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How to get ready for the beach in 6 weeks

By Sam Whitaker

29-year-old Sam Whitaker is a Fitness & Nutrition Consultant and Co-Founder & Director of Body Target Ltd. Over the past 5-6 years, he has been self-educating on all things health and fitness…
Read more.

So, summer is here. Hopefully that means you'll be jetting off on your holidays soon! Let me guess, like many people, you've left it to the last minute to lose the love handles you seemed to acquire over the winter…

And now you're looking for some help to lose them….pronto!

Well, you've come to the right place.

Before I start, I just want to say that no matter what the magazine covers say, you will not be able to go from overweight couch potato to ripped six pack abs in 6 weeks.

However, you can make significant changes in 6 weeks with the right approach.

Even if you don’t have 6 weeks, you will still be able to get results.

That approach is The AFL (Accelerated Fat Loss) Diet. This 6 week program is designed to help you shed body fat pretty damn quickly. So it’s perfect for those of you jetting off on your holiday soon.

But if you prefer to piece things together yourself, or if you’ve spent all your money on holiday clothes, then read on…

All of the information & recommendations laid out below are to be treated as advice only and are to be followed at the responsibility of the individual. Please check with your GP before you make any drastic dietary changes like this.

Also, this is only a short term kind of thing.

Get Beach Ready

Just because it's possible to get great results with this approach, don’t be tempted to follow it for long periods of time. Or at least not without a 2-4 week diet break in between.

And if you’re already pretty lean, then a 2 day break every 2-3 weeks is a good idea, as you’re more likely to lose muscle than someone who has more fat to lose.

So, how do you drop body fat pretty sharpish then?

There's no getting around it, you're going to have to restrict calories quite a bit.

But if you do it right, you shouldn't feel too hungry, you should be able to maintain muscle mass & also be able to transition to a fairly 'normal' diet, (or maintenance), afterwards.

What is the right way?

what is the right way

Well, for starters, I can tell you how not to do it… I would not advise following any type of meal replacement shake diet.

To quote one of my favourite go-to nutrition experts, Lyle McDonald -

“Basically, to have any chance of succeeding in the long-term, any diet approach (whether slow or fast) must contain an element of nutritional education. Along with generating quick weight loss, the diet should work to help the person learn good long-term eating habits.” 

Following a meal replacement shake diet just won't teach you any good long-term eating habits.

You need to base your diet on whole foods, so that when you transition to a more moderate diet, or weight maintenance, there’s not a massive difference to what you've been doing.

Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

Many people judge their progress solely by the number on the scale. As long as it’s going down, everything is OK, they’re happy.

But, while the number on the scale will likely drop, it shouldn’t be your sole concern.

weight loss vs fat loss

Ultimately, how much you weigh is irrelevant.

When you get on the beach in your bikini or speedos, no one knows what you weigh - they just see how you look. Not that you should care what people think necessarily, but let’s face it, many of us do.

So what you should really care about is your body composition.

Your body composition is just a measure of how much of your weight is fat vs everything else, basically.

So, to look better (and improve health), you want to make sure the weight you are losing comes from your body fat stores and not everything else.

To ensure that the weight you’re losing is primarily fat, not muscle, you primarily need to do 2 things:

  1. Consume adequate protein
  2. Provide an appropriate resistance training stimulus

Because calories need to be low but protein needs to high, you need to be tactical with your food choices.

Foods that are high in protein, but low in fats & carbs are your best friend on this diet.

Luckily, you’re in the right place for such foods… Muscle Food has your back on this!

Exercise

While exercise doesn’t really affect the total weight lost during a diet, as mentioned above, it does affect where the weight loss comes from.

exercising

Depending on your current training you might have to reduce frequency and overall volume of your training, due to the fairly large drop in calories that’s required to generate fat loss as quickly as you need.

Don’t worry, your muscles won’t drop off.

As long as you keep the weight you’re lifting the same, reducing frequency/volume won’t cause very much, if any, muscle loss.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you should use less weight but do higher reps for muscle definition.

All you need to do for muscle definition, (granted, easier said than done), is to maintain the muscle you’ve already got and reduce the body fat covering it.

You will ensure you maintain your muscle mass by lifting the same weight you used to build the muscle in the first place.

If you do want to perform any cardio exercise to increase calorie expenditure, keep it to the lightest of activities, brisk walking is about the limit.

If you’ve the desire to do anything more intense than walking, you’ll want to keep carbohydrates a little higher than I recommend.

Let the diet take care of the fat loss and the (resistance) exercise take care of the muscle mass retention.

So, what do you need to eat to get beach ready pronto?!

Obviously, the below is just an example of what your diet might look like. There’s nothing special about these foods apart from the fact that they’re protein rich and carb/fat sparse, for the most part.

Breakfast

0% Greek Yoghurt or Quark with added whey protein* and berries.

OR

Some type of veggie egg white omelette.

*Personally, I love the vanilla ice cream whey that Muscle Food do.

Lunch

Chicken/Turkey/Tuna Salad with low fat dressing.

Dinner

A source of lean protein, (chicken*, turkey, white fish etc), along with a load of green, non-starchy veggies, (broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, red cabbage, peppers, tomatoes etc)

So you can build your meal depending on what kind of things you like, as long as you stick to the above.

*I love the piri piri marinated chicken breasts that Muscle Food stock.

For those of you who like numbers and like to track what you eat, you should set protein between 2.5-3.3g/kg of bodyweight. The leaner you are, the higher you want your protein.

Aim to hit your protein requirement with as little extra calories as possible.

you are what you eat

For example, if I were doing The AFL Diet I would set my protein at 264g (80kg x 3.3), which is 1056kcal. So, with the tag along carbs & fat from the protein sources, the fruits & veggies, my overall intake would probably be around 1500kcal

Just as reference, my maintenance calorie intake is ~2700kcal. So in theory I’d be in a 1700kcal/day deficit. That is quite a lot!

But remember, this isn’t a long term, sustainable approach. It’s to make sure you look awesome on the beach and you’ve left it too late to use a more sensible approach.

Free meals

These are opportunities to eat relatively ‘normally’

They’re not a chance to eat as much as you can! They’re just meant to be a bit of a break from the low calorie nature of the rest of the diet. 

Aim to keep clear of lots of junk, high fat foods. The primary increase in food/calories should come from carbohydrates; pasta, potatoes, bread, bagels, rice etc.

The purpose of these free meals is not only to give you a break psychologically but to limit the negative metabolic & hormonal adaptations that come with dieting.

Ideally, the best thing to do is to have 1-2 free meals, spread throughout the week, say Wednesday & Saturday evening.

If you feel you’ll struggle to stop yourself from eating everything in sight, then maybe this approach isn’t for you.

How to deal with hunger

deal with hunger

Due to the low calorie nature of this diet, many will struggle with hunger. So here are a couple tips on dealing with it.

- Eat plenty of green fibrous vegetables.

If you’re struggling with hunger, feel free to add more of these to your daily intake.

- Reduce the number of meals you eat.

You might find it easier to not eat until lunch time because then you get to eat bigger, more satisfying meals, instead of more, smaller meals which can often leave you feeling more hungry than before.

Supplements

As I’m not an RD or GP I can’t give specific supplement recommendations. So all I’ll say is that these are what I would take if I was following The AFL Diet.

So all I’ll say is that these are what I would take if I was following The AFL Diet.

Omega 3 fish oils

I would aim for 2-3g (2000-3000mg) combined EPA/DHA. 

Basic Multivitamin & Mineral

Just a basic one-a-day will be sufficient.

Electrolytes

These are sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

So that’s it.

If putting all that together sounds like a bit too much like hard work, just head over to www.bodytarget.co.uk and we’ll do that hard work for you.

Sam Whitaker

About Sam

29-year-old Sam Whitaker is a Fitness & Nutrition Consultant and Co-Founder & Director of Body Target Ltd.

Over the past 5-6 years, he has been self-educating on all things health and fitness by reading textbooks, online articles and books by people such as Lyle McDonald and Alan Aragon. He has also just started The SBS Academy - an evidence based online training and nutrition course.

You can find out more about Sam by checking out his Facebook and Twitter feeds, or Body Target’s Facebook and Twitter.

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