These are not tips for drastic weight loss, they are tips for dramatic fat loss! Forget the scales and go by how you look and feel. Our top 10 tips for keeping off the Xmas pounds in December and January are:
Our first tip for January takes place in December. Do whatever strength training you can, if its not a class you could even do 100 push-ups and 100 squats (take as much rest needed to complete the sets) every couple of days. This way all the calories will be at least be used for building muscle in your legs (squats) and chest/shoulders/triceps (push-ups). Your muscles are big engines, so keeping them fired any way you can will keep your metabolism strong. All the meat over the season contains the valuable muscle building protein too. With a stronger metabolism when January comes you’ll eliminate body fat a lot quicker!
2. Watch your Ratios
When having your Xmas meals, still enjoy everything but load up on your chicken and turkey first. You’ll fill quicker and end up having less of the potatoes and other carb rich foods, so your protein intake ratio will be higher keeping you more lean and muscular.
3. Do not avoid your basic meals
With all the treats and mince pies around it will be easy to load up on them and forget your regular meals. What a lot of people don’t know is that your metabolism and body composition (ratio of muscle to fat) is dictated a lot more by the type of foods you eat as opposed to the amount of calories they contain. So you’re much better off still eating your standard breakfast, lunch and dinner even though you may think its way more calories when added to your treats. You’re far better off eating 2000 calories of standard meals and treats, than just eating 1000 calories of treats alone. The added “good calories” from protein and fibre keep the metabolism strong and delay muscle atrophy (muscle wastage form un-use).
4. Avoid Juices
Unless you are a juicaholic fruit juices and soft drinks are usually just taken when thirsty or to accompany a meal. Through December try to minimise all juices consumed, leading to inevitably removing them fro your diet altogether. A great drink is cold water with freshly squeezed lemon juice, its has a cleansing and anti-inflammatory effect!
5. Keep Moving
In the mentality of using the stairs instead of the lift try to stay as active as possible in everything you do. Walking is a great fat burning activity, so I hope everything went out to do their Xmas shopping this year instead of buying online! If it snows in January get out and play, or wrap up and get out walking the dog. Even standing around talking on nights out is shown to burn more calories than sitting and talking. So try to remember to use your body as much as possible.
6. Get enough sleep
Late nights and busy morning around the Xmas season are bound to happen, but be sure to start getting into a good sleep cycle in 2014. If its a life changing New Year resolution you’re after aim to get roughly 8 hours of sleep per night. A good night sleep reduces fat storing cortisol levels and increases your natural production of fat burning and muscle building growth hormone. A way to find out if you need more sleep is to check for fat on your calf. Extra adipose tissue storage on your calf is a sign of elevated cortisol levels due to insufficient sleep.
7. Train Intense
When you want to kick into fat burning mode again you elevate your growth hormone levels by training intensely. When you train anaerobically (basically when you get out of breath and really hot) you start to burn lactic acid. You have to remember that a person body is designed to adapt to what its subjected to. In the metabolic fires of intense training like the Underground when you really push your body to its limits, your body responds by secreting more growth hormone. Growth hormone is more abundant in children, reducing as you get older. It is the reason kids can eat more and stay in shape, because they are “growing”. Raising your growth hormone levels will you build lean muscle and keep body fat levels down, so train like an animal and stay young!
8. Man Up and Lift Heavy
Just as important as growth hormone to us all, in both men and women, is testosterone. Both testosterone and oestrogen are present in both sexes in varying amounts. Men with higher test levels put on muscle and burn fat quicker. The same thing is true for women. Although they will always have more oestrogen, women with higher test levels stay more toned, depositing less body fat on their hips, backs and triceps (as these are all oestrogen storage sites). Heavy lifting is shown to increase test levels in both men and women, as is eating red meats. So have beef twice a week and lift as heavy as you can when you’re training.
9. Eliminate and Replace
I wont talk about specific diets here, these are all tips relevant to everyone. The one thing every diet should recommend is the reduction of bad food stuffs. I do not recommend and diet that still allows you to eat refined sugary crap foods. Come January completely eliminate all foods that don’t serve your purpose (of course this does not count for cheat meals). Try to find healthy snack alternatives to keep yourself sane. All nut butters are good for fat burning, and eat the fruits you like early in the day. Protein shakes can be used in some great ways to make healthy treats. A great snack is mixing it into natural yoghurts, its will be full of protein and low GI gut healthy carbohydrates.
Fat burning and muscle building is based largely on your level of homeostasis. This is your bodies healthy hormonal balance for optimal health. Everything in any way bad for you can have an acidic effect on your body, increasing inflammation and the amount of toxins and free radicals in your body. This can be said for environmental, psychological and nutritional elements, as well as recreational drugs and illnesses. These toxins and free redicals get stored in body fat tissue, and cause a state of imbalance where your natural processes like fat burning can get skewed. I talked above about Cortisol, the stress hormone, which is released when your body is under stress and can lead to fats torage and muscle wastage. Cleansing your body can help flush out free radicals and stored pollutants, cleaning out your gut and restoring you closer to a state of homeostasis. Not only will you drop weight, but you will be left in an optimal state to start burning the rest of your fat or building additional muscle. You will look and feel great, just remember to start training and eating correctly post cleanse to cancel out any of the negative effects in can have on your metabolism. A good cleanse if the Clean 9 or the Watermelon Cleanse.
Hopefully these basic tips will help keep you fit, lean and muscular into 2014. We hope to see you in the New Year training hard and pushing your fitness forward.
Happy Xmas and a Fantastic New Year from myself and the rest of the Underground Team!