Summer is coming - How to get beach body ready
It's that time of the year again. Weddings, vacations, and more sunshine usually mean that we'll be wearing a lot less clothes in the coming months. If you've gone off the deep end with your diet this winter and want to shed a few pounds before beach season, here's some easy ways to get started...
Green vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that help regulate blood insulin and metabolism, both are which are paramount for fat loss. Not only that, but their fiber content will improve your digestive health and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, spinach, and arugula are some of the most nutrient dense.
Protein is not only the building block for gaining lean muscle but it is also has the highest thermic effect of any macronutrient (5x greater). What does that mean? Your body actually burns calories just by having a higher percentage of protein in your diet. Protein comes in many forms but the lean varieties work best for fat loss....fish, egg whites, poultry, nonfat greek yogurt, and nonfat cottage cheese.
Many of our favorite snacks and sides (chips, crackers, pretzels, rice, white potatoes, breads) are packed with high GI carbohydrates, meaning that your body tends to process them in the same way as sugar. When consumed regularly, they can wreak havoc on your metabolism and fat loss goals. Going cold turkey can be tough though. So what are some good starch substitutes for weight loss? Squash (all varieties), beans (all varieties), and quinoa. If you're trying to kick sugary snacks try blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or cherries.
Development of lean body mass (muscle) is another highly effective tool for fat loss. Having more muscle tissue means that your body burns more calories at rest. The common misconception "lifting weights will make you bulky" couldn't be more untrue. For a visual representation, check out the above photo. Muscle and fat both weigh the same but muscle takes up a fraction of the space that fat does. Want to get lean and toned? Pick up a barbell and hit some compound movements.
While it might seem innocuous, sleep is a critical factor for fat loss. Lack of sleep increases the production of two hormones (cortisol and ghrelin) which control hunger and energy utilization (how your body uses/stores calories). The light from electronic devices such as TV's, cell phones, and computers interrupt sleep cycles and hinder our ability to get a good night's rest. If you want your metabolic engine to be running at 100%, 7-8 hours of sleep each night is the best way to get there. Tune out two hours before bed.