It may not feel like it, but summer will soon be upon us. This means ample opportunity to walk around with your shirt off and impress everyone. But right now that may not be such an appealing idea.
One thing that winter always provides is a few extra inches around the waist, and a determination that you’ll be ripped by summer.
But how do you go about getting shredded between now and the end of spring? Well this article will help you get there. We are going to look at five ways to get shredded this summer.
Tip #1: Take stock of your current situation
Before making any plans you really should take a good look at where you are currently at physique and fitness wise.
If you are borderline obese and haven’t run 100m since high school then jumping into a 5 times per week crossfit program is probably not going to lead to good results!
But even if you are in decent shape, you will still get huge benefits from assessing your current position.
How will you ever measure progress if you never took a before photo? Or before measurements using a tape measure and a set of scales?
How are you going to adjust your calories if you don’t know how many calories you are already consuming?
How can you increase the intensity of your workouts if you aren’t currently keeping track of your weights, reps, and rate of perceived exhaustion (RPE) during a session.
Start tracking your calories, weigh yourself, take a “before” photo, and use a tape measure to record your waist, chest, arm, and leg circumference.
Retake these measurements on a weekly and record them, you’ll then have a good idea about how you are progressing.
Tip #2: Track calories and macros
Tracking calories and macros may not be essential if you are simply looking to lose weight (though they certainly make it simpler). But when you are looking to get shredded, a calorie tracking app is essential kit.
Okay maybe not essential – pretty sure none of the Pumping Iron bodybuilders had myfitnesspal! But it’s so much easier when you are tracking calories as it can prevent accidentally overeating, can help you identify which foods take you closer and which foods take you further away from your goals.
Finding your calories and macronutrients is pretty easy, just use a calorie tracking calculator. Then you can choose which macro ratio you want to follow, usually a moderate carb intake which gets reduced as your diet progresses.
Make sure that your protein intake is as high as ever though, because it will help to prevent muscle loss during prolonged calorie restriction.
Work out your calorie targets, choose the macro ratio that fits your goals, and keep protein high throughout.
Tip #3: Get your 10,000 steps in
As your calories drop further and further down over the weeks your activity levels will inevitably fall.
One way that your body will look to preserve energy is through non exercise activity thermogenesis (also known as NEAT). This is all of the calories that you burn while NOT exercising: walking, cleaning, climbing stairs, even the simple act of standing burns a few calories.
If your NEAT levels drop then your metabolism will also drop, which will make weight loss more difficult. One way that bodybuilders deal with this is through long, slow bouts of treadmill walking, or slow pedalling on a recumbent bike.
You can also do this, but increasing your step count throughout the day is probably a better idea. It’s also much more enjoyable!
Download a step-counting app onto your phone, and get walking! Walk to work (if possible), or park your car further away. Take the dog round the block when you get home, or just go for a nice walk on your own.
Tip #4: Time your rest periods
Training in the gym is one of the best ways to lose weight possible, that’s obvious. But if you want to lose weight properly you’ll need to get your intensity right. This means that you need lots of high rep sets, and short rest periods of around 45-60 seconds.
The best way to ensure that you are getting the right amount of rest between sets is to time it.
If you’re not fit enough to manage this (you’ll realise this pretty quickly while training) then you can extend the rest periods slightly, and work on shortening them rather than increasing the weights or reps.
Also, as the diet progresses your intensity will naturally drop (as we mentioned above), so your rest periods may need to increase slightly.
Use the stopwatch on your phone to time your rest periods, alternatively download a proper rest period timer app onto your phone.
Remember to listen to your body if you are suffering more than you should be during a session.
Tip #5: Go for full body workouts
Training lower and upper body as part of one session will help you to increase volume and to burn more calories during a session.
It also means that you can cut down the number of weight sessions that you are performing in the gym, which means you have more time for cardio (either low intensity or high intensity).
Adding in lots of compound movements such as barbell squats, bench presses, shoulder presses, deadlifts, and walking lunges will massively increase the calories burned per session.
Create a full body program that you can hit three to four times per week.
Try to cover all muscles and place a rest day in between each session. The “rest day” can be used for cardio or active rest where you increase your step count.
Planning everything in advance is essential, but don’t spend too much time worrying about finding the perfect plan.
There is no such thing, and those guys who follow a terrible program religiously will always get better results than the guy who is paralysed by over thinking programs and ends up doing nothing!