We might be in the dead of winter, but blink and summer will be right around the corner. Of course, this means you’ll need to start shedding some of the winter weight you put on from the holidays and being stuck inside. At least if you want to look your best for swimsuit season.
That means in the not too distant future you’ll need to move away from the building muscle phase of your workout routine to slimming down. There are a number of ways you will want to go about doing this.
Truth Behind Slimming
Slimming down is all about shedding the excess weight and doing what you can to drop the pounds. While putting on muscle requires you to increase the amount of calories you eat in order to boost muscle development, slimming down is the exact opposite.
But don’t worry. We’re here to help you slim down and prepare yourself for the optimal physical appearance by the time summer is here.
Bulking to Cutting
Summer might seem like a lifetime away, but spring always blows through quickly. And, if you’re not careful, you’ll completely miss your window of getting beach body ready for summer.
So, now is the time to start looking at shifting away from the bulking phase of your working and shifting to cutting. Cutting is where you’re going to trim away as much of the fat and excess body mass while maintaining as much of the muscle size you’ve developed.
By starting this far out you don’t need to go to the extremes with cutting and slimming down. This makes it a much more manageable approach to dropping the weight. You don’t want to try and flush out as much weight as possible.
When you do that you’ll drastically reduce your calorie intake, which in turn can lead to two issues. First, you’re going to always feel hungry, which means you’re more likely to binge on something you’re not supposed to have.
Last thing you need is to be doing well with a diet and then binge on an entire family-size container of Oreos.
All the work you did over the last week (or more) will be out the window with that single binge. And two, even if you do manage to avoid binging, a drastically reduce calorie count will cut down on your muscle mass, resulting in you losing a considerable amount of the gains you made during the bulking phase (BBC).
So the best way to go about slimming down is to not over do it with the calories you remove from your diet.
The best way to go about identifying the number of calories you should slice from your diet is to identify the target calories your body type needs to consume every day and then reduce it by 15 percent.
How Many Calories You Should Be Eating
According to Healthline, the average number of calories a woman should consume per day is 2,000, while the average calories a male should eat is 2,500.
Now, those numbers will vary somewhat, depending on your age. You might need to tweak the numbers a bit.
Your doctor can help you out with this as well. After all, your height and average weight based on the height will influence these numbers. But, as a general guideline, you should aim for one of these two numbers.
Now, Healthline also suggests that if you want to drop one pound per week you should cut your calories by 500. Dropping a pound a week is good, but you might not need to do that.
If you want to simply slim down and you don’t care about losing some muscle mass than cutting 500 calories a day is the way to go.
However, if you only need to drop five to 10 pounds by the time summer hits and you have several months to go you don’t need to go that extreme.
The recommended calorie intake for bulking and cutting is 15 percent. This means to bulk up you’ll add 15 percent more calories, and to cut you’ll remove 15 percent calories from the starting point.
So, if you’re looking at a 2,000 calorie day, 15 percent will be 300 calories.
Removing 300 calories from your daily diet is much more manageable, and you’ll still drop about three pounds a month. It will also help you maintain more of your muscle mass (CNN, 2018).
So, if muscle mass is important while you trim down go with the 15 percent rule. If you just want to drop as much weight as possible without completely starving yourself, go with the Healthline recommended 500 calorie reduction.
Drink More Water
You will want to focus on increasing your water consumption (if you haven’t already). Getting enough water can be surprisingly difficult.
Often times you might grab a glass of water once or twice at work, and maybe at random times throughout the day, but if you’re feeling thirsty it is because your body is already dehydrated.
When you increase the amount of water you drink your body will stop retaining water.
While that might sound counterintuitive, this happens because when your body becomes accustomed to the constant flow of water coming into its system it will no longer see the need to hoard it. When this happens your body will let go of the water it is retaining, allowing you to drop most of the water weight. It will also help you feel less bloated.
Drinking water also helps with your metabolic rate. This way, you will burn more calories throughout the day, which in turn will help you slim down.
Plus, your body is about 60 percent water. In order to keep it running efficiently it needs to have fresh water always coming in.
In fact, according to The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metobolism, by drinking 17 ounces of water you will temporarily boost your metabolism by up to 30 percent.
But just how much water should you be consuming?
Well there is the age old rule of eight glasses of eight-ounces of water every day. That is 64 ounces of water a day.
In reality though, you should be drinking more, especially as an active individual. You’re sweating out water whenever you workout, which means you need to put more water back into your system.
So, the average woman should be drinking around 96 ounces of water a day while the average man should be drinking 125 ounces of water a day.
Not sure how to keep track of that?
You can pick up a jug that is 64 ounces. There are either jugs you can purchase, or you can buy a container of unsweetened ice tea from your local grocery store. Most of these are right around 64 ounces. Then, use this container as a guide.
If you are a man drink two of these every day. If you’re a woman drink at least one and a half. You might need to use the restroom more, but you’ll notice a significant difference.
And, just for reference, Tom Brady has gone on record that he drinks up to 37 glasses of water per day. That’s 296 ounces of water every day. How he doesn’t need to use the bathroom five times per quarter is alone amazing.
You probably shouldn’t aim for this amount of fluid intake (in fact, it would cause significant health problems if you were to jump from 64 ounces to 296 in a short period of time), but it just goes to show how important it is to constantly have new water coming in throughout the day.
Whether you’re moving into a cutting phase or you’re looking to slim down you will need to make some adjustments to your daily diet.
First, you will want to maximize your protein. It is still important to maintain as much muscle mass as you can, which means you’ll need to turn to high protein, low fat foods. This can include turkey, tuna (most kinds of fish), shrimp, and other lean animals.
Eggs will give a nice level of protein to calorie ratio. You can also focus on foods like lentils, and beans if you want to add non-meat based proteins. While these foods might not have the same kind of protein to calorie punch, you will increase your fiber intake.
Fiber is another important ingredient you want to make sure you’re getting enough of. Fiber will help make sure you are passing all of your food and it helps prevent certain foods from sticking inside of your stomach.
It can also help prevent some carbs from being absorbed by your body. Some foods are labeled with a “net carb” rating on it. This takes the num ber of carbs in the food and then subtracts the amount of fiber in it. So, if a food has a net carb of 2, it means there are two more grams of carbs than fiber.
Eating low carb veggies will help prevent your body from retain water (one gram of carbs can lead your body to retaining up to four grams of water).
Some low carb veggies include spinach, tomatoes, kale, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, cauliflower, lettuce, and others. The beauty with these particular kinds of foods is that you can really load up on them without ever tipping the scales, either with calories or with carbs.
That is what makes these particular foods so great for trimming down. You don’t need to starve yourself in order to drop the weight. You simply need to know what foods you should cut out and which foods you should retain.
If you want to trim down you need to continue your work at the gym. If you haven’t started to work out yet you need to go to the gym at least three times a week for weight training (if not more). While cardio is nice for burning through calories, weight training does have an advantage.
When training with weights you will not only burn calories while lifting the weights, but you will also burn calories after you have finished lifting. This is because during a vigorous weight training session you will cause microscopic tears in your muscle tissue.
Your body will then need to repair these tears. Repairing the damage to your muscles requires calories, which means even while you sleep and through the next day you will be burning calories.
Just make sure to not overtrain your body. You don’t want to hit the same muscle group two days in a row. If you do it will prevent your muscles from fully repairing, which completely shortchanges what you’re trying to do and stunts your goals (Healthline, 2018).
Just make sure you actually put in the work at the gym. If you go super light and don’t challenge yourself you’re not going to damage the muscle tissue, which means you’re not going to get the same extended calorie burn.
Of the bulking up and slimming down the slimming down phase is always the hardest.
Because you need to be much more focused on your diet. Bulking up allows you to eat more calories and intake more protein, carbs, and fats. Slimming down is the exact opposite.
You need to find ways to maximize every single calorie you bring in, which means stripping away as much of the fat and unnecessary carbs.
You need to be much more dedicated to what you put in your body, because while you can spend time at the gym, the fastest way to a slim body is through the kitchen.
It’s far easier to strip away a few hundred calories every day then to spend a few extra hours of cardio trying to burn those calories away. It does take an extra special mindset, but as long as you have it you’ll do just fine. And by starting with your slimming down stage now, you’ll have plenty of time to take it slowly.
This way, you’ll have the fantastic body you want by the time summer hits.