Four Weeks To A Beach Body
For quick weight loss, start with interval training. Jog for 10-30 mins – depending on your starting fitness level – with 1-min sprints to zap flab. “Your body is like a car: if you stay at the same speed it becomes economical in its fuel usage,” says trainer Phil Learney (phillearney.com).
Swap a Mars bar for a handful of dried fruit, which are low in fat and sodium and high in fibre and muscle-building potassium.
Do your food shopping in the early hours. By 6pm your brain will be suffering from ‘decision fatigue, so you’ll buy anything you see, including that 12-pack of doughnuts.
Revolutionise your diet by ditching the three-meal-a-day concept. “Opt for six smaller meals: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack,” says nutritionist Lynn Clay (fitness-iq.co.uk). “Regular meals stop your body from storing fat and boost your fat-burning metabolism.”
Start to clean your body out with some sneaky supplements. “The best supplements for maximising gym results are zinc, magnesium, vitamin D3 and fish oil,” says trainer Ben Camara (no1fitness.co.uk). “D3 will also help you tan better if it’s sunny for an extra bonus.”
Do 100 press-ups. Every day. Not all at once. Knock out a few in the morning, during TV ad breaks, while your girlfriend is in the shower… just hit 100 by midnight.
Spend your day watching martial art matches and chewing gum. In Japanese trials rapid chewing cut cortisol levels by 25.8% within 20 minutes, which means your body will stop storing fat and start burning it off instead.
Week One Checklist
❑ Interval training
❑ Snack on dried fruit
❑ Morning shopping
❑ Small, frequent meals
❑ 100 press-ups a day
❑ Chew gum (and watch the martial art matches)
Download the weight, food and exercise-tracking app, DailyBurn. “Monitoring your fitness makes it less confusing and easier to achieve,” says data-tracking guru Kevin Kelly. You can try the apps suggested above too.
Don’t train hard, train clever. “Do moves like squats and bench-presses that work on your full body,” says English Institute of Sport coach Nick Cooper. “Second, do tons of pull-ups. They pull your shoulders back, giving the illusion of a broader chest.” Two 45-min sessions a week will make you bigger.
Download some new tunes for your iPod before going for a run. Music is sport’s “legal drug,” says sport psychologist Dr Costas Karageorghis, whose studies show that music reduces an athlete’s perception of effort by 10%.
To get brawny, eat more protein. “Consuming protein every few hours spares any theft from your muscles and stops you from feeling hungry,” says Learney. Eat a protein-rich item – like cottage cheese, turkey, peanut butter, egg or tuna – with each of your six daily meals.
Drink coffee. It makes your body-fat more readily available to be burnt off by exercise. But choose wisely: a Latte (102 cals) or Mocha (228 cals) are fat-packed, so stick to an Espresso (5.7 cals), Americano (11.4 cals) or Cappuccino (55 cals) to stay on track.
“Target your shoulders,” says trainer Ben Camara. “Strong shoulders will help you lift heavier weights during other exercises like bench presses, but will also make you look good in a T-shirt.”
Get an early night. Quality sleep improves your anabolic (growth) hormone profile so your muscles grow at a faster rate.
Week Two Checklist
❑ Download fitness app
❑ Train clever
❑ Sort your playlists
❑ Eat more protein
❑ Drink coffee
❑ Work the shoulders
❑ Bed early
After two weeks, work out with a mate. “The first ever sport psychology experiment in 1898 found that cyclists performed better against others,” says Premier League psychologist Brad Busch (innerdrive.co.uk). “You’ll feel more motivated and push yourself harder.”
Dodge belly-building bread. Two slices of toast for brekkie and two sarnies at lunch have more calories than a McDonald’s Quarterpounder with cheese. Try one of the above alternatives.
Start lifting weights in slow motion for quicker results. “The more time your muscles are under tension the bigger the muscle growth,” says coach Nick Cooper. “Lift the weight up for two seconds and slowly down for four seconds.” You’ll put in the same effort as the guy next to you with double the results.
Switch cooking oils for coconut oil. “It is easily metabolised, being sent straight to the liver to be utilised for energy, meaning it won’t be laid down as fat unlike other cooking oils or butters,” says nutritionist Henrietta Bailey (pure sportsmed.com).
To stop yourself going off the rails with a fish and chip supper, go for a 10-minute walk before foraging for your tea. A University of Michigan study showed subjects who went for a walk enjoyed a 20% boost in cognitive function, so you’ll be better-equipped to make a healthy choice.
Treat yourself to an English breakfast – a little bit of fat in the morning boosts your metabolism all day. Just make sure you trim the bacon fat, poach the eggs and grill the sausages.
Put your feet up with your copy of FHM. A University of Sussex study showed reading reduces stress levels by up to 68%, helping to bring down the amount of fat your body stores.
Week Three Checklist
❑ Train with a mate
❑ Drop the bread
❑ Slo-mo workout
❑ Switch to coconut oil
❑ Fry up. Yes!
❑ Read FHM
In your final week, target your triceps in the gym. “The triceps are bigger than your biceps, so it will make your arms bulge more when you’re chatting up a girl at a barbecue,” says Cooper. Triceps dips and cable push-downs will do the trick.
Cut out salty snacks. High-sodium foods cause the body to retain large amounts of water, especially in the abdominal region, so switch to salt-free peanuts and cashew nuts and dodge the crisps.
It’s time to step things up, but that doesn’t mean extra effort. Just work out today between 5-7pm. This is when your body temperature is highest and your cardio system is at its most efficient so you’ll feel stronger without even trying.
Make a curry using cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, black pepper and chilli powder. They have thermogenic properties which raise your temperature, so you burn fat without doing anything but potent farts.
“Mix up your cardio sessions, so your body can’t adapt,” says fat loss expert Nick Mitchell (upfitness.co.uk). Instead of doing running intervals, try them on a bike or rowing machine to keep your body burning fat.
“Drinking lots of water will not only help with weight loss, it will hydrate your skin cells and reduce puffiness, making you look leaner and healthier” says Bailey. Drink eight glasses of water every day.
It’s barbecue time! “Copy the pre-stage routine of body builders by doing lots of bicep curls and press-ups before you go,” says Cooper. “It will give you a more vascular look and tighter skin, creating the perception of extra size and muscle.” Yes, she’s looking at your arms. Now go forth and conquer.
Week Four Checklist
❑ Healthy snacks
❑ Afternoon workouts
❑ Curry time
❑ Mix it up
❑ Hydrate to look fresh
❑ Pre-BBQ push-ups