Summer is approaching on the 21st of June and it's only a matter of time before those sunglasses come out and those roof tops come down! Take a read of how to get shredded in time for summer!
Do you know your macros? (Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat intake). Before you start your shred, you need to calculate your macronutrients in order to know how many calories you should be consuming and how many you should be depleting by. Unsure how to calculate yours? Take a read here. Nutrition is key to your diet as you need to nourish your body, especially when it's going through changes. There is a saying of 70% diet and 30% training, but in my opinion it should be 100% diet and 100% training. Calculating your macros allows you to see exactly what you need to be consuming (IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros), and the great thing about this is that it's tailored specifically to you and your goals.
Now that you have your nutrition in place, you need to focus on your training. Weight training is the best form of fat loss, as the more muscle that you have, the quicker you burn fat. More mass helps to burn more clories at rest and will also increase your metabolism, so excess fat is shredded quicker. Cardio will also benefit your training, but you don't need to do vigorous amounts (i.e. one hour a day, 6 days a week). Two-three days a week will be enough along with your weight training.
With an increase in training and a decrease in calories, you may be lacking the correct amount of nutrients and vitamins that you need. This is where supplements come in to help. They are here to supplement your diet and provide you with the correct nutrients that you're deficient in. What should you take?
Protein is essential for lean muscle mass and growth. As mentioned before, the quicker you build muscle, the more fat will be lost. You will also be increasing your protein intake and decreasing your carbs when shredding, so if you struggle to do this through your food intake, then protein shakes will massively help you to reach your targets. There are many different types of Protein you can take such as Whey 80 or Whey 90, all which have different carbs and protein intake, so make sure to see which one fits your macros best.
Branch chain amino acids are great for preventing muscle tissue breakdown whilst promoting quicker recovery. These are best used during a workout when your muscle fibres are tearing.
Hydration is key to your training and health. Staying hydrated helps to keep the kidneys functioning efficiently which help to transport nutrients around the body (also improving your energy). Plus did you know that an average person sweats 0.8-1.4 litres of water per hour during exercise? (That's ONE hour of the day, think about all of the other hours). Topping up your water intake will keep your body functioning efficiently.
Whilst supplementing your body throughout training, it's also sensible to nourish your body during the recovery stage. ZMA promotes deep sleep and recovery which is essential for protein synthesis to occur.
When drinking alcohol, many calories are consumed. This isn't necessarily always the alcohol itself but the mixers that are accompanied with it. This doesn't mean to say that you can drink lots of spirits neat and still be healthy! One study showed that athletes who drank after working out had lower rates of protein synthesis (this increases muscle size and aids muscle repair). Another study showed that alcohol could limit your muscles ability to take up and utilize glucose (which is what your muscles rely on for energy). So really, there is no best time to drink alcohol when training, i.e before or after. Just bare in mind the consequences and how much you're drinking. An occasional drink here and there won't do enough damaging harm, but drinking every week will slow down your progress.
SleepWhy is sleep so crucial? Studies show that sleep deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. This is because sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and causes poor regulation. Lack of sleep also affects your concentration which is dangerous when training, especially with weight training. Longer sleep has been shown to significantly improve exercise performance, especially with speed, accuracy and reaction times. So make sure that you're getting sufficient amounts of sleep to aid recovery and set your body fresh for the next day!