There’s no overnight solution to looking your best on the beach, but there are tips you can start implementing straight away to help you feel great in the fastest time, and you don’t need a gym membership to achieve them. Losing weight, gaining muscle and feeling confident require a combination of exercise, diet and surprisingly, sleep. So, follow all of these tips for maximum effect.
Don’t pressure yourself
You might not expect to read this at the top of the list, but it’s important to remember that if you’re comparing yourself to Chris Hemsworth or Jamie Dornan, these guys have personal trainers, chefs and the most expensive treatments money can buy. You can definitely improve your diet, shed excess weight and improve your muscle mass with a good gym bench, but having confidence in your skin is also important in feeling good and looking good.
Standing up straight and not crossing your arms over your body will also help your posture and help you look more confident, as well as making sure you’re using your muscles properly.
It’s easy to snack, especially if you’re sat at a desk all day, but constantly reaching for salt laden crisps or treats high in fat and sugar won’t get you anywhere. Try to eat three or four balanced meals a day to keep you energised and hunger-free, but if you feel you have to have something mid-afternoon then pick a healthy choice like nuts or raw vegetables.
Balance your protein intake
Eating protein is one of the most common things that people suggest when it comes to weight loss, but knowing when to eat it and how much is essential. Based on the Reference Nutrient Intake (RFI,) adults should eat 0.75g of protein for every kilogram they weigh. If you weigh 70kg for example, you should eat around 52.5g of protein daily, and it’s recommended that men should eat around 55g total.
To give you a clear idea of what this looks like, it’s about two palm sized portions of meat, fish, tofu or pulses, so probably less than you expect. Distributing your protein intake has also been suggested as being important for weight-loss according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers examined 24 studies on protein consumption and found that those who ate protein throughout the day had better weight-loss results while keeping lean mass.
Get enough sleep
You may want to stay at the gym until 11pm, but sleep pays an essential part in losing weight, optimising your body’s functions and keeping you healthy. Not only has a lack of sufficient sleep been linked to increased risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, but if you’re tired during the day you’re also more likely to reach for chocolate or junk food to give you a quick boost of energy.
Adults need around 7-8 hours of good sleep each night, so try to unwind before you head to bed and don’t go on your phone. The blue light from phone and computer screens has been shown to reduce the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm, or in layman’s terms, the process that controls your sleep/wake cycle.
Do the right workout
You don’t need access to a high-tech gym to get fit and build your muscle mass. You can do different exercise circuits in your living room, in your garden or the park, wherever works for you. Aim to do 3-4 circuits a week and keep changing them up to target different muscle groups and keep your body guessing. Here are a few different circuits to get you started:
Circuit One – Repeat 5 times
10 push ups
10 sprinter crunches
(Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms bent and by your sides. Lift your torso up from the floor, bend your right leg and bring your right knee up towards to your left elbow. This movement should look like you are running if you were stood up. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite side.)
Circuit Two – Repeat 3 times
30 push-ups (hold upright for 30 seconds)
20 push-ups (hold upright for 20 seconds)
10 push-ups (hold upright for ten seconds)
20 squat jumps
Circuit Three – Repeat 5 times
Plank for 30 seconds
20 alternating lunges
Plank for 30 seconds