OK, 2020 has been a difficult year to say the least.
COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on people’s physical and mental health, and a year of looking into lockdown (and some pretty understandable eating and drinking comforts) left most of us fighting what could be politely called a “pandemic belly”.
After a year of just exercising our thumbs while scrolling endlessly through the options for food delivery apps, we arrived in the middle of summer with a lot more of us to love.
But that doesn’t mean it’s time to toss the towel.
With a month of summer remaining – and more than likely warmer days beyond – there is still plenty of time to begin your diet and exercise routine so you can get back to your beach body before the colder season arrives and your softer parts return from oversized coats and sweaters to be camouflaged.
Do you think beach bottoms are made in the gym? Fork-et about it.
You can put on lycra and ride a bike to your heart’s content every day at dawn. However, if you don’t pay close attention to the food that goes into your esophagus, you are wasting your time.
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As everyone knows, the key to weight loss is consuming more calories than you are consuming. A good way to do this is with a “flexitarian” diet, a nutritiously healthy option that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and plant-based proteins – all foods that have more fiber and fewer calories per bite.
FASTING WORKS, AND IT WORKS FAST
Intermittent fasting – a ritual that dates back to the early texts of Socrates, Plato, and religious groups – can also have excellent health benefits and contribute to rapid weight loss.
Longer low-calorie diets can cause the body to adapt to the calorie restriction, thereby limiting weight loss, while fasting circumvents this problem by alternating between low-calorie levels for a short time and then eating normally.
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There are several forms of fasting, including alternating days and all day. Most popular, however, is a time-limited method called “16/8” where you limit your daily food intake to an eight-hour window and avoid eating for the other 16 hours (that is, eating between 9am and 5pm and in between do not consume anything for 16 hours).
GET IN INTERVALS
If you’ve ever spent a ton of time on a running machine and overcome the empty feeling of literally nowhere to go, chances are you’re actually doing something.
Long, low-to-mid-level workouts may feel effective – and they’ll start producing results over time – but the hard truth is, only high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been proven to be an effective way to help you lose pounds quickly.
HIIT involves short, sharp workouts – some programs only last 10 minutes – with high-intensity activities like sprints that alternate with periods of rest.
Researchers at the British Journal of Sports Medicine recently concluded that these short bursts of activity, interrupted by short rest periods, can reduce both body fat and overall weight, with people who do interval training losing 28.5 percent more weight than those who do who don’t.
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Essentially, it’s about quality over quantity – there is no point in exercising a certain number of hours per week and automatically expecting to lose weight. It is ultimately what you do during these workouts that makes the real difference.
SEVEN DAY PLAN
I want you to do the following. For the next seven days, spend strictly on the 16: 8 diet, doing only 20 minutes a day (yes, every day) of HIIT training. Intervals can be as simple as 40 seconds of star jumping and 20 seconds of rest, followed by sprinting again in place, then climbers, squats and sit-ups, repeating the entire sequence four times.
You will see results.
Adam MacDougall is the creator of The man shakes | @ adammacdougall5 | adam_macdougall_