Summer is only 12 weeks away.
Now, many ask: “How can I lose weight for summer?”. But I want to direct your focus to what you are really after. That is a toned, fit & strong-looking physique.
To achieve this, your aim shouldn’t be to lose weight, but rather to lose fat. And to that, you need to adjust your plan accordingly.
STEP ONE: Calorie Control
The first step is to get your calories under control. We want a calorie deficit that allows your body to use fat for fuel. But not so low that your body can’t build/maintain muscle mass, and begins to feel sluggish.
So first of all, you need to calculate your maintenance calories. You can do this by visiting:
Once you’ve discovered your maintenance calories, you need to remove 300-500 calories per day.
I’d always advise a smaller deficit, so you can allow a higher metabolic rate and better performance, and so I would advise to go with a 300 deficit.
If your maintenance calories are 2500, then your daily target would be 2200.
As you stay in a calorie deficit for a while, your body can adapt to the lower calories and slow down the metabolic rate. We aim to increase this periodically by having a maintenance day.
Now since we aiming for 2200 daily and want one day per week at 2500.
This will ensure we are feeding our muscles with enough calories and keep our metabolic fire going for longer.
STEP TWO: Protein
Now a calorie deficit is one-half of the equation. If we didn’t ensure we have enough protein, then it’s likely we would lose muscle mass in a calorie deficit, and thus reduce our metabolic rate. This is something we won’t want.
Therefore, protein is recommended to be around 0.7-1g protein per lb of bodyweight.
This means if you are 200lbs, you need 140-200g protein, and I would advise going towards the higher end if you can. This will ensure you build/maintain muscle, stoke your metabolism and allow more weight loss to be fat loss, rather than muscle tissue.
Plus Protein can increase muscle tone & shape, it fills you up meaning you feel full and 25% of it is burned digesting it. Resulting in less calories being consumed and more body fat burned!
STEP THREE: Activity
With nutrition basics handled, our next aim is to increase our NEAT (Non Exercise Activity).
The easiest way to track this is to use a step counter and track 8,000-10,000 steps per day. Once past a certain point, the returns won’t increase much and so it’s best to stay between this mark for optimal results. But don’t feel guilty if you go under or over one day.
With increased movement (this can include gardening/housework/sport/activity), you will burn more calories largely from fat as a fuel source. Because we are in a calorie deficit as well, it’s likely your body will burn fat rather than carbs in the muscles, due to the low aerobic intensity of the activity.
Therefore do what you can to move a little more throughout the day and get active.
STEP FOUR: Training
In order to build muscle mass/tone, you must first force your body into a stressful situation that means it must adapt and grow.
By training 3-5 x week, 45-60 minutes, and focusing on whole-body compound strength training.
You will start to force your body to adapt to the stress and it will use the protein and calories to support muscle growth. This is why it’s important to have a small deficit as opposed to a large one. As you train effectively and get stronger over time, you will start to see an increase in muscle tone/strength and more importantly, you will start to see the shape you wanted all along.
It’s possible with the increased muscle you will store more muscle glycogen and water, which will result in more weight in some instances.
But if you are already overweight, it’s more likely you will just see a slower weight loss but a much-improved rate of fat loss by following this plan.
Right, let’s put it to action.
1: Calorie track a small deficit of -300 daily plus one refeed day per week
2: Eat enough protein every day and aim for 0.7-1g protein per lb bodyweight
3: Aim for 8,000-10,000 steps per day / or move more in general and get active
4: Train 3-5 strength training sessions per week, and focus on progressing overtime
Now yes, I haven’t talked about increasing fruit & veg intake, water and making sure you sleep well and reduce stress.
These are all super important and I believe over time you should focus more on these and incorporate better habits across the board. But with this simple 4 step summer plan, you’ll start moving into the best shape of your life with relative simplicity.