It’s cold, grey and drizzly (at least in London anyway) and, after your summer holiday was cancelled and we were all once again confined to our homes, chances are getting in shape hasn’t been at the top of your priorities recently. Now, if your style is more dad bod than David Gandy we fully support you in that notion, but if even your finest winter jumper is starting to feel a little tight around the middle, we have some good news: it’s not too late to get the six pack you always dreamed of. A few simple lifestyle and exercise changes are all it takes to see real results in as little as a few weeks, here are some top tips from the experts…
We hate to say it but calories count
You won’t see your six pack without losing fat. And you won’t lose fat without being in a caloric deficit. Diet is the easiest way to manage your calories in vs. calories out but thankfully that doesn’t have to mean going keto or smashing organic pond water smoothies complete with floating bits.
The best diet for you is the one you’re on right now, we already know you can stick to it. The issue is the size of your portions. Using a tracking app like MyFitnessPal will help you to take control of your diet and make sure you’re jiggling less, not more.
Don’t have time to spend on lengthy food prep? Macro-specific meal delivery companies like The Key To Food can calculate your calorie requirement and send out delicious, zero-prep meals for less that you might think. All the benefits with almost no effort – a real winner.
It’s time to NEATen up
NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) is the energy expended in everything we do that isn’t sleeping, eating or exercising. Walking, talking, fidgeting, gardening are all NEAT and regardless of how hard you train this is where you’re going to burn the majority of your calories.
Setting yourself a movement goal outside the gym with an activity tracker will help you increase your daily calorie expenditure. The simple thing to remember is: the more you burn the less fat you’ll carry.
Train smarter not harder
We can all train hard, but training smart is the art to master if your goal is a six pack. Resistance training encourages the body to build muscle tissue increasing your overall energy use. Combine this with the high calorie burn of a metabolic circuit and your metabolism will have no choice but to fire up and shred.
The key is making sure that hard training doesn’t impact your NEAT. Overcook it in on a leg workout and a simple set of stairs becomes akin to scaling Everest at night with a salt shaker for a head torch. Train hard but never to absolute failure.
The best exercise for fat loss is…
Surprise! There is no ‘best’ exercise for fat loss. There are, however, compound lifts and cardio. Compound lifts are big, multi-joint movements that use many of the major muscle groups in one go. Deadlift. Squat. Bench. These big lifts place a high demand on the body and when performed at the right intensity will make your heart rate bounce around like a glow stick at a rave thus laying down muscle mass and boosting your total calorie expenditure.
Cardio, is often demonised but let’s be frank – have you ever seen an overweight marathon runner, triathlete or distance cyclist? We thought not. Integrate it into your training and, even if it’s just cycling to work or going for a jog around the park, you’ll torch calories.
Sleep isn’t for the weak
Allowing yourself a great night’s sleep will not only give your body time to rest and recover after a hard workout but prevent the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Studies have shown that short sleep durations elevate ghrelin levels, and with it your BMI.
Nutrient imbalances hare also known to impact sleep so supplementing with a regenerative supplement, like Form Nutritions ZZZZ’s capsule, will ensure you’re getting the sleep you need and, in turn, the six pack you want.
Use a professional!
There is nothing wrong with asking for help! You can find a personal trainer in just about every gym in the UK and, although there are some red herrings, a little social media snooping should turn up someone who is committed to getting you the results you want.
Prices generally start from £30 an hour outside of big cities with the best charging upwards of £120 an hour in London. The results focused tech lover, however, will be pleased to know that many gyms and trainers now offer virtual sessions. FITcademy, for example, offers access to its online personal training platform from £36 per month. Think of it as Netflix for your abs.