Team Fighting Fit
The Summer Beach Body Project
By Fahad Maniar – Head CoachClick here to download this blog post as a printable PDF
7 steps to ensure you are in the best shape for your summer holiday this year and have more confidence without feeling like a sack of spuds!
The clocks have gone forward, there’s a little more sunshine every now and then and daffodils can be seen growing on the sides of streets… yup, Spring has officially sprung! And that can only mean one thing, Summer is just around the corner too!
If like many people, you’ve booked a Summer Holiday or indeed, are about to book one, you’re going to want to start thinking about getting in shape for your holiday and having that elusive “Summer Body”.
Before we go on with this article, may I please get one thing very clear. Here at Team Fighting Fit, we don’t believe in fitness being a fad or a short term thing. For us, the very idea of fitness is a long term lifestyle which has more to do with how you feel on the inside than you do on the outside but getting in shape for an event, whether it’s a wedding, party or of course, the summer holiday, is a very popular way for most people to get motivated to putting in some effort and changing their lifestyle and we’re all for motivation!
In fact, I was recently in the audience of one of the world’s top entrepreneurs, Gary Vaynerchuck, In London recently. Gary had very publicly been working out and hired a personal trainer. At this event, he was being interviewed live and the interviewer noticed the weight loss to which Gary (Gary Vee, as he is affectionately known as) replied, “Yes, I’ve lost weight and it’s made me look better and when you look better you feel better)
And since we’re more about how you fundamentally feel than just for vanity purposes, it shows just how the two go hand in hand.
That aside, it’s time to talk to you about the best way for you to carve you summer body over the next few months before your Holiday with the 7 fitness tips to get you in the best shape for your holiday this summer!
Of course, these tips can be used for any event and over your life as a complete lifestyle change. Nothing here is short term or dangerous, to recommend anything like that would be folly on our part.
- Be realistic, set goals and know the time scaleThere’s a little known secret about goal setting that I am about to tell you but, before we go on about goal setting, let me start by telling you that a) whilst it does sound very cliched to start an article with goal setting, it is really really really really important to know what it is you want and why! (How important is it? yup, really!) – You see, if you’re like most people, you probably already have a million things to do, if you’ve not got a focussed result in mind that you can keep reminding yourself on a daily basis, your subconscious mind will just revert to old habits.Goal setting is a bit over rated though I will admit (what? you just said it was, like, REALY important!) – The thing is, anyone can set a goal but a goal should be set based on your reality. In other words, if you want to get 6 pack abs so you can rock the speedos or 2 piece bikini on the beach in 3 months but you’re currently 20% over the body fat percentage you need in order to see abs, it’s not going to happen and ultimately, you’re where you are now due to the habits and actions you routinely have and make. If you don’t understand and take stock of these habits and routines, you’ll find it hard to make long term changes.That’s why we suggest you look at where you are now and why you got there. Let’s be honest, you’ll know where you went wrong.Now you know that, You can set a goal to move forward. There are many ways to set goals and one of the most popular methods is to set a SMART goal. I have spoken about SMART goals a lot. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Agreeable, Realistic and Time bound.So to simply say, lose a bit of weight is not a good way to set a goal because it’s too vague. A smart goal would be, “I will lose 8% body fat in 3 months so that by the time of my holiday, I will be able to fit into a smaller bathing suit and I will do this by going to the gym 4 times a week and eating only natural foods”See the difference?
- Get Disciplined
Right, we’ve set some goals! Now it’s time to achieve them. Let’s be brutally honest now. The only “short cut” to success is to do the work that is required.
Here’s a bold claim before I go on, The next bit is something I learned from the Wake Up Warrior coaching program. If you apply this to any goal in any area of your life, you WILL succeed!
There’s a saying that discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. Let me introduce you to another acronym. TEFM. I got this one from ex NFL Super Bowl winner turned life coach Setema Gali Jr when he was a coach on a program I enrolled in last year.
TEFM stands for Thoughts, Emotions, Feelings and Moods.
He went on to say that winners succeed because they do the work despite their TEFM. In other words, If you think you don’t want to put in the work required (i.e. eat right and work out), you don’t feel like it or had a bad day or are stressed out or you just feel like a netflix binge then you’re not going to get the goal you said you wanted. You’re a winner right? (otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post) and winners act in spite of thoughts, emotions, feelings and moods!
- Build muscle, burn fat!
Okay, It’s time to get into the nitty gritty about fitness now. Your goal over the next few months before your holiday (and going forward long term) is to act with two primary objectives. Burn fat and build muscle (which then results in feeling good! How awesome!) – Everything you do, the food you eat, the training you do and the lifestyle you live should be built around those two objectives.
Looking great on the beach less to do with what the numbers say on the scales and more to do with your overall body composition. You may not lose a lot on the scale but if you can burn fat and build some muscle, you will look so much better for it. The key to this is the right kind of training and diet. That is training that incorporates resistance training (yes, that probably means weights – ladies reading this, don’t be afraid of weights, I promise you, you won’t look like a man for lifting weights, not unless you’re genetically inclined to have a higher rate of testosterone or are just taking some funky supplements (Read as anabolic steroids), you’re going to find that weight training’s only side effect is toned firm muscle, especially around the arms, stomach and bum!
It also means the right kind of cardio. You’re going to have to forget the long jogging and aerobic sessions and stick to more interval training that your body can handle. This is short bouts of high intensity exercise (See point 5) with short rest periods.
Diet wise, A diet high in natural nutrient dense foods, good fats, proteins and non starchy carbohydrates mainly from cruciferous vegetables and greens are going to be your best bet. Stay clear of alcohol, processed and fried foods as much as possible. The benefits of such a diet will be so much more than how you look on the outside as you will have huge benefits on how you feel and function on the inside!
- Nutrition is key
In the last point we ended up talking about nutrition. We stated that a diet high in natural, nutrient dense foods, good fats and proteins was the key.Remember the old adage? You are what you eat? It is very true, everything you eat goes into your gut and gets processed. Your entire health and wellness therefore is directly related to your gut. The trouble is, most people’s gut health is far from optimal. Our reliance on processed, quick foods, foods high in sugar and ingredients that inflame our bodies (think dairy, gluten, pesticides etc) and not enough nutrient dense foods leave our gastro intestinal tract (GI tract) inflamed. When the GI tract is inflamed, metabolising foods is hampered which results in slow fat loss, even fat gain and other issues such as ill health. It is therefore imperative to get your gut health on point.When we work with our clients, we encourage a 14 day detox diet where we eliminate foods that are known to cause inflammation. We also encourage foods that will detoxify the liver and body, promote insulin sensitivity and get your body to re learn how to burn fat as a fuel.Nutrition is a very intricate subject and I have created a comprehensive training video covering the basics of nutrition that you need to know here…The video will give you everything you need to know on nutrition to get going towards your goals but below are some quick tips you can apply today! Click now if you want to boost your results!
Summer Body Shortcut!Nutrition is key! follow these nutrition hacks to speed up your fat burning for your summer body!
1. Eat a portion of protein at every meal
2. Aim to eat greens at every meal
3. Drink more fresh water (Approximately 1 Litre per 25kg of body weight)
4. Eliminate starchy and processed carbohydrates as much as possible. Aim to get your carbs from greens. If you want carbs, earn them with exercise!
5. Good fats are important, supplement with 2-3 grams of fish oils per day!
6. Some foods promote fat burning, these include chilli, green tea, protein rich foods, foods containing resveratrol (peanuts, red berries and supplements) should be added to the diet
7. To burn fat you not only need to create a caloric deficit but you’ll need to ensure good gut health too, again eat foods that are natural and full of nutrients but also try to avoid foods that are known to cause inflammation such as dairy, gluten and sugar as much as possible.
- Intensity in training is everythingThe key to muscle growth and fat burn is intensity. Muscle grows when the muscle is under tension over time. With the correct recovery and nutrition, your muscle will grow and your fat will burn. Fat is burned for an energy source primarily at rest. When you work out, the higher the intensity you workout at, the more carbohydrates your body burns for energy.So why am I telling you to increase the intensity of your training? There’s a simple concept called EPOC that explains this.When you raise the intensity of your exercise through weights or high intensity cardio training (Sprints, hill running, Tabata training, boxing etc), your body uses an energy pathway known as the glycolytic pathway aka the Anaerobic energy system. This is when energy is sourced without the use of oxygen. Because oxygen is used to deal with the waste product (Hydrogen ions which increase acid levels) the higher intensity activity means you have more hydrogen ions than oxygen to cope with them at the time (this is why you breath heavier when you work out harder) which leads to that burning sensation you feel in the muscles (This is because the body’s PH level has increased in those localised areas)
This kind of training leaves metabolic “waste” which the body has to deal with by utilising more oxygen to clean them up. It’s known as Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) meaning at rest after an intense training session, your body has to burn more fat to deal with clearing up the waste.
Bottom line, try to keep most of your training sessions intense. Of course, this has a knock on effect on your body and you will require the right amount of recovery post workout. This differs from person to person but listen to your body. If you’re exhausted have a rest or active recovery session (where you do lighter work such as aerobic training or light resistance training without too much eccentric work)
- But Recovery is just as importantIf a little gets you results, than more is better, right? Not entirely. There’s a limit to when anything can become too much (or too little when it comes to things like food and caloriesHere’s a question, when are you building muscle? If you said whist you were pumping iron at the gym, you’d actually be wrong!
Training breaks your body down! What builds it up is the right amount of recovery. Recovery boils down to two key components – Nutrition and rest.
Getting the right amount of sleep is really important. The optimum amount of sleep one should be getting every night is 8 hours. During sleep, our body recovers and rebuilds and key hormones are elevated. The three main ones in relation to body composition that get elevated are testosterone, growth hormone and human growth factors. Blood sugars regulate and the stress hormone, cortisol go down. All this means your body is in a prime place to burn fat and build muscle. The trouble is, most people, especially busy people such as entrepreneurs, professionals and parents have terrible sleep patterns and even neglect sleep as a sign of weakness.
If health and body composition are important to you, then you’ll need to be getting 8 hours of quality sleep a night. This may mean that your lifestyle needs to be altered in order to attain that sleep. It may well mean switching off technology an hour before sleep time, getting to bed earlier, sacrificing late night Netflix binges or social gatherings at your local bar and again, this all boils down to discipline and how badly you want the goal.
Recovery also includes managing your stress levels. When you work out, stress levels are elevated so the most important meal you can have is your post workout meal. Your goal is to eat the adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates to limit the heightened cortisol levels through training. Cortisol is the stress hormone our body releases. In short, whilst this provides our bodies with energy in times of stress, it breaks down muscle and can even lead to the storage of fat, especially belly fat… and we want to burn fat and build muscle, not the other way around.
It also means that if you suffer from chronic stress or have stressful job, going through bereavement or a situation in your life that is stressful (break up, house move, loss of job etc), your cortisol levels will raise. Managing your stress levels becomes key. How you do this of course is up to you but one good way to manage stress and calm down is to practice daily meditation.
Over training is also a massive problem Most people don’t reach their goals in fitness despite eating well due to two reasons. They either don’t train enough or they train too much and not allow themselves to recover.
Professional athletes can get away with training for hours a day 6 days a week because they have tuned their bodies to deal with the stress of training and have also got the right nutrition and team around them to ensure adequate recovery but let’s just go off on a segway for a moment and talk about too much exercise vs the right amount of the right type.
Think of a marathon runner and sprinter. More specifically, think of Mo Farrah and Usain Bolt. Both are elite athletes in their own right but both have very very different body types. Mo has a very lean build whilst Usain has a strong, powerful and muscular frame. The reason behind this is the adaptation to training. Mo’s training will be very long aerobic sessions that burn fat as well as muscle, build more slow twitch, type 1 muscle fibres whilst Usain’s sessions will be shorter and more intense sessions of sprints and weights leading to type 2, fast twitch muscle fibre adaptations.
Your training and diet should reflect the end goal and unless you have an athletic, performance related goal, everyone I’ve ever spoken to has told me they’d rather have the physique of a sprinter as opposed to a marathon runner!
- Follow a structured planFail to plan and you plan to fail, as the saying goes. Let’s face it, most people have goals but, discipline aside, one of the main reasons for not reaching the goals is because people don’t have a structured plan on achieving it. Simply put, if you want to build a house without a blueprint, you can but guess how good that house is going to be compared to one with a solid blueprint (and not to mention the difference in the time it will take to build the entire house!)I see people go to the gym all the time, hovering from machine to machine without any idea as to what they’re doing or how. I call this “Going through the motions” – They’ll get to the gym, set their timer for an hour, go half heartedly from one machine to another without a clue as to training principles but it’s enough to post on their social media that they’ve been to the gym (#Beastmode!!!!)
According to fitness expert Martin Rooney (owner of the world renowned Training For Warriors program and someone who I hold in the highest esteem), research has been conducted to show that the best plan for fat loss and muscle gain is to work out 4 times a week incorporating 2 strength days and 2 high intensity interval training days. The strength days can be split into an upper body routine and a lower body routine. The two cardio days can be made up of circuit training, interval training, cross fit style training, tabata training, hurricane training, combat sport drills etc etc.. in other words, Cardio is an open book providing it’s high intensity interval training that you’re doing.
A typical plan could look like this:
Monday Upper Body Day
A1 Flat Bench Press
A2 Incline Dumbbell Press
B1 Military Shoulder Press
B2 Lateral Dumbbell Raises
C1 Bicep Curls
C2 Tricep Pull Downs
Tuesday Cardio day
Warm up followed by
10 x 100 mitre sprints
Thursday Lower Body Day
A1 Back Squats
A2 Stiff Leg Deadlifts
B1 Walking lunge
B2 Calf Raises
C1 Leg extensions
C2 Hamstring curls
Warm up followed by treadmill sprints. 20 seconds as fast as you can with a 10 second rest. Repeat 8 times.
3-5 minute rest
Repeat tabata circuit with bodyweight exercises
20 seconds of air squats and 20 seconds of burpees
Cool down and stretch
The above plan of course is just a guide. We don’t intend it to be a one size fits all cookie cutter program for everyone but it does give you a rough idea of how you can space your training around. On days you’re not working out you can do recovery activity such as a light jog, swim or non eccentric work.
To get a more tailored training plan, please get in touch with us. We will look at your body fat, posture and biomechanics and create a training program that will get you results in the safest way possible.
Start with a goal and start soon! The longer you procrastinate, the more time you’re going to lose which will mean the less of a result you’re going to are able to create. Just how much are you going to be able to lose? Well, A safe and effective weight loss program will allow you to lose 1-2 Lbs per week. Any more than this and you risk losing muscle.. unless of course you have a solid training and nutrition plan tailor made to your lifestyle and body type – which we can work with you to create and then you could effectively lose 2-3 lbs of FAT per week AND gain some lean muscle mass;
But let’s stick with a conservative 2 Lbs per week of weight loss and assume that it’s mostly fat. You’ll probably see an average of 2-3% overall body fat loss in a month at that rate. If your holiday is 3 months away, that’s approximately 6-9% (let’s say 10% at a push – though we have clients losing between 4-5% per month when they follow our training and nutrition protocols built for them)
If your starting point is 20% body fat, then you’ll be able to create a training and nutrition plan that will have you seeing your abs in time for your holiday, how’s that going to effect your confidence in your beach attire and then when you come home?!
Once you have your goal, it’s time to plan your nutrition and training around your plan and then become disciplined in order to do the work that’s required according to the plan (and not just any type of discipline, it may require some serious pig headed discipline)
How can we help you?
If you’re going away this summer or want to get into shape, our 90 day programmes may be perfect for you. It first starts with an initial consultation where we discuss your goals and what could be holding you back from achieving them and then managing those obstacles. We perform a fat test and initial assessment which will give you a good base line as well as allow you to set a realistic goal that will stretch you a little. We’ll assess your posture, strength and biomechanics to prescribe a training program that will work for you and enhance both your fitness and performance (a cookie cutter program may actually hinder your goals).
We also work to help you with your nutrition and lifestyle and you’ll get a copy of our 14 day detox plan which is designed to enhance your bodies ability to burn fat as well as our comprehensive, done for you, macro meal plans.
We’ll work closely with you on your fitness journey and help you get the most out of your program to ensure you get the best results possible!
If it sounds like something you would like to find more about, click below now! Hurry though, our spaces to take on new clients are extremely limited and we may only be able to work with 4-5 new clients over the next few months.Click now if you want to boost your results!