Slim Down for Summer: 6 Habits for Optimal Body Composition

Ready to make some changes in your over all health and body composition? If your goal is fat loss, start by combining 2 to 3 strength training sessions a week, paired with two high intensity interval training workouts like tabata or circuit training to help you build muscle and burn fat.

As you incorporate more physical activity into your daily life, always remember; you can't out train a bad diet. Period.

In addition to a consistent training program, you will lose the most amount of fat by following a nutrient rich diet that supports muscle building, and hormone balance.

With that being said here are our top 6 tips to get you beach ready just in time for summer:

1. Avoid processed foods

An essential part of any diet to help you lose fat, while promoting optimal health and energy is to completely rid your diet of all processed foods.  Processed foods are an all around bad choice, as they lack nutrition, and often contain unwanted chemicals, dyes and artificial additives. 

2. Eat vegetables with every meal

Just like your mother and grandmothers told you, vegetable pack a punch of healthy vitamins and minerals, are rich in fibre and cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, kale and cauliflower help to detoxify the body and eliminate excess estrogen. This is one reason why vegetables are refereed to as as β€œcancer fighting” foods. If your goal is fat loss, fruits and vegetables also have a lower calorie density and can help regulate overall food intake.

10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day is ideal. Aim to eat at least two servings of fruits/and or vegetables per meal.

3. Eat high quality protein dense foods with every meal

In order to achieve optimal health, body composition and performance, a diet rich in high quality protein is important. A diet high in protein will help you preserve and build lean muscle mass, while keeping you feeling satisfied. 

Aim for a serving a protein dense food with each meal. A portion size of protein is visually about the size of the palm of your hand. Women should get one portion or protein per meal and men should aim for two.

When possible choose organic, high quality protein meats. Focus on eating wild fish, grass fed beef and wild meats. Or opt for other protein dense foods like low fat cottage cheese, greek yogurt, eggs, and beans and legumes. 

4. Eat healthy fats

About 30% of your diet should come from fat. Aim for balance between saturated (Animal fats in eggs, dairy, cheese etc), monounsaturated (from extra vrigin olive oil, some nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios and avocados) and polyunsaturated fats (from walnuts, flax seed, chia seeds, and fish oil/supplements) in order to optimize health and body composition. 

Aim to eliminate all trans and hydrogenated fats from your diet which impair insulin receptors in cells, slow metabolism and lead to high levels of LDL cholesterol in the body which increases your risk of heart disease. These fats are primarily found in processed an fast foods. 

5. Eat majority of starchy carbs after exercise

If you’ve got fat to lose, focus on eating a diet rich in vegetables, protein, and low glycemic fruits such as berries and oranges. By reducing higher glycemic and starchy carbs from your diet, many people can improve their carb tolerance and insulin sensitive for better body composition including more muscle which leads to improved metabolism and less fat.

Should you want to eat breads, pastas, rice and sugary foods, try to focus more on unprocessed varieties, and wait to eat those foods after exercise once your carbohydrate tolerance is improved. 

*Simple rule of thumb: no exercise, no carbohydrates (other than fruits or vegetables of course).

6. Drink plenty of water!

Stay hydrated by drinking half your body weight in ounces per day and limit beverages to water, coffee and tea. Avoid or completely eliminate sugary drinks from your diet like juice, soda, alcohol and sports drinks. 

Alcohol reduction or elimination is key to fat loss, as it halts training recovery, slows your metabolism, and provides excess calories. Instead aim to drink more green tea and coffee as they are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to boost insulin sensitivity and resting metabolic rate.

Written by: Sophie Manfred, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach

References:

Precision Nutrition, The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Science

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