If you read Part 2 of this series you will have a solid action plan to get your metabolism back to normal levels. In the process, you may add a touch of body fat, but will be in a much stronger position to get lean for summer. This post will outline how to keep your metabolism healthy while systematically getting in shape for summer.
[By the time summer hits, the ideal situation is to be lean without destroying your body's ability to burn calories. In other words, lean with a high metabolism.]
Long-Term Low Calorie Diets Suck the Life Out of You
A lot of people can look their best after a short term aggressive diet. I’m not against short term low calorie diets. I believe they are fine for 1-3 months. The problem happens when they are extended past that point. It is pretty easy to miss out on vital nutrients when calories are drastically cut back…and here are some of the negatives.
- Dry skin.
- Dry and brittle hair.
- Digestive problems.
- Lack of color to your skin.
- Lack of sex drive.
- Low testosterone.
- Muscle loss.
- Rebound fat gain.
Note: The older you are, the more of these issues you will experience with long term calorie restriction.
The 6 Month Outline
Months 1-2: Follow the guidelines I outlined in Part 2.
Months 2-4: Increase activity levels to lose fat without drastically cutting back in calories.
Month 5: Cut back calories a bit and increase activity levels. Fine to go low carb and use various strategic diet strategies.
Month 6: One month of being super active and tighten up your diet further. Can go really aggressive during this time if you still have a decent amount of fat to lose.
Months 2-4 <---Eat and Train Like an Athlete
You can’t expect to eat as much as Michael Phelps training for the Olympics, but my advice is to add in more activity, instead of cutting back calories during this time. In the first 2 months your body will increase the ability to burn calories even when you are at rest (increased metabolism). In months 2-4 we want to turn your body into a calorie burning machine. Eat plenty of good food, limit omega 6 oils, limit sugar, and train at least 4 times per week.
Month 5 <---Train Like an Athlete, But Eat a Less
The main difference here will be to limit food consumption a bit. I know this advice sounds old school, but try and make your dinner meal a bit lighter than normal during this month. Cut back in the carbs a bit during the week and try and workout 5 times per week, if time permits. It is fine to add in a higher calorie day, but not an all-you-can-eat type of cheat day.
Month 6 <---An Aggressive Diet (Only if Necessary)
This would be the time to do a short term aggressive fat loss diet if needed. A better solution here would be to increase activity levels and just clean up the diet a little. Do your best to eat nothing but clean organic whole foods during this time.
…but “You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet?”
Right, but this is not a bad diet. What we are doing here is almost a “metabolism detox”. The idea is to get your body into calorie burning mode, by giving it plenty of whole foods and nutrients. Then we cut back in calories just a bit to create a calorie deficit, while eating more than what it used to take to get into a calorie deficit. Finally…we keep the body in fat burning mode, while dropping the calories down low for the final month before summer.
Flood Your Body With Activity & Nutrients for 6 Months
The biggest causes of health issues in our society are from not getting enough exercise and lack of proper nutrition. I honestly believe that anyone who increases their activity levels along with increasing good nutrients, will look younger and more vibrant within a few months.
What are the Best Workouts?
Obviously I’m biased when it comes to workouts for men and women, but I’m not closed-minded. There are countless effective workout routines: CrossFit, body weight circuits, bodybuilding splits, Zumba, etc. Same with diets: Paleo, carb back-loading, vegan, raw food, etc. I am simply suggesting you use the principles laid out in this 3 part series to fit your circumstances.
[Strategic cardio routines work well any time after the first two months.]
What About Supplements?
I’m going to list supplements that I have found to make a difference. You can take all, some, or none of these and get good results.
- Omega 3 Fish Oil - This goes to the top of the list, when it comes to repairing a damaged metabolism. Think of this as counteracting the small amount of omega 6 vegetable oils that you will inevitably wind up eating. It is hard to avoid these omega 6 oils completely.
- Leptin Sensitivity Supplement: This supplement was created to make sure your metabolism doesn’t slow down while dieting. It makes your body more sensitive to leptin (which is our goal here). This isn’t cheap, but they do have a “buy 4 get 2 free” promo if you want to take all 6 months. If money is an issue, add this in once you reduce the calories a bit.
- Pre-Workout Caffeine Fat Loss Combo: I like caffeine supplements that are created with natural ingredients to take right before exercising, to maximize fat release during intense training or cardio. This is something you would begin taking 60-90 days before summer. A cup of black coffee works as well, but this is a bit more effective.
- Creatine: This is something to take 1-2 months before summer…if you want to add size to your muscles. I recommend you use this as a quick muscle boost while dieting or right after dieting (when the muscles look a little flat).
Note: Give this game plan a go, especially if you are over 30 and have a bit of flab you haven’t been able to shake. This is also a great game plan for anybody who is “skinny fat”…more nutrients and more activity is just what the doctor ordered!