Ok I know at times the gods don’t always deliver the perfect sunshine that you might be craving, it is England remember. But no question there will be times over the next few months when the debate about which pair of flip flops to wear and which beach to visit will rear its head. As a gym based fitness trainer who also teaches outdoor circuits I regularly see first-hand the summer upsurge in people wanting to get in shape for holidays and the predicted wave of sunshine.
As is often the case though despite the best intentions and levels of work rate, most of this committed demographic fail to achieve their initial targets. This can be for many reasons; but one which is always common with most individuals but not often discussed is poor calorie control. Don’t worry if you’re wondering what ‘poor calorie control’ means, the purpose of the following short article is to give you a better understanding of this described through 10 simple nutrition tips which will hopefully see you maximise your Summer training results.
Right so before we get into the bones of how and when to eat, lets firstly look at calorie counting.
Question: How many of you actually count the amount of calories you consume each day? If you don’t then start now; my first tip is to write down for 7 days everything you consume (food and drink) within a food diary. Having it on paper or even better in your phone will make it easier for you to total up your calories, understand what you eat and more importantly stop you from sneaking in too many treats!
Counting calories will of course help, but naturally you need to know how many calories your body requires each day for weight loss, gain or maintenance. Living in the technological age that we do let me try and explain how to use an online basal metabolic rate (BMR) calculator.
✓ Visit our BMR calculator page then, when the home screen opens enter your height, weight and age in the provided boxes and hit calculate.
✓ Then with the calculated bmr number let’s say ‘1542’ for example you need to multiply this by your weekly physical activity level (PAL) to give you your active metabolic rate (AMR); here are the numbers which you need…
- Exercising 1-3 times a week is 1.375
- Exercising 3-5 times a week is 1.55
- Exercising 6-7 times a week is 1.725)*In example 1542 x 1.375 = 2,120 (AMR).
✓ For the last step, you need to either minus or add 500-1000 calories from your AMR to work out how many calories you need to consume each day. In example for weight loss the figure would be 2,120 – 500 = 1,620 kcals.
Recycle Your Calories
Tip 2 ties in again with the above mention of calorie counting but applies more to those who are specifically hitting a plateau in their weight loss efforts. Have you ever heard of calorie recycling? this is where you change the amount of calories you consume almost daily to speed up the bodies fat burning processes. In example instead of just reducing your diet by 500-1,000 calories a day as mentioned above you would follow a template similar to what is shown below (example 1).
Weekly Calorie Overview (Example 1)
‣ Monday = Your AMR Number (Minus 700 kcals from exercise and nutrition)
‣ Tuesday = Your AMR Number (Minus 500 kcals from exercise and nutrition)
‣ Wednesday = Your AMR Number (Minus 300 kcals from exercise and nutrition)
‣ Thursday = Your AMR Number (Minus 700 kcals from exercise and nutrition)
‣ Friday = Your AMR Number (Minus 500 kcals from exercise and nutrition)
‣ Saturday = Your AMR Number (Minus 300 kcals from exercise and nutrition)
‣ Sunday = Your AMR Number (Minus 0 kcals)
Total calories burnt = 3000 each week (this equates to a weekly weight loss of nearly 2lbs per week)
The premise behind example 1 is the metabolism never lowers but your body continues to burn excess fat when at rest. This way of eating is excellent for people who want safe and effective weight loss without hitting a plateau.
The second formula I recommend is for people who have less weight to lose and are equally focused on increasing muscle tone and definition. It works by loading the body up with energy (Complex Carbohydrates) the day before strenuous exercise whilst additionally providing you with the necessary nutrients (protein) to help recovery and repair after exercise.
Weekly Calorie Overview (Example 2)
‣ Monday (Exercise Session) = Your AMR Number – 400 kcals carbs – 800 kcals protein – 200 kcal fat
‣ Tuesday = Your AMR Number – 1000 kcals carbs – 600 kcals protein – 200 kcals fat
‣ Wednesday (Exercise Session) = Your AMR Number – 400 kcals carbs – 800 kcals protein – 200 kcal fat
‣ Thursday = Your AMR Number – 1000 kcals carbs – 600 kcals protein – 200 kcals fat
‣ Friday (Exercise Session) = Your AMR Number – 400 kcals carbs – 800 kcals protein – 200 kcal fat
‣ Saturday = Your AMR Number – 1000 kcals carbs – 600 kcals protein – 200 kcals fat
‣ Sunday = Your AMR Number – 1000 kcals carbs – 600 kcals protein – 200 kcals fat
You should note that with example 2 carbohydrates can be consumed both before and after exercise and you can partake in less strenuous training on some of your rest days i.e. Tuesday, Thursday and the weekends. There are other calorie recycling methods out there some more proven than others, but the given examples above I believe are 2 of the easiest to follow and in my experience have stimulated the most positive results when put into action.
As we start pulling in towards the conclusion of this article I would like to finish by sharing some further short nutrition tips that need to be considered in the pursuit of the ultimate beach body.
– Source all of your carbohydrates from whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.
– Try and eat organic for every meal or snack where possible.
– Eat ‘complete’ proteins organic meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
– Lower your saturated fat intake (below 30g Male, 20g Female a day) and instead source fats from palm oils, animal fats and nuts/seeds.
– Eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day and always eat a larger breakfast straight after waking up.
– Watch your processed sugar intake Males should consume no more 30g a day, Females 20g.
– Drink 3-4 litres of water a day.
– Sleep 7-8 hours a night.
You should note here that tips 3 to 10 should always be adhered to no matter if you’re training for weight loss, gain or maintenance, whereas tips 1 and 2 apply purely to those looking to trim off body fat. Remember once you have reached your ideal weight I highly recommend you convert to eating the actual required calories to match your current AMR (Active Metabolic Rate) to prevent you putting any weight back on. In addition I also recommend re-calculating your BMR and AMR every 4 weeks using the tools mentioned above as these will both change when following a calorie controlled plan.