17 Hacks For A Better Body | SLMan

17 Hacks For A Better Body

If you’ve spent the last year under-exercising or over-eating, the experts have you covered. We went to some leading fitness and nutrition gurus to discover their golden rules for getting things back on track…

HOW TO WORKOUT

Hit The Gym Three Times A Week

“The more stimulus you can give to your body, the quicker you’ll see results. Aim to workout at least three times per week. A decent session should be an hour in length and should always include a warm-up and cool-down. These are not optional extras but key components that will give you the longevity to train more. As a rule, focus on training a different body part at a time and give yourself a minimum of one day’s rest for every three days of working out. Prioritising strength training over cardio is also important when looking to get back in shape, but don’t discount cardio entirely. By focusing on building muscle mass, this will assist in hitting other training goals and strength also transfers into aerobic capacity – for example, stronger legs make for easier cycling.” – Gus Vaz Tostes, head of training, WIT Fitness

Create A Calorie Deficit

“If you’re looking to see visible changes to your body composition, establish a mild calorie deficit (no more than 20%) to lose overall weight, while also using strength training to build lean muscle mass. This will reduce body fat and maintain lean tissue, creating that coveted toned look.” Luke Worthington, fitness trainer

Try The CrossFit Approach

“CrossFit has attracted a cult following, and with good reason. It borrows movements from a variety of sports including weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics and rowing. Workouts change constantly – you’ll never do the same one twice – to keep your body guessing and to work every muscle. This approach is vital for getting into shape, so even if you don’t fancy heading to a CrossFit gym, incorporate various types of cardio into your training plan. For example, one day, perform a short HIIT workout, then the following day try bike or rowing intervals, followed by a long, steady-state cardio session such as a 10k. These types of activity are great for weight loss as they’ll force the body to use more energy in the form of calories.” – Gus

Be Consistent

“It may sound obvious but jump in at the deep end and it’s unlikely you’ll see real results. A guy exercising consistently three times a week for 52 weeks of the year on an average training plan will outperform someone who trains flat out for six times per week for six weeks and then gives up. When coming out of lockdown, you need to be realistic and think about what exercise will fit into your lifestyle.” – Luke 

Build Up Slowly

“If you’re looking to build strength, it’s vital to follow a well-structured programme that overloads progressively with time. Increase your weights by 3-5% each week – this will ensure you’re not overdoing it and will provide the perfect amount of stimulus. If you’re training for an event, focus on the specific movement you are going to be performing. If you are training for a run, for example, look at single-loading variations such as lunges, single leg squats and calf raises.” – Gus

Know How To Deal With DOMS

“When training more, DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is inevitable. While it can be tempting to use aching muscles as an excuse to skip a workout, instead work to 30-40% of your maximum capacity – equivalent to a leisurely swim, cycle or walk. Doing this will boost oxygen and blood flow to the muscles and improve lymphatic flow, which aids in filtering out the toxins that contribute to DOMS.” – Gus

Don’t Stress If You Are Time-Poor

“If you don’t have time in your week to dedicate sessions solely to the upper and lower body as well as cardio, kill two birds with one stone. If you pair upper and lower body exercises together, this triggers something known as the venous shunt, whereby the body must move blood from the working muscles in the lower body to the working muscles in the upper body and back again. This is taxing on the cardiovascular system and will give you a cardio training effect at the same time as a strength workout. It’s a win-win situation.” – Luke

Hit The Pillow

“Sleep is around 70% of the recovery equation. When you enter deep sleep, your body releases recovery hormones which help you make gains faster. Your sleep is as important as your training, so aim for 6-10 hours and, as a rule, more is better.” – Gus

WHAT TO EAT

Cut Back On Carbs

“Most of us eat a carbohydrate-dominated diet – a bowl of cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and pizza, pasta or noodles for dinner. A diet based on starchy carbs is not supportive of fat loss as the body will prioritise burning these carbs for fuel over and above tapping into stored fat reserves. Make foods like bread, pasta and rice treat foods rather than daily staples. Swap your morning slice of toast for a protein-based breakfast such as eggs with avocado; swap rice and pasta for cauliflower rice and courgetti; and crisps for kale crisps and olives.” – Kim Pearson, nutritionist & weight loss expert

Think About Quality

“There’s a common misconception that loading up on protein can help when trying to get in shape, but it’s not that straightforward. If you’re piling in the protein but eating a tonne of sugar and processed foods, you won’t be doing your body any favours. Start by ditching processed foods and excess sugar, and aim for a diet that’s rich in nutrients – think a variety of vegetables (always eat more than you think you need), whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Think about your macros too. A good ratio to follow if you’re looking to lose fat and improve lean muscle mass as you train is 40% protein, 40% fat and 20% carbs. Once you’ve hit your goals, you can cycle your macros and find a ratio that works going forward – for example, doing more cardio and endurance-based activity will require more carbs.” – Rhian Stephenson, nutritionist & founder of ARTAH

Keep Things Simple

“Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean expensive superfood powders and hours in the kitchen – keep it simple and think of your meals in terms of your macros, i.e. your protein, carbs and fats. Create a plate of food that includes a high-fibre, low-GI carb, healthy fats and lots of protein – this could be some grilled halloumi with wholemeal couscous and veg; Quorn bolognaise with wholemeal pasta; shop-bought marinated chicken breasts with brown rice and salad; or low-fat Greek yoghurt topped with nuts, seeds and fresh fruit. If you really can’t be bothered to cook, apply this theory to your Deliveroo order – Indian and Lebanese restaurants will always offer some form of lean grilled meat, which you can have with lentils, salads and vegetable-based side dishes.” Rob Hobson, nutritionist

Don’t Be Afraid To Buy Pre-Prepared Food

“Supermarket food tends to get a bad rap when it comes to healthier eating but the choice has never been better. Things like bags of stir-fried vegetables, pre-chopped trays of Mediterranean veg for roasting, and frozen pouches of mixed vegetables for steaming are all great. Pair these with protein such as fish baked in a foil parcel, pre-cooked prawns, or marinated tofu. If all else fails, healthy recipe box delivery companies such as Mindful Chef or Green Chef are great.” – Kim

Ditch Snacks

“Mindless snacking is the number-one thing that tends to sabotage weight loss. Snacking should be something that’s done purposefully – not something you do without thinking. Only snack if you have a very long time between meals or if you really need a snack before or after a workout. Also steer clear of milky coffees – a latte can be 200-280 calories, which adds up if you’re having a few throughout the day.” – Rhian

Try Intermittent Fasting

“Intermittent fasting (IF) can help put the body into fat-burning mode. Eating constantly throughout the day results in the constant stimulation of insulin, which will negate fat loss, and means your body is always spending energy digesting food. To dip your toe into IF, try implementing 14 hours between your dinner and breakfast the following day – this will reduce your feeding window to ten hours. Once this feels easy, you can introduce a few 16-hour windows per week. If you’re new to fasting, start by finishing your dinner by 7pm and then not eating until lunchtime the following day. Avoid exercising on the mornings you are fasting and ensure you break the fast with a well-balanced meal. The key to IG is that it should be intermittent, not done daily. People can over-fast, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies, a weakened immune system and weight gain.” – Rhian

Be Supplement Savvy

“Supplements will never be a magic bullet, but they can be supportive, especially if a balanced diet hasn’t been a focus for you in the last few months. The typical western diet often falls short in magnesium, vitamin E, selenium, chromium, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids, which can all affect various processes that aid fat loss. Chromium, for example, is essential for glucose metabolism while omega-3s can help with inflammation. As a base, start with vitamin D and a good multivitamin. If you struggle with cravings, consider adding in a supplement to support blood sugar control – GlucoChrome by NutriAdvanced is great. Magnesium can also be incredibly helpful if you are stressed and working out more.” – Rhian

Think Like A Caveman

“Eating in line with your circadian rhythm may sound far-fetched but science shows it may be worth doing. When we’re exposed to daylight, our bodies and metabolism are more active. When it gets dark, our metabolism shifts to a different set of processes – the focus is repair, recovery and detoxification. Eating late disrupts this and can also lead to a poor-quality sleep, indigestion and less energy the next day.” – Rhian

Give Up Alcohol

“When it comes to alcohol and weight loss, the less the better. Studies show alcohol temporarily reduces fat burning by 73%. In other words, when alcohol is in your system, it’s harder for your body to burn stored fat, slowing weight loss. From a behavioural perspective, alcohol also increases hunger and cravings – and it’s unlikely to be a salad you find yourself craving.” – Kim
  

For more information, head to WIT-Fitness.com, LukeWorthington.com, Kim-Pearson.com, ARTAH.co, and RobHobson.co.uk.
 

*DISCLAIMER: Features published by SLMan are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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