As the weather heats up and summer and summer is just a few weeks away, we all feel the urge to shed a bit of fat so we can be ready for the beach. While having a sculpted or shredded physique shouldn't be your main fitness goal, staying lean is a worthy pursuit and demands good choices and a healthy lifestyle.
So before you go to the local GNC and load up on fat burners and cleanse kits, let's assess three areas of our lives and make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck.
1. Nutrition- Stick to low density carb sources and eat sufficient protein and fat. This means leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables and meats, eggs, nuts, seeds and oils for dressing. As discussed in Thin Dad, Fat Dad, the fat burning is happening when you're not working out. Get past the initial sugar withdrawal and create an environment at home and work where the only choices are good ones.
2. Exercise- Quick, fast, heavy gym sessions. Long and slow outdoor activities. Lifting heavy and getting your heart rate up into anaerobic zones for brief periods will stimulate favourable fat-burning hormonal activity and elevated metabolism, respectively. Keep your longer cardio sessions leisurely, as pushing into moderate levels of activity for a longer period of time may cause you to be super hungry all the time and push your cortisol levels up, causing you to hold onto your fat stores. Heavy lifting (deadlifts and squats) and constant easy moving will leverage your nutritional efforts.
3. Lifestyle- The sun's out. Relax. Laugh lots, drink less alcohol, sleep more. Stress and extreme "busy-ness" can cause you to make poor choices with nutrition and lower your motivation to work out. Get some sun, make sure to sleep at least seven hours, and engage in tasks that help you relax.
(the photo was chosen in memory of the late Greg Plitt)