With December almost over and the New Year looming ahead, some of you may already be feeling the heat to get in shape, especially if that was your brought-over resolution from years on end. It feels like a daily struggle and at times, a confusing one, especially with all these self-proclaimed Internet fitness gurus that claim to have the secret training of diet formula that can get you to achieve your weight loss goals. Some of you may even have bought their online fitness plans or some swanky new supplement product only to be left disappointed at the lack of visible results.
The truth is, when it comes to getting lean and mean, a couple of fundamental fitness tricks can make a difference between decent and exceptional results (think bikini fitness models). For instance, instead of busting your body through a brutal five-day weekly session or go on a fancy new diet and skimp your meals through, implement small but smart, beneficial changes that are sustainable in the long run. Still unsure where to start? Keep reading and allow us to help you through.
Always Stay Hydrated
As sixty per cent of the human body is made up of water, lack of it can leave you feeling mentally and physically drained. Not only is water vital for nutrient absorption and proper digestion, but it is also necessary for fat burning. You should be chugging down at least four litres of water every day — and by water, we mean good old plain water, not your regular Sprite or Vodka. Water flushes toxins out of your system, helps you feel satisfied for longer periods of time and prevents you from suffering dehydration-related reductions in performance training. While you can conveniently sip on water throughout the day, we strongly encourage you to focus on chugging down as much water as possible before and after your meals. Drinking a glass of water before your meal effectively suppresses your appetite and prevents you from eating more than you should, while having one after washes everything down and aids your body’s digestive process.
If a drop in size is your prize, then you better bring on the intensity at each and every one of your workout sessions. When you focus on proper form and train with intensity, your body expends more energy, which translates into more calories burned. Challenge yourself at every workout session — upon completing your regular sets in the hypertrophy range of between eight and twelve repetitions, spice things up with exigent finishing techniques such as focusing on the negatives, drop-sets or forced reps if you have a training partner. Always keep an eye on your stopwatch and time your rest periods between sets to ensure they are not too long and avoid the temptation of the watercooler chatter with your babes just to buy yourself more time after draining yourself out on the previous set. Ultimately, these gruelling sessions in the gym will reward you with a metabolism boost which can translate into more fats and calories getting torched throughout the day.
Mix It Up in the Gym
When we talk about fat loss, it is natural for cardio to immediately come to mind. However, if you want to achieve maximum results, add in some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into the mix, HIIT has been proven to be more valuable than steady-state cardio as it charges up your metabolism and improves your body’s capability to continue melting away those fats long after you step out of the gym. Another perk of HIIT is that the routine typically lasts for no longer than twenty to thirty minutes, handing you the convenience of getting your workout in the bag swiftly. Minimal time commitment, maximum benefit — what’s there not to like?
General fitness and weight loss do not remain behind in the gym once your session is over. It is an ongoing, round-the-clock effort — your two hours of sweat in the gym is never enough to cover you for the remaining 22 hours. In order to achieve optimal results, make sure you get yourself enough quality sleep. Fitness experts and doctors alike have reiterated time and again the importance of your beauty sleep. If your body is not getting the necessary downtime for itself to recover, it can fall into a stressed state, which may lead to a spike in cortisol levels and other hormonal imbalances. Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that sleep deprivation often leads to cravings and hunger pangs, and may veer you off your weight loss quest. Sleep is extremely important for fat loss, so commit to clocking at least eight hours of shut-eye every night.
Take Progress Photos
This may be the perfect tip for the selfie queens out there! Snapping a couple of progress photos every week or two can do wonders to your mental strength and help you stay on track. Sometimes, a visual proof is all it takes to convince yourself that all the sweat and tears are indeed paying off even when it seems like a different story when checking yourself out in the mirror. After all, pictures never lie.