We’re officially 12 weeks out from summer; 8 if you follow a Memorial Day kick-off. Cue terrifying epiphany.
Like it or not, your 2013 beach body — or lack thereof — is officially on the clock. Whether you’re trying to drop pounds, fill out your physique with lean muscle mass, or simply need a quick tune-up to evaporate the fat plastering your lower two abs, three months is an abundance of time to make BIG aesthetic changes.
April’s WOTM — The Accelerated Shape-Up For Summer Beach Body Plan — strategically blends muscle-building full-body movements, intense abs training, endurance cardio, and fat-incinerating HIIT cardio to drive MAJOR progress in an accelerated time window. Follow along and you’ll sculpt a svelte, muscular beach-body as quickly, efficiently, and painlessly as possible. The plan breaks down into two major components, plus an optional supplements section to flip the turboboosters on:.
1. Diet & Nutrition: a set of simple, practical dietary tips, tactics, and guidelines to amplify your results. These strategies are designed to elevate metabolism and calorie burn (via thermogenesis), keep hunger levels under control, and cultivate an environment that’s perpetually burning fat — not storing it — and generating new muscle.
2. 6-Day Summer Shape-Up Workout Split: a hyperintense hybrid workout routine designed to torch body fat, install lean muscle mass, and flood the body with hormones (hGH and testosterone) that enhance both.
Remember: alignment of both diet and exercise is the secret sauce to reaching beach body nirvana; results won’t come without one or the other.
Buckle down, set a goal, and go after it hard. If you work your ass off, minimize slip-ups, and follow the plan over the next 12 weeks, you’ll come out on the other side with a flat, chiseled core, radiant confidence, and a physique that’s ready to storm the beaches full force.
Part 1. Diet & Nutrition
1. Cycle Calories.
One of, if not THE most powerful strategies to quickly drop pounds and strip body fat is calorie cycling. Long-term diets inadvertently program the body to burn FEWER calories, triggering it to slow its natural metabolism as a way of adapting to a less-energized environment. That metabolic drop leads to plateaus, further calorie cuts, and lackluster results.
It’s a nasty, vicious cycle — ain’t nobody got time for that!
Cycling proactively throws the body off balance, prevents a metabolic downshift, and guarantees that fat loss follows a fluid upward trajectory. Once you know your body’s maintenance calorie count (easily compute it with our calorie calculator) it’s as simple as following one of the three paths below, depending on your goals and current state:
- Maximal weight loss: If you’re aiming to drop major poundage and completely overhaul your body, eat in a deficit of 700 calories for 5 straight days and then spike your calories back up to maintenance for 1 day. Repeat down 700 for 5 days, up for 1 day, and so on. The additional calories on up days are reserved for healthy, clean foods; not junk.
- Moderate weight loss: If your body is already in decent shape but you’re looking to shrink your stomach and unleash a new set of abs, eat down 500 calories for 4 straight days and then spike back up for 1 day. Repeat.
- Last few pounds/body fat shred: If you’re already lean, but want to melt the last layer of body fat and/or get absolutely ripped, eat down 300 calories for 3 straight days and then spike back up for 1 day. Repeat. This isolates pure body fat without burning any lean muscle mass.
For this to work effectively, you need to track calories and actively adjust how much you eat every 4th day (you’re programmed to eat more, that should be the exciting part). Don’t get neurotic or hyperdetailed, ballpark estimates work. With such an accelerated time frame there’s no way around it — cycling only works if you accurately control your food intake.
Calorie tracking apps like MyNetDiary, MyFitnessPal, and Lose It! can simplify the process.
2. Eat Clean & Lean.
Read, digest, and print out the Six Pack Abs Shopping List. Treat it as your beach body bible. 99% of what you eat over the next few months should sit on this list — don’t stray far from the path.
3. Make Protein a Staple.
For speed-shreds like this, protein is your #1 nutritional secret weapon. It’s essential to new muscle growth, enhances recovery, and prevents the breakdown of existing muscle tissue during cardio and long-term dieting.
To add fuel to the fat furnace, high protein diets can reduce hunger levels and mitigate the impact of carbs on fat gain, increase satiety, burn extra calories thermogenically, and potentially help decrease overall daily caloric intake.
Consume .75 – 1g of protein per pound of body weight, split evenly throughout the day (that’s 150 grams/day if you weigh 150 pounds). Eggs and egg whites, Greek yogurt, chicken and turkey, fresh fish, canned tuna, lean beef, cottage cheese, whey protein, and milk are all ideal protein sources.
4. Focus On Critical Meals: Breakfast and Post-Workout.
A nutritious breakfast, especially one rich in protein, sets the tone for successful weight-loss. It jump starts metabolism, cuts off overnight muscle breakdown (catabolism), and provides a much-needed source of sustainable energy. Research shows that eating breakfast reduces overall calorie consumption throughout the day.
Protein is a must — Greek yogurt, eggs, nut butter, and whey protein are all great in the AM — combined with healthy carbs like oatmeal and/or fresh fruit.
Post-workout nutrition drives home optimal growth and recovery. To effectively refuel, eat a blend of protein and carbs within an hour of your workout. Fruit and heavy carb sources like pasta, oatmeal, cereal, rice, bread and sweet potatoes stimulate growth and recovery after an intense sweat session; whey protein powder is your most effective protein choice. Minimize all fats during this window.
During the rest of the day eat small, frequent meals — it works to limit massive blood sugar spikes, reducing the body’s propensity to store body fat.
5. Overdose on Water, Green Tea, Seltzer, and Coffee.
Water, green tea, seltzer, and coffee are zero-calorie options that reduce hunger and overclock calorie burn. Green tea and coffee are thermogenic, stimulate metabolism, and increase the body’s utilization of fat for fuel.
Hydration is absolutely key to almost every major bodily function; digestion, metabolism, and muscle growth aren’t an exception to that.
6. Maximize Fiber Intake With Veggies & Whole Grains.
Fiber is the best way to increase satiety, reduce hunger, and prevent yourself from overeating. It also keeps blood sugar flatlined. Go crazy with colorful, leafy vegetables — they’re insanely nutritious and filling, yet feather-light on the calorie scale.
Beans, whole grains, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, muesli and other unprocessed grains are fantastic sources of fiber-heavy, lean carbs.
7. Integrate Healthy Fats.
Healthy fats found in avocado, flax, fish and fish oil, nuts and nut butter, olives and olive oil, coconut, etc. control hunger levels and produce a sustained feeling of fullness. They’re also a powerful regulator of blood sugar, limiting fat build-up.
20-25% of your daily calories should come from healthy fats; that’s about 2-3 servings per day.
8. Use Condiments, Spices, Hot Sauce, and Salsa Generously.
They’re the best way to flavor-up food without adding significant calories. Spices like cinnamon, ginger, chili, garlic, and basil can help control blood sugar and pack major anti-inflammatory benefits.
Ginger, black pepper, and hot pepper (capsaicin) have been linked to decreased hunger, accelerated metabolism, and enhanced thermogenesis.
Supplements are purely optional, but given the short window of opportunity, they can accelerate results in a healthy, powerful way. We recommend the following proven supplements to enhance muscle growth, weight loss, and fat burn:
- Whey Protein Powder – muscle growth and recovery, hunger control.
- BCAAs – recovery, reduced soreness, muscle preservation during dieting and cardio. Full guide here..
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – non-stimulant fatty acid that can improve body composition, block fat storage, and ramp up the body’s rate of fat metabolism. It may also promote lean muscle growth.
- Green Tea Extract — boosts metabolism, calorie burn, and fat oxidation. It packs the same benefits as green tea in concentrated form.
- Fish Oil — all-around health, hunger control, reduced inflammation & soreness, and may enhance muscle protein synthesis. View our full guide here..
- Fiber – hunger control and appetite reduction.
10. No Cheating.
Remove the concept of cheating from your dietary paradigm. Every time you eat a cheat meal, sneak junk food, binge drink, or skip a planned workout you’re pushing yourself one step back against time you don’t have. Dedicate to work hard and focus now; celebrate come summer.
References, Notes, Links