to hold onto your muscle mass or even build more, you have to take in more protein than the average person because you don’t want your body to have to use protein from the muscle you’ve already built for energy. That would be counterproductive. The goal over this six day period is to consume 2 g of protein per pound of body weight. That’s it, that’s the guideline. So, if you are a 200lb male you will be consuming 400 g of protein or 1600 calories of protein. If you are 120lb female you will be consuming 240g of protein or 960 calories of protein. One more reason that you need to keep the protein so high is that during the six days you are also going to try to:
3. Restrict carbs.
Get rid of carbs. They are the devil. Well, no I’m joking…but seriously. Drop the carbs. In this case, when you have just a week or so to make drastic changes to your body, you have to get serious. Carbs are not going to be your friend during this short intense fat battle. And, while they might beckon to you, pizzas, cereals, bread, and pastas can only do you harm in this particular case. The idea is to either omit carbs entirely, or at least greatly reduce the amount you consume. The trick here is to follow guideline number 2. If you do that, you won’t need carbs as much, and you will crave them less as well.
(3.5) Sugars too!
A lot of people forget that sugars are just as bad as carbohydrates when consumed in excess amounts. In fact, sugars are carbohydrates, and often the ones found in a lot of processed foods are just a more simple version. And they can have an equally negative impact on your metabolism. They key for the week is too stay away from juices, sodas, etc. Even if they look “fruity” or antioxidant rich, there is a good chance that they’re loaded with sugar.
4. Hone your (Muscle) Tone.
Part of what makes your body look good is muscle definition and low body fat. This is what results in people talking about you being “cut” if you are a guy or “toned” if you are a girl. The other part of having your muscles (and your body in general) look it’s best is having a good amount of what is referred to as myogenic tone. Myogenic tone basically refers to slight muscle tension or, rather, slight muscle contraction that occurs when the body is poised and ready for some type of physical activity. Basically it’s what results when your muscles are active, awake and healthy – or othewise on alert. What would they be on alert for? The theory at least is that when you use your muscles a lot, the nervous system (which plays a part in muscle contraction) stays “activated” after a while, once it realizes that the muscles are being called into action frequently. And, what happens (to explain it simply) is that signals are sent to the motor units which allow for muscle contraction to take place and the signals sort of “hang around” in case the muscle needs to be contracted. And of course, the reason that is important here is that it contributes to that muscle “tone” that people always talk about. Most people though simply think that muscle tone is a result of simply having defined muscles or low body fat. In reality, muscle tone is directly related to how often a muscle is stimulated. In other words, the more you work out, the more frequently you exercise or contract a muscle, the better it should look. The only problem with working out a lot when you are trying to get lean fast is that you don’t have a lot of calories to shell out for a hard workout as well as the recovery process. So, during the six days, the goal isn’t to build muscle so much as it is to maintain muscle, burn fat, and improve tone. The way to do this is with a total body routine that hits each muscle group once a day (for five days in a row) but is off moderate intensity. Basically you are working out frequently, contracting the muscles a lot to improve tone, but not trashing them soo much that your body doesn’t have enough calories and energy to recover. The best type of routine to use in this situation is a total body routine. (and it’s not just for women – anyone can follow this routine by the way!) Just follow that link and do the exercises that are listed in that post at the end. The idea is to work in the 6-8 rep range. This means using a weight that you can only lift for six to eight reps before failing. The number of sets for each exercise should be between one and three.
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5. Get Bronzed.
You heard right. Get a tan. Go outside, hit a tanning bed, or even use some type of tanning lotion. While tanning outside can actually make you healthier , too much is bad, and of course, not everyone has the ability to sunbathe before they hit the beach, especially if the beach is some far off tropical vacation destination. Either way, getting some color, especially if you are pretty pasty, can do wonders for your body’s appearance. According to experts, a good tan can make you look 300% leaner.