You’ve got a holiday booked. You leave in four weeks. You’re mostly in shape but you want to ensure you look better… Here’s your four-week plan for weight loss and muscle gain. Everyone wants to be beach body ready.
Four weeks before you leave…
Start your month-long body blitz with regular bursts of High Intensity Interval Training. More commonly known as HITT, this is ideal to lose fat as quickly as possible and get your training regime off to a good start.
Research from the Journal of Applied Nutrition, Physiology and Metabolism shows that HITT increases the body’s ability to burn fat by up to 60%. This will kickstart your metabolism to make the most of any exercise you do in the run up to your holiday.
Head to the gym and jump on the exercise bike or cross trainer. By doing short bursts of super-high effort exercise for 30 seconds and resting for the next two minutes, you’ll be maximising fat burning. Repeat this as many times as possible, and every other workout add on another two reps. This will cause your body to continue to strip fat and increase definition in your muscles.
Along with this, do an hour of moderate aerobics at least three times a week. This can be anything from tennis to running or swimming. The key is consistency and repetition.
For nutrition, don’t slash your calorie intake drastically. Instead, simply cut it by around a sixth for the four weeks. Also cut out any snacking or carbs after 6pm. This will avoid the consequences of crash dieting, which include a slowing metabolism.
Three weeks before you leave…
Your metabolism should be faster now, so it’s time to crush the weights. Speeding up your usual training can pay off hugely, as it creates more muscle tension. Spend just one second on the push phase of the exercise, and three seconds on the recovery stage for maximum results. You want to stick to the kind of upper-body exercises that suit this kind of training. Bicep curls, lateral raises or shoulder presses are ideal. Diet-wise, it’s time to up your protein by a fifth to match your exercise regime.
Two weeks before you leave…
Your muscles are working as hard as possible. Now it’s time for endurance. Add 20 minutes of kettlebells to your normal weight training routine this week. Include two arm swings, squat and presses and snatches and cleans using a kettlebell weight of between 18 and 24kg. Take a minute break between each exercise and do it at least three times a week. This workout plan will target every major muscle group.
With just a fortnight before your holiday, it’s time to cut the carbs. This is the fastest way to achieve short-term weight loss. According to researchers from the Netherlands, eating just one meal without carbs a day can increase your metabolic rate by around 80 calories. The meal should have no carbs at all and consist of 70% protein. Try this for your last two weeks and see whether you can slim down.
A good way to manage your appetite and keep to a strict diet is by ensuring you get at least 8.5 hours sleep every night.
Seven days before you leave…
By now, you’ve put in the bulk of the hardest work and it’s time to coast a bit. Stick to simple aerobic exercise for the final week. Research published in a journal called Metabolism – Clinical and Experimental shows that people who run at half pace, rest for a short time and then sprint until exhausted maximise the amount of fat they lose. Do this outside or on a treadmill to lose as much weight as possible before you start packing.
For your diet, ensure you include plenty of fish. Studies show that eating fish three times a week helps people lose weight faster than a diet with no fish at all. Hold firm with your low-carb, low calorie eating plan for the final week before your holiday. You don’t want to undo all your hard work at the last minute. Completely banish all sweets, treats, snacks, fried food and sugars from your diet.
Stick to this four-week plan and you will lose weight, tone up and increase muscle gains so that you can feel body confident on holiday.
About Surya Gabriel Iacono
Surya G. Iacono is a fitness and wellness expert and blogger based in London, UK. Surya’s fitness blogs are aimed at keen gym-goers and exercise fans already well into their journey and looking for tips, tricks and ideas to take it to the next level.