Thankfully, the idea of a beach holiday this year is looking ever more likely, for us here in the UK at least. That being said, the prospect of exposing a post-lockdown physique will no doubt fill many with dread. This needn’t be the case. Now it’s time to fast-track the beach-body look.
My advice to those wishing to get beach-body ready however, does not differ from that which I have given in any normal year. Typically around July, many of my male gym-going friends ask me how they can ‘look their best’, given only a few weeks to go before a holiday. My advice surprises most, since they expect me to suggest high-intensity training; involving big weights with lots of protein and carbs to build the muscles. To be honest, anyone hoping to build a good physique in a couple of weeks is frankly a little naïve. The best you can hope to achieve at such a late stage is to sculpture what you already have.
Naturally, the quickest way to obtain a muscular look is to increase the reps during exercise and to diet, diet, diet. This means eating an ultra-low-carb diet, plenty of protein and copious amounts of water and tea. The effect of a low-carb diet is to put the body in a state of ketosis, thus forcing it to breakdown fat reserves. Whereas the drinking of lots of water is to reduce the camel affect and tea help to reduce water retention, since both are natural diuretics.
Below is a suggestion of the sort of diet I have followed to reduce carbs (low glycaemic load), yet mitigate feeling of hunger. Indeed, with such an approach, you will stabilise your blood sugar which will help to break the sugar dependency.
|Breakfast||Porridge with berries||Large bowl||3|
|Mid-morning snack||Mixed Nuts with Natural Yoghurt||Small bowl||3|
|Lunch||Mushroom Omelette with cheese and salad||3 eggs, large plate||2|
|Tea/Afternoon snack||Protein Smoothie||Pint (1/2l)||1|
|Supper/Dinner**||Chilli con carne with Quinoa||200g beef. Small serving of Quinoa||4|
|Pre-bed||Milk||1 small glass||2|
*GL – refers to Glycaemic Load
** To eat smarter, try switching lunch for supper.
Shorter workouts, more reps
One side-effect of rapidly reducing carbohydrate consumption is to reduce your energy levels (in the short-term at least). This will mean that naturally you will have to reduce the weights used in a gym workout. However to retain the intensity levels required to burn calories, you will need to increase the reps and shorten the workout. Psychologically this is often a difficult change, especially for those used to the high-load/low-rep approach. But from my experience of the natural bodybuilding world, most people consider someone ‘cut’ to look more muscular and aesthetically more pleasing, than a seemingly bigger, more rounded individual; especially when in summer clothes or swimwear.
So with that being said, try to think of the beach-body preparation as more of a focussed dieting exercise rather than a bulking one.