How to Cut Down for Summer
Weight loss is a game of consistency and it will test your mental and physical abilities. If you're ready for one of the greatest challenges you have faced then this is it.
Snow has finally left us, pollen is in the air and commercials for beach side resorts are now coming up on every major TV show. All of this marks the start of summer, and time for you to lock down your summer body.
Not only will this guide help you to succeed reaching your goals, but you will also develop a great deal of character working through this challenge. At the end of the day, weight loss is a combination of so many factors. Cutting for summer and bringing your body fat to a percentage where the abs and other muscles are well defined is an even greater struggle. It takes time and dedication that is fixated on one specific goal.
Here are some things you should consider before starting your summer cut.
Weight Loss Is A Challenge
We already briefly talked about how much of a challenge weight loss is. In general, any goal in the gym is difficult. Even building muscle is a huge challenge - it doesn't just happen by showing up at the gym, just as the weight will not just disappear if you go for a run every morning.
You Need To Record Everything
This is one of the most overlooked components of any workout program. Unless you record your results, how do you know if you are actually making progressions? Sure, the scale can show that you’ve lost a kilo, but this could just be water weight, you could be dehydrated - many factors go into your overall weight.
Before you get started on this guide you need to make sure you are ready to record everything. You will need to record all your starting measurements - hip/waist ratio, daily calories, hours of sleep etc and then each day you can pair new results with your baseline (first day) measurements.
Only by doing this will you ensure that you are making true, accountable progressions in your weight loss and fat loss.
Here's an example of how to record your results.
REPS @ WEIGHT
12 @ 10 kgs
8 @ 60 kgs
Think of This As A Second Job
The amount of time you will spend meal prepping, working out, sleeping and hydrating will take up much of your day outside of work. This, in many ways, could be viewed as a secondary job. By seeing this weight loss challenge as a daily commitment you can view your overall situation as one that is essential and important.
Do It For The Right Reasons
Losing weight to look better is important - but have you ever thought of it from the perspective of weight loss for general health?
Try to put aside the expectations of what physique you want to see. Move away from the standards and pressures of the media and train to live stronger and healthier. Your body is a well oiled machine and training accordingly could make this the perfect time to make more applicable lifestyle changes for weight loss, muscle building and the development of a stronger sense of vitality.
This brings us to our last point to consider before starting…
Be Ready To Build Muscle
As much as your goal is oriented directly to weight loss, building muscle is an important component in your success. Sure, you can jump on a treadmill for 60 minutes a day and burn calories and you could lose some weight, yet, in order to build that ideal beach body - the one you feel confident in, you might need to build a little muscle.
Not to worry though, building muscle will also help to burn more calories and accelerate your weight loss and overall summer cutting goals.
8 Step Summer Cutting Guide
To be successful in your summer cut you must have a good handle on your nutrition. There is really no point in training your butt off without a whole-food balanced diet - it's just too difficult.
Trying to outrun your diet is like swimming against the waves. It's possible, but way more work than necessary.
This is why it is so important for you to keep your diet in check and always emphasise balance and consistency. With a burger joint on every corner, this can be quite a difficult task, although we are here to show you how.
Step 1: Follow A Balanced Nutrition Program
For many people, this goes without saying, yet if you used a fitness app you would find that you might not have the balance you thought you did.
Balance is not eating high protein and high fat - this is nearly the opposite of balance. In order to emphasise balance, we should use the simple macro split of 50/30/20.
50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% fat.
Only by hitting these macros as best as possible will we be able to consistently making strength gains (in the gym) and weight loss. Let's take a more detailed look at our macronutrients and specific foods that will help you to succeed.
Potentially the best food you can eat for weight loss are ones that are protein dense. Protein is the only macronutrient that is not stored, meaning any excess is released as waste. Consuming 30% of your diet from lean protein sources like fish, chicken, beans and soy products can be a great way to influence the strength and weight loss.
Carbs are not the enemy, you just need to eat the correct ones. Do your best to consume carbs that are complex, high in fibre and have been through as little processing as possible. This means eating lots of oats, grains, vegetables and fruit.
Fats are very important in hormone balancing and cell growth, but they do not play a large role in weight loss or fat loss. Although a “high-fat” diet can be effective for some, the percentage of success is much lower than a balanced diet. Try to eat 20% of your diet from fat sources containing unsaturated fats. These are foods like vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
The last thing to consider when we say “balanced” is to not starve yourself. Although eating fewer calories, in general, could influence weight loss you will need the calories for your training.
Maintaining A Caloric Deficit
The best way to influence weight loss with your balanced nutrition program is to maintain a caloric deficit.
A caloric deficit is eating a percentage of calories less than your daily requirement to maintain weight. We recommend starting with 15-20% deficit and making changes as needed.
For example: if you need 2000 calories daily in order to maintain weight a healthy caloric deficit of 15% would have you eating approximately 1700 calories daily.
Do not forget that you will be training hard (well get to the workouts later). This is one of the main reasons why you need to have balance in your diet.
Without proper nutrients from all food groups, your body will struggle to recover and could potentially enter into an injury spectrum.
Step 2: Eat More Fibrous Foods
The rise of paleo and ketogenic diets have helped many achieve a more lean and strong look, yet they lack one of the essential elements of weight loss and health in general - fibre.
Eating more fibrous fruits will help you to not only obtain fibre in your diet but fruit also contains many essential vitamins and minerals to support healthy growth.
Fruit can also be used as a very effective glycogen replenishment tool after a workout making it a very versatile addition to your nutrition program.
You should try your best to eat 3-4 servings of fruit daily. For best results eat lots of apples, banana and mangos as they are very high in fibre.
Step 3: Understand Supplementation
Before you go popping a bunch of fat burners it can be very useful to understand which supplements work best for weight loss and fat loss - and why.
Here are the top 3 supplements you can take to improve your body composition:
We’re sure we all knew this one and it's a substance that many of us use every day. Caffeine is a stimulant that elevates your body into a higher thermogenic state - this higher thermogenic state can influence weight loss and fat loss.
It should be noted that caffeine is a drug and consumption can lead to minor dependency. Do your best to keep your caffeine allowance to under 200mg/day.
This amino acid is regularly found in everyday protein sources yet a higher dosage has been shown to help assist in lipid oxidation.
Lipid (fat) oxidation is a process of utilizing stored fat as energy. This is one of the main reasons why many pre-workouts or energy amplifiers will use L-carnitine as an addition - it can help you to burn fat faster, and since fat contains high amounts of calories you can use this as energy for a workout (instead of storing it).
For best results try supplementing 1-2g L-carnitine 30 min prior to a workout.
Capsaicin is the chemical name for an extract found in chilli peppers. Yup, that's right, eating spicy food and its extracts could actually help you to lose weight.
Ever go for hot wings and halfway through you start sweating and regret your decision? This is the same mechanism that can help you to lose weight.
Hot and spicy food contains properties that quite literally heat up your body - this is known as the thermic effect of food. Every food has a thermic effect, as all calories need to be “burned” in order to be utilised as energy, but spicy foods or supplements capsaicin can produce a greater thermic effect. This thermic effect heats up the body and can help you in your quest to weight loss by burning more calories throughout the day.
In order for you to succeed in the next steps, you must always remember that a balanced diet is needed in order to succeed. If you take it upon yourself to eat far less than is needed or eat foods that are way outside your macronutrient split you may not see the results you want. Stay clear and dedicated toward a long-term weight loss goal by emphasizing balance at all times.
The next steps in our summer cutting guide are where the work really begins.
Exercise and Lifestyle
Nutrition is very important - perhaps the most important part of your summer cut. With that said a complete exercise and lifestyle plan will help to enable better and faster results.
Step 4: Planning Your Workouts
Just as you meal prep to ensure you are getting all the right calories at the correct times you must emphasise planning in your exercise program.
Remember, we are thinking of this summer cutting as a second job - planning the workouts are just another component in hitting the targets you set for yourself.
In order for you to see the growth and success that you want you should be planning your workouts to include all aspects of training. Do not become overly fixated on one component - instead try to implement all forms of cardio, strength training and HIIT workouts in order to best hit your targets.
All forms of training will provide your body with variability and will help you to see progressive strength.
A simple way to ensure you are setting your workouts up for success is to hit these simple targets:
180 min cardio/week
3 strength sessions/week
2 mobility sessions/week
Keep in mind that any given workout can implement all forms of training. Do your best to always warm up and cool down accordingly to avoid injury.
Step 5: Increase Your NEAT
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis and in essence, it is a term that describes the amount of energy you expend in a day without actual training. Activities like taking the stairs, parking further away from the shop and walking - even doing the laundry or dishes can help to increase your energy expenditure.
At the end of the day, you must not forget that this summer cut is a game of numbers. Any opportunity you have to increase the most minimal amount of calories expended will lead to greater success.
Step 6: Dedication Is Key
Weight loss, fat loss, strength - none of these are quick fixes or goals that come quickly in any respect. In order for you to succeed in your summer cut, you must remember to stay dedicated. Whether this means providing yourself with goals along the way and rewarding yourself or using detailed tracking sheets to mark your success you must find a way to stay motivated and dedicated.
There is no one surefire way to stay motivated for success, but we would recommend staying off the scale.
Although it will show your physical weight, the scale does not factor in all the hard work you have been putting in.
Instead, you can use your workout tracking sheets to see the physical improvements and become motivated that way.
Step 7: Partner Up For Greater Results
Partnering up is one of the best ways you can have fun in the gym and find someone that will motivate you to succeed. Sometimes it might be best to train alone, but if you have major strength aspirations than finding a partner can be a very rewarding experience.
Not only can you motivate each other during the workout, but if you find someone with similar goals and strengths you can compete in weight loss and lifts to better your success.
You can also use your partner as a form coach, mobility coach - anytime you need someone to watch your position to engage more muscle you have a partner.
Step 8: Take Time To Enjoy The Process
This journey you are going down is not one that will be easy. There will be challenges, there will be hardships and there will be failures. It's important to recognise this before you start so that you can enjoy the process without fretting the entire time.
Although this is the last step, it should be something that is always first in your head. If you are not the type of person that enjoys balanced nutrition and a complete workout guide than cutting for the summer might not be your thing.
If you can enjoy the process and find motivation in becoming stronger and fitter each day you will succeed.
Stop Wishing, Start Doing
You can read this entire guide and feel fully prepared to commit to a summer cut, but unless you are willing to put our theoretical information into practice - the weight will never come off, and the muscles won't show.
Weight loss, at the end of the day, is only a struggle if you fight the process. If you have a balanced diet and train with dedication each day, you will lose weight and you will build muscle.
This is a simple calculation of work and response.
Put in the work, stay dedicated, keep your diet in check and track your progress. Do your best not to use the scale as your measurement of success. If you are training hard and hitting all the steps we have above you will be losing weight and you will achieve your summer cut.
See you on the beach!