Summer is a time for barbecues, beaches, and vacations, but for athletes, it’s a chance to display their hard work. After months of training in the gym and on the field or court, the year’s warmer months are usually when the physically fit among us receive the most attention.
But obtaining that summer body is much easier said than done. Losing any kind of weight is challenging, but for athletes and true fitness buffs, the emphasis is on cutting, or losing fat while maintaining muscle.
Cutting is typically considered the hardest component of any fitness plan because it requires equal parts physical and mental endurance. You can bust your tail all day in the gym, but if you can’t discipline yourself to eat the right foods, you won’t achieve your goals.
As summer closes in, here are a few tips for those looking to cut to help achieve that summer body before the warm weather becomes permanent:
Lift weights regularly
Most serious athletes and fitness enthusiasts know that they need to lift weights consistently to maintain muscle mass as they cut fat. Unfortunately, there is a pervasive myth in the general population that cardio is best for fat loss. Women in particular will sometimes shy away from the weights, for fear of becoming too muscular.
But adding muscle mass will actually help you lose fat, since muscle mass burns more calories than fat, even while resting. If you’re cutting, it’s actually more important to lift weights than it is to do cardio. For best results, you should incorporate both activities.
And don’t worry – it takes years and years of dedicated training to attain the “buff” look that some women are turned off by, though many people find a muscular build equally as attractive in men and women.
Eat at a caloric deficit
As mentioned, your diet is the foundation of a successful cut. Choosing the right foods will not only fuel you up for your daily responsibilities (including workouts), it will help you maintain a caloric deficit - you’ll burn more calories each day than you take in. This is the scientific process that causes the human body to lose weight: When there is no energy left from the calories in your food, your body will turn to its fat and muscle stores.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to only lose fat without losing some muscle mass, but with regular lifting and a diet of sufficient protein, it’s possible to minimize that muscle loss. Without a caloric deficit, however, your cut will go nowhere.
Incorporate HIIT cardio
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It’s sometimes known as tabata, named after Dr. Izumi Tabata, whose interval training program helped the Japanese Olympic speed skating team attain increased stamina and performance.
In a typical HIIT program, you exercise at a rapid pace close to your maximum capacity for 20 to 30 seconds (sprint), followed by another 20 or 30 seconds at a more moderate pace (rest). If you do it right, you’ll probably only be able to get through four to six cycles of HIIT, meaning the entire workout might only take five or six minutes.
But don’t be fooled by the brief duration. A well-executed HIIT program will burn just as many calories as 20 or 30 minutes of moderate exercise, in a fraction of the time. HIIT cardio also helps improve your VO2 max and the function of your blood vessels.
Choose a diet that works for you
One of the biggest mistakes people make when attempting to plan their meals on a cut is believing that they must stick to one specific, rigid type of eating pattern. They see a high-performing athlete who eats the same foods every day and believe that the same exact style of eating will work for them.
This simply isn’t the case. As long as you are getting enough sleep, lifting weights, and maintaining a caloric deficit, your body will lose fat. If you are hitting your daily calorie and macronutrient goals, feel free to plan your diet any way you wish. The best program is one that you’ll stick to, so plan meals around your schedule, tastes, and fitness goals. You can even incorporate some treats like rich desserts, sandwiches, and pizza - as long as you plan adequately and enjoy them in moderation.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid produced naturally in the body. It helps us produce energy by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria where it is believed to promote energy production.* L-Carnitine also aids in the process of converting food to energy, which offers extra support for both aerobic activity like moderate-intensity cardio, and anaerobic activity like sprinting or HIIT.*
MET-Rx’s L-Carnitine formula is also fortified with a high dosage of Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), which further aids the body in converting food to energy.* Our blend will not only assist in getting you into better shape, it helps provide endurance for physical activity and promotes recovery afterwards.*
With a good plan, the proper attitude, and the right supplements, anyone can build a summer body to be proud of. Start your pursuit of the next level of fitness with MET-Rx today.*