The sunnier days of summer are just around the corner and that means it’s time to dial in your nutrition and diet so you can look and feel your best in a bathing suit at that next swim party. Keep in mind that true health is a careful balance of nutrition, exercise and rest. To be truly healthy, you need to be able to balance these components throughout the year. But the reality is that even healthy individuals can get thrown off their game at times. Sometimes people cyclically change goals and choose to gain lean body mass during the winter and focus on leaning out for the summer. Some are just starting on their fitness journey and some naturally fall off course at some point. No matter the situation, if you need some help getting in summer shape, we’ve got you covered.
Nutrition Tips to Accelerate Your Summer Push
Assess Your Starting Line: Just as with your training, you will need to ascertain your starting point. How off track are you? How far are you at this time in relation to where you want to be? What will it take to get there? You must take a serious look at how realistic it is that you can accomplish your goal in between now and beach season. Don’t compromise general health to accomplish something extreme, either.
Find Areas of Improvement: After assessing your starting point but prior to embarking, take a long, observational look at your most significant struggles. What are the origins behind why you aren’t at your goal already? Once these weaknesses have been established, they must be addressed.
Start Measuring: It’s time to start tracking your progress. If it gets measured, it’s more likely to get done. Begin with relevant qualitative and quantitative biomarkers to track. “I recommend my clients take photos to track progress,” maintains nutrition coach Marc Backovich. While dieting is predicated on science, including some important numbers, Marc still has his clients track qualitatively as well. “Seeing the visual change gives you a sense of accomplishment and provides photo evidence of your change. That means more because that’s why you’re doing it in the first place.”
Furthermore, for the numbers you need to track, why not get a body screening? You can measure using various methods, ideally the most accurate methods for measurement, such as hydrostatic (dunk tank) methods, DEXA scans or bioimpedance screenings. You can even contact your local Max Muscle to inquire about a body fat check-in.
Get Personal: Skip the fad diets. Forget the extreme and unhealthy. Avoid the do-not-do lists. While you’re at it, don’t bother with what your friend is doing. These methods have one common denominator, and that’s the simple fact that they are not customized for you. In order for you to get results, the right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing, so to speak. Your training regimen and nutrition program both need to be parallel with your goal. For that to happen, it is a must that your nutrition protocol is customized. Your food intake will determine your results just as much as your gym time. In addition to consulting a trainer for the fitness portion of your health, it’s time to consult a nutrition consultant and get the science behind your success dialed in!
Apply & Execute: Once you have the necessary knowledge down, it’s time to perform. This means being able to apply all of the science and biological principles in context. Be sure you’re not a victim of your own schedule and plan accordingly. Establish your nutritional protocol around habitual behaviors so it’s efficient for you to stick to the plan. A fitting dogma is that of legendary NBA coach, Gregg Popovich: “It’s more about the process than the results.” Don’t be so fixated on the results that you make the process miserable.
Enjoy: Remember, while it’s not easy, it doesn’t have to be miserable. After all, the whole reason behind upgrading your health and fulfilling your goals is to experience a higher quality of life. “I wish everyone could be ultra motivated with their diet and fitness, while still enjoying life,” says trainer Ritz Guggiana of Warehouse Fitness. “When you reach that point, you have won. This is meant to improve your life, not stress it. So go kill it in the gym, and learn to enjoy food, guilt-free, while maintaining nutritional adherence.”
Hopefully this helps establish some key pillars that can be built to establish a foundation for your training regimen to get into summer shape. Be sure to address your status to better establish smart goals for the summer season. Don’t go too extreme with your methods during your summer slim down. Plan for calculated, but efficient success. Lastly, be consistent from this point forward. Once you reach your goal, you may tweak from there to set yourself up for year-round success.
SOME DOs & DON’Ts
Do: Use supplements as ammunition for your summer goals. Keep up with your usual suspects for general health, such as fish oil, glutamine, vitamin D, digestive enzymes, probiotics, etc. But consider incorporating the following supplements into your regimen to give you various advantages on the road to summer: Emerge (fat loss, fiber, energy), Lipo Red (fat loss, energy), ThermX 2.0 (fat loss, energy), Max Lean Protein (lose fat while feeling full), Liquicarn (mobilization of stored fat for energy), Cleanse & Lean (pre-vacation, to shed off any excess bloating or water retention), Pro BCAA (recovery).
Don’t: Starve yourself. In fact, there’s a good chance you may not be where you’re at because you’re not eating enough! But starvation will not yield the desired effects of speeding up fat loss. In fact, overshooting your diet can result in metabolic damage, thus positioning you further from your goals.
Do: Eat nutrient-dense foods. Never, ever compromise general health in favor of results.
Don’t: Go overboard with sugar. Try to keep it under 20 percent of your total carbohydrate intake.
Do: Maintain a flexible dieting regimen. Just because we’re pressed for time, doesn’t mean you cannot have some of your favorite foods. Remember, you’re doing this to better enjoy life, so do not completely deprive yourself, even if you do cut back. Whole, nutrient-dense foods should comprise most of what you’re eating, but as with anything else, don’t go too extreme.
Don’t: Eliminate a single food group. Do not be carb or fat-phobic, for example. This will only serve to hold you back, ultimately.
Do: Vary your nutrition based on activity level. Have a plan for proper nutrient intake for each type of day, be it strength training, conditioning, rest, etc. You must leverage your inputs with your outputs because your body’s needs will change.
Don’t: Fold after the first hurdle. Just because you’re not in the ideal position, doesn’t mean any little slip up undoes you. Guess what? That’s always going to happen. Leave it in the past and move on.
Do: Consider a food prep service. Amenities, services and availability depend on your area, so do some homework. An excellent example is Local Foodz (www.localfoodzca.com) in the San Francisco bay area.
Don’t: Follow a cookie cutter mold. Ditch the vagueness, embrace the individuality. Consult with a nutrition consultant or coach to hit the ground running on your own, customized program! MS&F