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How To Get That Beach Body Look

One of the most common questions we get asked here at Muscle Food is, “what is the best way to get that beach body look?”  This is normally followed by, “is it all to do with diet, or is exercise the most important factor?

We can understand why there is so much confusion surrounding this issue especially when one source says it’s all diet, diet, diet and another, gym, gym, gym.

The simple answer, though, is that it’s a classic combination of the two.

Of course, if you’re prepping for a competition or big event and need to drop to 3 or 4% body fat, it is not enough to eat well and train hard.

Instead, it depends on what you eat and how much of it.

The Mystery of Macros

You may have heard of the term “Macros,” which is used to describe the three essential macronutrients your body needs:

Chicken breats

Protein
Protein is the key to maintaining or building muscle. When digested, the amino acids derived from the protein are taken up by the muscle cells where protein synthesis can occur thus encouraging muscle growth and repair.

Fats
Healthy fats like Omega-3, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated are essential in keeping your body in tip-top condition, by lowering cholesterol as well as improving cell growth and brain activity.

Carbohydrates
Provide your body with glucose for energy – rather than your body sourcing its energy from those hard-earned amino acids derived from protein.

Sweet Potato Fries

The real question, however, is why should you track them when cutting?

Whether you’re a veteran competitor, or a relatively new fitness fan, the smallest variation in your diet could mean the difference between dropping those stubborn pounds or not.

By tracking your macros you will be able to accurately determine the exact amount of calories you should be consuming to cut that fat. 

You will also be able establish how many those calories should come from which macronutrient to ensure your body functions at its optimum.

Eating for your Body Type

Everybody’s body is different.  There is certainly no one diet fits all, so you must adjust your macro intake to suit your body type.

In order to determine how much of these macronutrients you should be consuming on a daily basis, you first need to assess what your body type as this can have a huge impact on the structure of your diet:

Ectomorphs are naturally lithe and may find it difficult to build muscle or gain weight. They need a high calorie intake to gain weight and can shred quite easily when they cut back.

Mesomorphs are large boned with large muscles and naturally athletic physiques. They also gain muscle and fat easily. They need a moderate calorie intake and a healthy balance of cardio and resistance training for that beach bod look.

Endomorphs can gain fat very quickly but they are a solid build with strong muscles, especially in the upper legs. To hinder the amount of fat they put on, they would need a lower calorie diet with a high protein content.

Now, you need to work out your caloric baseline – the minimum amount of calories your body would need to maintain its current weight using the following equations:

Ectomorphs – bodyweight x 16-17
Mesomorphs – bodyweight x 15
Endomorphs – bodyweight x 13-14

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Next, you have to determine how many calories you should restrict your diet by in order to lose weight, for example, if you would like to lose 1.5lb a week, you would need to restrict your diet by 750 calories a day.

How did we work this out? Well, 1lb of fat is 3500 calories. This means 1.5lb of fat equates to 5250 calories. Split this over 7 days and you’re left with a deficit of 750!

Using the above logic, if a 200lb Mesomorph with a caloric baseline of 3000 wanted to lose 1.5lb a week. They would need to restrict their calorie intake to just 2250 a day through a healthy mix of diet, weight training and cardio.

Macro Breakdown 

So, how many of those calories should come from protein, fat and carbohydrates…

You can easily work these out using a few simple equations but, just like your caloric baseline, these will vary depending on your body type:

Protein
The general rule when it comes to protein intake is that you should consume 1g of protein per 1lb of bodyweight for maintenance. This, however, should increase when cutting to avoid muscle wastage:

Ectomorphs: 1.4 – 1.6g of protein per lb. of bodyweight.
Mesomorphs: 1.2 – 1.3g of protein per lb. of bodyweight.
Endomorphs: 1.4 – 1.5g of protein per lb. of bodyweight.

Fats
The total amount of calories you glean from healthy fats should make up a good percentage of your daily intake:

Ectomorphs: 24-28% of total calorie intake.
Mesomorphs: 17-23% of total calorie intake.
Endomorphs: 23-28% of total calorie intake – this is higher than you’d expect so to reduce the amount of carbohydrates as endomorphs can struggle to lose weight with a higher carb diet.

Carbohydrates
As you can probably guess, the remaining calories should be made up of carbohydrates!

Macronutrient Protein Fats Carbohydrates
Calories per g 4 9 4

Using our Mesomorph example with the 3000 caloric baseline, and 2250 restriction, we can conclude that their macros when cutting would be as follows:

Protein: 240 – 260g per day (960 – 1040 calories)
Fats: 382 - 517 calories per day (42 – 57g)
Carbohydrates: 693 - 908 calories per day (173 – 227g)

Of course, working out your macros and sticking to them is just the beginning of your journey in achieving that beach body.

There are much more advanced things to consider such as carb cycling and re-feeding, which we will cover for you in further articles.

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